Once I advised people who I used to be happening holidays to Colombia the questions have been all the time the identical. Outdated references to Pablo Escobar, gang warfare and medicines all the time emerge with most of my family and friends having based mostly their whole information base on Colombia from watching a collection or 2 of Narcos.
Pablo has been lifeless for over 25 years and guerilla warfare and civil struggle has ended and any pre-conceived concept of his nation also needs to be put to mattress as properly. Colombia is a vibrant, fascinating and spectacular place with a number of the friendliest individuals you can find on the planet. In truth I might recommend that aside from maybe Chile it might be as protected as another South American nation to go to at this time limit. Like anyplace there are poor neighbourhoods which ought to be prevented however for those who keep on with the vacationer path you need to be advantageous. By no means did we really feel threatened at any level on the journey and completely loved the combination of cultural sights, culinary delights, seashores and mountain surroundings that Colombia provided. Listed here are my prime 5 causes so as to add Colombia into your subsequent Latin American journey;
Colombia is a big and numerous nation with a shocking number of landscapes. There are such a lot of lovely and wild areas to include into your vacation with a number of of the highlights being as follows;
The Cocora Valley
The Cocora Valley is well-liked space for mountaineering situated near the colorful city of Salento and inside the extremely lush inexperienced espresso triangle area of Colombia. The most typical trek to take is a 5 hour stroll by way of farms after which into a wonderful cloud forest together with a number of river crossings. You then attain a hummingbird sanctuary earlier than a brief climb to the highest after which proceed by way of the spectacular Cocora Valley, residence to a whole lot of wax palms that are the tallest palm timber on the earth, at as much as 60 metres excessive. Personally I discovered the trek to be of a average degree however it is best to undoubtedly have an honest degree of health to finish it as some elements are fairly troublesome. I really like this space of Colombia and would extremely advocate taking this trek.
The very last thing individuals take into consideration once they consider Colombia is desert, however in truth central Colombia (near Neiva) is residence to the fascinating Tatacoa Desert. It’s a magical place to admire distant and huge landscapes and take quite a lot of excursions together with horse driving, trekking and star gazing.
The Misplaced Metropolis Trek
The Misplaced Metropolis, or Ciudad Perdida trek is Colombia’s model of the Inca Path and is usually taken as a four or 5 day, 47km trek via coastal jungles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. With steep climbs, excessive humidity and treks of as much as eight hours per day that is undoubtedly one among South America’s harder treks and will solely be undertaken with a superb degree of health. It’s a captivating journey to the paranormal and historic Misplaced Metropolis and properly value it for many who have the time.
Caño Cristales, also called a the River of 5 Colors is situated within the mountain vary of Serranía de la Macarena – an space that previously was inaccessible as a consequence of guerrilla exercise. It’s now open to vacationers and on the proper time of the yr (usually June to December) and with the correct degree of daylight the river supplies a spectacular show of color. The primary cause for this is because of endemic flora which on the proper second explodes in vibrant pink, inexperienced, yellow, blue and black colors in a show which many say make it probably the most lovely river on the earth.
Cartegena de Indias
Cartegena de Indias, a walled port metropolis on Colombia’s Caribbean coast is justifiably Colombia’s hottest vacation spot. It’s vibrant colonial centre provides an abundance of spectacular church buildings, impeccably maintained colonial buildings, wonderful eating places, prime finish inns and vibrant nightlife. Whether or not you simply lose your self amongst its cobblestoned streets, get together within the Getsemani neighbourhood or discover close by seashores and islands, Cartagena will little question depart you spellbound.
Popoyán, situated within the South-West of the nation is one in every of Colombia’s best-preserved colonial cities with an enormous array of white colonial buildings. Annually throughout Holy Week the town hosts an enormous celebration and this occasion together with the prospect to discover its surrounding areas make it one in every of Colombia’s rising locations. It’s close by mountains together with the Puracé Volcanoare residence to quite a lot of difficult hikes and spectacular waterfalls.
Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva is a fantastically nicely preserved city situated round three hours from Bogota. Aside from its large and spectacular most important sq. there isn’t rather a lot to the town however it’s a fantastic place to benefit from the surroundings, meals and outside adventures outdoors the city. On the best way from Bogota to Villa de Leyva an fascinating cease is to go to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, an underground Roman Catholic church constructed inside the tunnels of a salt mine.
Situated inside the spectacular espresso triangle of Colombia, Salento is a small and vibrant city and a terrific base for exploring the encompassing areas together with the spectacular Cocora Valley which I discussed beforehand. All the homes on the town are made with white partitions and vibrant picket doorways and yow will discover some wonderful craft purchasing in the primary sq..
Gastronomy definitely wasn’t on the agenda for my journey to Colombia so I used to be pleasantly stunned to seek out thrilling and diversified delicacies. In Bogota the place we loved a vigorous steak dinner on the well-known Andres Carne de Res DC restaurant and tried Chicha a standard fermented corn drink and an area pale on the Bogota Beer Firm. In Santa Marta we loved one of the best ceviche I’ve ever had at an area restaurant and all through the journey we loved quite a lot of meals we’d by no means tried like the favored ‘arepa’ corn patties and empanadas, each of which have been typically made with cheese, meat, eggs or quite a lot of different fillings.
Lastly the colors and flavours of the fruits that flourish on this wealthy space are to not be missed. Names like Cherimoya, Guanabana, Lulo, Mamoncillo and Pitahaya will shock and entice you all through your journey.
Colombia’s Caribbean shoreline and islands are famed for having a few of South America’s greatest seashores. Most vacationers get no additional than a day journey from Cartagena and Playa Blanca is usually the preferred as its solely a 1 hour drive or 45 minute speedboat from the town centre. The seashore itself is beautiful however very busy and undoubtedly feeling the pressure from over tourism, you’ll discover some air pollution and aggressive touts however it could actually nonetheless present a enjoyable day trip. Alternatively the Rosario Islands are a brief boat journey away and might be accessed on a day journey or you possibly can keep in a single day on one of many inns situated there.
Tayrona Nationwide Park, situated near the city of Santa Marta has turn into more and more fashionable in recent times and its trails might be full of keen vacationers. Its seashores are nicely well worth the 2 hour trek by means of jungle every method that’s required to succeed in its greatest seashores; Cabo San Juan del Guia and Playa La Piscina. Alongside the best way you possibly can anticipate to see wildlife – primarily monkeys however probably the odd caiman.
Maybe probably the most pristine seashores and unspoiled reefs could be discovered on the archipelago of San Andres and Providencia. San Andres is extra business and residential to some all inclusive resorts whereas Providencia is much less business and extra tranquil.
It will be arduous to explain Colombia’s major cities as lovely, but what they lack in magnificence they make up for of their fascinating and vibrant histories or sights. The primary cities I might recommend to think about can be Medellin, the town of everlasting spring with it’s pretty yr spherical local weather and Bogota, the capital and largest metropolis with over 12 million individuals in its larger metropolitan area.
Medellin was the house of Pablo Escobar’s cartel and had been ravaged by social issues brought on by this nevertheless is now a peaceable place with some fascinating sights to see. In fact the primary draw-card right here is to study concerning the historical past of Escobar and his cartel and lots of ex-cons or ex-Police are operating excursions specialising on this facet.
Bogota is an enormous sprawling area and it’s spectacular to take the funicular or cable automotive as much as Monseratte hill and marvel at its vastness. Its central district has some actually fascinating sights together with its Gold Museum, bustling most important road, fundamental sq. and bohemian neighbourhood of La Candelaria with some spectacular murals painted by native artists.
Colombia offers quite a lot of experiences appropriate for households, couples or solo traveller and I encourage you to think about incorporating it into your subsequent South American journey.
See our Colombia Excursions web page for some inspiration to start out planning your Colombian journey.
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