Colombia is a country with much to offer the adventurous tourist. Whether you want to enjoy the sophisticated city atmosphere of Bogotá or swim in the clear Caribbean waters of San Andrés or Providencia, Colombia has what you’re looking for.
Situated at an elevation of more than 2,630m (8,600 ft.), and bordered by the Andes to the east, Bogotá is the third-highest capital in the world. Its nearly 8 million residents make it Colombia’s largest city by far, and one that has some of South America’s best museums, universities, and restaurants. Bogotá is quickly taking on an international character as more and more multinationals invest in and set up headquarters there.
Medellín and the Eje Cafetero
Colombia’s main coffee-growing region is blessed with magnificent mountain scenery, coffee-terraced slopes, and old-world small towns. But Antioquia and the Eje Cafetero aren’t all country: Armenia, Manizales, and Pereira are thriving cities with a coffee-based economy, and Medellín, Colombia’s second-largest metropolis, is one of Latin America’s most progressive and innovative cities.
The Caribbean Coast
Cartagena, the pride and joy of Colombia, has the most impressive old city in the Americas, dating all the way back to the 16th century. Its many plazas and restaurants come alive at night, and its colonial architecture is unmatched anywhere on the Western Hemisphere. North of Cartagena, check out the modern city of Santa Marta, a good base for exploring the Sierra Nevada Mountains and pristine jungles and beaches of Parque Tayrona.
San Andrés & Providencia
Some of the safest and most accessible travel experiences in the country are found here. San Andrés, long popular with Colombian tourists, has beautiful white-sand beaches and sprawling, all-inclusive resorts, while less-developed Providencia is famous for its Caribbean-English architecture, dense jungle, and scuba diving.
Cali & the Southwest
Cali, the salsa-music capital, claims to have the most beautiful women in Colombia, and its nightlife is unrivaled anywhere in the country. Popayán, second only to Cartagena in terms of colonial architecture, is a beautiful whitewashed city with an active student and cafe life. Farther afield you’ll find the archaeological sites of San Agustín and Tierradentro, home to stone statues and burial chambers that date back roughly 1,500 years.
The Pacific Coast
The Pacific coast and El Chocó, inhabited almost exclusively by African descendants, is one of the wettest regions in the world, known for its dense jungles and unnavigable rivers. This magnificent landscape is still unexplored, though towns like Nuquí and Bahía Solano are seeing growing numbers of eco-tourists, surfers, sport fisherman, and whale watchers. Even the once dreary port city of Buenaventura has some cool restaurants and hotels now.
Los Llanos & Amazon Jungle
Most of Colombia is composed of sparsely inhabited plains and jungle. Los Llanos, as they are known in Colombia, are physically similar to the American plains, and inhabitants have a definitively independent, relentless spirit. Los Llanos, Colombia’s agricultural heartland, is known for its magnificent sunsets and beautiful fincas (farms), which fill up with tourists from Bogotá during holiday weekends. The Amazon covers 33% of Colombia but contains only 1% of the country’s population, consisting mostly of traditional indigenous tribes. Except for Leticia and its surroundings, this area is inaccessible.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.