Colorful Colombia with rental car

22 days - from € 4.300 per person

self-drive - driving - history - bird watching - jungles

With a rental car you will drive on your own from the big city of Bogotá to Cartagena on the Caribbean coast. Along the way you will make several stops and visit natural parks, historic towns such as Villa de Leyva and Barichara. You end your trip on the Caribbean coast where you will visit the cities of Santa Marta and Cartagena de Indias as well as the impressive national park Tayrona. A varied journey where you can enjoy the nature, culture and landscapes that make Colombia a world destination!

Travel itinerary

Day 1: Amsterdam – Bogotá

Your unique journey through Colombia starts today. You will depart with an intercontinental flight from Amsterdam to Bogotá. Upon arrival you will be welcomed by our local staff and brought to your hotel. Bogotá is a surprisingly green city with numerous parks, the Andean Mountains in the east and with beautiful views of the sanctuaries of Monserrate and Guadalupe.
Overnight stay: Hotel Casa Deco | bed & breakfast

Day 2: Bogotá

Today you will explore the historic center of Bogota known as 'La Candelaria' by bike. As you cycle through the old neighborhoods you will see the typical stately houses with Spanish colonial influences. During your bike tour you will pass several highlights of the district, your guide will be happy to tell you more about all these highlights. After this you will cycle to the international center of Bogota and visit the traditional district La Merced. You will continue to the Santuario de Monserrate where you will take a cable car up the hill. Once at the top you will have a beautiful panoramic view of the city on one side and the Andean Mountains on the other.
Overnight stay: Hotel Casa Deco | bed & breakfast

Day 3: Bogotá - Guasca

(approx. 65 km | 2 hour drive)
You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to Bogotá airport. Here your rental car (Renault Duster or similar alternative) will be ready for you to drive to Guasca. On the way to Guasca you can make a stop at Zipaquira to visit the famous underground salt cathedral. In Guasca you will stay in Estancia San Antonio, situated on the Bermeja II estate. The house has been completely renovated and has three fireplaces. From the terrace you can enjoy the waterfall Aponwao, which is surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna. On the second floor there is a large balcony from where you have a view over the landscape with meadows, fields and mountains. It is the ideal place to enjoy.
Overnight stay: Estancia San Antonio | bed & breakfast

Day 4: Guasca - Villa de Leyva 

(approx. 145 km | 4 hour drive)
After breakfast you will drive on to Villa de Leyva. On the way you will drive along Guatavita. The nature reserve and the lake with the same name are about an hour and a half's drive from Villa de Leyva, at about 3000 meters above sea level. It is an area where many bird species live such as hawks and various species of hummingbirds. There are also many native tree species such as the Mano de Oso, Uvos de Monte and Té de Bogotá. You can walk around a bit, or visit the village of Guatavita with its characteristic whitewashed houses and the beautiful Lake Tominé. After this you will drive on to Villa de Leyva. A visit to this town is like a romantic journey back in time. The town consists of small cobbled stone streets, squares and white plastered colonial buildings. 
Overnight stay: La Posada de San Antonio | bed & breakfast

Day 5: Villa de Leyva

Today you have a day off. You can visit the lake Iguaque (approx. 10 km / 30 min drive). This lake is considered sacred to the indigenous Muisca people. This isolated tribe believes that the origin of man lies in this lake. The legend that accompanies this is about the woman Bachué. She is said to have come out of the lake with a little boy, which she raised. As soon as the boy was old enough, they married and had many children who populated the earth and so the human race came into being. They returned to the lake years later and would have turned into snakes and still live in the lake. So this lake is of great value to the people. The trip to the lake is beautiful but tough, so you have to take into account that you have to be in good condition to make this trip.
Overnight stay: La Posada de San Antonio | bed & breakfast

