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Colombia What To Visit

If you are making plans to travel to Colombia and want to learn what to visit in the South American country, here are ten great recommendations.

Put aside all the preconception you had about Colombia. As usual as it is to ask if the South American country is safe to visit, the answer is that it has been ever since 2007. On that note, when looking for a destination full of contrasts and diversity, Colombia is currently the right choice. It has everything to offer. From stunning beaches on the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Ocean, passing through the tropical Amazonian jungle, and landing on its effervescent cities. Following a touristic boom, there are now more direct flights to Colombia than ever. You could pick from a variety of alternatives in Colombia’s five very different regions, and explore extremely singular experiences. If you want to know what to visit in Colombia, here are some recommendation that could be helpful when planning your vacation: 

  1. Cartagena

Cartagena has been Colombia’s touristic capital since 1943. It is located on the Caribbean coast of the country and it is one of the oldest Colombian cities. It was founded in the early 16th century, and the Old City is almost intact and protected by a wall that used to defend Cartagena from pirates and invasions. Besides the attractive of the Spanish colonial architecture, Cartagena has Baru, and the Rosario and San Bernardo Islands archipelago that are a delight for the eye. When pondering what to visit in Colombia, if you want to take a walk in a beautiful old city with a view to the Caribbean, Cartagena is the right answer. 

2. Medellín

Medellin is the second largest city in Colombia, and considered one of the most innovative cities in the world. In the past, during the 80s and 90s, it was also considered one of the most dangerous cities on the planet. But things have changed in thirty years. Besides the fantastic all-year-round spring weather, Medellin has a fantastic circuit of museums, an effective transportation system, and a festival that celebrates flowers during 12 days of the year in August. 

3. Bogotá

Bogotá is the capital of Colombia. It is located on top of a mountain “2.600 meters closer to the stars”, as the city’s slogan says. It is an energetic city with a great gastronomic offer. Two of the ten best restaurants in Latin America are in Bogota: Leo, and El Chato. There is also a very curated calendar of concerts that celebrate the best of Colombian, and international music, exposed in festivals like Estereopicnic (every April); the largest theater festival in the region that takes place every two years around Easter; and the Artbo, an art fair that happens every October, followed by other smaller initiatives that invade every corner of Bogotá during those same days.

4. San Andrés y Providencia

San Andrés and Providencia are part of the Insular region of Colombia, right on the Caribbean. These islands demarcate the maritime border between Colombia and Nicaragua, and have some of the most beautiful submarine life of the country. With a colorful architecture, and the singular culture of a population who has its own language and idiosyncrasy, San Andres and Providence are also great destination when wondering what to visit in Colombia if one is looking for relaxation away from de mundane world.  

5. Barranquilla Carnival

The most important cultural celebration takes place in Barranquilla, the fourth largest city in Colombia. The Carnival is a four-day event that takes place forty days before Easter. Four days of open sky street parties, parades, and concerts. Barranquilla is also located on the Caribbean region of Colombia, and an important port and business center. Nonetheless, the city stops during those four days in a collective catharsis, that, as some people say, is the key to the barranquillero success.

6. Eje Cafetero

Colombia has some of the best coffee, and is also the third largest producer in the world. The perfect destination to visit the plantations that open to the public, and taste some of the best beans is what Colombians call the “Eje Cafetero” –– the coffee belt ––, which is composed by three cities: Armenia, Pereira, and Manizales. The mild climate of the subtropical Andes, and the green landscape is a great attractive if you are asking what to visit in Colombia to have some time of contemplation. An amazing place to visit in the Eje Cafetero is the Cocora Valley, where you can find the tallest wax palms in the world.

7. Feria de Cali

Cali is considered the salsa capital of the world, and you can find out why if you visit the city during the “Feria de Cali”, or Cali Fair. This celebration takes place during the last week of December. If you are pondering options of what to visit in Colombia during the end of the year, Cali is the perfect destination to dance, celebrate, and enjoy yourself. 

8. Nuquí

Nuquí is a small town by a rainforest, and right on the Pacific Coast of Colombia. You can take a look at this paradise in the “Te quiero para mi – Nuqui” video clip, a song performed by Colombian band, Chobquibtown. It is one flight away from Medellín, and it is perfect for those asking what to visit in Colombia if you’re looking for adventure and exploring nature. The recommended time to go to Nuquí is during the humpback whales mating season, from July to November. The sighting is mesmerizing. 

9. Ciudad Perdida

During the 70s an archeological finding change the way people saw the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, right on the northern region of Colombia. And it is not that it was less of beauty before, but during that time they found one of the largest pre-Columbine settlements in the Americas. Getting to the abandoned Tayrona people old town, one must walk for a minimum of three days, and around forty-five kilometers up. Most people take some months before going to prepare physically and mentally for the journey, but it completely worth the effort. 

10. Leticia

Leticia is the capital of the Amazonia department, right on the bottom of Colombia. The city rims the Amazon river, where the triple border between Peru, Colombia, and Brazil is. If your plans include a quest into the wildlife of a rainforest, ecotourism, visiting the most biodiverse place on the planet, and you want to know what to visit in Colombia to achieve such goal, Leticia is the answer.