Everybody nonetheless thinks Colombia is harmful. They consider Pablo Escobar, they’ve heard about drug cartels, they’ve seen Narcos on Netflix and suppose they know what Colombia is like at this time.
I get it. The cliche photographs from the previous can take a very long time to scrub away. However belief me on this: touring in Colombia is so a lot enjoyable and it’s a lot safer at this time. In actual fact, having performed nearly the complete Latin American “Gringo Path”, I take into account Colombia one in all my prime favourite backpacking nations.
Plan your Colombia backpacking journey
Why go backpacking Colombia?
Colombia simply has all of it: there are each the Caribbean and Pacific coasts (that are very totally different), the beginning of the Andes mountain vary, and 40% of the nation is roofed by the Amazon Rainforest. Colombia’s cities have varied climates and characters that make them extremely price exploring.
Selection is basically Colombia’s robust level. Inside its borders you’ll discover something from lush jungles to dusty deserts. Coastal areas typically have an Afro-Caribbean vibe, whereas larger elevation areas might remind you of indigenous mountainous areas in Peru or Bolivia. Due to its geography and variety you’ll be able to nearly consider Colombia as a South America taster menu.
One factor Colombia arguably doesn’t have: some form of singular iconic bucket record sight, like Machu Picchu in Peru or Iguazu Falls in Brazil. Some vacationers might discover this disappointing however I feel it’s a bonus: not having all the eye on one overtouristed hotspot makes the Colombia backpacking path extra unfold out and extra relaxed.
Do you know Colombia has the world’s second highest biodiversity? (Second solely to Brazil, a rustic 7 occasions bigger!)
The wildlife and nature expertise are actually on one other stage. Think about treks just like the Misplaced Metropolis Trek, whale watching on the Pacific Coast, or birdwatching in Minca. Lots of people affiliate Costa Rica with nature actions however Colombia is secretly wonderful for ecotourism as effectively.
It’s commonplace to see a bunch of monkeys within the jungle or a toucan flying previous. One time I used to be taking an extended nap on the bus and simply as I awoke, a hummingbird hovered beside my window and checked out me as if to say, “hey buddy, bear in mind you’re nonetheless in stunning Colombia?”. It actually can really feel a bit like paradise at occasions.
Bursting with tradition
The cities of Medellín and Bogota are among the many most booming and cosmopolitan on the continent, stuffed with avenue artwork, salsa dance, and colourful tradition.
After all, it’s not shocking that many backpackers need to study Colombia’s typically darkish historical past — and Pablo Escobar excursions are undoubtedly a factor. However you’ll be equally intrigued by life in Colombia at this time.
Tradition and occasional are two ‘c’s that I affiliate intently with Colombia. The opposite ‘c’, cocaine, a lot much less so. Many Colombians despise the drug due to what it has performed to their nation. So, it’s not likely a factor except you have been to particularly search it out. There may be sufficient healthful cultural curiosity to fulfill anybody, so coming for medicine (and fairly a crappy drug, let’s be sincere) is unquestionably not what touring Colombia is about.
Straightforward to journey on a funds
Colombia shouldn’t be the most cost effective in South America but in addition not the costliest. It’s really a greater deal than it was once: the trade fee with the US Greenback or Euro lately has made it about 30% cheaper than it was 7 or 8 years in the past.
You will get some nice worth for cash in Colombia. Hostels and guesthouses are fairly inexpensive and meals is affordable, particularly should you discover the really native locations.
A set meal for lunch together with soup, a fundamental dish with meat and lots of sides, and recent fruit juice will sometimes value about 10,000 COP, which is about $2.50. Not dangerous! Hostel dorm beds sometimes value about 50,000 COP, and it’s 100,000 COP and up for a fundamental personal room.
Sure experiences like the Misplaced Metropolis Trek (must you want to do it) may be pretty costly, however day-to-day you’ll be able to handle on a backpacker funds fairly simply.
