Colombia: Mountains and Beaches Abound!

The Mitchells Take on South America: Colombia Edition 

Must Do

Bogota: We started our South American adventure at 8,660 feet above sea level in the sprawling capitol city of over 8 million residents.

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Bogota is a booming metropolis with views of the surrounding mountains mixed with a bustling downtown and urban city center. The city is incredibly active, especially on Sundays when the city closes many (usually busy) downtown streets to cars. We were fortunate to arrive on Sunday morning and got to take full advantage of a car-less downtown.

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Monserrate: Less than a few miles from where we were staying in Bogota was Monserrate, a large mountain directly overlooking the city. There are three ways to the top: a cable car, a funicular, and a very steep and very unstable path.

We chose option 1 (and we’re glad we did!)

The ride was beautiful and well worth the price of less than $10 USD. At the top of the hill is a very large church and a few restaurants that leave you thinking: how the heck did they get all of these building materials up here?!

The view is incredible at the top of the mountain, the pictures simply don’t do it justice.

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One thing we’d recommend when on the top of the mountain: take it easy! You are over 10,000 feet above sea level and it’s really easy to get out of breath and light-headed very quickly.

Another recommendation: If you have the time (about an hour), take the hiking path back down.

Note: We only recommend doing this if you are in good health. The pavement is unstable at points and definitely rough on the joints. Meagan’s last knee injuries certainly didn’t make things easy! However, there are plenty of places to stop on the way down and plenty of brave souls making the hike up the path (P.S. Only do this if you’re a true pro and in great shape)

Cartagena: Cartagena is the sparkling gem of Colombia. This beach city was originally not on our itinerary, but after we spoke with friends who had been to Colombia before, we quickly changed our plans and added a cheap flight from Bogota.

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The moment we arrived, we were in love. Cartagena has a Miami beach vibe without the crowds. We stayed in an amazing (and affordable) Airbnb that boasted unbelievable ocean views from our bed and a 70-foot balcony (you read that right, check it out below).

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This was the highlight of our trip! We sat on the balcony, sipped cocktails and finally just had the time to relax. Even when we had to do a little work on the trip, it was hard not to smile when doing it from this balcony.

Cartagena is like many tourist beach areas though: If you are on Bocagrande beach (the most popular), expect many vendors to come up to you offering to sell hats, drinks, even massages.  Work on your “no gracias”, you’ll be using it quite a few times!

Things to know before traveling to Colombia:

The vendors can be very aggressive. They may come up and start massaging you, stroking your hair, putting hats on your head, etc in hopes you will pay for a good or service. We found it best to ignore their attempts at selling items- the more you speak with them the pushier they get.

Some people (read: our parents) still have the perception that Colombia is unsafe.

Let us tell you, Colombia was very, very safe (even compared to other places we’ve traveled recently). We never felt uncomfortable and the people were always friendly and very helpful.

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You’re going to need to speak some basic Spanish to get around (taxis, restaurants, etc.), but even a novice armed with Google Translate can easily get by.

The US dollar goes a LOOONG way here. A 15 minute taxi ride was about $2-4 USD, lunch averaged around $4-6 USD per person and dinner around $15 per person with drinks. One last pro-tip: Download the Rappi app, it’s a mix of Postmates, Uber Eats and any other on demand delivery app you’ve ever seen. Best of all, it’s super cheap!

We loved how far we could stretch our money here! Another great reason why you need to bump Colombia up to the top of your travel list.

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Look how happy and relaxed we are!

As you can see from the pictures, Colombia was beautiful and we will definitely be back! One more continent down for MittenToMunich – Although we still have many more countries on the travel list in this beautiful part of the Southern Hemisphere.


If you’re traveling, why wouldn’t you travel with Airbnb?  We absolutely love it and haven’t stayed in a hotel in over 3 years!

Get $55 on us by using this link to book your next trip.

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P.S. if you really want to maximize your travel, become an Airbnb host!

Fund your travel by renting your place.