My name is Frank and I run a travel agency based in Bogota, Colombia. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please write them in our comments section. Thank you and have a great trip to Colombia!
“What? But isn’t it dangerous?!” is usually the first thing that tourists often get to hear when they announce their plans to travel to Colombia, the South American jewel. People are still considerably wary of the safety and security situation in Colombia, especially for vacation and travels, but let us assure you that Colombia is emerging as a perfectly safe and delightful travel destination! I wrote an article about the security situation in Colombia, the development and what this means for travelers, which I recommend to everyone.This fast-growing tourist destination is drawing millions of tourists in recent times. Its unparalleled natural beauty is reflected in its exotic wildlife, the stunning landscapes, and cultural diversity. Colombia is a magical slice of heaven that must be explored by all those who want to explore this beautiful planet.
Colombia is a Hub of Diversity
People all around the world know Colombia as the melting pot of cultures and while this phrase may seem over-used, it rings true even today. This country is a unique mix of ethnicities and people from around the globe; from indigenous African roots to Spanish settlers to Amerindians tribes and the Colombians themselves are utterly hospitable and friendly. Their national identity is rooted in diversity and that is why they value their culture and traditions to a great extent. Colombians are unapologetically themselves and yet incredibly warm and welcoming. Tourists and visitors often recount the hospitability of the locals and how they make them feel right at home.
Colombia is no longer a danger zone
Colombia is not a stranger to notorious history filled with drug-cartels, guerilla and paramilitary wars. The wave of crime and violence peaked after the mid-1900s but has died down in modern times. The world-famous drug lord Pablo Escobar hailed from this region and that is probably how most people usually conceive Colombia; the hub of drugs and violence. Fortunately, the peace agreement between the government and the paramilitary group (FARC) signed in 2016 marked the end of the long-withstanding tensions in the state. The Crime rate has significantly dropped, kidnapping has decreased over 90%, and over 3 million tourists visit Colombia per annum. Just like the rest of the world, Colombia also experiences the average scammers and thefts/robberies as far as tourist safety is concerned. The national police and tourism industry is constantly striving to make Colombia a more secure travel destination. So unpack your fears and embark on a memorable trip to the South American beauty today!
Natural beauty and scenic landscapes
Colombia is the only South American country fortunate enough to share coastlines with both the Atlantic (Caribbean) and the Pacific Ocean coastlines. The gorgeously rugged landscapes, the lush and green rainforest, the towering mountains and expansive plains make Colombia a tourists dream. Did you know that after Brazil, Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world? Its close proximity to the Amazon jungle renders it host to at least one in every 10 species of both flora and fauna to be present in the region. Colombia is a paradise for birders as it hosts more than 1,900 different species – the most in the world, and many found nowhere else, including more than 160 species of hummingbirds, 100 species of tanagers and honeycreepers, and 50 species of parrots. What better place to opt for your ultimate vacation than the wild and exotic Colombia? The Andes Mountains are the highest point in the region offering unforgettable views and scenery. The snow-capped peaks and some active volcanoes create a stunning and rather surreal backdrop to the beach islands and expansive forests.
Colombia has hundreds of Beaches and more!
Lovers of sand and the sun will find themselves rejoicing over the astounding number of beaches that Colombia is home to! Over 300 beaches are lined along Colombia’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts so you can have your pick of the kind of beach-day you want to have. Tropical beaches to pristine white sand beaches that pave way for shimmering turquoise lagoons on the Caribbean coastline in Cartagena to the untouched and unspoiled tropical paradise hidden in Providencia and Santa Catalina are a must-visit for those seeking peace as they soak in the shimmering sun.
Adventurer travellers must also head to the Tayrona National Park to camp on the beaches of the jungle. Bring out your wild camper side and enjoy the natural vista in all its glory.
In Colombia you find outdoor adventures and adrenaline rush
We believe no vacation is complete without some good old adrenaline rush to make it really memorable! The rugged terrain is perfect for hiking, biking and climbing too. Water sports are available in abundance on beaches and coasts. Give yourself some exercise as you bicycle around the coffee country and make pit stops at local, organic coffee fincas to sample some of the best coffee in the world! The brave could climb the rocky surfaces of a tumbling terrain near Suesca or hike valiantly among the tall and majestic Quindio wax palms in Valle De Cocora. Get your adrenaline pumping by paragliding over the beautiful city of Medellin. You can witness the gorgeous aerial views of the city. Fan of the never-ending water bodies? Why don’t you opt for scuba diving at one of the various points in the region!
