When you book a holiday to Colombia, exploring ancient sites should definitely be high on your to-do list. Spend an afternoon losing yourself in the colourful, winding streets of Cartagena’s Old Town, where you’ll see some of the finest examples of colonial architecture in all of South America. When it comes to architecture, Parque Arqueológico, in the town of San Agustín, is another must see. The park features more than 100 statues in total, as well as intricately carves tombs, so there’s plenty to see, and if you want to learn about the site in more detail, you’ll find local guides near the museum who will be more than happy to share their wisdom.
Colombia is a melting pot of gastronomic delights, so whatever you’re in the mood for, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect meal or sweet treat. You might have heard that Colombia is also famous for its coffee, so when you visit, be sure to sample a cup or two of their finest local blends. Many of the best fincas (farms) can be found in the Zona Cafatera, and luckily, the locals are always keen to show visitors exactly why Colombian coffee is some of the best in the world. While you’re in the area, take a tour of the farm to see how the beans are grown, before harvesting some crops yourself and heading back to base to sample a cup of steaming hot coffee.
If you’re in need of a relaxing beach holiday, look no further than Colombia. Some of the best stretches of coastline can be found at Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) Tayrona, not far away from Santa Marta, where sun, sea and blissful white sands stretch for miles and miles. When it comes to sunbathing, the weather conditions are second to none, and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest coastal mountain range on the planet, offers a backdrop that is simply out of this world.
From pristine sandy beaches, to lush, verdant rainforests, Colombia boasts some of the most picturesque landscapes in the world. If you’re the active type, be sure to take advantage of the country’s many hiking opportunities (and don’t forget your camera before you set off), while those interested in underwater pursuits should head to Providencia, Colombia’s very own paradise island. As well as beautiful beaches, this hidden slice of heaven offers some of the best diving possibilities in the whole of South America, not to mention trekking trails, bird watching, wildlife-spotting and of course, delicious local cuisine.
One of the most picturesque areas in the whole country, Cartagena’s historic Old Town is a must for any first time visit to Colombia. A patchwork of winding cobbled streets and brightly coloured traditional houses, it’s the perfect place to lose yourself in an afternoon of exploring, and will leave you feeling as though you’ve been transported back through time. Admire the bougainvillia-clad colonial buildings, stop for a bite to eat at one of the many tempting street stalls, and watch the world go by from one of the busy squares.
When it comes to ancient sites, Colombia’s Parque Arqueológico in San Agustín has to be one of the best in South America. Spanning 78 hectares, the park boasts 130 statues, as well as fascinating a selection of tombs – each one featuring intricate, hand-carved designs. Granted UNESCO World Heritage status back in 1995, Parque Arqueológico offers visitors a palpable insight into Colombia’s ancient civilizations, as many of the carvings and statues have been carefully preserved to retain their original state. At the park’s on site museum, you can see some of the smaller statues, as well as collections of pottery and jewelery hand made by local Masons.
If you’re a coffee-lover, no visit to Colombia would be complete without sampling some of the local blends. Pay a visit to one of the fincas (farms) in the Zona Cafetera, for the chance to learn all about how coffee is grown, harvested, blended and brewed. After a guided tour of the plantations, and a chance to pick your own beans, you’ll be taken back to the farm to see how the beans are ground and packaged, before getting the chance to try a cup or two for yourself.
Vibrant, vivacious and packed with things to see and do, Bogotá is regarded as the beating heart of Colombia, and when you visit, you’ll understand why. All around the city, you’ll see traditional architecture dating back hundreds, and even thousands of years, and when it comes to culture, you’ll be spoilt for choice too. Arguably the most famous of all the museums is Museo del Oro, which houses over 50,000 pieces of gold divided across three fascinating floors. Descriptions are in English as well as Spanish, but if you want to find out about the exhibits in more details, you can book onto one of the free guided tours
As a whole, the best time to visit Colombia is between December and March, when the rainfall is at its least. Because this is the height of season, do bear in mind that flight and accommodation prices will rise to reflect the demand.
British citizens who hold a valid UK passport can enter Colombia and stay for 90 days without a visa. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/colombia/entry-requirements.
In Colombia, the language spoken is Spanish.