Idyllic colonial towns, fast-paced cities, stunning archaeological sites, jaw-dropping scenery, and secluded beaches should be enough to put Colombia on your must-see list. But what really seals the deal is the contagious alegría (happiness) of the people you will meet along the way.
Bogotá and Medellín offer all the architecture, culture, restaurants, and nightlife that you would expect in any major world city. For urbanites, these are destinations in their own right. But they are also excellent bases to enjoy creature comforts while organizing trips throughout the country.
Cartagena and the towns of Villa de Leyva and Barichara will transport you back to the 18th century, when citizens were ruled by a king in Madrid. Cartagena never fails to seduce those who stroll along its narrow, cobblestone streets adorned by bougainvillea cascading from balconies above.
The Andes Mountains combined with Colombia’s tropical location mean that every possible natural setting is within reach. The Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, virtually unknown outside of Colombia, offers incredible trekking amid glaciers and snowcapped peaks. Coffee farms are nestled in verdant valleys abundant with orchids. Los Llanos, Colombia’s eastern plains, and the Amazon basin are tropical wonderlands, with innumerable opportunities for nature and wildlife viewing.
Even the beaches here are varied. The Caribbean Coast features gems like Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona, where glacier-fed streams flow from snowcapped mountains into the Caribbean Sea. The Pacific Coast offers solitude and a chance to spot humpback whales breaching. And, far from the mainland in the Caribbean, the islands of San Andrés and Providencia are a sultry respite from the rush of city living. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. Its people are just as diverse. Beyond differences in language, dialects, and accents, you can tell where someone is from by the songs that they sing, the instruments that they play, and the dances to which they move. In Cali, salsa, with its the fancy footwork, color, and brass instruments, is nothing less than an obsession. In the Llanos, joropo is a tribute to Colombian cowboy tradition.
A remarkable transformation has occurred in this corner of South America. And now is a great time to experience this change. Colombia has laid out its welcome mat and beckons: ¡Bienvenidos!