The gateway to South America, Colombia does a wonderful job of introducing people to this incredible continent. Its diversity is staggering: golden beaches, arid desert, lush rainforest and vibrant cities sit snug within its borders and it is surrounded by not one but two oceans. It’s fair to say that as far as first impressions go, Colombia does a fine job.
This is a country that has had its fair share of bad press but its transformation in the last 25 years has been nothing short of remarkable. Cities that once hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons are now bustling hubs of art and culture. Bogota and Medellin are thriving metropoles bursting at the seams with galleries and museums that celebrate creativity in all its forms. From the bulbous sculptures of Fernando Botero to dazzling displays of pre-Columbian gold, there is so much to discover in these exciting cities.
The charming colonial towns of Villa de Leyva and Barichara with their cobbled streets and whitewashed houses are the perfect tonic after a few days in the capital. You’ll be drinking it by the cupful in Colombia so make sure you spend some time learning how caffeine gets its kick in the coffee triangle. This is a beautiful corner of the country where plantations blanket the rolling hills and enormous wax palms soar towards to sky.
The north is home to the impossibly romantic city of Cartagena, Caribbean in every way, as well as Tayrona National Park and the Sierra Nevada de Sant Marta. This part of Colombia is where salsa catches on the breeze, peaceful rivers give way to the wild waters of the Caribbean and toucans and hummingbirds flit through the jungle.
Tourism is relatively new to Colombia but those who choose to visit never fail to be won over by its outstanding natural beauty and the warmth of its people.