Colombia Trip Details

Introduction

Welcome to Colombia! 

Aptly named the Gateway to South America due to its location, this country boats a wide array of landscapes, scenery, and cultures!

On this unique trip, you will visit three distinct parts of Colombia: The modern city of Medellin, lush national parks and beaches in Santa Marta, and the colonial city of Cartagena. 

If fully immersing yourself into a country’s culture is your cup of tea (or excellent Colombian coffee), then you’ll definitely enjoy this trip!

Duration: 8 days & 7 nights

Start: Please be ready to depart José María Córdova Medellín International Airport (JMC) at 3:00 pm.
Finish: The trip will end at Rafael Núñez Cartagena International Airport (CTG) at 11:30 am.

Airfare booking details will be sent after registration--please wait to book your flight until you receive further instructions.

What's Included

  • 8 days & 7 nights of shared accommodations in boutique hotel rooms
  • 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 4 dinners
  • One-way domestic flight from Medellin to Santa Marta
  • Comuna 13 Neighborhood Culture Tour
  • Chiva Rumbera Party Bus Experience
  • Full day in Tayrona National Park 
  • Walking tour of Cartagena
  • San Basilio de Palenque UNESCO Heritage Experience
  • Mangrove canoe tour in La Boquilla
  • Group airport pick-up upon arrival
  • Group airport drop-off upon departure
  • Under30Experiences Trip Leader
  • Personal recommendations for optional activities
  • The chance to meet some kick-ass people
  • Access to the Under30Experiences community
  • Taxes are always included, never hidden fees, & NO blackout dates

Travelers are responsible for international airfare to and from Colombia. Public transportation, optional activities, and their associated transportation are not included.

Highlights

  • Visit Medellin, Santa Marta, and Cartagena 
  • Comuna 13 Neighborhood Cultural Tour
  • Chiva Rumbera Party Bus Experience
  • Adventure in Tayrona National Park 
  • San Basilio de Palenque Cultural Excursion 
  • Mangrove Canoe Tour in La Boquilla

Is this Trip for You?

Are you looking to experience multiple regions of one country in a single trip? This trip mixes three of Colombia’s most iconic destinations: Medellin, Santa Marta, and Cartagena

You will do quite a bit of moving around during this trip. Due to the length and locations of this trip, it will involve one domestic flight and one long drive. Some travelers may become exhausted with the multiple location changes in a short amount of time. We’ve built downtime into this itinerary for that reason. Though the domestic flight is short, do expect to spend a portion of your vacation time in the airport and on transportation to and from airports.

-Age requirement: 21+
-Group size: 16 max, average 12-14
-Physical rating: Moderate. Some activities include physical activity like canoeing.

Travel Community

Travel connects us. Community keeps us connected.

Before your trip, you'll have the opportunity to join a custom WhatsApp group and connect with other members of your group. Many travelers meet at the airport, or for pre-trip drinks if they are from the same city. Others coordinate plans to stay in a country after their trip.

During your adventure, our Trip Leaders do their best to foster an open, supportive environment, where people feel safe to truly be themselves.

After your trip, you'll be an official U30X Alumni and part of our larger online Travel Community where you'll have access to our network of thousands of past travelers. We are constantly hosting meetups that range from simple happy hours to hikes to outdoor movie nights in local cities around the US and Canada.

More than 70% of our travelers come solo, but they all leave with friends.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Travel can be unpredictable. Our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience.

While it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into it, and on occasion, it may be necessary or desirable to make alterations.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and are subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Meals

Eat like a local with delicious Colombian dishes such as bandeja paisa, sancocho, tamales, and arepas.

  • A breakfast staple in Colombia is eggs. A very popular Colombian dish is the pericos eggs (scrambled with tomato and onion). If you’re on the coast, it will be accompanied by patacones (crushed green banana slices fried in oil). In the mountains, it is typically served with arepas (circular-shaped grilled cornbread. These dishes are accompanied by a cup of tinto (black coffee) or chocolate milk.
  • For lunch and dinner, the typical food in Colombia consists of a soup followed by the main dish or rice, beans, a meat of your choice, a side salad, and a glass of juice.
  • It is common for patacones to replace rice and fish for chicken or beef on the coast.
  • Vegetarian meals will typically consist of salads, and vegetables.

We do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions. Many meals can be modified for special requests and food allergies.

Transportation

You will be traveling by private, air-conditioned ground transportation throughout your trip. 

On Day 3, there is a domestic flight from Medellin to Santa Marta. Domestic flights are economy class.

Private ground transportation to and from the airport (Included)

Public bus and taxi (Not Included)

Some optional activities do not include transportation.

