Very best spots to take a look at in Colombia

If you have any preconceptions about Colombia, go away them at residence. This impressive place will consider you by shock.

The second-most biodiverse country in the planet harbors vast swaths of wildlife-abundant Amazon jungle in its interior, while coral-white seashores, dizzying mountains and leafy highland espresso plantations crown Colombia as a position of amazing pure contrasts. 

But this thrilling corner of South The usa is much far more than the sum of its organic sections. Its kinetic cities excitement with an upbeat electrical power that sets Colombia apart from most of South The us, proving that this after-troubled state has properly and certainly get rid of its record of conflict. 

With adventure and infectious beats all around almost every corner, finding the best destinations to visit in the place can be a problem. However, thanks to plentiful domestic flights and extensive-length buses, Colombia is a spot the place it’s quick to address a good deal of ground, even on a quick excursion.

To support you with the scheduling, in this article are the finest 13 destinations to visit in Colombia.

The Colombian town of Cartagena is total of lovely tradition and coloration © Kris Davidson / Lonely Earth

1. Cartagena

Ideal for architecture and atmosphere

At the top of most travelers’ bucket lists for Colombia is the sultry metropolis of Cartagena, and it is simple to see why. The stately previous town is a magical walled intricate of bougainvillea-slung cobblestone streets and shady squares the place community performers shake, stamp and twirl, the living embodiment of the city’s famous energy.

Absorbing the ambiance of Cartagena can be as spirited – or as languid – as you pick. Laze the day away on Playa de Bocagrande or sit down to very long, leisurely lunches of sharp coconut ceviche at a family members-operate cafe. At evening, indulge in a sundowner on a rooftop bar and sample the energetic vibe of the city’s bars and golf equipment.

Planning idea: The historic heart of Cartagena – comprising the historic districts of El Centro and San Diego inside the town walls – is ideal explored on foot so you can soak up the environment.

2. The Amazon jungle

Most effective for wildlife encounters

Colombia lays declare to an amazing glut of flora and fauna that must place it on any wildlife lover’s must-see record. Whilst it covers a third of Colombia’s territory, the Amazon jungle can be challenging to accessibility, but it continues to be the prime locale for encountering tropical wildlife in wide swaths of untouched rainforest.

E-book a tour into the jungle from the remote outpost of Leticia and invest a pair of evenings discovering 1 of the globe’s wildest places. Boat excursions putter alongside the Río Amazonas and walking remote trails throughout the forest floor promise encounters with inquisitive pink river dolphins, sluggish sloths and a cacophony of howler monkeys.

Sampling coffee on a plantation tour in Colombia
A tour of Colombia’s coffee place is a rich sensory expertise © Nadège Mazars / Lonely Planet

3. Zona Cafetera

Ideal for coffee lovers

If there is a person matter that keeps Colombia functioning, it is coffee. Locate out what all the fuss is about by exploring the Zona Cafetera, Colombia’s espresso heartland. Filling the lush hillsides of the departments of Risaralda, Caldas and Quindío are inexperienced plantations growing Colombia’s magic arabica beans. Lots of relatives-operate fincas (farms) have opened their doorways to curious travellers, with day tours and right away stays supplying a deep dive into coffee tradition.

Preparing suggestion: Organize your transportation to espresso country from the regional hubs of Manizales and Pereira.

4. Parque Nacional Normal Tayrona

Best for combining nature and beaches

Dwelling to palm-lined tropical beach locations and secluded coves, Parque Nacional Organic Tayrona is 1 of Colombia’s normal jewels. Set on the Caribbean shoreline east of Santa Marta, this nationwide park is a paradise of peace, set against the extraordinary backdrop of the looming Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains.

Soothing on sun-soaked beaches or ambling along the jungle trails that edge the coastline are the taste of the day here, as h2o currents at most shorelines are too hazardous for swimming. To stay clear of the crowds, head by speedboat to Playa Cristal, an isolated island with pristine waters and gleaming beaches.

