5 Days In Colombia: Cabins, Lake, Culture & City life
- by Ari Travels
Who doesn’t love the busslin’ city of Medellín? Medellín is a backpackers hub and the perfect place for digital nomads. The city life and culture attracts many visitors per year. In this 5 day itinerary, you will enjoy the city life of Medellín, but we’re taking it one step further with a special trip to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Stay tuned and get ready for this one of a kind Colombia itinerary.
Things to know about Colombia
You can use your credit card in Colombia, but be aware of foreign transaction fees. Use a card that doesn’t charge them such as the Capital One Journey card. I would recommend you still carry cash because I noticed some places only take cash (Colombian Pesos). Use a Charles Schwab Debit Card to withdraw cash from ATMs without getting the ATM fees.
Bring layers: It got a little chillier than expected in Medellín. If I were to go back, I would’ve brought some pants and a button-up to layer under my summery clothes.
Bring an umbrella. It rains randomly and frequently. It’s a good idea to be prepared!
Get a Sim card so it’s easier to get around. Make sure your phone is unlocked before departing to Colombia. I would highly suggest getting the Airalo App and downloading an eSim Card instead. Airalo is an app that allows you to have affordable cell data plans all over the world without needing a physical Sim Card which is what makes using your phone without wifi extremely convenient. Use my code ARIAHN516 for $ off!
Most places here supply filtered water to drink. Bring a water bottle to save money on purchasing plastic ones, plus you help the environment so it’s a win win.
There is VERY little English in Colombia, so If you don’t know Spanish I would encourage you to learn some key words and download Google Translate :)
Have other questions about travel to Colombia such as safety, my personal experience, accommodation and anything else under the sun? Schedule a call with me and I can answer all your questions plus more!
I would consider visiting between December-May for the best weather.
Day 1: Arrive in Medellín and Head into Town
Depending on when your flight arrives, I recommend spending your first day by going to one of Medellíns rooftop bars and exploring the town. One of the popular districts to go out is El Lleras.
- Drinks on the roof at Envy
- For a fun pool party head to one of the hostels such as Masaya Medellin
Where to stay
Medellín has some of the most incredible hostels in the world. Many of them even have rooftop pools or jacuzzis and they overlook the entire city! How cool! Below are some of my favorites.
Hostel recommendations in Medellín (Click for more)
The Wandering Paisa Backpackers Hostel ($8/night)
Purple Monkey Hostel ($10/night)
Viajero Medellin Hostel $15/night
Selina Medellin ($12/night)
Los Patios Hostel $16/night
Masaya Medellin $16/night (where I stayed)
If you’re not a hostel person, there are plenty of affordable accommodations on booking.com. Below are also some recommendations
Hotel recommendations in Medellín (Click for more)
Hotel Suite Comfort ($16/person/night)
Hotel Bolivariana Plaza ($17/person/night)
Hotel Lleras Express ($25/person/night)
La Martina Hotel Boutique ($32/person/night)
Day 2: Road Trip to Guatapé
Guatapé is a famous village about 2 hours from Medellín. I highly recommend spending two nights here to explore both the village and enjoy the lake.
How to get here
You can either 1) rent a car or 2) or book an affordable shuttle. I suggest using rome2rio for affordable and reliable transportation.
Where to stay
I went with a group of friends and we decided to rent an air bnb on the lake. This air bnb was so affordable and can even sleep up to 12 people! I have a whole blog post about it if you’re interested in reading it.
If you don’t have a group, there are hostels here as well
Lake View Hostel ($9/night)
Casa Kayam Hostal y Residencia Artistica ($6.50/night)
Bacoa Hostel ($11.50/night)
La Casona Hostel ($7/night)
If you’re not a hostel person, opt for some a unique, affordable hotels
Jordan Hotel Boutique ($41.50/person/night)
Hotel Mansión Guatapé ($32/person/night)
Sotavento Cabañas ($57/person/night)
Serendipity Hospedaje Boutique ($37/person/night)
Make sure to leave in the morning for Guatapé. Stop at one the local grocery stores and stock up on the perfect food for a BBQ at the lake and of course don’t forget some coolers ;)
You’re gonna want to hike up the famous rock to see the most epic views of Guatape. I have inserted the coordinates to get here (insert coordinates) You have to pay a small fee in CASH (they do not accept card. It must be in pesos) and it costs about $5 USD once converted.
Tip: I will be honest, the hike is HARD. It’s 750 stairs straight up a giant rock. Take your time and bring LOTS of water. It’s worth it!
After your hike, check out the colorful village. This village is SO cute and full of life. Everywhere you turn, you’ll smile. Make sure to get lots of photos, especially of umbrella street. You can show your TukTuk driver a photo of the street and they will take you right to it (I was a little confused on how to find it at first). I highly recommend asking your air bnb host or hostel worker to call you a local TukTuk to take you into the village. The TukTuks are super fun to ride plus a great way to see the village! Make sure you have local currency because they don’t take card.
Enjoy a dinner in the village. One place I can recommend would be Jala Jala.
Day 3: Boat Day!
Put your bucket hats & swimsuits on! Raise your drinks & get your crew together because it’s BOAT DAY!
The air bnb we rented with also offered us a boat day from 9-5 that came with a driver plus 2 hours of jetskis for a very reasonable price. I would highly recommend doing this as it was definitely the highlight of the trip. We partied, swam and the boat driver took us to some really cool spots on the lake.
If you don’t have a boat at your accommodation you can rent one with a driver for the day here.
End your fun-filled boat day with a grill-out at your accommodation.
Day 4: Commun 13
Head back to Medellín and make sure you stop and explore Comuna 13. Did you know that Comuna 13 used to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world? Now it’s home to beautiful street art, culture & of course the views!
During your time in Comuna 13, take the escalators (yes there’s actually escalators outside!) all the way up to the top and enjoy the views. There’s plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy here as well. Don’t forget to look at all the street art!
How to get here
For only $1 USD you can take the metro from Medellín and from there, you walk about 15 minutes to Comuna 13. Use Rome2Rio for assistance.
You can also easily get a taxi here, although the metro is easy and affordable.
After Comuna 13, make sure to go go-karting,
If you aren’t a big fan of sushi, this restaurant is about to change your mind. This restaurant called Akashi has hands down the best sushi I have ever had in my life. My mouth waters every time I think about it! You gotta try this place!
If you still have energy after all the sushi you ate and not a food coma, enjoy more of the nightlife around the area. There’s plenty of bars and clubs that will be a guaranteed good time. I highly recommend checking out Vintrash.
Where to stay
I would recommend staying in any of the hotels or hostels I mentioned up above from the first night in Medellín!
Day 5: Day Trip
End your time in Colombia with one of these fun day trips to explore the city and beyond.
I hope this itinerary was helpful! Please feel free to comment or ask me any questions regarding your upcoming trip. For more information about traveling to Colombia, you can book a consultation call with me or request a custom itinerary by heading to this page. Happy traveling!