Best Places to visit in Colombia

In this article, I will show you ALL the best places to go in Colombia. You will discover the must see sites, best places to go for sightseeing, best places to go for beaches, with families, and more. So if you plan to travel to Colombia, you will love this new guide.So let’s begin
Playa Cristal Tayrona Park

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Best places to visit in Colombia

Colombia has been one of the destinations we have loved the most, because there is a lot to see in Colombia, really.

It has been for a long time one of our desired trips, but for one reason or another, we have always left it “for another time”.

The country is not only big, but also very diverse in landscape, culture, indigenous areas, colonial past, mountains, beaches and Amazon jungle, what more could you ask for? There are really few countries that can offer so much in a territory of that size.

If you are planning your trip, or simply want to know what to see in Colombia, we leave you here, what are the places to see in Colombia in 15 days, that is, the ones we visited, and the other five places to see in Colombia, that we could not go, and for which we would not hesitate to return to this great country.

What to visit in Colombia

Bogotá

Bogotá is the capital of Colombia, and also, in most cases, the gateway to the country.

It has a really vibrant atmosphere, in constant movement.

It is a cold city, by Colombian standards, and because it is surrounded by mountains and its height, the clouds are almost always present.

From Bogota I’ll take the Candelaria neighborhood, the origin of the city, and probably the place where you’ll be staying.

It’s beautiful and colorful, besides having at hand the most interesting places of the city like Plaza de Bolívar with its Metropolitan Cathedral, the Justice Palace and the Colombian Parliament.

Also near La Candelaria you can climb Cerro de Monserrate where you can enjoy some of the most impressive views of Bogotá.

You won’t see where it ends, almost.

If you want to go beyond the center and surroundings of La Candelaria, we recommend you take the Transmilenio towards Usaquén, if possible on a Sunday, so you can enjoy its flea market.

We believe that the best way to get to know Bogotá is through a Free Tour, we did it.

You will go hand in hand with people who live in and know Bogota better than anyone else, as well as giving you advice that will be very useful.

Gold Museum

From the Gold Museum in Bogotá I had read about everything, from those who said it was wonderful, to others who didn’t give it any importance, to those who said that visiting it was a waste of time.

As opinions are for all tastes, you will see that I have not put it next to Bogota, but in its own section.

And I have done so because I believe that the Gold Museum deserves a separate mention, and of course my recommendation is that you go and enjoy a unique collection.

And not only that, but through this collection of gold, you will know much more about the history of Colombia, the pre-Hispanic and later.

I, personally, loved it.

Salento

From Salento, a town in the heart of the Eje Cafetero, they say it is the most beautiful town in Colombia, more than enough reason to include it in the list of places to see in Colombia.

Colorful, quiet, friendly people and a hub for moving around the rest of the Eje Cafetero.

We stayed in Salento during the days we were visiting the famous Eje Cafetero, and it was really easy to get anywhere from there.

Cocora Valley, a must see in Colombia

The Cocora Valley, I think, is the great treasure of the Eje Cafetero, along with coffee.

Here you will find the symbol tree of Colombia, the wax palm.

This huge tree rises to infinity and beyond.

Well, it’s really not that much, they reach up to 70 meters high, which is not little.

Here you can enjoy the presence of these trees, but you can also do a trekking that is really worthwhile, and a lot.

Go into a foggy forest, visit the Casa de los Colobríes, cross bridges over the Quindío River.

In short, enjoy nature in the Eje Cafetero.

Visit a coffee plantation

It seems obvious that you can’t go to a place where the star is coffee, and not visit a coffee farm.

And besides, I tell you what, it’s worth it.

We visited one near Salento, the Don Elias Coffee Farm.

It is a small family farm, where the third generation is already working on it.

The whole production process is natural and with natural products, and the result, I can assure you, is delicious.

The best coffee I have ever tasted in my life has been in this coffee farm.

And best of all, you can buy an exceptional coffee at a really low price.

In addition to enjoying a very beautiful environment.

