1. Explore Cartagena- “Carti” is a gorgeous, Spanish colonial city on the shores of the Caribbean. Spend a few days walking the bougainvillea cloaked streets of “old town” and lazing about in front of brilliant blue waters. The museums and the living history give a genuine sense or earlier times. There are plenty of excellent eateries and all levels of accommodation.
2. Tayrona & Taganga but not necessarily in that order. Taganga is renowned for superb snorkeling and diving in an extremely relaxed atmosphere. If you are not a water baby then skip Taganga and head straight to the Tayrona Peninsula. Tayrona has just begun to be developed for tourism so boasts untouched coastal rainforest, wondrous wildlife, and endless stretches of white sands. A trip to Tayrona is easily a stand alone vacation.
3. Glaciers and palm trees…not overlapping but within the same state! A trip to Parque Nacional Los Nevados in the Zona Cafetera will put you nearly three and a half miles above sea level where you can visit a snow-capped volcano in the Andean Range. The climb through the cloud forests en route only adds to the wonder of it all. At the end of the day you can soak in natural hot springs or hop the short distance over to the Valle de Cocora. In these hills you can again walk through the cloud forest but instead of finding the arid, alpine microclimate typical of these elevations there are 80 foot tall wax palm trees. Surreal, indeed! True, there are no logistics shown here but that’s our task!
4. Amazonas…have you ever wondered what it’s really like to wander into the “green wall” that is the jungle? I did and I was completely intimidated by it, at first. I have made several trips into the Amazon basin in 5 different countries. The unique aspect of the Amazon in Colombia is the river culture. It is a cross between the natives that live a subsistence lifestyle who have minimal contact with the “outside” and those who live in small villages. Have breakfast in Peru, lunch in Colombia, and dinner/ dancing in Brazil the same night. Impressive people and intimate wildlife experiences.
5. Visit any of 38 National Parks! It just depends on what sort of environment you are looking for. For some high peaks Andes and the cloud forest head to Parque Nacional el Cocuy or PN Los Nevados (see #3). Colombia’s 5 remaining glaciers are melting fast! For remote beaches and undisturbed rainforest, it’s the PN Tayrona (see #1). For Amazonas go to PN Amacayacu (“river of hammocks” in Quechua) (See #2). There are accommodations, there is wildlife, and there are floods in Amazonas so don’t go during high water. I have mentioned my four favorite National Parks but there are many other opportunities to explore the parks that are 9% of Colombia’s area.
I have highlighted some of the incredible natural and cultural wonders of Colombia but it hardly scratches the surface. There is white water, hiking, ruins, and big city life. Colombia has the second best food in South America. It all depends on your interests. Please see the website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about your tour to Colombia.
I was traveling with friend and photographer Angel Hofer while in Colombia. Several of these photos are hers. If you would like to see more of Angi’s photos click here.