The best option would be to visit the glorious Amazon Jungle. Simply grab a flight to Leticia and let the adventure begin! This dainty town is only accessible via plane and is nestled by the amazon. Those willing to take things up a notch and really live the wild experience can trek into the jungle to witness the glory of the exotic wilderness and get the chances to see pink river dolphins, piranhas and so much more!
Additionally, El Cocuy offers untamed wilderness that is perfect for camping, hiking, and climbing. It’s not the faint-hearted though! The snow-capped mountains urge their visitors to explore; some are as high as 5,000 meters (17,000 feet). We recommend seeking professional help and never to indulge in risky adventure sports without proper gear and guidance.
Colombia is still unspoiled by tourism
Owing to the wave of persistent violence and hold of the guerrilla rebels, most areas in Colombia have remained inaccessible to both the locals and the tourists for decades! 2016 marked the end of this rift and Colombia began to open its door to travelers and tourists; albeit hesitantly. Unlike various other popular tourist and travel destinations around the globe, Colombia offers virgin landscapes and a natural beauty that has yet to be marred by tourism and urbanization. The virgin beaches and some areas of the amazon still remain virtually inaccessible and can only be reached via plane.
The Andes Mountains seemed only like a dream for mountaineers but with the rapid increase of improved infrastructure and tourism agencies, people and adventure enthusiasts joyfully make their way to high-altitude points to savor their scenic beauty. Even now, most tourists and travelers limit their stays to comfortable and luxurious major cities in the region, the remote areas are untouched and pristine and open a whole new world of possibilities for those willing to venture and explore. The fact that Colombia remains largely unspoiled by emerging tourism assures its biodiversity and scenic beauty. So hurry up and book your flight today, before this wonderful country becomes the next Paris or Rome.
If you are interested in a Colombia trip, I recommend reading my Colombia travel guide in detail.
Colombia offers great food
Colombia is ranked amongst the top three coffee exporters in the world. The Andean foothills are sprawling with fertile coffee plantations. Coffee lovers will especially enjoy spending a week in Quindio as they tour the farms and sample the finest coffee blends and flavors firsthand or visit the Department of Huila that produces most of the country’s coffee beans and have a splendid brew! Colombia is home to some rare local products that have the ability to elevate any local dish or international cuisine. The exotic fruits found here are also highlights of the trip! From the colorful plethora of fruits on display, you can taste delicious dragon fruits, gorgeous guavas, flavorsome lulos, and zingy zapotes! That fruit diet doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?
The streets are filled with a fusion of bustling flavors such as empanadas and ceviche doused in cheese and tangy toppings, mouth-watering sauces, fish and coconut soups that will warm up the coldest soul! The fine-dining scene is steadily increasing in the region too! From back-packers, vegans, diet-conscious folks to those who do not compromise on luxury and class- there’s something for everyone in this heavenly travel destination.
Discover the Lost City of Colombia
Are you a lover of mystery and history wrapped into one? Discover the ‘lost city ‘that came into the international limelight in the past decade as Colombia’s tourism boomed! The Ciudad Perdida- the Teyuna archeological site- in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the country’s far north is believed to be dated back to almost the ninth century, making it 650 years old. The local Kogi tribe claims that they were always aware of its presence and it was home to almost 8,000 inhabitants before it was probably abandoned in the wake of the Spanish conquest. So was it ever truly lost? This terraced settlement has been cut into a series of hillsides and can be explored by those with innate curiosity and a sense of adventure who don’t mind the extra sweat and soil.
Visit the famous salt cathedral of Zipaquira near Bogota
Colombia is home to a marvel of architecture; a place of worship unlike another. A cathedral made of salt situated in the colonial city of Zipaquirá just outside Bogotá. Nestled 180 meters (600 feet) underground inside a salt mine; this opened in 1954 and was hewn by salt miners from the subterranean salt deposits in town. Visitors will find themselves in dark tunnels smelling faintly of sulfur as they keep making their way into the core of the earth. A few hundred meters later a shaft widens and you will witness Roman Catholic idols carved entirely out of salt! This architectural wonder leaves its visitors astounded at the sheer genius of its makers. The bottom leads to revealing a basilica dome, a beautiful chandelier and Purple lights that eerily illuminate the gigantic floor-to-ceiling cross. Today this site is visited by almost 600,000 worshipers and visitors from all around the globe on an annual basis. This pilgrimage site draws many Catholics and is especially busy during Easter and Christmas. It doesn’t matter what your faith is, this pilgrimage site made up entirely of salt will surely astound you!