Some coffee farms offer the possibility of staying in them, it can be a very good option, start the day with a beautiful view and the best coffee in the world in your breakfast.

Don’t forget to take out travel insurance if you travel to Colombia.

We tell you how to find the best travel insurance to travel to Colombia, and for being our reader, you can take advantage of a 5% discount by clicking here.

Travel to the Amazon

Without a doubt, traveling to the Amazon, besides realizing a dream that I had been looking for a long time, has marked me a lot, and for good.

The Colombian entrance to the Amazon is in the city of Leticia, which can only be reached by plane.

We wanted to make a stay in the Amazon different, beyond the excursions, we wanted to be closer to the indigenous communities and their culture.

A spectacular trip in itself, and a place to see in Colombia that you can’t miss.

The Amazon is the lung of our planet, knowing it, immersing myself in it, has made me even more aware of how important it is to preserve the nature of our mother nature.

If you want to know more about our adventure in the Amazon, you can take a look at this article we wrote, Leticia, gateway to the Amazon in Colombia.

Medellin

You’re going to Medellin? This is the question they asked me before I went to Colombia.

Some out of fear, others because of the attraction that a series of Netflix has created about the narcos.

Let’s see, Medellin until not many years ago, was synonymous with death, violence, drug trafficking and hell on earth.

Today, fortunately for its inhabitants, this has changed a lot.

Now Medellin is a place to see in Colombia that you shouldn’t miss.

Get lost in the Poblado neighborhood, and if possible, stay there.

In this neighborhood you will find restaurants of all kinds, you can enjoy the night for sure, rumba!

Enjoy the centre and see sculptures by Botero, many of them in the Plaza Botero, and don’t miss the Museum of Antioquia.

We leave you in this article What to see in Medellín.

Commune 13

The Comuna 13 is one of these places that not so many years ago, nobody would have imagined would be one of the most visited places in Medellin.

Let’s say that if Medellín was dangerous, Commune 13 was the epicenter of the most brutal and savage violence.

The death was companion of trip of its inhabitants, terrible.

However, today this has changed a lot, and it is possible to visit his particular outdoor graffiti museum, it is very worthwhile.

It’s not just visiting and seeing that graffiti, it’s also learning first-hand from one of the neighbors what was going on there, and how that commune has become what it is today.

We did a Free Tour with a guy who lives there.

It was a real luck to be able to walk through those streets, today colorful and happy, and understand through the graffiti the history of the place.

A sample that indicates that you can get out of the spiral of violence.

We tell you everything you need to know before you go to Commune 13.

Piedra del Peñol

Not far from Medellín, two hours by bus, you can make one of the best day trips, to reach the Piedra del Peñol.

With a certain resemblance to Sigiriya in Sri Lanka, it is a huge stone that has no shadow around it.

There are many theories about the origin of this huge rock, even aliens are talked about.

In any case, climbing its 649 steps, and enjoying the beautiful views, is really worth it.

This is another place not to be missed in Colombia.

Guatapé

Guatapé is the town that is not far from El Peñol, in fact, you can walk there, although it takes about half an hour.

Or by taking a shared willy at a good price.

This is another of the most beautiful villages in Colombia, known for its colorful baseboards, and for being very close to El Peñol.

You can get lost in the streets by guessing what the inhabitants of these streets do, deciphering the drawings on their plinths.

Like Salento, Guatapé catches you for being beautiful, for wanting to walk through it, and why not, enjoy a paisa (cholesterol through the veins) tray in one of its restaurants.

It is worthwhile to go to Guatapé, and taking into account that you can make a previous stop at Peñol, as it is an excursion you can do on your own, as you get a two in one.

You can take a look at the article where we tell you in detail how to get to these two places, Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol, what to see and what to do.

Tayrona National Park

The Tayrona National Park is another of the many crown jewels to be seen in Colombia, and of course, you can’t miss it 😉

It is on the Caribbean coast, next to the city of Santa Marta, which in this case is its gateway.

