About Colombia Travel
Bogota: Colombia’s capital city sits at an elevation of 2,640 meters/8,660 feet in the Andino region. Century-old plazas and churches coexist with towering skyscrapers and peaceful tree-lined bicycle paths. Bogota is a modern and metropolitan city, home to universities and regional offices for multinational companies. The historic center is known as La Candelaria. The Gold Museum boasts an astonishing collection of pre-Colombian treasures. The northern section of the city combines upscale living with affluent shopping centers, boutiques and restaurants.
Cartagena: Cartagena was a major trading port for gold and silver going to Spain. It also had an active slave market. The old city features Spanish colonial architecture as well as Italian and republican styles. Highlights include the 16thcentury Cathedral of Cartagena, San Pedro Claver Square and the Museum of Modern Art. The 18thcentury Palace of the Inquisition is an eerie reminder of a turbulent period in world history. Built between 1639 and 1657, the Spanish-built Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas includes a network of underground tunnels constructed so that it was possible to hear the footsteps of an approaching enemy. Augustinian Fathers Convent is now the University of Cartagena. The Heredia Theater is an architectural gem fronting the Plaza de la Merced.
Coffee Zone: The cities of Armenia and Pereira stand in the center of the western region of the country in a small valley that descends from a part of the Andes. This is the heart of the coffee zone and of the Colombian culture. Touring coffee plantations allows visitors to see the complete process of growing and production – from planting seeds to sampling a cup of Colombia’s finest coffee. The Valley of Cocora is a wildlife sanctuary in the central Andean mountains and principal location of the national tree, the Quindío wax palm. Activities include hiking, bird watching, fishing, mountain biking and rafting.
Colombian Amazon: Amacayacu National Park and Marasha Reserve are reached by boat on the Amazon River. The upper forest canopy in the park varies between 30 and 50 meters/98 and 164 feet in height. Some 468 recorded species of birds and 150 aquatic mammals, including Amazonian manatee and river dolphin have been recorded. The reserve is home to the largest lily pads in the world. Zip lines offer incredible views of this lush habitat.
Indigenous Heritage Trail: San Agustin Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with ruins that include enormous stone statues. The rural town of Isnos is near two other archaeological parks: Alto de los Ídolos and the Alto de las Piedras where well-preserved tombs show some of the original paintwork. The region supports plantations of fruit, maize and coffee as well as rice paddies, cotton and wheat. Tierradentro Archaeological Park, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, reveals amazing subterranean galleries and tombs in the areas of Alto de Segovia and the Alto del Duende. Archaeological and anthropological museums explore the history of San Andrés de Pisimbalá, the Paeces community who inhabited this region. Silvia is a scenic mountain town in the center of the indigenous Guambiano scattered in villages nearby.
Medellin: During the 19th century, Medellin was a dynamic commercial center; first exporting gold, then producing and exporting coffee. It was the first in the country to take part in the Industrial Revolution. Medellin today echoes that kind of vigor. It has undergone a renewal much like the rest of the country. It is home to several universities, adding to the cultural scene and energetic nightlife. It is Colombia’s main industrial center, producing everything from designer clothing to cars. Medellin has the only aerial cables connected to a mass metro-type transport system. The city’s architecture includes five “Library Parks” that are symbols of the urban and social transformation of Medellin. Pueblito Paisa on Nutibara Hill is a replica of one of the Paisa villages of Antioquia, with colorful houses, church, courtyards, shops and cafés.
Nuqui: On the Pacific coast, Nuqiu boasts beautiful beaches, waterfalls, thick forests, mangroves and thermal springs. The area is home to the traditional Chocoan community. Scuba diving, snorkeling, jungle treks and whale watching are among the adventures available.
Santa Marta & Tayrona National Park: Founded in 1525, Santa Marta was the first Spanish settlement on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Gold was the main reason the Spanish settled here. Local Taironas were celebrated as goldsmiths. The natural harbor made it easy to ship the gold to Spain. Santa Marta is an ideal base for discovering the Santa Marta Mountains and Tayrona National Park. The park has one of the most scenic coastlines with hiking trails, beautiful beaches, secluded bays and coral reefs. It protects some 108 species of mammals and 300 species of birds as well as more than 70 types of bats.
Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral & Villa de Leyva: The name Zipaquirá refers to Zipa, the leader of the Muisca tribe and the overlord of these rich salt mines. With over 500 years of history, the mine has a large chamber with mirrors of salt water. The Salt Cathedral has 14 Stations of the Cross, an enormous cross carved into the rock and the three naves of the cathedral that represent the birth, life and death of Christ. Villa de Leyva is a beautiful town, founded in 1572. In colonial times, the Spanish Viceroy spent much time there. The city is a colonial jewel with an enormous plaza surrounded by colonial-style houses, cobblestone streets and the 17th-century parochial church.
Suggested Colombia Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Bogota, Colombia
This is a city of contrasts where century-old plazas and churches coexist with towering skyscrapers.
Day 2: Bogota
While it is one of the most modern and metropolitan cities in Latin America, its heart is the historic La Candelaria.
Day 3: Bogota/Medellin
The second largest city, Medellin enjoys art and cultural venues as well as fashionable shops and excellent cuisine.
Day 4: Medellin
Founded in 1616, Medellin was the first Colombian city to take part in the Industrial Revolution.
Day 5: Medellin/Cartagena
Once the Spanish empire’s most important Caribbean port, the city today is one of Colombia’s prettiest.
Day 6: Cartagena
The 16th-century walled colonial city and fortress has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Day 7: Cartagena/Depart
Custom Travel Options
Coffee Zone (4 days)
The center of the coffee producing region features working plantations and a wildlife sanctuary.
Colombian Amazon (3 days)
The Colombian Amazon is discovered by traveling the Amazon River.
Indigenous Heritage Trail (4 days)
Rich indigenous history is the focus of remarkable archaeological sites.
Nuqui (4 days)
Scuba diving, snorkeling, jungle treks to waterfalls and whale watching are among the activities available.
Santa Marta & Tayrona National Park (4 days)
The colonial city has cultural sights. Nearby, Tayrona National Park offers scenic coastlines.
Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral & Villa de Leyva (3 days)
The impressive Salt Cathedral has the 14 Stations of the Cross and three naves. Villa de Leyva is a colonial jewel.
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Approx. $400 - $600 per day.