Colombia is situated in the Northwest corner of the North American continent. It offers many extremes of landscape and climate. Along its coasts are sweltering swamps and humid forests, deserts, and sugar plantations. The Colombians live in cities that lie along the stretch of the Andes Mountains. Most of them work in mines, factories, or grow coffee in the valleys. On the eastern plains, it is vast, hot and dusty.
On the southern part, it is clad with dense rain forest that is home to the great wild that consists of; pumas, sloths, tapirs, and caimans. It is home to more than 1,500 species of birds, from the tiny hummingbirds to the enormous harpy eagles. Here are the top ten of the not to be missed places in Colombia.
Colombia’s capital Bogota is a bustling city. Its modern center is surrounded by large suburbs and the shanty towns where the poor live. Located in the heart of the city is the bullring. Bullfighting is popular in much of South America and a reminder of its historical links with Spain.
Nestled along a set of old houses, the
is the true gem of the capital city. It offers not only the many paintings and sculptures of the great Colombian painter Fernando Botero, but also paintings and art pieces from other world famous artists (Picasso, Dali, Giacometti, Calder, etc.) and other pieces from his private collections. The museum is centrally located in the oldest district of “La Candelaria”, opens daily, except Tuesdays. In addition, the museum is located in an old but restored colonial building, which is already worth a visit. The entrance is free at this museum.
Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)
is the right place for anyone interested in the history of precious metals and their distribution and processing in South America. According to experts, this museum now has nearly 50,000 exhibits, most of them made of gold. On three floors and with most display cases, the visitors really learn everything about the history and the cultural significance of gold and other precious metals for this country. The unique museum holds golden treasures in immeasurable dimensions. The museum has a broad cross-section of all periods of the indigenous. On Sundays, admission is free and visitors over the age of 60 are given free entrance. You can also find rare pieces of antique jewelry and amulet collections. The shop has jewelries for sale along with souvenir pieces that are laced with gold.
When in Bogota, it is necessary to visit the
. You can ride comfortably in the cable car when going up and get emotionally charged at the way of the cross along the way as you go up. If you are in luck, you can hear mass at the chapel at the top of this mountain. Furthermore, there is a magnificent view overlooking the whole city of Bogota. All together it is a beautiful experience.
Walled City (Old Town)
there are many restaurants, shops, bars, churches, Museum and park squares. The entire old town is restored and decorated with an 11 km long city wall built at around the 16th Century. It is designed to be surrounded by thick walls to protect Cartagena from pirate attacks during that era. The partially car-free old town is really worth seeing on foot. When night time comes, the atmosphere becomes relaxed with lots of good street cafes and restaurants. The city of Cartagena is really something special. You can spend the whole day here without any problems about safety (security and police is all over the area. There is so much to see and the colonial houses with colorful balconies are good for taking photographs. The thick walls are not too high and add charm to the historical importance of the place.
Murallas de Cartagena de Indias
is the ideal place for couples who are in the mood for a romantic stroll. It has stunning views of the sea, the narrow streets and the colonial houses in the old city. The sunset on warm evenings is ventilated by the sea breeze providing a sensation of calm, peace and being away from the noise, traffic and excitement of the city (during the day). Enjoy a leisurely walk and the sights in the Old Town.
is simply a means of transportation for the inhabitants of Medellin, but it has become a tourist attraction for visitors as it offers panoramic views of the city. It is orderly, safe and very economical making it easily affordable. The ride is cheap and exciting, because you go through the neighborhoods that are in the mountains and you realize how nice it is to be in Medellin and get immersed with its landscape and people. Do not miss the experience if enjoying a vast city in between the short distances. The best part is the view of the whole city and the sights of the protected natural rain forest.
At the main center of Medellin it takes almost 1 hour to get to a town called Marinilla to reach Guatapé where the geological park
Piedra del Penol
is located. When you reach Guatapé, be amazed at a dream village with strikingly decorated homes (they have a gallery of pictures on its walls). People are sociable and you can stroll on an observation area (the rock) to look at the lake reservoir. This village is remote, but once you are there, you will not regret at the idyllic views that is worth the climb.
Zoologico de Cali
is a good place to visit to see large numbers of animals within the enclosure. The accompanying vegetation throughout the grounds is remarkable. Cali Zoo is big, and organized with clean cages and a variety of well fed animals. The zoo provides a cozy atmosphere that is safe for visitors, especially children and seniors. It is perfect for a morning or afternoon walk with the family while admiring different animals and educational for the children so they can watch a bit of wildlife in its natural state that cannot be found on television or in books. The Lions are awesome and you will love when the peacock show and display their majestic plumage.