You can go trekking, swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean (be careful!! not all beaches are suitable for swimming) and perhaps see some of the indigenous people who live in this sacred place.

And as a sacred place that is, respect it.

We went there in the month of October and enjoyed a beach just for us for three days.

Another thing you should know is that, the Tayrona National Park is closed several times a year, so before you go make sure it will be open.

I think you can’t plan a trip to Colombia and not go to the Tayrona National Park.

Guajira

The Guajira is one of these places to see in Colombia, let’s say, lost in the hand of God.

It is located on a peninsula in northern Colombia, bordering Venezuela.

It is an inhospitable territory, far from the rest of Colombia.

A desert near the Tayrona National Park.

Territory of the Wayuu Indians, we wanted to get to Cabo de Vela, and sleep in one of its ranches.

It is more and more within the routes of trip to Colombia, but the difficulty is that you must hire a car with driver to take you to that Colombian Guajira.

Providence Island

There are two islands in Colombia that are closer to Nicaragua than to Colombia, since they are off the Nicaraguan coast.

These are the islands of San Andres and Providencia.

Both are said to be a kind of paradise.

And the truth is that it is not difficult to find real paradises in the Caribbean.

In many cases what is more difficult is to find paradises that are not overcrowded.

Why Providence and not San Andres?

Well, because we prefer tranquility, to be able to get in touch with the local people, and we avoid overcrowding, or islands with a lot of resorts, discos, etc.

And that’s why in our wish list of places to see in Colombia, we had added Providencia and not San Andrés.

The latter is just that, a place with a lot of tourists, where resorts and discos are the queens of salsa.

And of course, its beaches full of people.

But if you like that atmosphere, then San Andrés is the right place.

And Providencia is just the opposite, an island where its people have prevented hotel chains from entering, and it’s they who manage tourism.

It’s not like the San Blas archipelago in Panama, where the Guna Yala manage absolutely everything, and that’s why it’s the PARAISE in the Caribbean, with a capital M.

The atmosphere is very local, very authentic, colorful houses.

And as a curiosity, the language is Creole, a mixture of Spanish, English, French and other African mixtures.

We saw the same thing in Bocas del Toro, in Panama, in the small town of Old Bank, Bastimentos.

You can only get to these two islands by plane, from Bogota and from Medellin there are direct flights.

Cartagena de Indias

Cartagena de Indias is said to be the most beautiful colonial city in all of Latin America.

And if so many people say so, there’s a reason why.

We also had Cartagena de Indias on our list of places to see in Colombia, but we had to make a difficult decision, either to spend one more day in Tayrona, or to visit Cartagena de Indias.

We finally decided on Tayrona, and that decision is one more reason to return to Colombia.

Its historical center and the neighborhood of Getsemaní, are turning Cartagena de Indias into a destination that you cannot skip.

Lost City

You don’t hear much about the Lost City in Colombia, in fact, few travelers decide to go trekking until they reach that lost place, that hidden city.

The first time I heard about it, I was told that it was like visiting Machu Pichu, but more intense, more difficult and with a lot of people less.

I have it on my wish list for when we return to Colombia.

Visiting the Lost City, land of the Koguis, who are the descendants of the Tayrona, means five days of intense trekking until we reach our destination.

A hard trek, and not exactly comfortable, but what awaits you at the top seems to be well worth the effort.

Back to the Amazon

Yes, although I enjoyed the four days we spent in the Amazon, it was just that, just four days.

I would like to get to more remote places, meet more indigenous communities, learn more about them and enjoy much more of what a real jungle is, the lungs of our planet.

Fisherman near Sacambu, Amazon

Surely there are more places to see in Colombia that I have skipped, and they are reason enough to return.

If so, don’t hesitate to put it in the comments 😉

Altiplano

VISIT LETICIA (AMAZONIA)

Lotto flor, Amazon.

Market in the village of Leticia.

Leticia is the southernmost city of Colombia, lost in the heart of the Amazon.

Border with Peru and Brazil, this small port is the starting point for an excursion (a unique trip!) in the jungle.

