Colombia has turned itself into one of South America’s most interesting tourist destinations. From beaches, lush jungles, amazing national parks and picturesque towns and cities, Colombia truly is worth a visit. We have put together a list of top 5 places to explore in the country:
Cali is notoriously known as Colombia’s buzzing capital of salsa. A rhythmic city pulsating with vibrancy and stunning architecture, Cali is one of the cities you do not want to miss during your stay in Colombia. As well as being a pivotal place to brush up on your dancing skills, there are also many incredible views to spot in Los Farallones de Cali National Nature Park in the Western Cordillera. Here, you will be fully immersed in the natural beauty and diversity of the Andes Mountains and Pacific slopes. The National Nature Park actually protects several species of animals and vegetation, including over 700 different species of birds including endemic species such as the solitary eagle and the Andean cock-of-the-rock.
Apart from its natural surroundings the city itself offers a great variety of activities including a great night life scene. There’s also a great variety of different hotels in Cali, Colombia around the Barrio Granada area that can be chosen as a starting spot for discovering the city.
Stroll the streets of Bogotá, Colombia’s high-altitude capital which has a rich array of cultural artifacts in its various museums and galleries – just about the perfect combination for the artsy type of traveler. Gourmet dining rubs shoulders with rowdy nightlife in the city’s increasingly trendy neighborhoods of Zona Rosa and Chapinero. If you’re looking for a more educational visit, spend a day marveling at the tremendous riches on display in the Museo de Oro, one of the continent’s finest collections of pre-Hispanic metallurgy.
As the capital of Colombia, Bogotá is an exciting city that combines contemporary innovation with the preserved artistry of colonial architecture. Find houses over 300 years old, grand cathedrals that capture the essence of the past, and a gorgeous view of the Andes mountains from the top of Cerro de Monserrate as you embrace the city’s layers.
Popayan is perhaps one of the most underrated tourist attractions in Colombia. Nicknamed La Ciudad Blanca, or ‘the White City’, Popayan is one of South America’s most impressive colonial cities, with white-washed facades covering the entire old town, trendy cafes and imposing churches around every corner. This under-the-radar city even has two UNESCO designations, one for intangible cultural heritage of humanity and one as a City of Gastronomy. The intangible cultural heritage of humanity designation offered in 2009 protects Popayan’s Semana Santa (Holy Week) Procession during Easter which has been celebrated for the last 460+ years.
4. Parque Tayrona
The Tayrona National Park, perched on the Caribbean on the northern coast, is one of South America’s most spectacular areas. Here you’ll find some of the best golden beaches in South America, complete with swaying palm trees and intensely blue waters. It is a must-see for your Colombia itinerary. If you want to experience the area to the fullest, hike in on a forest trail and spend one to three nights in one of the tents or hammocks near the beaches, visiting the diverse habitats during the day.
5. Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva is the town where time has stopped and history comes to life. With the past still alive in the architecture and huge central plaza, the designs capture the Spanish colonial aesthetic, combined with the Moorish influences of the Old World.
The baroque touches of the 17th-century church create a layered opulence in view of the surrounding soaring Andean peaks. With ancient fossils in the museum and access to the unique blue pools of the nearby desert, Villa de Leyva is a truly unique wonder in a country of the most unforgettable sights.