5th April 2018
One of the most diverse countries in Latin America, with landscapes ranging from sun-soaked Caribbean beaches to arid deserts and the lush green hills of the Zona Cafetera, and a culture encompassing ancient civilisations, colonial charm and sultry salsa, Colombia has a wealth of experiences to offer travellers. Here we take a look at our five favourite reasons to visit. You can browse all our croup and tailor-made tours to Colombia here.
Colombia is known for being one of the biggest exporters of two great vices – coffee and chocolate. Colombian chocolate is some of the finest in the world, with 95% of the country’s cacao exports being certified as ‘Fine Flavour’ by the International Cacao Organisation, while the coffee is of a similar high standard. Visit coffee plantations and cacao farms and learn about the production process from the planting to the packaging, and of course sample some of the produce yourself. It would be rude not to after all! Our tour, From Coca to Cacao – a Colombia Chocolate Tour, includes visits to coffee and chocolate farms, an artisan chocolate factory and the chocolate museum in Cartagena.
Cartagena is an intriguing mix of colonial past and cosmopolitan present. Explore the city’s walled Old Town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, wander down cobbled alleyways past colourful colonial architecture, or take shelter from the sun in a shady square, enjoying a cocktail or coffee while you watch the world go by. Visit the house of Colombia’s most famous literary son, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and explore Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, the greatest fortress the Spanish ever built in Latin America, before dancing the night away in one of the many salsa bars. Our signature tour, Viva Colombia, and our Colombia Explorer tour both end in Cartagena, giving you plenty of time to explore the city.
Tayrona National Park, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, is a little slice of beach paradise, with stretches of golden sand and crystal clear turquoise waters edged with palm trees and lush rainforest. Although many beaches aren’t safe to swim from, there are a few that provide calm conditions for swimming and snorkelling, and there are also excellent opportunities for trekking in the national park, where you can try to spot the three species of monkey, 300 species of bird and 31 species of reptile that call Tayrona their home. Visit Tayrona National Park on our Viva Colombia or Colombia Explorer tours.
The Tatacoa Desert, a bizarre arid landscape with otherworldly rock formations, is one of the best places in Latin America to stargaze. Experience a stunning sunset as the red rock glows in the last of the day’s light before visiting the observatory for a talk by an expert astronomer who will be able to point out the different constellations which are visible. Our Colombia Explorer tour includes a visit to the Tatacoa Desert and the observatory as well as a talk from an astronomer.
Parque Arquelogico de San Agustin is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which provides a fascinating insight into the ancient civilisations of Colombia. This archaeological park is dotted with hundreds of monoliths carved with bizarre imagery of morphed animals and humans, and is one of the most important historical sites in South America. The statues are believed to have been carved between 50 and 400 AD and are thought to be funereal statues, standing guard to provide protection in the afterlife. You can spend some time exploring the park as part of our Colombia Explorer tour.
For more fascinating facts, check out our A to Z of Colombia.
Interested in Colombian chocolate? Our blog, The Cultural Significance of Chocolate in Colombia, tells you more.