The Amazonian forest is mythical.

Its name alone is enough to evoke images of adventure and magic.

A true reservoir of biodiversity, the forest delights visitors with its multitude of insects, animals and plants.

This life-size playground is conducive to encounters and discovery: sailing on the Amazon River, observation of multicoloured birds, Amazonian dolphins, butterfly eagles or visits to small authentic Amazonian villages.

An exotic and memorable experience!

Note: the best season is from May to October (dry season)

VISIT ARMENIA (COFFEE REGION)

Coffee beans.

Village of Salento.

Armenia, Manizales and Pereira form the “coffee triangle” where the best coffee in the world is grown.

This region, classified as a cultural landscape by UNESCO, offers green and hilly landscapes.

VISIT BOGOTÁ

Cerro Monserrate.

Paloquemao market.

A trip to Colombia usually begins with a visit to Santa Fe de Bogotá, its capital.

Bogotá is the artistic and cultural center of the country.

Nicknamed the Athens of South America because of its cultural attractions, it combines the colonial charm of the ‘Candelaria’ district with the modernity of the chic ‘Zona Rosa’.

VISIT BUCARAMANGA (BARICHARA)

Colonial road leading to Guane.

Rafting in the San Gil area.

Bucaramanga is an active commercial center (shops, restaurants, bars) and a dynamic university city.

This important metropolitan center is the (aerial) gateway to the Northern Cordillera Oriental.

The region of Santander, of which it is the capital, offers impressive scenery, beautiful typical villages and a multitude of outdoor activities.

VISIT CALI

Salsa classes.

Valle del Cauca.

Walking through the streets of the salsa capital allows you to discover the richness of the Afro-Colombian culture and to meet women reputed to be the most beautiful in the world! As the country’s 3rd largest city, Santiago de Cali offers a contemporary and cosmopolitan glimpse of Colombia, while remaining an optional stopover.

Its charm lies mainly in its various bohemian neighbourhoods (such as San Antonio), its large squares and some colonial remains.

VISIT CARTAGENA

Chateau San Felipe Barajas.

Tour of dugout canoe in the mangrove.

The “pearl of the Caribbean” largely deserves this poetic nickname, and its tropical atmosphere seduces all visitors.

Classified UNESCO, Cartagena de Indias is the tourist capital of Colombia thanks to its beaches, festivals and gastronomy.

This architectural jewel is the essential stop on a trip to Colombia.

Its emeralds, entertainment, romanticism, art and crafts add a unique touch to its strong personality.

VISIT THE ISLANDS OF SAN ANDRÉS AND PROVIDENCIA

Turquoise water of the islands of San Andrés and Providencia.

Island of San Andrés.

This archipelago, located 800 km off the coast of Colombia and 240 km off the coast of Nicaragua, is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.

The white sandy beaches and the 7 coloured waters make these small islands, called “cayos”, a paradise on earth! With their landscapes of abundantly cultivated land and the many activities on offer, they represent an ideal end to your trip to Colombia.

VISIT LETICIA (AMAZONIA)

Lotto flor, Amazon.

Market in the village of Leticia.

Leticia is the southernmost city of Colombia, lost in the heart of the Amazon.

Border with Peru and Brazil, this small port is the starting point for an excursion (a unique trip!) in the jungle.

The Amazonian forest is mythical.

Its name alone is enough to evoke images of adventure and magic.

A true reservoir of biodiversity, the forest delights visitors with its multitude of insects, animals and plants.

This life-size playground is conducive to encounters and discovery: sailing on the Amazon River, observation of multicoloured birds, Amazonian dolphins, butterfly eagles or visits to small authentic Amazonian villages.

An exotic and memorable experience!

Note: the best season is from May to October (dry season).

VISIT MEDELLIN

Emblematic statue of Botero.

Rock of El Penol and lake of Guatapé.

The “city of eternal spring”, located at an altitude of 1,500 m, owes its nickname to its ideal climate.

Second city of the country and capital of tango, Medellin is, par excellence, the most prosperous city of Colombia.