Day 6: Villa de Leyva - Barichara

(approx. 190 km | 4.5 hour drive)
After breakfast you continue your way to Barichara. Barichara is considered the most beautiful village in Colombia because of its charming white-plastered houses, built in the so-called bahareque style, where wooden frames are covered with loam and a white plaster layer. It is a place where it seems as if you are travelling back to times long gone, far away from today's hectic life. It is here where the chirping of birds and the scent of blossoming bougainvillea will stimulate your senses. In 1978 Barichara was declared a national monument for its architectural heritage dating back to Spanish rule. Although the beauty of the town is recognized throughout the country, relatively few tourists know how to find their way to Barichara.  
Overnight stay: Achiotte Boutique Hotel | Bed & Breakfast

Day 7 and 8: Barichara

These days are freely scheduled. Stroll through the streets of this charming town. You can also take the car and explore the beautiful surroundings. For example, it is recommended to visit the Chicamocha National Park (approx. 1.5 hour drive). In the park lies the Chicamocha Gorge, one of the largest gorges in the world. You can take a gondola ride over the gorge, with a beautiful view over the gorge. Another possibility is to take a walk from Barichara over the Camino Real to the also picturesque village of Guape. The walk starts at the end of the street Calle 4 and is marked with a large stone on which Camino Real is mentioned
Overnight stay: Achiotte Boutique Hotel | Bed & Breakfast

Day 9: Barichara - San Vicente de Chucurí

(approx. 110 km | 5 hour drive)
You leave Barichara and drive on to San Vicente de Chucurí. Make sure you leave with a full tank, because on the way you will not find a petrol station. San Vicente de Chucurí is known as the cocoa capital of Colombia. This region was the first producer of cocoa in Colombia, with a production of about 7,000 tons per year. The cocoa here is known for its high quality and sustainable production process.
Overnight stay: Boutique hotel Quinta Tibigaro | bed & breakfast

Day 10: San Vicente de Chucurí 

Today you have a day off in San Vicente de Chucurí. It is an absolute must to visit one of the cocoa plantations in the area today.
Overnight stay: Boutique hotel Quinta Tibigaro | bed & breakfast

Day 11: San Vicente de Chucurí - Bucaramanga

(approx. 90 km | 2.5 hour drive)
Today you will continue to Bucaramanga. Bucaramanga is known for its more than 160 parks. The city is also nicknamed "la Ciudad de Los Parques", the city of parks and "la Ciudad Bonita de Colombia", the beautiful city of Colombia.
Overnight stay: Hotel TRYP By Wyndham Burcaramanga Cabercera | bed & breakfast

Day 12: Bucaramanga - Santa Cruz de Mompox

(approx. 355 km | 7 hour drive)
After breakfast you drive on to your hotel in Santa Cruz de Mompox. This is a remote city on the Magdalena River, where time seems to have stopped. The city has many well preserved historic buildings. Because of this Santa Cruz de Mompox was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Overnight stay: La Casa Amarilla | bed & breakfast

Day 13: Santa Cruz de Mompox

You have a day off today. You can visit the central cemetery, a very interesting place. Here it becomes clear that the old stories from Mompox are still alive. The white graves are stacked on top of each other and form walls of memories around a central chapel. Mompox is known for its craftsmanship of filigree technique, in which craftsmen make very intricate and delicate jewelry out of threads of silver and gold. The craft has passed from generation to generation in this town. It is also recommended to visit the natural park Cienaga de Pijino near Mompox. This wetland is a must for birdwatchers.
Overnight stay: La Casa Amarilla | bed & breakfast

Day 14: Santa Cruz de Mompox - Santa Marta

(approx. 315 km | 5 hour drive)
After breakfast you will travel on to Santa Marta. Santa Marta is the oldest city of Colombia and because of its port also called the gateway to the New World. The city was founded on July 29, 1525 by the Spanish conqueror Rodrigo de Bastidas who chose this location because of its strategic location. From the coast you can see the 'Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta' with its two snowy peaks of the highest coastal mountains in the world; the Simon Bolivar and the Cristobal Colon.
Overnight stay: Boutique hotel Don Pepe | bed & breakfast

Day 15: Santa Marta

This day is for leisure. Santa Marta is of enormous historical value, such as the "hacienda Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino" museum, where the independence fighter and first president of Gran Colombia, Simon Bolivár, died on December 17, 1830. The hacienda is now a museum where you can learn a lot about Bolivár and the fight for independence. On the estate of the hacienda you can also find his mausoleum.
Overnight stay: Boutique hotel Don Pepe | bed & breakfast

