Colombia is a must-go for any visitor to South America. Bordered by Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, it boasts an unsurprisingly wide range of ethnicities and landscapes. Despite a civil war that lasted four decades long, Colombia’s people remain as welcoming as ever. Their warmth will take you through colonial cities, lazy beaches and majestic mountain ranges, making your stay a heartfelt one.
What to see and do
The capital Bogotá is dynamic and thrillingly chaotic. Visit La Candelaria for its antiquated charm, cobblestone streets and Mueso del Oro, which contains a huge collection of gold pieces from Hispanic cultures in Colombia. The nightlife here is mad: Parque de la 93 is especially known for its music-dance-party scene. For a less overwhelming city experience, opt for Medellín and Cali. Medellín is arguably more family-friendly with its many interesting museums and relaxing green spaces. Cali, on the other hand, is basically the world capital of salsa!
Stay on a coffee farm in Zona Cafetera, Colombia’s coffee-growing region. You’ll never savour coffee in the same way again after you’ve tasted the aroma of the world-famous beans grown here- manually picked, washed and toasted in brick stoves before being manually grounded.
Head north to Costa Norte, where a golden tan waits you by the Caribbean Sea. Explore the cruise through the sparkling waters and dock the islands of San Andrés and Providencia, and spend a few days in the colonial city of Cartagena de Indias. It's hard not to feel happy in this colourful, colourful city, whose buildings are built using coral from surrounding reefs!
Head to the snowcapped mountains of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, also home to tropical rainforests and a vast range of flora and fauna. You’ll see why Colombia is one of the world’s most ecologically megadiverse countries. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Park in particular is a haven for nature-lovers, with sanctuaries ranging from beaches to mountain peaks. How about the desert? Colombia has one too- tour the sites of the ochre Tatacoa Desert and watch the stars under a virtually cloudless sky.
Don’t miss out on the charming towns of Popayán and Mompox, both famous for their Semana Santa (Easter week) celebrations, during which thousands of worshippers throng the streets holding candles and flowers. It is quite a sight to behold. Mompox’s untouched beauty has rendered it a UNESCO-protected site, and it is also the setting for Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
Flying is the fastest way to get around. Domestic carriers include Avianca, SAM, Satena and AeroRepública. Aires specialises in smaller localities on turbo planes. Otherwise, buses are the main means of transport between places. Although it is slower, the system is extensive and covers even relatively remote villages. All intercity buses arrive and depart at the main bus terminal, usually outside the city centre. Tickets can be bought on board. Biking and driving are not recommended due to security problems on the road, and bad traffic in the cities.
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