Colombia Sights & Highlights
If you have about three weeks, you should not miss the following attractions in Colombia. Those traveling for less time will have a hard time – because the selection is diverse and unique.
1- Old town of Cartagena
Within the actual big city of Cartagena, including a well-preserved city wall, the old colonial settlement has been preserved, even trumped by a fortress, the Castillo de Felipe de Barajas. In addition to the many beautiful churches and squares, the Puerta del Reloj, a “clock gate” through which one enters the historic center, is also well worth seeing. As soon as you pass through, you can stroll through small cobblestone alleys, sit down in one of the delicious restaurants on the side of the street or just look at the colonial buildings in a variety of colors. You experience an extremely cozy, yet vibrant atmosphere, as if you’ve been transported back in time several centuries. Anyone visiting Colombia must stop by Cartagena, it is even said to be the most beautiful city in South America.
2- Caribbean National Park Tayrona
Near the city of Santa Marta you can find one of the most beautiful beaches of the whole continent. White sand, deep blue water and in the background the green Sierra Nevada, the highest coastal mountain range in the world – all this is simply breathtaking. In the protection of huge boulders and under shady palm trees it is wonderful to enjoy and relax – whether you are looking for swimming, sunbathing or a tasty freshly caught fish and a cold beer.
3- Vibrant capital Bogotá
In addition to Monserrat hill, which trumps the city and where the historic La Candelaria neighborhood was built, Colombia’s largest metropolitan region has much more to offer. For example, the Museo del Oro, one of the largest gold museums in the world; it impresses with over 50,000 exhibits around the noble metal. When you walk through the three floors, you think you have found a new archaeological treasure at almost every corner.
4- Ciudad Perdida
If you can and want to endure a hike of several days through dense jungle, the crossing of flowing rivers, the many mosquito bites and the exhausting heat, you should definitely do it. At the end of the strenuous tour through the dense mountains of Colombia’s Sierra Nevada, a pre-Columbian lost city rediscovered by grave robbers awaits. You almost feel like Indiana Jones walking the terraces and looking at the stone walls and steps.
5- Colonial village of Barichara
Barichara, which means “place of relaxation” in the native language, is located in the middle of green Andean hills and is probably the most picturesque village in the country. The colonial buildings, their balconies and windows planted with greenery, the winding cobblestone streets and the friendly people make a visit almost obligatory, especially if you are looking for some peace and quiet away from the big cities like Bogotá or Medellín. On National Day, at least one Colombian flag hangs on every building – here, people are proud to be Colombian. Not without reason, the happiest people in the world live in this beautiful country.
6- Visit a coffee finca in the Zona Cafetera
If you want to learn something about coffee cultivation, taste the delicious hot beverage made from freshly roasted and local beans freshly brewed on the spot and also drive through a breathtaking landscape, the Zona Cafetera is the right place for you and as an inquisitive traveler you are always welcome.
7- Carnaval de Barranquilla
After the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, this is the second largest on the entire continent. In the streets of Shakira’s hometown, people dance salsa, merengue, bachata, reggaeton or cumbia, drink mixed drinks with rum and dress up in typical open-hearted Latin manner. The costume party in the open air and in the bars and clubs of the city goes on for four days deep into the night and often has a rude awakening with a deep-seated hangover.
8- Turbulent nightlife in Medellín
In the El Poblado district and in Barrio Colombia, a paradise of bars, discos and clubs awaits the party-loving backpacker, which do not close until the early hours of the morning on weekends. La Strada is also a good place to party, but a bit more upscale, even the local celebrities can be seen here from time to time.
9- Villa de Leyva
Besides Barichara, Villa de Leyva is another village that still lives and embodies the old style. The sleepy nest is located about 150 kilometers north of Bogotá. Amidst a high valley, this neat settlement of colonial houses, plazas and churches, and down-to-earth people look forward to excited and relaxed tourists who like to show up for the town’s frequent festivities. If it is not the season, it can be quite lonely for strangers among the local people. And if it is also the rainy season, you have to spend your time reading or sleeping during the heavy thunderstorms that last for hours.
10- Action and adventure in San Gil
In addition to the beautiful places of the country, there are also very attractive places like the village of San Gil, located in the middle of nowhere. Those who come here are usually after one thing: Outdoor Fun. Whether it’s rafting, rappelling, bungee jumping, paragliding or cave tours, everyone can find their favorite adrenaline rush here. The Río Suárez, which flows through the town, is famous for its excellent rapids.