Not like another nations, there may be much less of a set backpacker route in Colombia, with totally different vacationers going to totally different locations (or in a special order). Selecting your route also can typically be hair-pullingly troublesome.
There are simply too many nice locations to go to. For those who’re feeling overwhelmed… I’ve been there!
Some nations simply make it simpler to see the highlights in a few weeks. For those who’re backpacking Belize you actually need only a week; backpacking Nicaragua takes 3 weeks on the most. However Colombia may be very large and has such a wealth of locations that it both takes extra time or simply extra deliberate selections for the place to go.
I backpacked by means of Colombia for 3 months and nonetheless felt like I wasn’t performed. I can simply see at the least one other 3 months of experiences that I’d love to return again for.
However that’s additionally what makes this such an important vacation spot. You get to select from plenty of totally different potentialities. It implies that totally different backpackers can find yourself having considerably totally different journeys in Colombia.
As a result of there are such a lot of routes you would take, I wrote this waaaay-too-comprehensive information to creating your personal Colombia itinerary, which additionally has a number of pattern itineraries you’ll be able to observe.
It’s a good suggestion to have a tough thought of the journey you’d love to do, however go away some room to improvise throughout your journey. You might need to keep longer or shorter in locations relying on how a lot you want them.
The place to journey in Colombia
When a map of Colombia, you’ll rapidly discover that almost all journey locations are within the west and north.
Why? Properly, it’s easy: the jap half of Colombia is generally coated by the Amazon rainforest. These elements will not be as simply accessible. A lot of the journey locations are within the extra populated areas.
Within the north of Colombia, you’ll discover the outdated colonial metropolis of Cartagena. It has lengthy been the nation’s fundamental vacationer draw (even throughout the dangerous years, as cruise ships might nonetheless dock there). It’s a wonderful place with an outdated heart, albeit touristy and dearer than elsewhere in Colombia.
The town of Santa Marta shouldn’t be so notable in itself, however it makes for a wonderful launching level for exploring the attractive Tayrona Nationwide Park or for doing the Misplaced Metropolis trek. The close by city of Taganga is Colombia’s main vacation spot for scuba diving and a little bit of a backpacker hub. The small city of Minca, additionally close to Santa Marta, is a laidback backpacker vacation spot among the many jungles and waterfalls.
Within the heart is San Gil, Colombia’s journey sports activities capital. Go right here for paragliding, wild water rafting, caving, and extra. The middle of Colombia can be residence to its second-largest metropolis of Medellín, a fascinating place that you just undoubtedly shouldn’t skip.
Within the south are the capital Bogota, Colombia’s espresso area, the town of Cali (well-known for its obsession with salsa), and Tatacoa, a desert the place years of abrasion have created some uncommon landscapes.
The Amazon on the coronary heart of Colombia is tremendous distant and even residence to some uncontacted indigenous tribes. If you wish to go into the Amazon, flying to Leticia is probably the most dependable possibility. This city additionally has border connections with Peru and Brazil.
How a lot time do you want?
Truthfully as a lot time as you will have. However when you have at least 2 or 3 weeks, you are able to do a enjoyable route that features plenty of locations.
In case you are touring long-term, then know that the usual visa-on-arrival will provide you with 90 days in Colombia, so you actually can go sluggish if you wish to.
I first received to know Colombia whereas I used to be within the midst of a 2-year round-the-world backpacking journey. I beloved Medellin a lot that I stayed for 4 weeks simply on this metropolis, residing a mini-life there for some time. I met some backpackers who did the identical however in Cali, taking salsa courses each single day for weeks on finish whereas diving into the native dancing scene. That is simply to warn you that you would be able to simply get caught!
Typically Colombia is a vacation spot you’ll be able to take your time in because it has a great deal of selection and an important ambiance.
Lodging in Colombia
What’s the hostel scene like?
The hostel scene in Colombia is extraordinarily good. The standard of the hostels may be very excessive throughout the board and it looks like they’re making an attempt to outdo one another with distinctive ideas or simply having an important vibe.