The “paisas”, the name given to the inhabitants of the region, are friendly people with a reputation for hospitality.

The city is modern, with many museums and a rich nightlife.

It is also an important university centre, which makes it young and dynamic.

It is the only city in the country to have a metro service, and a cable car runs to the surrounding mountain peaks.

VISIT MOMPOX

Floating village of Mompox.

Historic centre of Mompox.

Floating on the Magdalena River, Santa Cruz de Mompox is a colonial wonder.

Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known for its baroque architecture and its goldsmith’s workshops.

It was here in 1987 that the film from Gabriel Garcia Marques’ novel “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” was shot.

This African and South American city is a unique place in Colombia.

Best place to enjoy the festivities of Holy Week, Mompox also holds its reputation as a lively city thanks to its colorful carnivals.

Accessible after a 6 hour drive and a boat crossing, it remains a more difficult stage of access and, therefore, more authentic.

VISIT POPAYÁN

Popayan Central Square.

Guambiano Indian, in Silvia.

With its picturesque alleys, whitewashed facades and pretty paved squares, Popayán, nicknamed “the white city”, is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in the country.

The numerous churches and its world-famous Holy Week festivities are a testimony to the religious tradition and explain its nickname of “Jerusalem of Latin America”.

VISIT RIOHACHA (GUAJIRA REGION)

Desert beach of La Guajira.

Taroa dunes.

La Guajira is a department located in the extreme northeast of Colombia.

It takes its name from the peninsula of the same name.

Territory of the Wayuu community, it is famous for its tranquility and the beauty of its landscapes.

These semi-desert lands are spectacular in their relief and colors.

The scent of the end of the world delights the most adventurous and nature lovers in the wilderness.

Allow 3 to 4 days to enter the magical world of Wayus and live a unique experience.

This very authentic region is difficult to access, which makes it all the more wild and preserved from tourism.

Expect basic accommodation (hammocks or ranch beds) and long journeys on damaged trails, but a warm welcome from the local communities is reserved for you.

Avoid the rainy season (October-November) which makes access to Punta Gallinas very difficult, if not impossible.

VISIT SAN AGUSTÍN

San Agustín Archaeological Park.

Archaeological sites of La Chaquira and El Tablon and Cerro de La Pelota.

This traditional village, located in the heart of the great Andes mountain range (1,650 metres above sea level) and at the source of the powerful Magdalena River, offers a magnificent setting with many possibilities for cultural (archaeological parks) and nature visits (rafting, horseback riding, hiking…).

The Archaeological Park is the main reason for the visits: crypts sheltering gigantic stone statues, funerary dolmens and petroglyphs of a civilization mysteriously disappeared.

These enigmatic remains (covering a total of 116 ha) are grouped in three distinct sites: San Agustín Archaeological Park, Alto de los Ídolos and Alto de Las Piedras.

The region of San Agustin, although difficult to access, is an essential stop in Colombia for history and archaeology enthusiasts, but it also seduces all other tourists with its landscapes and warm atmosphere.

VISIT SANTA MARTA (TAYRONA PARK)

Palomino beach.

Minca Ecohabs, on the heights of the Sierra Nevada.

Santa Marta is the favourite seaside town of the Colombians.

It combines beauty, folklore and cultures (aboriginal traditions, population of African origin and current customs).

Thanks to its architectural heritage, Santa Marta offers a colonial and romantic atmosphere.

Located at the entrance of the Sierra Nevada, it is the stopover town for an excursion to Tayrona Park.

VISIT VILLA DE LEYVA

Main square of Villa de Leyva.

Historic centre of Villa de Leyva.

Proud to have the largest square in Colombia, Villa de Leyva is radiant.

The “white city” bathes in a colonial atmosphere where it is good to sit and watch time go by.

It is surrounded by the Candelaria Desert on one side (where the convent of the same name and place of archaeological and paleontological finds are located) and by the sacred Iguaque Lagoon (declared a sanctuary for fauna and flora) on the other.

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