Paisa Tours: Guide to Medellin and Colombia

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Boutique Hotels of Colombia


The "boutique hotel" in Colombia concept isn't as widespread as it is in other countries in Central and South America. In part, this is because Colombia's tourist infrastructure/ travel industry isn't as developed as that of it's neighbours. Having said that, there are some excellent small luxury and boutique hotels in Colombia - and more and more are appearing as Colombia starts to receive an increasing number of discerning international visitors.

Herein follows a personal selection of what I regard as being the best boutique hotels in Colombia. By "best" I mean most worth visiting because they're great hotels in great destinations. Following that is a proposed 2-3 week itinerary to take in the best of Colombia staying only in small luxury or boutique hotels. I did used to be a luxury travel consultant remember.....

Deep Blue - re-opening in 2011, this 14 room luxury boutique hotel has an amazing seaside location on the Caribbean island of Providencia. Luxury suites (USD $380 double room) have private infinity edged pools with unforgettable views. If you can't quite afford that, stay in a deluxe room (USD $230) and enjoy the hotel's rooftop infinity edged plunge pool or the beautiful deck and restaurant over the sea. Providencia is an English speaking island, with beautiful white sand and unspoilt beaches, some lovely hiking scenery and excellent fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving.

Cartagena de Indias - the only place in Colombia that does have a wide selection of boutique hotels is the colonial city of Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast. Having visited many of these boutique hotels, my pick of all them would be the 50 room hotel Cartagena de Indias (doubles from USD $300), the only slh.com (small luxury hotels of the world) branded hotel in Colombia. The rooftop swimming pool has stunning views over the old walled city - it's certainly the best of the swimming pool zones of any hotel I saw in Cartagena.

Ecohabs (poor website, but very nice small hotel!) - it's more "rustic luxury" than a "boutique" hotel, none-the-less this is the best small upmarket hotel in the Santa Marta area, and it's right in the middle of the Tayrona National Park which is the real highlight of that part of Colombia. Ecohabs consist of various rustic but luxurious cabanas scattered througout a forested hillside a short walk from the stunning beaches of Tayrona National Park. The only drawback is that the sea is almost always too rough to safely get into the sea.

A boutique hotel itinerary to Colombia

If I had to design a dream itinerary to Colombia that took in the country's best destinations but only involved staying in small upmarket / luxury / boutique hotels, it would almost certainly look like this:

Fly into Bogota for a two night stay at either the Charleston Hotel or the Cite Hotel or La Opera hotel (the latter being in the old town - not necessarily better). Two nights is enough time in Bogota - to get over the long flight, eat some fine food and visit the stunning gold museum. From Bogota travel overland for a couple of hours (via the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral) to the extremely peaceful, beautiful and relaxing town of Villa de Leyva, where there's about 10 boutique style colonial hotels to choose from. Ozzing in charm them all are, perhaps the highest end choice would be Plazuela de San Agustin (two to three nights recommended in Villa de Leyva - avoid the busier weekends if possible).

From Villa de Leyva travel overland to Bogota airport and catch an afternoon flight to Santa Marta, from where it's an hour by road to Ecohabs in the Tayrona National Park (which is already mentioned above). After 3-4 nights at Ecohabs, travel for fours hours along the coast (shared minibus transfers are easy to arrange in Colombia, and can be quite luxurious) to Cartagena for a stay at the small luxury hotel Cartagena de Indias for 3-4 nights (mentioned above also).

From Cartagena catch a flight to Providencia Island (changing planes in San Andres) for a 4 night stay at the luxury boutique Hotel Deep Blue. Enjoy the tranquility, beaches and beautiful unspoilt scenery of this small Caribbean island.

From Providencia fly back to the mainland to visit either the Coffee Triangle (see the website of Pequenos Hoteles Con Encanto for some boutique hotel ideas there, and elsewhere in Colombia), or you might visit the cities of Medellin or Cali, both of which have some interesting boutique hotels in addition to fine restaurnts and great nightlife.








Cartagena by Moonlight
Cartagena - colonial gem with many boutique hotels.

Villa de Leiva plaza
Tranquil Villa de Leiva - like stepping back in time.

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