When it comes to countries, Colombia nearly has it all: Beaches, rainforest, cosmopolitan cities, mountains, you name it, Colombia probably has it. And now Colombia is one of the biggest up-and-coming destinations, you’re probably planning a trip there pronto. But where should you go in your limited time and where are the top 5 places in Colombia to do so?
This is the place that you will have seen in all the publicity, seen on your friends’ Instagram and Pinterest feeds, Cartagena is unbelievably photogenic. The beautiful, quaint Old Town in particular is a highlight, with colonial architecture and horse and carts everywhere. But of course, there’s also the beautiful beaches nearby such as the immaculate white sand beach of Playa Blanca and Parque Tayrona, a national park full of remote beaches, is only a few hours away too.
Medellín’s turnaround has been phenomenal. Now, a thriving city with more and more tourist attractions popping up, Medellín warrants a weekend visit. In the daytime, go see the iconic curvaceous Botero sculptures at Plaza Botero, head up to Parque Arví on the MetroCable car and go to the top of Cerro Nutibara to the kitschy Pueblito Paisa to have a taste of a traditional Antioqueño pueblo. But when night falls, that’s really when Medellín is at its finest, nightlife here is incredible. You can dance the night away to salsa, merengue, reggaeton or even electronic music. There is plenty to choose from!
A great central point between the 3 major cities, Bogotá, Medellín and Calí, the coffee region is more than just somewhere to break up your journey. As you may be able to guess, coffee is big here so visiting a coffee farm to sample its wares is essential. But then there’s the scenery: dramatic, awe-inspiring landscapes that pictures and words do no justice describing, you have to see it for yourself. Valle de Cocora, in particular, comes recommended. A national park, full of towering wax palm trees and wildlife, it is a must-do excursion whilst in the region.
San Gil has a surprising amount to offer considering its modest size. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, San Gil is the base for outdoor activities such as white-water rafting, trekking, caving and rappelling so you can well and truly get your fix. Extreme sports aside, San Gil is close to Barichara, a charming colonial village, which is known unofficially as Colombia’s most beautiful village.
Bogotá gets a lot of bad press but there is a huge range of things to see and do in the country’s capital. If you’re a culture vulture, Bogotá puts on an impressive program of art, music, theater and dance, with the cobbled streets of La Candelaria being a good place to start as well as being home to museums such as Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) or Museo Nacional. You can even pay homage to Colombia’s most lauded writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez at Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez. Then once you’ve feel sufficiently educated, you can head to the top of Cerro Monserrate to marvel at the city’s splendid panorama.
Cover photo credit: Luz Adriana Villa