For a long while there, Colombia was one of those countries a lot of people wouldn’t even consider visiting. This, of course, is not to say that people never visited or that it was impossible to visit. Colombia was just one of those places that would have been lower on your travel list. Well, that has truly begun to change, with some incredible experiences and the best things to do in Colombia that are too good to ignore.
Colombia is beautiful, the culture, by and large, is fun and vibrant and the plethora of sights to see. Boasting everything from beaches to mountains to swamps surrounding the Amazon River, Colombia truly has it all. Visitors planning the perfect trip to Colombia will want to venture beyond the cities and check out national parks, historic attractions and the vibrant culture the nation has to offer.
Let’s jump straight in shall we? Take a look below at some of the best things to do in Colombia.
Start your trip off to Colombia with a splash by hopping into Tayrona National Park’s natural reef lagoon, La Piscina. This natural attraction is on Colombia’s northernmost coastline, bordering the Caribbean Sea.
If you love a challenge, there are hiking trails following the shoreline, and towering rock formations speckled throughout the turquoise water to climb on. Tayrona National Park is one of the most picturesque locations in Colombia and far removed from the hustle and bustle of heavily urbanized areas. It really is one of the prettiest areas and the best things to do in Colombia.
A short plane ride away from the Colombian coastline, around 500 miles) lies San Andrés Island, where the view is nothing but beautiful,
Surrounded on all sides by the Caribbean Sea, the island boasts a quaint waterfront where travellers can sip on drinks while watching the sunset or enjoying a traditional Colombian meal.
If you’re looking for more active experiences, canoes are available to rent and it is just a short paddle to Johnny Cay. It’s an absolutely beautiful archipelago.
Navigating through a series of trapdoors, damp corridors, and spiralling tunnels underground are just a few things to expect when you visit this mysterious landmark in southwest Colombia.
Built within the 7th century, these tombs are one of the country’s most treasured archaeological finds, yet they are not as popular with tourists (yet), making the location a great trip for travellers who don’t care for crowds.
For a small entry fee, visitors can explore the tombs alone or with a guide, peruse the two on-site museums, and learn more about the native Paez population.
Whether it is known as Caño Cristales, the Liquid Rainbow or the River of Five Colors, this is one natural landmark that should be on every traveler’s itinerary. Unfortunately Caño Cristales, has been closed to tourism since 1989 due to FARC presence in the surrounding areas but a few tourist agencies have recently began offering carefully crafted tours to the area.
The river is located just outside of the small town of La Macarena in the national park known as Serranía de la Macarena. Plants, rocks, sand and algae give color to the river, which can look black, white, green, yellow or bright red depending on location.
Hiking along the banks of the Caño Cristales is an adventure on its own, but travelers can also head to the waterfall of Los Cuarzos or swim in the natural pools formed by the river itself.
One of the most beautiful works of architecture in South America lies near Colombia’s border with Ecuador.
Santuario de Las Lajas is a Gothic-style cathedral built into and over a deep river gorge. It’s totally gorgeous to see!
As one of the oldest Spanish colonial settlements in South America, this area of Cartagena is rich with culture and history.
Stroll down the quiet streets within the old walls, climb into a carriage for a horse-drawn tour of the city, or indulge your taste buds with a myriad of tropical fruits being sold on the streets.
No matter what you do in Cartagena, you will get the experience the energy that has come to characterise this Old Town area.
As much of Colombia’s wealth stems from salt mining, it only makes sense that one of the most popular sights in the country would be salt-centric.
Not far from Bogota lies the salt mining capital of Colombia and in it a beautiful, underground church. An abandoned, carved-out salt mine serves as the setting of the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira.
For an adventure and a gorgeous view of Colombia’s aquatic and terrestrial beauty, a hike to Laguna de Guativita is a must-do.
The lake was most likely formed when the ground around the area became weak because of excessive salt mining in the region and became a sinkhole of sorts.
Now a sparkling turquoise body of water, visitors to Lake Guatavita can indulge in quite a few interesting cultural things here.
With deforestation taking a toll on the Colombian Amazon Jungle, do not miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience nature at its finest. There are a few tour companies that offer excursions into the jungle ranging from 1-day to 5-days, depending on how much walking or hiking you’re into.
Reset your internal clock and disconnect from the loud world by relaxing, and exploring the beauty of Colombia. Oh and don’t forget to sleep under the stars, and fill up on traditional food during a jungle experience.
It really is one of the best things to do in Colombia if you’re an avid nature lover.
If you love to swing your hips (or at least try), you won’t wanna miss the World Capital of Salsa, Cali.
Recommended time to visit: Colombia is considered a year-round destination, but the months of December – March and June – September are regarded as the best times to visit. Temperatures are relatively stable all year round but if you’re visiting the higher parts of the country then it can get chilly at night, so pack some warm clothing.
Less popular time to visit: If there are any months to avoid then April – June and August – October see the most rainfall, but the country remains perfectly navigable and prices tend to be lower at these times.
Best time for beaches: December – March is Colombia’s high season, with warm, sunny days across the country. This is peak season for beach resorts so expect bigger crowds and higher prices. July – August is also an option, though expect some rainfall.
Best time for wildlife: If you’re looking to explore the Colombian Amazon then June – December are considered the best months to visit, with less rainfall. This means a better chance to navigate trails and see wildlife gathering at water sources.
Best time to visit Cartagena: Colombia’s most popular city is best visited between December – April, with little rainfall experienced during these months.
Colombia Clothing Style
The clothing style in Colombia mainly depends on the city, in the tropical places such as Cartagena the style is chic, elegant and more relaxed, think lots of white and light fabrics. Medellin is more sexy, think Latin, the women wear light dresses, tight jeans and bright colours – don’t be afraid to show a little skin here!
Medellin is hot during the day and cool at night, however it’s not a tropical destination, dress light, but not as if you’re going to the beach. Medellin is considered the fashion capital of Colombia, people dress considering trends.
Bogota is a colder city, think New York in the springtime, it is more formal and sophisticated: scarfs, coats, heavy jackets and dark colours. Cartagena is a tropical city with very hot weather, dress accordingly with loose t-shirts, shorts, flowing dresses, maxi skirts and sandals.
So, shall we start packing?
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