Colombia´s remarkable diversity affords visitors a truly unique opportunity to visit several completely different destinations in one holiday. As Colombian tourism continues to grow exponentially, several top destinations are emerging as the countries clear hotspots. In order of popularity, our recommendations on the best places to visit in Colombia are…
Cartagena is a fairty-tale city that will take your imagination on a magic carpet ride aroud breathtaking natural scenery, stunning colonial architecture, exotic smells and flavours, colorful and vibrant cultures and legendary history. Whether it´s the cobbled streets and quaint cafe´s of the World Heritage Listed historical center, or the glowing white sand and crystal clear waters of the neighbouring islands, Cartagena has something for everyone and that is what has made it #1 on our list of best places to visit in Colombia.
Colombia´s cosmpolitan capital offers visitors everything from a sophisticated arts and culture scene to a throbbing nightlife and unmatched shopping opportunities. The bustling city is the economic heart of Colombia and home to an untirable array of splendid museums, art galleries, international restaurants, bars, cafe´s and hotels. Bogotá is also a great launch pad for trips to nearby towns such as the beautiful Villa de Leyva, making it #2 on our list of best places to visit in Colombia.
#3 The Coffee Zone
A tour of Colombia´s coffee zone takes you through some of the country´s most picturesque and tranquil countryside. Learn everything about coffee production first hand on the farms of the worlds most famous coffee growers. These fertile hills offer fantastic opportunities for bird watching,hiking, horse riding, hot springs and a visit to the countries biggest butterfly reserve. Colombia´s coffee zone is also home to the worlds tallest palm trees, which stick up out of the hills like matchsticks.
#4 Tayrona National Park & The Lost City
Tumbling down to golden beaches and aqua Caribbean Sea from the highest coastal mountain range in the world, Tayrona National Park covers 15,000 hectares of equatorial rainforest bursting with biological diversity and archeoligical treasures. Dubbed ´the new Machu Pichu´, La Ciudad Perdida, or ´The Lost City´, is a 1200 year old archeological marvel believed to have once been the political centre of the Tairona. Activites in Tayrona include birdwatching, hiking, scuba diving, visiting archeological sites, ecotourism and kicking back on the beach, making it one of the best places to visit in Colombia.
#5 The Amazon
Representing over half of the rainforest left on the planet, the Amazon jungle is one of the greatest gifts of mother nature and certainly one of the best places to visit in Colombia. Visitors can observe and learn about the astounding variety of flora and fauna found there, including mystical pink dolphins, over 1500 bird species, giant anacondas, jaguars, pirhanas and thousands of others. As well as this tourists can visit indigenous communities, go on traditional canoe fishing trips, sample rare exotics fruits and embark on physical and spiritual cleansing journeys. Colombia´s main entry point to the Amazon is Leticia, an isolated town of 37,000 inhabitants on the banks of the great river and right on the triple border of Colombia, Peru and Brazil.
#6 San Andres & Providence Islands
If relaxing on a paradise island and snorkeling in crystal clear coral reef waters sounds good to you, then Colombia´s San Andres and Providence Islands are certainly one of your best places to visit in Colombia. With English, Dutch, African and Spanish cultural heritage, the society and lifestyle of these islands have their own unique flavor. The island of San Andres is located in the Caribbean Sea some 700km from the Colombian mainland. It is a top sun and beach destination in Colombia for scuba diving, island hopping and ecotourism.
# 7 Medellin
Nicknamed ´The City of Eternal Spring´, Medellin enjoys a delightfuly mild climate all year round, perfect for a few days of visiting the many cultural and historical sites as well as world-class bars and restaurants. Popular activites in and around the city include a stroll through the Plaza Botero, a visit to the countries biggest butterfly sanctuary (note that Colombia has the largest variety of butterfly species in the world), a ride to the top of the surrounding mountains on the Cable metro or a contraversial Pablo Escobar tour.
More than anything, it is the people of Medellin that will win your heart. In a country internationally admired for the beauty and friendliness of its people, Medellin is the city most celebrated by Colombians themselves for these assets. Medellin´s nightlife is often considered the best in Colombia, with everything from swanky rooftop cocktail lounges to hole-in-the-wall ´shot´ bars boasting phonebook thick menu´s of different colorful shooters. The city is one of the plastic surgery capitals of the world so be prepared for fake boobs and bums almost everywhere you look. Medellin also throws several fantastic festivals, including the Medellin Flower Fair, with the biggest outdoor flower parade on the planet.
#8 Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva´s beautifully-preserved colonial charm and picturesque setting have made it a national monument of Colombia and the country´s most beloved old town. Just 3 1/2 hours by car from Bogotá, Villa de Leyva has one of the largest town squares in South America, which fills with tens of thousands of people during several festivals. Apart from wandering through the uneven cobbled streets lined with centuries-old white-washed walls, visitors can enjoy a fantastic fossil museum, hikes up butterfly swarming mountains, horseback rides through unique Colombian landscapes and a visit to an ancient stonehenge-like astronomical site. Villa de Leyva´s long-standing popularity with people from the Colombian Capital mean that the town has several high-end accomodation options as well as a range of great restaurants, which help to make it certainly one of the best places to visit in Colombia.
#9 San Gil
Emerging as one of the new adventure sport capitals of the world, there is no better place than San Gil Colombia to flood your body with adrenalin and immerse yourelf in some seriously breathtaking landscapes. A perfect stop on the way to the Caribbean Coast, San Gil offers visitors some of the best white-water rafting in South America, with a variety of routes ranging everywhere from placid level 1 to extreme level 5. On top of this you can paraglide through one of the most spectacular canyons on the planet, go on deep caving expeditions; mountain bike trips; bungee jumps, kayaking tours, rock-climbing and abseiling adventures, countryside hikes that wind through gorgeous colonial towns and much more. To unwind, you can stroll through the towns beautiful botanical gardens or swim in an idylic water hole beneth a 180 meter high waterfall. The combination of limitless activities, a laid back atmosphere and friendly locals make San Gil a hard place to leave and definately one of the best places to visit in Colombia.
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