It has ample parking space and a good deal of fast foods and dining choices. There is public transport to the zoo and back to downtown. Avail of the full ticket purchase for entry as it includes foods, ice cream and drinks during the trip.
Tayrona National Park
in Santa Marta Colombia is an ideal place if you are looking for pure and natural relaxation. Situated in the middle of a national park and protected reserve, this park is far from mass tourism. The paradise like calmness, simplicity and natural wonder of the place are its major strengths. To fully enjoy Tayrona Park it is advisable to spend at least three days. Tayrona Park is a complex of different types of beaches, all surrounded by forest and mountains. On these beaches you can camp in a hammock, tent or rent cabins.
On some beaches
(Cabo San Juan del Guia, Reefs, Bahia Concha, Neguanje, Playa Cristal)
you can find resorts restaurants and bathrooms. Enjoy tranquility, clean air, clean beaches, wonderful views, great contact with nature and a variety of nationalities making the trip to enjoy this splendor. You can access the park on your own or through contracted agency cars directly from the city of Santa Marta. Spend the rest of the day in the park, so you can see sunsets and sunrises along the shores of the Colombian Caribbean region.
Museo del Caribe
is an excellent museum that proudly displays the works of the writers from Colombia. The museum also provides all information about the ethnic groups of Colombia. It is an interactive museum that shows not only the geological development of the Colombian Caribbean region, but their customs, legends, language, food, music and dance. It highlights the work of a single Colombian Nobel Prize in Literature. It is a great place to get educated about the Colombian culture, history, and art. It is also one of the important urban interventions of Barranquilla.
It is a must for visitors and for every Colombian, since it collects all manifestations of Caribbean culture and heritage. It consists of a cultural museum, Children’s Library Pilot, Library Media, and Library Macondo that specializes in the work of Colombian artist Gabriel García Márquez and a multiple event hall public square. The second phase offers the Documentation Centre on the Caribbean, Modern Art Museum and Cinematheque Caribbean de Barranquilla.
San Andres Island
A whole afternoon or morning at the
El Aquario, La Piscinita y el West View
is enough to explore this small island that is characterized by clear and calm waters. The main attraction is to be in the water and dive or snorkel at the great variety of fish that comes in different colors and sizes. It’s just like you’re looking inside an artificial aquarium, but this time it’s natural and the fishes are at your feet. You can rent lenses and goggles for diving but during low tides it is not necessary because the water is not deep and you can walk and see through the water and the various marine lives even with the naked eye.
It is important to wear sandals or water shoes because there are some pebbles in the bottom of the sea that can make it a bit difficult to walk. The water is not deep so even children can do this interactive activity without any difficulty. You can also walk across to another island that is in front and across the maximum depth of not more than 1m. This natural aquarium is a nice place to hang out and take pretty pictures.
Villa de Leyva
A visit to the
is a unique and learning experience. It is interesting to see what human ingenuity can do. The house is livable, warm and 100% handmade. It has all the comforts of a modern homelike; water, electricity, sanitation, etc. The construction is fully built in mud, burnt clay and charcoal with the most artistic details and very nice iron forge.
It is an unsurpassed architectural work. It can be seen not only from the outside, but the interior details also show the creativity of the artist behind this creation. It has many rooms and it is worth visiting in the remote island called the Villa de Leyva.
Parque Nacional de Chicamocha (Panachi)
is a place that is a definite must see. The cable car experience on the
Chicamocha River Canyon
is unrivaled. The natural landscape, the feel, the service, and the cleanliness of the place is a worthwhile experience. On the way from San Gil to Bucaramanga stop by the park of Chicamocha to contemplate the canyon, the second largest in the world, which can be crossed by a cable car or enjoy the ride on the gondolas.
From its height you can admire the overlooking of the majestic landscape where nature shines with his presence. The river, the mountains, the vegetation, the canyon leaves one with a nice feeling of being one with nature. Everything about this place is magical. Take good pictures and make lasting memories on this attraction.
A visit to the
is a must when you are in Colombia. Its magical scenery of water and light becomes an unforgettable landscape for every visitor. The mystic water attraction that is a result of the algae formation under its water is an image of how creative nature and the water crystals can become if properly cared for and preserved.
Once you reach this attraction, the sense of adventure to arrive on this destination and tranquility in this paradise like place is invaluable as the diversity of flora and fauna and the potential for amusing every visitor is simply baffling. It is definitely worth seeing.