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Ah, Colombia – a country with a rich history, diverse natural landscapes, and lively cities begging to be explored. Bursting with life and culture, there’s no shortage of top destinations and things to see, do, and discover – meandering through historic plazas or marveling at stunning national parks.
Let’s dive into some of the best things to do in Colombia and the crucial places that will make your trip unforgettable. Major cities like Medellin and Cartagena are booming with many digital nomads and remote workers.
The incredible culture, delicious food, and unbelievable scenery are now paired with a number of other eclectic reasons to visit. Colombia has become a lively hub in South America for nearly all things
- Best Things to Do in Colombia
- 1. Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
- 2. Museo Nacional de Colombia
- 3. Plaza de Bolívar
- 4. Salt Cathedral
- 5. Botero Museum
- 6. Parque Arqueológico Nacional de Tierradentro
- 7. Valle de Cocora
- Where to Stay in Colombia
- How to Get Around in Colombia
- Travel Tips for Visiting Colombia
- Embrace Local Cuisine
- Learn Some Spanish
- Stay Safe and Be Aware
- Be Respectful of Local Customs
- Plan Your Trip Thoughtfully
Best Things to Do in Colombia
1. Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona
Positioned along Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona is a true gem for nature lovers who visit Colombia. This fantastic national park boasts pristine sandy beaches, lush tropical rainforests, mountains, and abundant biodiversity.
The park’s two main highlights, Arrecife and Cabo San Juan, are both unmissable locations. In Tayrona, you’ll find a perfect balance of adventure and relaxation, with opportunities to hike, snorkel, swim, or unwind beneath the shade of palm trees as the waves crash within earshot.
2. Museo Nacional de Colombia
As you visit Colombia, don’t miss out on the Museo Nacional de Colombia, which houses the country’s most extensive art and history collection. Situated in Bogotá, the exhibition center features masterpieces from famous Colombian artists like Botero and fascinating pre-Columbian artifacts and historical relics. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in the core of Colombia’s unique and complex story.
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3. Plaza de Bolívar
Located at the core of Bogotá’s historic La Candelaria district, Plaza de Bolívar is an iconic landmark and a testament to Colombia’s rich cultural past. Here, you’ll find stunning colonial architecture and impressive monuments, including the statue of Simón Bolívar, the liberator of South America. Allow yourself to be transported back in time as you wander through the picturesque square, taking in the history and atmosphere shaping this captivating city.
4. Salt Cathedral
Just a short journey from Bogotá, you’ll find the breathtaking Salt Cathedral, an exquisite work of art and a testament to human ingenuity. Carved deep within the Zipaquirá salt mines, this underground marvel is a pilgrimage site and a true architectural wonder, featuring ornate sculptures and illuminations that pay tribute to the mining culture of the region.
This unforgettable destination deserves your time and is honestly a masterpiece in its own right.
5. Botero Museum
Art enthusiasts visiting Colombia are in for a treat at the Botero Museum in Bogotá. Home to an extensive collection of works by renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero, the exhibition center also houses a select range of internationally celebrated artists such as Picasso and Monet. Botero’s unique style and passion for depicting the human figure in all its forms make this museum a crucial experience destination for anyone seeking to explore the rich artistic heritage of Colombia.
6. Parque Arqueológico Nacional de Tierradentro
For those interested in archaeology and ancient cultures, the Parque Arqueológico Nacional de Tierradentro in Inza, Cauca, offers a fascinating glimpse into Colombia’s pre-Columbian past. Featuring a series of underground tombs and statues carved into the mountainside, this national park provides insight into the customs and beliefs of indigenous people who inhabited the area centuries ago. This archaeological site is a journey through time – not to be missed!
7. Valle de Cocora
A visit to the enchanting Valle de Cocora in Salento, Quindío, will undoubtedly highlight your Colombian adventure with top destinations. This mesmerizing valley is home to the country’s national tree, the towering wax palm, which can reach heights up to 60 meters.
Whether you prefer hiking through the lush greenery or horseback riding amid the stunning landscape, the Valle de Cocora offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Colombia’s coffee region.
Where to Stay in Colombia
Finding the perfect place to rest your head during your Colombian adventure is crucial. The country offers a range of accommodation options, from luxurious boutique hotels to charming guesthouses. Here are our top recommendations:
- Hotel Boutique Casa del Coliseo: Nestled in the historic heart of Cartagena, this romantic boutique hotel promises an unforgettable stay.
- Patio del Mundo: A lush, peaceful oasis in bustling Medellín, ideal for those seeking tranquility.
- Villa Maria Tayrona: A luxurious eco-lodge near Tayrona National Park – ideal for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
- Salento Real Eje Cafetero: Stay at the core of Colombia’s coffee region in this charming hotel, perfect for exploring the Valle de Cocora.
- El Solar: A cozy and comfortable guesthouse in Bogotá, perfect for exploring the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
- Finca El Paraiso: Journey into the heart of the Tatacoa Desert in this unique, off-the-beaten-path glamping experience.
- Alfiz Hotel Boutique: Embrace colonial charm and unparalleled service in one of Cartagena’s most distinguished boutique hotels.
How to Get Around in Colombia
Navigating Colombia’s diverse landscapes and bustling cities is crucial to your visit. The country offers a range of transportation options, including buses, taxis, and rideshare services.
Nonetheless, nothing beats the flexibility and freedom of having your own set of wheels. Renting a car is the best way to explore everything Colombia provides sincerely. For an excellent selection of vehicles and competitive prices, consider booking through RentalCars.com.
Travel Tips for Visiting Colombia
Colombia offers visitors countless opportunities to delve into its rich culture and unique landscapes. When planning your adventure in this incredible country, consider investing in comprehensive travel insurance through VisitorsCoverage.com to ensure peace of mind.
Embrace Local Cuisine
Colombia’s gastronomic offerings are as diverse as its landscapes. From savory soups to sweet treats, don’t miss a chance to sample the flavors that define the nation.
As your Colombia travel guide, I highly recommend heading to La Puerta Falsa in Bogotá to taste their world-renowned ajiaco or try arepas from a street vendor along the coast. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.
Learn Some Spanish
While English is spoken in some touristy areas, Colombia is Spanish-speaking. Even picking up simple words and phrases can make all the difference in your daily interactions.
Locals are often thrilled when visitors try to communicate in their native tongue, and you’ll find your travel experience enriched by your ability to connect more meaningfully with them. This will be useful if you plan to visit other South American countries.
Stay Safe and Be Aware
Although tourism in Colombia has flourished over the past decade, visitors should always remain vigilant and exercise caution. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when visiting popular tourist sites or wandering through cities at night.
Keep belongings secure, and avoid displaying valuables in public. Stay informed about the local situation, and heed any advice given by authorities or fellow travelers.
Be Respectful of Local Customs
Immerse yourself fully in the Colombian experience by appreciating and respecting its customs, food, and traditions. Show courtesy when interacting with locals, and remember that your visit is an opportunity to learn and absorb the nuances of this unique culture. For instance, Colombian people often greet others with a firm handshake, accompanied by direct eye contact – embrace this friendly gesture wholeheartedly.
Plan Your Trip Thoughtfully
Colombia is a vast and diverse country, with different regions offering vastly different experiences. Your Colombia travel guide suggests allotting ample time for tours of each area to appreciate the numerous offerings genuinely. The Andean region, the Caribbean coast, and the Amazon rainforest all beckon visitors with their distinct beauty and adventures – so plan accordingly to make the most of your trip.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.