Who knew that it was Colombia where the first human inhabitants of South America arrived over 20,000 years ago? Visiting Precolumbian archaeological sites is certainly one of the best things to do in Colombia, but the list goes on and on…
#7 Visit archaeological sites
Colombia is the only overland passage to South America and it is believed to be the route taken by the first humans to inhabitant the continent. For over 20,000 years small, spread out tribes have occupied the land that is now Colombia, and due to the countries impenetrable rainforests and unpredictable terrain, many archeological sites and artifacts that they left behind remained a secret until recent years. The 3 main archaeological sites in Colombia that have been discovered are:
- San Augustin: A lush valley filled with dozens of archaeological sites and hundreds of burial chambers, ritual edifices, petroglyphs and incredible stone statues carved by a pre-incan civilization that do this day archeologists know very little about.
- Tierradentro: Over 40 pre-columbine excavated burial tombs, with stone spiral staircases decorated with geometrical patterns and up to 8 meters deep.
- The Lost City: These Machu Pichu like ruins remained an indigenous secret until 1972, when they were stumbled upon by treasure hunters deep in the jungle off Colombia´s gorgeous Caribbean coast. The Lost City, or Ciudad Perdida, has since become one of Colombia´s top travel destinations.
The best goldwork in South America came from these ancient civilizations, and many of the masterpieces can be found today in museums such as the Bogotá gold museum, a visit to which is definately one of the best things to do in Colombia.
#8 Hit up the nightlife!
It´s no secret that Colombians love to party. Music and dance is engrained in their culture. Every city and town in the country seems to have a mix of bars with young dancing couples and characterstic tiendas where old men with cowboy hats and mustaches sit placidly drinking their bottle arguardiente. In the big cities of Cali, Medellin, Bogotá and Cartagena there are literally hundreds of nightclubs to choose from, pumping with latin sounds and impossibly smooth dance moves. While most places still play a mix of traditional Colombian music like salsa, vallenato, cumbia and merrengue, more and more places are playing reggaeton, mixing it up with electro and even a little indie.
In terms of the best Colombian city to party, each has its own unique style and feel. Cali is famous for being the salsa capital of the world, with typically curvacious women dressed for the hot climate. Medellin has stylish rooftop cocktail lounges and hole in the wall bars with phone book thick menu´s of shooters. Cartagena´s coastal setting lends itself to open air, beach front parties, though it has more than its fair share of ´traditional´ nightclubs. And in Bogotá you can find just about anything, from salsa bars to western nightclubs, underground blues gigs to a vibrant LGBT scene.
#9 Scuba diving
Colombia is the only country in South America with two coasts, both on the Pacific ocean and Caribbean sea, so great scuba diving opportunities are abound. At Gorgona Island you can dive in coral reefs with manta rays, endangered sea turtles and from July to October humpback whales. Off San Andres Island you can dive around shipwrecks and big barracuda and scuba diving around Malpelo Island offers high-octane excitement, its waters teeming with hammerheads, whale sharks, white tips, manta rays, tuna and more. Colombia is also a fantastic place for learning to dive, with numerous professional dive schools offering PADI certificates at unbeatable prices.
Check out the full article on The Best Things to do in Colombia.
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