Where: Bogota, Cartagena, Santa Marta, and Tayrona National Park.
When: October 17-26
Packing Challenge: While I initially thought I might be able to take just a carry-on, I’m glad I ended up checking a bag as I bought some awesome Colombian bags (and even a hammock!) and didn’t have to worry about space. I knew I would need more liquids than normal—sunscreen, aloe, bug spray, etc.—things I don’t always travel with. I flew with Avianca which has no checked bag fees, which made my decision that much easier. The only downside was that we changed hotels almost every night and a bigger bag was a little cumbersome.
Weather: Bogota has a very mild climate year round, with temperatures in the 60s this time of year, so I needed only a light jacket for this part of the trip. Cartagena, Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park are in their rainy season (although I experienced only a few hours of rain on my trip) and have high temps in the 80s-90s. I had to stay overnight in NYC on both ends of my trip to get back to Boston and it is getting cold this time of year with temperatures in the 40s (hence the sweater).
Type of Trip: I needed to pack for hikes, a night sleeping in a beach hut, excursion to a mud volcano, hot beaches, a sunset sail, potential rainy days, walking tours in a mild climate and hot climate, business causal dinners, nightlife, and travel days.
How Long: Six days on the ground, four days of traveling due to connecting flight.
Mouse over the photos below for detailed explanations of the items I packed. Any time you see the Thinglink icon on a photo (bottom right), you can mouse over it to interact with the image.
What I Should Have Left Behind: I was unsure if the temperatures in the national park or at night would decrease … they did not. The temperature (and humidity) stayed pretty consistent everywhere. Needless to say I did not need the leggings and jeans I had packed for sleeping, evening activities, and hiking (although I was happy to have one pair for traveling). It is worth noting that the mosquitos are extremely persistent in the national park, so if you are prone to mosquito bites and don’t want to wear DEET bug spray, I’d suggest sacrificing the heat to cover your legs. I also did not end up needing my rain jacket or umbrella, as there was only a short period of rain.
What I Should Have Packed: Temperatures stayed hot at night, so I wished I packed another pair of shorts, a romper, and a summer dress for dinners and evening activities.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Things You Should Never Pack in Your Checked Bag
- The Ultimate Packing List
- 7 Ways to Protect Your Luggage
Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ashley_stravel for more advice on travel hacks and destination ideas.
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