With Pablo Escobar, the Medellin Cartel and guerrilla warfare all a thing of the past, Colombia is once again back on the tourist trail now suffering from nothing more than a highly deserved traveler’s renaissance. Sharing the northern tip of South America with Venezuela, it is the only country on the continent with coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific and a destination that never fails to astound all that land here. This is a land of time-honored colonial towns and modern bustling cities, Andean mountains and the Amazon jungle, colorful carnivals and the hot-blooded beats of salsa.
Colombia’s attractions are endless and there is something here to suit all kinds of traveler, from history buffs to beach lovers to outdoor adventurers to families. Colombians are proud of their heritage and equally proud to show off their country, nowhere more so than in the capital city of Bogota, carnival crazy Cali and City of Eternal Spring, Medellin. These are the beating hearts of the country, alpine metropolises effortlessly blending colonial-era charm and local customs with the modernization of today.
This is also a destination brimming in natural and manmade wonders ideal for travelers looking for the laidback Caribbean vibe and those with a true sense of adventure. Hike across the Andes mountain peaks, go wildlife spotting in the Amazon rainforest, scuba dive at untouched coral reef islands and explore ancient lost cities or relax on a secluded beach or at an easygoing coffee farm. What’s more, with its close proximity to the equator, year round temperatures fluctuate little, changing only according to the remarkable range of altitudes and environments. December thru March and July to August present the optimum visiting times when the skies are blue and the nation celebrates with its wonderful array of festivals and fiestas.
Colombia shares its border with no less than 5 countries with crossings available into Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela and the only non viable route being that across to Panama. Getting around the country is generally hassle-free and, with passenger trains non-existent, buses are they way to go. These are in abundance and tickets can almost always be bought at the terminal minutes before departure, with the exception being during the Christmas and Easter holidays. Back on the tourist map internationally, Colombia is now receiving large groups of package tours as well as long-term travelers and flights arrive frequently from Canada, Europe and the USA in addition to a host of South American cities.
There has never been a better time to visit Colombia and aided by the sincere welcome and warm hospitality of the people it is an easy place to fall in love and it is not uncommon to here travelers proclaiming it as their all time favorite South American destination.
Things to do in
Bogota - Spin yourself dizzy in the colonial rich and cosmopolitan capital, checking out the historical landmarks of La Candelaria, fine GoldMuseum, vibrant markets and pulsating nightlife.
Medellin - Relax beneath the blue skies of the City of Eternal Spring - free from the shackles of the infamous drug cartels - and watch as Colombia’s most beautiful women glide by.
Cartagena - Marvel at the unrivalled Spanish colonial architecture and graceful charm of Colombia’s north-western port before jumping on a boat to the colourful coral islands of Islas del Rosario.
Barranquilla - Hot, sticky and unassuming for the most part of the year, pass by at the end of February for the sensuous and intoxicating Barranquilla Carnival, the epitome of Colombian festivals.
Villa de Leyva - Kick back in this colonial-era national monument, the town where time has stood still, the streets stay cobbled and the houses stereotypically whitewashed. Head to the surrounding hills for breathtaking hiking trails.
Ciudad Perdida - Live out Indiana Jones fantasies on a 4-day trek and marvel at the beauty of Colombia’s LostCity deep in the heart of the Sierra Nevada.
Colombian Festivals - Colombians love to party and celebrate their culture, with festivals taking place throughout the calendar year. From the Black and White Festival of Pasto to the Film Festival of Cartagena to the colorful Barranquilla Carnival there is something to suit all tastes.
San Andres & Providencia - Warm turquoise waters, pristine white sandy beaches, superb diving opportunities and an energetic nightlife are the order of the day at these Caribbean islands.
Tierradentro & San Augustin - Head to the south to explore one of Latin America’s most engaging archaeological finds (Parque Arqueologico), a collection of 500+ enigmatic pre-Colombian spiritual monument and religious megaliths dating back to before the Incas.
Parque Nacional El Cocuy - The finest of the country’s national parks, an impressive mountainous region boasting gorgeous cascades and snow-capped peaks reflecting in crystal-clear glacier lakes.
Salsa in Colombia - Colombians dance of choice is to be heard on every corner and filling the air of the intimate bars spread throughout the country. Head to Cali for the hottest dancehalls and chance to learn the sexy hip shaking moves.
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