In case you are into youthful/social gathering hostels yow will discover a lot of them within the cities, significantly Medellin. Some social gathering hostels additionally exist in Palomino on the coast and in different areas.
Most hostels are chill/social traveler hostels although with friends’ ages spanning a reasonably big selection. Some hostels (for instance in Minca) are extra like ecolodges, providing particular person jungle huts as an alternative of dorms. Yow will discover some particular recommendation on the greatest hostels in Medellin and the greatest hostels in Bogota.
Superb hostels in Colombia
My favourite hostel in La Candelaria, the outdated city of Bogota.
Pleasant, homely hostel in fashionable Poblado space. Has on-site Spanish faculty & chill ambiance. 15 min stroll to probably the most enjoyable nightlife space
Additionally in Poblado; has a pool and is extra social gathering oriented than Black Sheep.
Cozy hostel with slender central courtyard making it tremendous simple to fulfill individuals. Dorms and personal rooms.
Hostel in a colonial home with epic views of the mountains
Do you have to ebook forward? Properly, should you’re not choosy you’ll be able to at all times discover a mattress, however the top-rated hostels do typically ebook out utterly. For instance, Costeno River Hostel in Minca is extraordinarily well-rated and I discovered it was 100% full for the subsequent few weeks after I tried to remain there. For those who ebook with Hostelworld they often allow you to cancel at no cost as much as 24 hours earlier than your keep, letting you continue to journey in a versatile means.
Finest hostel chains: For those who’re in search of barely extra premium hostels, then try Selina, a hostel chain that may be very lively in Colombia. There are a whopping three (!) Selinas in Bogota alone (try the primary one in La Candelaria). The Selina in Quindo caught my eye because it’s the center of the espresso nation, in addition to the one in Villa de Leyva which is in a fantastically restored colonial constructing. The Selina formulation is to mainly supply hotel-like facilities whereas nonetheless making an attempt to take care of considerably of a hostel-like ambiance.
My favourite hostels: Personally, I favor staying in smaller impartial backpacker hostels. A few of my favorites embrace Black Sheep Hostel and The Wandering Paisa in Medellin (each are a bit like traveler establishments and nice for making mates), Casa Loma in Minca, Utria Hostel in Bahia Solano, and Viajero Hostel in Cartagena.
Distinctive idea hostels: There are a few very distinctive hostels in Colombia. One which at all times will get talked about is Casa en el Agua, a hostel close to the San Bernardo Islands actually constructed on the water. You’ll be able to’t ebook it by means of any platforms anymore; solely by way of a web-based kind, with fee solely by way of PayPal, and availability solely updating each 60 days. (I assume it’s important to be devoted.)
One other ‘idea hostel’ may be discovered south of Medellin: Casa en el Aire, which is constructed on a cliffside the place you’ll be able to chill in hammocks suspended over a valley. Fairly loopy! They get their enterprise by means of word-of-mouth solely; you’ll be able to contact them by way of Whatsapp.
Eco hostels: Many hostels are mainly within the model of ecolodges or are in transformed fincas (espresso farms). The Colombian hostel chain Masaya has two unbelievable eco-hostels: the Espresso Reserve La Manchuria and the Masaya San Agustin. In Tayrona, try the Viajero Tayrona Hostel & Ecohabs. Though fairly secluded, these lodging could be a vacation spot in and of themselves.
One other one I can extremely suggest is Finca Carpe Diem within the Paso del Mango valley, which is simply north of the key backpacker hub of Minca. It’s one the highest-scoring hostels in all of Colombia so that is one other one price placing in a reservation for in order for you the prospect to remain there. The view from the higher swimming pool is nuts.
Aside from the hostels, there are numerous nice native accommodations and guesthouses. I often keep about half my time in hostels and the opposite half in accommodations or guesthouses. It’s greatest to make use of Hostelworld for hostels, however use Reserving.com to search out smaller (budget-friendly) accommodations.