The Tayrona National park is a wondrous beauty
Located 35 km from Santa Marta, the Tayrona National park is perched besides the rugged beauty of the Caribbean coastline. It is celebrated as one of South America’s most beautiful and Colombia’s most famous park. It lays protected in the northern area of the country because of the diverse species of flora and fauna found here. This national jewel is home to over 108 species of mammals including 3 species of monkeys (Red Howler, Capuchin and the Cotton-top Tamarin), more than 300 species of birds, 70 species of bats, 31 species of reptiles, 110 different types of coral, 401 sea or river fish and over 770 plant species.
The 12,000 hectares of land and 3,000 hectares of ocean are home to some of the most stunning beaches, wildlife, and tropical rainforests and are full of rich Colombian culture and vibrancy. The towering, swaying palms under the vast sky-blue canopy, the shimmering lagoon and the coastal reserve free from urbanization render this park a chunk of heaven. If you’re not just a beach bum and are tired of walking around, the Tayrona offers plenty of exciting activities too! Discover the gorgeous coral reefs with snorkeling or just take a relaxing swim. The adventurers can hike at two main hiking trails from El Cabo that lead to El Pueblito and the other to the 9 stones hike (9 Piedras).
We recommend planning your trip carefully in low season (February to November) and to come early. The Tayrona National Park is home to many indigenous tribes so please treat it with respect and avoid littering.
Bogota is a bustling city with culture and vibrancy
Bogota has emerged as a thriving metropolis in the past decades. It is home to dainty cafes, fine-dining restaurants, boutique hotels, culture, fashion, art and so much more! Whether you walk or opt for a bicycle, you will enjoy the unique and beautiful surroundings and sightseeing! Andrés Carne de Res is a crazy restaurant-turned-nightlife venue located in Chia, just outside Bogotá. This delightful spot is bursting with walls covered with exotic decorations and trinkets while the classic and traditional Colombian food will make your mouth water. Get heady with tangy cocktails and dance the night away! The fresh juices and fruits that are the city’s specialty thanks to an all year-round-altitude dependent climate is yet another reason to tour its streets. Bogota is a complex mixture of urbanization and nostalgia for the old. Tall skyscrapers, hotels and business districts are a loud contrast to the older streets of La Candelaria. The daily and weekly markets, the churches and cathedrals varying in color, style and architecture-what else could you possibly ask for? This is a city that is an experience unto itself.
In addition, you should definitely know my Bogota travel guide.
Medellin is the city of eternal spring
Nicknamed the ‘City of eternal spring’ the second largest city in Colombia enjoys an average all-year-round temperature of 22°C (72°F) and daily highs of over 30°C (86°F) making it almost perfect! Once known as the ground zero for drugs and crime, Medellin has turned over a new leaf and was even voted the ‘World’s most innovative city’ in 2013. Talk about progress! Now a hub of art, culture and a praise-worthy new cable car network amongst other developments, Medellin draws scores of visitors. Live music venues and plenty of nightclubs and bars aid the bustling nightlife scene. Visit the popular backpacker neighborhood El Poblado to truly experience quality bars and nightclubs. The people are warm and welcoming and you will often hear a ‘Hi, welcome to our city’ being shouted at you.
Cartagena is the pearl of the Caribbean
Once known as the largest slave port in America Cartagena is oozing with history. Undoubtedly one of the most exquisite colonial cities to exist in Latin America, Cartagena is a true jewel in Colombia’s crown. It remains a phenomenal travel destination; the local street stalls serving wholesome food, the unique culture, the ‘Instagram’ worthy street art, the colorful blooms spilling from balconies, the series of stunning beaches and resorts; Cartagena truly has it all!
I have also written a text about the best luxury and boutique hotels in Cartagena with a detailed description and I can only recommend it.
All this and so much more await your arrival at one of the truly divine and fast-emerging travel destinations in the modern world. This stunning region deserves at least one visit in a lifetime!
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