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a VirtualTourist member from Toronto asked on Nov 3, 2008


Colombia Itinerary over Semana Santa

Hi there,

I have been doing my research and am trying to get an itinerary down pat that allows me to see and experience as much of Colombia as possible in a limited amount of time (I will be studying in Quito for 5 months so I can't miss TOO much school!). How much time would you recommend to do this itinerary and how would you recommend going about it (e.g. is my itinerary backtracking or awkward?). Overnight buses are cool with me:

Quito to Popayan
Popayan to Salento
Salento to Medellin
Medellin to Mompos (via Magangue)
Mompos to Tangaga (via Santa Marta)
Tanganga to Tayrona National Park
Cartagena (fly out of Cartagena back to Quito)

I really wanted to do the Lost City trek but it takes 6 days out of my itinerary- is it a mistake to forgo this trip to enjoy other parts of Colombia like Salento and Popayan?
Part of this trip will be during Semana Santa (unfortunately that is when I get time off) and I know that it means higher prices and crowded public transportation (though I understand Popayan and Mompos are great places to visit during this time) - how far in advance do you recommend making accommodation reservations, if at all possible? Can you reserve bus tickets in advance or do you have to just show up at the bus station and try to get on?

Help with bus schedules/names/prices between these locales would be helpful also. Thanks!

7 Answers

answered on 11/3/08 by
a VT member from Delft

For transportation have a look at my pages with info and websites.

answered on 11/3/08 by
a VT member from Rio de Janeiro

Kindra, please check out your government's (or the State Dept's, or British FCO's) travel warnings on overland travel in Colombia.

answered on 11/3/08 by
a VT member from Delft

Oh come on...I travel frequently overland, also by bus, in Colombia, at least 2 x a year. So I think I know what I'm talking about.

answered on 11/3/08 by
a VT member from Rio de Janeiro

Noel, I wish you continuing luck! (;

answered on 11/4/08 by
a VT member from Europe

Last week I put my itineraries (4,5 weeks + 5 weeks) in a travelouge on my Colombia page. I haven't visited the places you want to visit in the same order as you but you can see how much time I spent at each place. I never travell by nightbus so I'm not sure between which destinations you will find a nightbus. If you only travelled by day it could be something like this:
Day 1 - arriving to Popayan
Day 2 - Popayan
Day 3 - Popayan
Day 4 - To Salento (Popayan - Cali 3 hours, Cali - Armenia 4 hours, Armenia - Salento 1 hour)
Day 5 - Salento
Day 6 - Salento
Day 7 - To Medellin (Salento - Pereira 1 hour, Pereira - Medellin 5 hours)
Day 8 - Medellín
Day 9 - Madellín
Day 10 - To Mompos
Day 11 - Mompos
Day 12 - To Taganga
Day 13 - Taganga
Day 14 - Taganga
Day 15 - To Tyrona (I went by bus from Santa Marta, but there are also small boats from Taganga - can be very bumpy and wet)
Day 16 - Tyrona
Day 17 - To Cartagena
Day 18 - Cartagena
Day 19 - Cartagena
Well, I don't know how much time you have. If you can take nightbuses you will defenitly save some time.

answered on 11/4/08 by
a VT member from Toronto

Thanks Malena.. I have already been looking at your Colombia pages and they have been very helpful thus far. If you had to choose between the Lost City and Popayan/Medellin/Salento, what would you pick and why?

If anyone has any words on nightbuses, that would also be great (I know there is a nightbus from Medellin to Mompos which saves time).

answered on 11/7/08 by
a VT member from Europe

It is a hard one as I like all places, but if I had to choose I would probably pick the Ciudad Perdida trek (six days). I enjoyed the trek very much, the walking, the sceanery and sleeping in hammocks in remote places. Popayan is a very nice town with a colonial centre, but you are going to Mompos (which of course is different from Popayan), Salento and Cocora Valley (where you can also do some trekking) is lovely and in Medellín you can do paragliding.

Go to NEW Colombia questions, or browse older Colombia travel answers

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