Is Colombia secure?
The protection scenario in Colombia is totally nothing like what it was throughout the dangerous years within the Eighties or 1990. Colombia journey guides from at the least a decade in the past should still warn of kidnapping dangers or drug gang violence however fashionable editions are freed from such warnings.
For probably the most half and purely from the angle of a vacationer, it’s only a regular South American nation to journey by means of (very like Peru or Ecuador). Nonetheless, the outdated picture persists.
After all, as with many nations in South America, you do want to recollect to pack your brains. So… perhaps don’t stroll into that darkish alley at night time. However should you journey responsibly, you’ll discover that Colombia is simply an unbelievable backpacking vacation spot.
I get the sense that Colombians are literally a bit sick of regularly being requested about security by vacationers — in the identical means that Germans have that “sigh, right here we go once more” look on their faces when somebody mentions the Nazis. They’re in all probability a bit uninterested in it.
Then once more, Colombia is unquestionably not a crime-free paradise — and in some particular areas, it may be worse than different South American nations.
Listed below are some issues to know with a view to journey responsibly:
- Test security guides for any ‘dangerous areas’ and easily don’t go to them. They’re largely areas near the borders with Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama, or very deep within the Amazon. I just like the security map supplied by the UK overseas workplace because it’s very clear. Don’t trouble with the US State Division report for Colombia which makes use of an excessively paranoid and alarmist tone. For a extra balanced take, try the Australian, UK, Canadian, or different experiences.
- Do take a bit extra care within the cities; don’t exhibit costly gear, carry solely money you want for the day, and take official taxis (or use ride-hailing apps), significantly at night time. Ask your hostel or resort workers if there are any dangerous neighborhoods within the metropolis, simply to make sure you don’t get lost someplace you shouldn’t wander.
- Do take additional care within the nightlife too; don’t get too drunk, preserve your nostril clear, and don’t settle for drinks or cigarettes from strangers. Drugging/spiking is unfortunately recognized to happen; that is essential to know for ladies however particularly for boys. If a Colombian lady in a membership or on a Tinder date appears extraordinarily and unrealistically motivated to get in your room straight away, be very alert as this might imply waking up with a really dangerous hangover and/or amnesia and all of your shit being stolen. If it feels such as you’ve inexplicably turn out to be an irresistible chick magnet in Colombia, be very suspicious and instantly change management away out of your engine room and again to the bridge (i.e. your mind).
- Colombia is usually a rustic the place it’s higher to take public transit like coaches/buses than to self-drive (except you’re well-informed and know what you’re doing). Automobile leases are very costly in Colombia anyway.
Whereas the following pointers will assist preserve you secure, it’s nonetheless clever to take out a great journey insurance coverage plan in your journey. That means, you gained’t ever get financially ruined by hospital payments, theft, or emergency bills ought to something unlucky occur. It’s going to additionally give you a trusted helpline you’ll be able to name or textual content if wanted.
I exploit Heymondo Journey Insurance coverage, which is backed by AXA (one of many world’s largest insurers). They cowl nearly any form of sport or journey exercise you would possibly do in Colombia, similar to paragliding, horseriding, or trekking, in addition to full protection for a variety of eventualities.
I’ve been utilizing and recommending Heymondo for a number of years now as a result of they merely have a greater providing and for much less cash than different manufacturers like World Nomads. You’ll be able to get a quote for journey insurance coverage at Heymondo right here.
Psst, do you will have insurance coverage for Colombia?
Journey insurance coverage will cowl you for theft, medical bills, cancellation, and extra. Heymondo affords nice protection, COVID-19 included, zero deductibles, and an app with 24/7 help & physician chat.
Backpacking Colombia suggestions
Colombia shouldn’t be an final cheapie like another Latin American nations (e.g. Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru or Bolivia). Nevertheless, it’s additionally not almost as costly as some others (e.g. not anyplace near Costa Rica).