*Your airfare includes one carry-on bag of a maximum of 17 pounds and one piece of checked baggage of a maximum of 30 pounds. Measurements: the sum of the 3 dimensions should not exceed 62 inches (158 cm). We recommend keeping luggage to 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) or under due to luggage restrictions. If you wish to bring more baggage, you may pay the additional fee at the airline counter.

Accommodation

You will be staying in shared boutique hotel rooms for the duration of the trip.

Laundry is available at the hotel for an additional fee. Ask your Trip Leader for details.

Accommodations may vary but will be the same quality.
Solo travelers are paired with someone of the same gender.
Private room options are available upon request subject to hotel availability for an extra charge.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance with at least $200,000 USD in combined medical coverage is required to participate in our trips. This must include coverage for repatriation.

Please note that travel insurance covers trip-related issues such as trip interruption, lost luggage, theft, etc. Travel medical insurance covers things like repatriation, medicine, ambulance rides, and hospital visits/stays. 

We strongly suggest that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment, and loss of luggage, and personal effects. Please ensure that all of the activities you plan on participating in are covered by your travel insurance.

Here are a few options for travel insurance that meet our minimum medical coverage requirements: Wanderwell, SafetyWing, and World Nomads. Some plans do not cover certain “high-risk” activities. Please make sure to read your plan coverage and make a selection based on your planned trip.

Wanderwell donates at least one percent of your insurance purchase to Explore Austin, a sustainable youth outdoor education program, via 1% for the Planet, selected by Under30Experiences.

We receive a fee if you purchase products through links on this page at no extra cost to you.

We receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using our affiliate links. We do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

Cancellation Policy

Flexible

Give us at least 60 days notice and you can switch your trip for free, or we'll hold your Experience Credits for future use.

If you have an emergency cancellation that is less than 60 days before your trip, please refer to your travel insurance company as they may cover you for some expenses. We are not able to transfer trips or hold experience credits within 60 days of the trip because we have already secured reservations on your behalf.

Trip Leader Expectations

All Under30Experiences trips are accompanied by experienced Trip Leaders.

The goal of the Trip Leader is to facilitate an awesome experience and help our travelers have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues, and introduce you to our local friends.

You can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects.

Packing List

Please be eco-friendly!
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to refill where clean water is available.
  • Use as little plastic as possible by declining straws and plastic bags at restaurants and when shopping.
  • Please avoid aerosol bug sprays as they negatively affect the environment.

Your airfare includes 1 carry-on bag of a maximum of 17 pounds and 1 checked baggage of a maximum of 30 pounds. Measurements: the sum of the 3 dimensions should not exceed 62 inches (158 cm). We recommend keeping luggage to 30 pounds (15 kilograms) or under due to luggage restrictions. If you wish to bring more baggage, you may pay the additional fee at the airline counter.

A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Below includes our staff picks of the best items on the market that we travel with!  All products selected are 3 ounces or less to comply with TSA carry-on size and organically inspired when possible.

Do not forget: water bottlesunscreen, sandals, quick-dry travel towelwaterproof rain jacketinsect repellent, sunglasses and a hat.

Some links on this page are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you Under30Experiences will earn a small commission if you make a purchase.

Passport & Visas

Guidelines for U.S. Passport Holders

A visa is not required to enter Colombia for US passport holders.

Make sure you have an updated passport with you. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the last date of your trip. Please consult the U.S. Department of State with any more questions.

Make sure there is no damage to your passport. Conditions that may constitute damage requiring you to replace your passport include water damage, a significant tear, unofficial markings on the data page, missing or torn-out visa pages, a hole punch, or other injuries.

Health & Insurance

The tap water in Colombia is not safe to drink. Please bring a reusable water bottle to refill from filtered water stations and join us in our efforts to be environmentally friendly and keep Colombia beautiful.

Please consult with your doctor before traveling in regards to physical activity and vaccinations.

No inoculations are required to enter Colombia from the United States but the Center for Disease Control suggests vaccinating for Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Required vaccines should go through CDC, recommended vaccines should be through your doctor.

Mosquito borne viruses exist in most of South America. Please cover exposed skin and use mosquito repellent.

Please be aware that quite often we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities. For legal reasons our Trip Leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including pain relievers, antibiotics, etc.

Money & Currency

We suggest bringing $300 USD in cash in the local currency to be used at establishments that do not accept credit cards.

This is not a total cash amount that you should expect to spend on your trip. Please consider your own spending habits for additional expenses such as snacks, souvenirs, and optional activities.

