Colombia is an incredible country, and there is SO MUCH to love in Colombia. In our 2+ months there, we felt that we’d only scratched the surface. Nevertheless, we’re boiling it down to only our very favorite things to do in Colombia. From activities to restaurants, coffee and hostels, read on for the very best things to do in Colombia!
Each recommendation below is followed by a link to our Travel Guide, which will include additional experiences and tips to help you plan your trip! Happy adventuring!
Best Colombia Experiences: Activities
Don Leo’s Coffee Farm tour is where it’s at. And by “it” we mean a TRULY authentic Colombian coffee experience. Sure, Salento is great (and we recommend it!), but it’s lacking something. Something you can only put your finger on when you visit Don Leo’s coffee farm in Buenavista. Colombia is a country rich with history, a history that was unfortunately plagued by violence and drug cartels. At Don Leo’s coffee farm, in the small, beautiful town of Buenavista, you’ll learn all about the life of a coffee farmer, and the intimate ways they were impacted by the historical events that mark Colombia’s past. Read this post for a teaser on Don Leo’s triumphant story growing up in coffee farms, to working in the drug industry, to finally landing back on a coffee farm. And, oh yeah, you’ll learn all about the coffee making process. This tour is a must if you’re in Colombia’s coffee region (also called the Zona Cafetera) and can spare a day to make a detour!
Dance Salsa in Cali
There is no better place to finally learn how to salsa dance than at the School of Rumba Y Salsa in Cali. Regardless of skill level, you can learn salsa, bachata and even hip hop from their warm, welcoming, and talented team of teachers. For this reason alone, it’s worth spending a couple days in Cali. You’ll be amazed at how much fun it is and at how quickly you learn!
Learn About Colombia’s Complex Past in Medellin
The RealCity Walking Tour in Medellin provides a WEALTH of knowledge. We had heard that this free tip-based walking tour was amazing, and it lived up to the hype. The tour guides are extremely informative and you’ll learn all about Colombia’s complicated history while seeing important sites in the city. Do this as soon as possible once you arrive in Medellin!
Hike the Cocora Valley in Salento
I had no idea how lush and green the Colombian country side was until we got to the Cocora Valley. The Cocora Valley is a two-part hike that takes you first through a tropical jungle and finally through seemingly endless greenery that supports some of the tallest palm trees in the world!
Explore the Capital by Bike
Bogota is a huge, fickle metropolis capital that is best explored by bike with Bogota Bike Tours. In this 4 hour tour, you’ll visit multiple neighborhoods, learn about Colombian history, taste coffee, try local Colombian fruits, and even play tejo – a game involving throwing targets and explosions!
Explore Small Antioquian Towns of Jerico and Jardin
The people of Medellin are locally known as paisas, a term which applies to people from all across the Colombian region known as Antioquia. Antioquia is rich with culture, and its small, charming towns that are just begging to be discovered and explored! In general, expect to see lots of Colombians just lounging and drinking coffee, plus plenty of nature hikes to incredible vistas and waterfalls. Visit the travel guides below to learn about each.
Day Trip to Guatape from Medellin
Guatape is home to a giant rock called La Piedra de Peñol that juts out from a never-ending view of man-made lakes. Stairs were built into the side of the rock, and it takes about 30 minutes to reach the spectacular views at the top. The cute and colorful town is just a tuk-tuk ride away and rounds out this perfect day-trip from Medellin!
Best Colombia Experiences: Food
Salvo Patria in Bogota
At one point, Eater named Salvo Patria the Best Neighborhood Restaurant in the World. Their innovative and affordably priced Colombian cuisine will have you talking about it for days (or even writing about it months later)!
Cafe Cliche in Medellin
If you only have time to try menu del dia one time in Medellin, Cafe Cliche should be your choice. Michelle is still talking about how good our lunch was. Medellin has some of the best food in all of Colombia, and Cafe Cliche is a great place to experience it for yourself!
Read our Medellin Travel Guide here!
Helena Aldentro in Filandia
It’s a little hard to believe that one of the best restaurants in all of Colombia is in a town you’ve probably never heard of. But, if you love to follow your taste buds while you travel, Helena Aldentro is enough reason to find the relaxed town of Filandia on a map and go there. You’ll be glad you did!
Best Colombia Experiences: Coffee
Rituales in Medellin
Rituales has the best flat white in Colombia. There, I said it. Especially when paired with one or two (or three) of their chocolate croissants! If you’re looking to cool down, their iced coffee with a maracuya popsicle is a great choice. Plus, their set up is great. We had one of our most productive blog work days here.
Due to economic reasons, most of the highest quality Colombia coffee is exported. Some great coffee can be found in the large cities – Medellin and Bogota – but finding great coffee in a small town Colombia is rare. Coffee House Terraza in Buenavista is the exception! When we were in rural Buenavista, we enjoyed multiple flat whites, espressos and cortados there daily while playing cards and soaking in the gorgeous scenery.
Cafe de Los Andes in Jardin
Although the coffee is not as fancy as Rituales or Coffee House Terraza, the view and the vibe are the reason why Cafe de Los Andes makes the list. All people do in Jardin is sitting around and drink small black coffees called “tintos” all day. Cafe del Los Andes has the prime spot on the second floor with a view of the town square where you can practice your best Jardineños impression.
Best Colombia Experiences: Hostels
Fern-weh in Bogota
The common room and helpful tour information are the reasons why Fern-weh makes the list. Their large communal table which travelers share coffee and tips is a great place to make new friends. Their desk of potential tours and activities provides you and your new friends with plenty of options for how to enjoy the day!
This hostel has the best view of any hostel that we stayed at in Colombia. The hostel sits on the top of a hill and the back porch, lined with couches facing the lush countryside, spans the entire length of the building. It’s the perfect place to relax. That’s why you’re in Buenavista after all.
Blue Fox Hostel in Cali
Blue Fox Hostel is the place to cool off and make friends after some salsa lessons or a day exploring the warm, humid city of Cali. The small pool and lounge chairs are perfect for any time of day and the large communal tables facilitate conversation. Also, their kitchen is well equipped and the affordable onsite laundry is a huge plus!
We’d love to hear about whether you’ve done or tried any of the above experiences! Also, feel free to add any Colombian experiences that you think people can’t miss in the comments below!
There you have it, our list of the best things to do in Colombia! From us to you, happy adventuring!