Whereas every part is determined by your private journey model, I like to recommend budgeting round $40 a day when touring as a backpacker. For those who’re frugal, you are able to do it for about $30 a day, however it’ll in all probability contain cooking a few of your personal meals and avoiding any day excursions for probably the most half.
Budgets are all a bit depending on the foreign money trade charges which fluctuate through the years. In Colombian pesos, take into account a every day backpacker funds of round 130,000 – 180,000 COP.
Listed below are just a few money-saving suggestions:
- Attempt to preserve your itinerary compact so that you spend much less cash on transportation (it’s less expensive on common to journey one area than making an attempt to see each nook of Colombia).
- Keep away from excursions and check out doing issues your self; for instance, typically it’s attainable to hike to a waterfall as an alternative of taking a paid organized tour
- Keep in hostels with kitchens and make your personal meals
- Make lunch your fundamental meal of the day and search for ‘platos del dia’ or ‘menu executivos’. These affords sometimes embrace a hearty soup, meat with a number of sides, and a recent fruit juice for about 10,000 COP.
- Contact accommodations instantly and ask for the perfect deal they will supply should you ebook by means of them. I received a room nearly 50% cheaper than the Reserving.com worth by simply displaying up and asking. (This hack gained’t work with hostels a lot.)
- All the time ask locals in regards to the native costs. Issues could also be less expensive than you notice! In an area espresso city, I had a espresso and croissant for simply 1,000 COP. It was so low I really thought they’d made a mistake. Alternatively, outlets typically cheekily cost foreigners extra, so inform your self of the true costs.
The favorable trade fee with currencies like USD and EUR lately has made Colombia extra of a discount than it was once, so now’s fairly an advantageous time to journey there.
Do it is advisable know Spanish?
You’ll discover that most individuals in Colombia don’t communicate English, however you’ll be able to nonetheless survive simply nice with out Spanish. Some hostel/resort workers and a few of the tour guides might communicate English. Not understanding the language shall be limiting in some ways, however it’s solely doable.
Understanding at the least some fundamental Spanish will certainly improve your expertise. It’s price taking some Spanish courses when you have the time. Language trade occasions additionally supply enjoyable alternative to fulfill locals. Learn extra suggestions right here: Do you want Spanish to journey in Latin America?
Web in Colombia
Moreover WiFi, it’s simple and low cost to get an area SIM card (should you really feel the should be on-line after all). Simply get your SIM in an official store in a bigger metropolis. For instance, seek for “tienda claro”. Claro is among the fundamental cell service suppliers.
After getting your pay as you go knowledge sim, you’ll be able to at all times prime it up in any small store or grocery retailer that has the Claro signal (even in very small cities). Ask them to purchase a ‘paquote’ (a top-up bundle) and get the vendor to enter the code for you.
The web is often fairly quick with at the least 4G protection. Much less so in distant areas after all.
Attending to Colombia
To fly on to Colombia, test your choices on Skyscanner or Google Flights. There are quite a few direct flights from all over the world to Bogota. A number of additionally go to different cities (for instance Amsterdam to Cartagena is a direct route as of late).
A pleasant possibility may be to fly by way of Miami. This airport is tremendous well-connected internationally and with Colombia. I flew from Portugal (the place I reside) by way of Miami to Cartagena, then I ended my journey flying again from Cali to Miami and residential. This averted any backtracking inside Colombia and enabled me to do a north-to-south overland route.
Are you on a much bigger journey? Then have in mind you’ll be able to’t go to or from Panama overland! Properly, you theoretically might should you have been some loopy Bears Grylls-style survivor, however the so-called Darien Hole between Panama and Colombia has no roads in any respect and is bursting with smugglers and jaguars. The prudent factor to do is to fly throughout.
For those who favor to not fly, it’s also possible to sail from Panama to Cartagena or the opposite means round. This takes 4 or 5 days and also you’ll have to discover a mattress on one of many personal crusing boats that run this route. I did this journey and it was spectacular.
