When you consider everything it has to offer, it’s easy to see why this country is one of Jacada’s favourite destinations in Latin America. To help you get inspired for your next adventure, we’ve asked the Jacada travel designers to tell us the top reasons to visit Colombia.
Why Visit Colombia?
Colombia is a traveller’s dream, offering endless opportunities for adventure. It also promises an abundance of delicious food, vibrant festivals, fantastic wildlife, idyllic beaches and inspiring art. Add to that its impressive commitment to sustainability, and the real question isn’t whether or not you should visit – it’s ‘what are you waiting for?’
1. Fascinating Wildlife & Nature
Colombia is one of the most ecologically diverse places on earth; it’s teeming with incredible plants and animals and a vast array of ecosystems. The Tayrona Region features lush coastal rainforests that are home to hundreds of species, while the Colombian Amazon is a nature-lover’s dream come true.
In the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta you’ll encounter all kinds of animals, from jaguars to otters. The tropical grasslands of Los Llanos are a haven for water birds, big cats and many other mammals. No matter which corner of the country you’re in, you’ll find magnificent wilderness areas where the world’s natural wonders are on full display.
2. Delicious Coffee & Food
Colombian coffee is renowned across the globe for its exceptional quality, and here you can sample it straight from the source. There are coffee plantations all over the country, but most beans are grown in the Coffee Triangle. In this region you can not only learn about the industry, but also enjoy outdoor activities and luxurious hotels like Hacienda Bambusa.
Some of Colombia’s best cuisine can be found in the capital of Bogotá. Here you can dine at world-class restaurants or hole-in-the-wall classics, shop for fresh produce at local markets or even take a cooking class at a local house. Medellín is also an ideal destination for foodies.
3. Thriving Art Scene
Colombia’s bigger cities have blossoming art scenes. In Bogotá’s La Macarena and San Felipe neighbourhoods, large galleries and small studios showcase the work of local creators. Medellínis notable for its street art; in Comuna 13, colourful murals reflect the transformation of this once-infamous area. Don’t miss Fernando Botero’s famous bronze sculptures, either.
There’s also plenty of art to appreciate outside of the urban centres. The charming town of Barichara is practically a work of art in itself. It’s also full of local artisans who will welcome you into their studios to show you their crafts, such as traditional papermaking.
4. Beautiful Beaches & Hidden Islands
The coast of Colombia seems straight out of a postcard; picture white sand beaches, turquoise waters and swaying palm trees. In the Tayrona Region, the private villa of Kasamar provides stunning views of both the sea and the jungle, plus two swimming pools
Speaking of hidden getaways, there’s a true tropical paradise to be found off the coast of Cartagena: the Rosario Islands. This archipelago is part of a national park that’s dedicated to preserving its brilliant coral reefs and crystalline waters. Isla Barú is an especially great place to stay if you’re looking for secluded luxury.
5. Vibrant Festivals
With nearly 20 national holidays and countless local festivals, Colombia certainly knows how to celebrate. Medellín’s Feria de las Flores (Flowers Festival) is an explosion of colour that includes a pageant and a parade, while the Feria de Manizales brings the heart of the Coffee Triangle to life at the beginning of each year.
You can’t talk about Colombian festivals without mentioning the Carnaval de Barranquilla, one of the world’s biggest carnival celebrations. If you want to experience this spectacular event for yourself, the best time to visit Colombia is in February or March.
6. Extraordinary Adventures
It’s exceptionally easy – and rewarding – to get off the beaten track in Colombia. Small towns like Baricharaand Villa de Leyvaoffer a refreshing change of pace and plenty of local charm. They can also be the gateway to more remote adventures; hike the Camino Real from Barichara to Guane to see pristine landscapes and visit lovely villages.
Los Llanos is also full of untouched nature to navigate, including the rushing rivers and waterfalls of the Serranía de la Macarena national park. For the boldest explorers, Colombia’s Pacific Coast is a truly isolated and authentic destination.
7. Captivating Culture
Colombian culture is an eclectic collection of influences from other continents as well as Indigenous groups. Many of its most iconic traditions flourish in Cartagena, including salsa dancing and rum production. This is a wonderful city to experience by night, with a festive evening atmosphere and live music around every corner.
Beyond Cartagena, you can get to know the traditional folk music of Los Llanos, visit Indigenous communities in the Amazon or tour Palenque to learn about Afro-Colombian history. Literature lovers can also visit some of the sites that inspired Gabriel García Márquez.
8. Inspiring Sustainability
As if there wasn’t enough to love about Colombia already, it’s one of South America’s best spots for responsible travel. This country is leading the way in environmental protection, cultural preservation and sustainable accommodation. It has 27 tourist destinations that are certified as sustainable, including La Candelaria in Bogotá.
Here sustainability isn’t just an idea – it’s an integral part of public policy and tourism. You can experience the effects of this commitment firsthand at environmentally conscious hotels like Las Islas, which supports marine habitat conservation and the development of local communities.
This post was originally published by Jacada Travel.