The official currency in Colombia is the Colombian Peso (COB).

We recommend exchanging from USD to COB at your local bank before arriving in Colombia to make sure you have some local currency in case you have issues with your card when you arrive.

You will have to exchange your money into Colombia Pesos (COB) since vendors do not accept USD.

Remember to call your bank and credit card company and let them know you'll be traveling overseas.

For an up-to-date exchange rate, download the XE Currency Exchange App.

Please be advised that US Dollar notes that are slightly torn, heavily marked, or faded may be difficult to exchange. It is best to bring notes in fairly good condition, in denominations lower than $100.

Safety & Security

Always carry a copy of your travel insurance, health insurance, vaccination card, and passport with you. A photo of these items on your phone is also a good backup.

Keep your passport and any valuables locked in the safe at the hotel.

Don’t leave valuables unattended.

Leave flashy jewelry at home.

US Citizens please consider registering with the US State Department's “SMART Traveler Program” which can contact your family in case of emergency.

Make sure you have the address of your hotel in the event that you're separated from your Trip Leader.

Weather

There are two seasons in Colombia. The dry seasons are from December to January and from July to August. The rainy season is from April to May and October to November. 

However, due to the diversity of Colombia, the temperature variates depending on where you are.

For this trip, you will be in destinations with warm and temperate climates.

Medellín: temperatures between 62°F to 78°F.
Santa Marta and Cartagena: temperatures between 76°F to 88°F. 

cultural information

Key Phrases

  • Hello -- Hola
  • Excuse me -- Perdon
  • How are you? -- ¿Como esta?
  • Thank you -- Gracias
  • Please -- Por favor
  • A beer please -- Una cerveza por favor
  • Excuse me / sorry -- Con permiso / perdon
  • How much? -- ¿Cuánto cuesta?
  • Where is the bathroom? -- ¿Dónde está el baño?
  • What's up dude? -- ¿Qué más parce?

Tipping Customs

While tipping is customary, it is certainly appreciated especially when you have received great service. Be sure to tip in the local currency (COP - Pesos Colombianos) to ensure the recipient does not have to pay additional fees when exchanging.

Tipping Trip Leaders: We hire the very best local trip leaders we can find to give you the best cultural experience possible. We pay our Trip Leaders well, but your gratuity supports them, their families, and their communities. How much should you tip? Tipping is a practice deeply entrenched in the travel and tourism industry in all the countries we visit. The amount you tip is up to you, but a general guideline is $3-6 per person per day for excellent service.

Optional Activities

*Some of our favorite optional activities in Medellin are:  

  • Arvi Park: This is a large ecological nature reserve in Medellín, one of the most popular tourist attractions.

*Some of our favorite optional activities in Cartagena are:  

  • Visit the walled city. There you will find a lot of restaurants and shopping stores.
  • Music is one of the most important elements of Colombian culture. People live and love music. In Cartagena, you will hear salsa, merengue, vallenato, and champeta in every corner. You can book a dancing class (Champeta or salsa lessons) for ~$18 per person 
  • The street food tour. In this activity, you can discover the gastronomical Caribbean culture. ~ $33 per person, depending on the final number. 
  • Rum tasting activity. Approx 11/2 hour. ~$88 per person

While your Trip Leader will assist you with optional activities available, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of the Under30Experiences itinerary. We offer no guarantees on the safety or standard of the activity.

General Rules

Respect the people around you and the environment in which you’re traveling. This includes, but is not limited to fellow travelers, Trip Leaders, the local community, nature, wildlife, and yourself.

Do your best to keep yourself and fellow travelers out of harm’s way.

It’s important to obey local laws and customs while on our trips. This includes, but is not limited to wearing appropriate clothing while visiting certain communities, refraining from taking photos of people without asking, avoiding the use of illegal drugs, having weapons, and soliciting prostitution. If you’re not sure about something, take time to educate yourself, or ask.

Travel involves contact with new cultures. When confronted with a different way of living than you’re used to, do your best to understand that neither way is better or worse. They’re simply different ways of life.

Know your limits! This applies to physical ability, emotional space, social situations, and alcohol consumption. If you can’t participate in something, be upfront about it. If you need a break from people, take it. Stop drinking before you get too drunk.

Trip Leaders are working in the travelers’ best interest. If they say something or ask you not to do something it’s not because they’re tyrants, but because they want you to have a good time!

Lying or withholding information about any physical or mental condition that might affect your ability to participate in any of the activities may be grounds for removal from your trip with no refund.

Staying longer or arriving early?

Extend your stay in Cartagena at Hotel Tres Banderas 

Still need to book your flight?

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