One of the best ways to get round on a backpacker funds is by bus or coach. Some may be booked on-line, however many you’ll be able to solely purchase tickets for on the native bus terminal.
The bus stations could be a bit complicated at first as there’ll be a great deal of desks representing totally different bus firms and locations. There gained’t be a centralized departure board. Ask round should you’re not sure.
Moreover the buses for lengthy distances, you could use minivans, taxis, or moto-taxis for extra native journeys. The moto-taxis are particularly enjoyable; you’ll go on the again of the motorcycle whereas your backpack shall be in entrance between the wheel and the motive force. They’re an affordable strategy to get round.
Take into account that in Colombia not every part might run 100% easily. Possibly your journey goes completely or perhaps you’ll have some delays.
Or perhaps you occur to be in Colombia precisely on the fiesta de Virgin Del Carmen, the patron saint of transportation — a day throughout which all of the bus drivers are far too busy driving their adorned buses in zig-zag patterns throughout all accessible lanes, capturing fireworks from the home windows, and honking repeatedly to get you anyplace it is advisable be in any cheap timeframe. (Uh yeah, in order that’s one factor that occurred to me. I wouldn’t have wished to overlook it although!)
Yellow fever vaccine
Formally talking you want a yellow fever vaccine to enter Colombia. Technically they won’t test it, however it’s greatest to simply get it, because it’s a vaccine that may final your total life. It’s additionally a vaccine that’s been round because the Nineteen Forties so it’s been examined in each conceivable means.
That’s only one much less illness to fret about — yay for vaccines! Be sure you preserve your proof of vaccination that you would be able to present if requested.
Now for a little bit of inspiration, let me share just some of the perfect backpacker locations in Colombia.
Colonial Metropolis of Cartagena
Whereas its fashionable elements jogged my memory faintly of Miami with its high-rise condos alongside the waterfront, Cartegena additionally has one of many prettiest colonial city centres in South America.
Image a lot of quaint homes with flowers hanging from balconies and leafy squares the place individuals play chess, and avenue distributors promote bananas and different fruits. The partitions and fortresses that ring the city are price a wander, providing some vantage factors into the cobbled colonial-era streets under.
Price range vacationers ought to know that photogenic Cartagena is basically the tourism crown jewel of Colombia and so costs are fairly a bit larger than elsewhere. The neighborhood of Getsemani — which was as soon as a backpacker district, however now way more gentrified — nonetheless affords extra funds choices than contained in the walled metropolis.
Playa Blanca is a wonderful seaside about an hour’s drive outdoors the town; it’s a lot better than any of the town seashores, so it’s definitely worth the journey.
Float in Totumo Volcano mud baths
Okay, I gained’t faux this isn’t a foolish vacationer entice, however it’s an excessive amount of enjoyable to not point out.
A day journey from Cartagena, this mud volcano permits you to swim inside it. The viscosity of the mud makes you float on prime of the floor such as you’re swimming within the Lifeless Sea. Typically you keel over and should paddle like a canine to search out your heart of gravity once more.
Look, no matter… simply go do it. It’s hilarious.
Trek to the Misplaced Metropolis
The Misplaced Metropolis Trek is among the greatest hikes I’ve performed in South America. It takes 4 to six days, departing from Santa Marta. The trek runs by means of lands owned by the indigenous Kogi as much as an historical pre-Colombian metropolis atop a mountain.
The ruins might not precisely be Machu Picchu, however they don’t seem to be really the purpose of this hike. The vacation spot is simply an excuse for the journey, which meanders alongside clear river streams and thru lush inexperienced jungles.
You sleep in hammocks or bunks in primitive lodges—they’re just a few roofs with out partitions, actually, so that you’re basically sleeping out within the open save in your mosquito internet. At night time you’ll go to sleep to an orchestra of crickets, frogs, and monkeys.
Discover Tayrona Park
Is a 5 day hike just a little too lengthy in your itinerary? Then you definately’ll discover some shorter walks in Tayrona Nationwide Park.