Day 16: Santa Marta - Tayrona

(approx. 45 km | 1 hour drive)
There's only a short ride ahead today. Not far from Santa Marta is the Tayrona National Park, which is located on the Colombian Atlantic coast. The boundaries of the park run from the bay of Taganga to the mouth of the Piedras River. In this area the temperature can reach up to 30°C. The many bays, beautiful beaches, white coral reefs, green mangroves, mountains and lush vegetation give every visitor the ultimate holiday feeling. This park is the habitat for many birds, mammals and numerous reptiles. 
Overnight stay: Villa Maria | bed & breakfast

Day 17 and 18: Tayrona

These days are freely scheduled. An absolute must to visit are the various archaeological excavations, which confirm the existence of the ancient cultures. An example of this is the town of "Chairama", of which many remains have been preserved. Here there are many bridges, canals, terraces, shops and pottery so you do not have to be bored and there is enough to see. Nearby you can go to the beautiful beaches Arrecifes, La Piscina, Cabo de San Juan del Guía y Castilletes. Some with clear blue water, others with versatile vegetation. Each of these beaches will give you the feeling that you are on a different world each time.
Overnight stay: Villa Maria | bed & breakfast

Day 19: Tayrona - Cartagena

(approx. 260 km | 4.5 hour drive)
Today you drive to Cartagena airport, where you can drop off your rental car. Afterwards you will be brought to your hotel in Cartagena. Cartagena de Indias is a beautiful colonial town on the Caribbean coast. The old center contains a maze of small picturesque streets, with cheerfully colored colonial buildings and romantic squares. Outside the old city walls, the city has expanded with modern, attractive neighborhoods. From the ramparts near the old town you can overlook both the atmospheric colonial city center and the impressive skyline of Boca Grande.
Overnight stay: Casa Lola | bed & breakfast


Day 20: Cartagena

This day is at leisure and so you have the time to completely unwind and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Without a doubt, Cartagena de Indias is one of the most beautiful cities of South America. The city was founded in 1533 by Pedro de Heredia and was an important stop for the silver fleet in the sixteenth century. The colonial heart, with its impressive city wall is perfectly preserved. The city has a vibrant Caribbean atmosphere. In the afternoon, when the temperature drops, the city comes alive. Start with a delicious cocktail in café del mar on the old city wall while the sun disappears into the sea on the horizon and then stroll through the center, looking for a good restaurant at one of the many beautiful squares.
Overnight stay: Casa Lola | bed & breakfast

Day 21: Cartagena - Amsterdam

In the afternoon you will be picked up at your hotel and taken to Cartagena airport where you will board your intercontinental night flight to Amsterdam. You will arrive the next day.

Day 22: Amsterdam

You arrive in Amsterdam today.


From € 4.300 per person

  • On the basis of 2 persons travelling together
  • Depending on the time of booking, flight availability and period of travel


  • 20 overnight stays, meals as mentioned
  • 16 days rental car (Cat. Renault Duster or similar alternative) incl. basic insurance, from Bogotá with drop-off in Cartagena
  • all transfers and excursions as mentioned 
  • our backup 24/7; locally and in the Netherlands
  • extensive travel document package with small attention

Not included:

  • international flights, if desired we can reserve these for you
  • early check-in / late check-out, based on availability, this is sometimes provided by the hotel. If you want to be sure that you have this, ask us about the additional cost
  • (Dutch) public contribution Calamity fund; € 2.50,- per booking
  • SGR contribution of € 5,- per person per booking
  • travel and cancellation insurance

Request travel proposal

Would you like to go on this journey? We can arrange the itinerary for you, but we are also happy to put together a programme based on your wishes and ideas. Do not hesitate to contact us. Call +31 73 610 62 04, send us an e-mail to or request a customized quote below. We will be happy to help you. 

Request travel proposal

Back to luxury holidays in Colombia

More inspiration - Read our blogs