If you’re looking for variety, Colombia offers plenty. The South American country has a rich mix of cultures, landscapes, climates, and ethnicities.
From the tropical rainforest of the Amazon region to the snow-capped Andean mountains of Los Nevados National Park, Colombia offers everything visitors to South America could want.
Cartagena is the ideal city in which to start your Colombian adventure. It’s one of the country’s most tourist-friendly cities, and is much more laidback and manageable than Bogotá. Cartagena was one of the most important cities in the Spanish Empire, and has a wealth of well-preserved architecture. Balconies burgeoning with tropical flowers hang over the city’s colourful colonial streets, helping to create a romantic South American getaway to rival Buenos Aires.
From Cartagena the white sands and warm, clear waters of the Rosario Islands are just a short boat trip away. The yet more incredible beaches and landscapes of the Tayrona Park can easily be reached from Cartagena.
In recent years Medellín has totally reinvented itself. Not long ago the city was synonymous with violent drug-related crime, being notorious gangster Pablo Escobar’s centre of operations. Now, Medellín is universally praised as being one South America’s most pleasant cities. Medellín was voted ‘World’s most Innovative City’ in 2012, and is considered one of the best places to live in Colombia given its near-perfect climate and cultural richness.
Santa Marta on the Caribbean Coast is located close to many exciting destinations. The city makes an ideal base from which to travel to the stunning Tayrona National Park, which has beautiful unspoilt beaches.
The city is also close to the Ciudad Perdida, or ‘Lost City’, the ruins of a pre-Hispanic city in the Caribbean jungle.
Overlooking the city are the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which offer cooler climates and tranquil villages such as Minca. Just round the coast from Santa Marta is the party town of Taganga, which has several great-value diving schools.
The region of Santander is Colombia’s centre for extreme sports and outdoor activities. Good bases for thrill seekers include Bucaramanga, Santander’s capital, and San Gil, a small city famous popular with adventure sports lovers. The region also has several pretty colonial towns such as Barichara. Colombia is quickly transitioning from a ‘no go’ destination into a ‘must go’ destination. Now is the ideal time to visit this stunning country.