The three-hour hike by means of the jungle to the ruins of Pueblito is one possibility, as is a hike to the seaside of Cabo San Juan.
Tayrona Park itself has a number of stunning secluded seashores and an opportunity to see plenty of wildlife. You’ll be able to camp in a single day contained in the nationwide park in Cabo San Juan and sleep in a hammock or tent.
Some backpackers do complain in regards to the considerably inflated costs for meals and lodging contained in the park, although realistically you’ll be able to in a single day in Tayrona for as little as $20. It’s greatest to ebook your hammock or tent prematurely although as areas are restricted.
Keep in Minca
Minca is a captivating instance of a vacation spot that’s turn out to be ‘found’ by backpackers in just some years. Once I backpacked Colombia for the primary time in 2012 nobody had heard of Minca and everybody simply stayed in Santa Marta or Taganga. Once I went to Colombia once more in 2022, Minca was all anybody would discuss. A brand new highway had made this city extra accessible and turned it into an ecotourism hotspot.
It’s in reality a tremendous little place. The small mountain city itself shouldn’t be so massively exceptional, although it has some good cafes and eating places. However probably the most wonderful areas are within the jungles across the city, providing epic views of the Sierra Nevada Nationwide Park.
There are many hostels in Minca with a tremendous vibe. Everybody simply involves Minca to chill out, to see tropical birds, to hike, or to journey a scooter across the mountain roads. I feel it’s price staying 3 nights at least.
Don’t miss my information for the greatest locations to remain in Minca.
San Gil: the hub for journey sports activities
San Gil within the Santander area is Colombia’s capital of journey sports activities. Go there for rafting (as much as class 5 rapids, i.e. there’s some loopy rafting right here), paragliding (beginning at $40), kayaking, canyoning, mountain biking, and extra. I did some tandem paragliding right here which was nice enjoyable.
Moreover the journey actions, the city of San Gil is price taking a look at as effectively, which has some good botanical gardens and distributors promoting plates of fried giant-bottomed ants. They’re crispy and salty like popcorn. Om-nom-nom!
Go to the city of Barichara
Barichara is a city in northern Colombia recognized for its cobbled streets and colonial structure. It makes for a pleasant day journey from San Gil.
You’ll discover some outdated church buildings and cemeteries, just a few small museums, and a historic strolling path that takes about 2 hours and connects the picturesque cities of Barichara and Guane.
Uncover cultural Medellin
Many large cities in Latin America could be a letdown as they are usually chaotic and overwhelming. Medellin, however, has an actual cultural coronary heart that’s simple to like. It might look grungy at first look, however give it one other look and also you’ll discover a captivating metropolis to discover.
Its city renewal over the previous few years has been incomes Medellin many worldwide innovation awards, with squares that have been as soon as the websites of cartel battles now turning into thriving public areas, one in all them doubling as an open-air mini-museum that includes sculptures by Fernando Botero.
I like to recommend trying out the Plaza Botero, the Minorista market (a standard farmer’s market), and Parque Lleras at night time (a enjoyable nightlife space the place individuals spill out from the bars into the streets and patios). You should definitely journey the metrocable as much as Parque Arvi, go to the Joaquin Antonio Uribe Botanical Backyard, and go to the Medellín Museum of Fashionable Artwork as effectively. I also can extremely suggest occurring a tropical fruit tasting tour.
For those who’ve received the prospect to see a soccer match in Medellin, remember to take it. The extent of ardour from the supporters is bound to depart an impression. Issues can get very mosh-pitty after they rating a aim although, so go along with just a little group should you can.
Many travellers keep within the Poblado space of Medellin, which is a excessive/middle-class residential neighborhood with a great status for security, and inside strolling distance of the Parque Lleras nightlife as effectively. You’ll additionally discover a excessive focus of hostels and guesthouses in Laureles (and the adjoining Libertadores), which has fewer hipster cafes than Poblado and extra of an area vibe. I loved staying in each these neighborhoods.