Planning tip: Time your check out to Tayrona exterior of January or February, when the park usually closes for routine maintenance. And take into account tacking on a take a look at to Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados in the Zona Cafetera, as part of an formidable four-working day itinerary. 

Side View Of Woman Walking Stone Seats With Buildings In Backgrounds Against Cloudy Sky
Arrive to Medellín for artwork, bars and a mother nature protect with breathtaking views © Fabian Schmiedlechner / Getty Illustrations or photos

5. Medellín

Very best for road art

At the time the stronghold of Colombia’s most infamous drug lord, Pablo Escobar, contemporary Medellín is a town reborn. Backpackers will obtain exciting in the city’s plethora of hip music venues, although tourists trying to get a a lot more sophisticated continue to be can love nicely-heeled neighborhoods that court docket site visitors with shady restaurant terraces and slick bars. Recognised for its perennially spring-like local climate, Medellin holds a boundless attraction, generating it a person of the most effective cities to stop by if you’re limited on time, and it truly is also a gateway to the Zona Cafetera. 

For artwork fans, the imprint of Colombian heavyweight, Fernando Botero, is obvious all through the city, with his emblematic, engorged statues introducing humor to rowdy sector squares. To get further beneath the city’s skin, stop by the urban regeneration tasks at Comuna 13 and Moravia to see how street art and modern varieties of transportation are injecting daily life into formerly down-at-heel neighborhoods.

Organizing idea: For a improve of tempo, a experience on a modern day cable auto will spirit you up and out of the valley into Parque Arví, a mother nature reserve with pre-Hispanic trails by forests adorned with orchids.

6. Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Greatest for Indian Jones-type adventures

For a tantalizing glimpse into the previous, head to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain array that slices across the northeast of Colombia. Right after a tricky, 3-day hike via thick jungle, you’ll get to Colombia’s finest archeological internet site, La Ciudad Perdida.

The stone terraces of this the moment-crowded metropolis have been developed about 850 CE alongside a steep-sided ridge, and the site was only reclaimed from the jungle in the 1970s. Obtainable only on a tour group, La Ciudad Perdida continues to be distant, untouched and blissfully cost-free of holidaymakers.

Organizing idea: E book tours to La Ciudad Perdida by way of organizations this sort of as Expotur in Santa Marta.

A family looks out at the ocean on La Guajira Peninsula, Colombia
La Guajira Peninsula is one particular of Colombia’s most stunning and remote spots to pay a visit to © Alissia Vander-Linden / EyeEm / Getty Visuals

7. La Guajira Peninsula

Greatest for Indigenous encounters

Wild expanses of desert sit alongside the splendid blue of the Caribbean Sea in one of Colombia’s most distant and distinctive corners. Inhabited by the Indigenous Wayuu folks, the Guajira Peninsula defied invaders during historical past, and the Wayuu even now dwell below in secluded villages, next their personal exclusive rhythms.

Setting up idea: To take pleasure in the stunning wildness of Colombia’s northernmost place, you will have to have to organize a tour from Riohacha. Intention to expend at the very least 1 evening on the peninsula and head out to Playa Taroa – typically touted as Colombia’s most gorgeous beach – where by sand dunes empty of visitors slide straight into the glistening sea.

8. Cali

Ideal for celebration folks

Couple of sites in South America love to celebration as a lot as Cali, Colombia’s buzzing funds of salsa. The city’s habit to rhythm is infectious, and a take a look at to Cali will see you glued to the dance floor until finally dawn. Polish your moves at a single of the numerous dance universities in advance of hitting the dance flooring with the locals in Zaperoco, a standout salsa club.

Scheduling tip: For the most iconic – and explosive – introduction to Cali’s obsession with salsa, get your palms on a ticket to Delirio, a salsa and cabaret showcase of epic proportions. It normally takes put on the remaining Friday of each and every month.

A visitor looks at paintings by Fernando Botero at the Museo Botero, Bogotá, Colombia, South America
The Museo Botero in Bogotá has a person of the most crucial collections of functions by this Colombian learn © posztos / Shutterstock

9. Bogotá

Ideal for museums and tradition

Wet and chilly thanks to its lofty perch in the Andes Mountains, Bogotá may well really feel like a mere jumping-off place for Colombia’s additional temperate places. Yet individuals who give it a opportunity will come across the capital metropolis a spot with a cosmopolitan atmosphere and a prosperous array of museums.

Connoisseur eating rubs shoulders with rowdy nightlife in the city’s increasingly fashionable neighborhoods of Zona Rosa and Chapinero. But for a far more sedate and instructional go to, shell out a day marveling at the great riches on display screen in the Museo de Oro, a person of the continent’s finest collections of pre-Hispanic metallurgy. Yet another emphasize is the Museo Botero, which contains a considerable collection of fashionable and Impressionist art, which include 123 pieces by Botero himself.

10. Providencia

Finest for an island escape

Located some 1240km (770 miles) north of Colombia in the balmy waters of the Caribbean Sea, the idyllic island of Providencia is a single of the country’s most wonderful spots to visit. Picture-perfect, golden-sand seashores – frequently virtually devoid of website visitors – and a laid-back ambiance are all component of the enchantment of this remote and sunlight-kissed patch of paradise.

Divers can splash into crystal apparent waters along with substantial stingrays, turtles and reef sharks alongside a 32km (20-mile) stretch of the world’s 3rd-major barrier reef. If you want to hold your head over drinking water, blond sands, beachside restaurants, and 25ºC (77ºF) h2o temperatures will far more than cater to your requirements.

A woman looks out at red and yellow waters of Caño Cristales, La Macarena, Meta, Colombia
The amazing “liquid rainbow” of Caño Cristales is a speculate to behold © sunsinger / Shutterstock

11. Parque Nacional All-natural Serranía de La Macarena

Greatest for all-natural spectacles

Owing south of Bogotá, Parque Nacional Pure Serranía de La Macarena is a person of the most exceptional sites to stop by in Colombia. Just a short push from the city of La Macarena, Caño Cristales is a river that operates vivid pink. Dubbed the “liquid rainbow,” this extraordinary extend of water gains its rhubarb hue from the riverweed that grows here amongst July and October. Pack a bathing match – you can swim in designated locations of the river. 

Setting up idea: Caño Cristales only became obtainable to website visitors in 2010 as it lay in formerly FARC-occupied territory, but it has come to be a target of its own loveliness. Customer quantities are now capped at 200 for each day, and you will have to have to reserve your ticket with a area tour operator in progress.

12. San Gil

Finest for thrill-seekers

Adrenaline junkies should seem no further than Colombia’s money of experience, San Gil. Water sporting activities are a person of the principal attracts in this article, with white-water rafting or hydrospeed tours buffeting you by way of scenic canyons along Course I to Class V rapids.

If you’re keen to get off the ground, abseiling excursions down gushing waterfalls, paragliding in excess of rugged mountain peaks and bungee jumping will get adrenaline degrees soaring. Caving, mountain biking and canyoning are extra popular things to do. 

13. Parque Arqueológico Nacional de San Agustín

Finest for shed kingdom vibes

In the far southwestern department of Huila lies Parque Arqueológico Nacional de San Agustín. This outstanding park contains a community of ceremonial sites and burial grounds dotted with fantastical stone statues whose semi-human faces grin as a result of fanged mouths with dizzyingly large eyes. While their purpose continues to be mostly a mystery to archeologists, a lot of feel the region to have been a place of pilgrimage and ancestor worship built much more than 2000 yrs back.

Preparing tip: The archaeological park sits 2.5km (1.6 miles) from the colonial-period town of San Agustín colectivos (shared vans) operate out to the park gates. Pick up a local guidebook at the entrance to discover more as you take a look at the internet site.