If you wish to study extra about Medellin’s previous, go on the Actual Metropolis tour. It’s among the finest metropolis excursions I’ve performed anyplace. It tells you in very emotionally participating methods in regards to the historical past of the town and the nation. After this tour, you’re assured to really feel a brand new emotional reference to Colombia and a deeper understanding of what’s occurred right here over the previous few a long time.
Climb the massive rock of Guatape
A touristy however enjoyable day journey from Medellin (even perhaps warranting an in a single day keep) is the historic city of Guatape, famed for its vibrant homes with fantastically sculpted depictions of village life adorning the decrease half of each facade. There are some arts and craft outlets, and a few historic colonial-era church buildings.
However the primary spotlight is Piedra del Peñol. This uncommon rock formation was as soon as worshipped by the indigenous tribes and given the imposing look of this monolith it’s simple to see why. You’ll be able to climb stairs to the highest from the place you will have an important view of the encircling lakes.
Guatape is a little bit of a resort city for Colombians, so across the rock you’ll additionally discover a vary of vacationer actions similar to boat excursions across the lakes and excessive sports activities similar to grasp gliding and jet snowboarding.
Metropolis excursions & museums in Bogota
The capital of Bogota has plenty of issues to see and do, however I’d suggest doing a number of issues particularly. First, go on a Bogota bicycle tour. You’ll be capable to cowl plenty of floor and acquire a better understanding of the town.
You’ll see stuff you often wouldn’t see: as an illustration, why are all these shady-looking males loitering outdoors this one explicit constructing? Seems they’re grey-market emerald sellers making an attempt to dump their gem stones to the best bidder. You’ll see a few of the metropolis’s most eye-catching avenue artwork as effectively, and get to pattern uncommon tropical fruits on the native market.
Bogota additionally has a lot of museums. Don’t miss the Botero Museum and the Nationwide Museum, and particularly the Museo de Oro (Gold Museum) which has a surprising assortment of pre-Columbian gold artefacts.
Lastly, it’s price taking the cable automobile to Monserrate Mountain, from the place you get an excellent view of the town under.
Espresso farms in Salento
The small city of Salento in Colombia’s espresso area is a superb spot to remain for just a few days. After spending time within the cities, you could simply want to wind down for some time on this slow-paced rural place (although it’s been getting extra crowded lately).
Excursions of a few of the native natural espresso farms can educate you in regards to the espresso rising and roasting course of, although there may be way more to see and do in Salento.
Be sure you hike to the Cocora Valley, residence to some gasp-inducingly tall wax palm timber.
Rising as much as 70 meters, they’re claimed by some to be a few of the tallest on this planet. The hike begins alongside a mountain stream, crosses over some outdated swing bridges, and passes by means of some cloud forests (don’t miss the hummingbird sanctuary), earlier than lastly reaching the valley with the imposing palm timber.
The world can be a favourite place to go trekking or horseback driving. A enjoyable factor you are able to do on the town throughout the night is to play Tejo, a standard Colombian sport that entails throwing metallic balls at a goal lined with gunpowder. It’s good explosive enjoyable!
Stargaze in Tatacoa desert
The Tatacoa Desert, not removed from the southern metropolis of Neiva, is among the hottest locations in Colombia. You’ll end up in the midst of an arid expanse, residence of vultures and eagles, with the beginning of the Andes mountain vary off within the distance.
A labyrinth of rocky canyons shaped by years of abrasion is the primary attraction right here — it’s a surreal little place that’s enjoyable to get misplaced in.
As a result of low gentle air pollution, it’s additionally an ideal spot for stargazing. A resident astronomer offers shows each night time, which have been sadly laborious for me to observe with my restricted Spanish. However he did say “Goopitar” rather a lot (I feel that was Jupiter), and he in all probability stated some issues in regards to the enlargement of the universe. Both means, I received to see the rings of Saturn by means of a telescope, which was wonderful.
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