A remarkable and diverse country back on the tourist map
Bienvenido a Colombia! This wonderful country has received far fewer visitors than its South American neighbours due to civil conflict, but that’s about to change. Thankfully things are on the up and new government initiatives are turning the country around. Once word gets out that Colombia is safe to visit, there’s no doubt that people will flock to this stunning landscape. Magnificent mountains, fabulous Caribbean beaches, colourful colonial houses, Amazon jungle, interesting archaeological ruins, divergent architecture – Colombia has it all. Just as the Colombian weather changes according to the altitude, so does the culture. In the alpine capital, Bogota, skyscrapers tower over restful plazas, nightlife buzzes and the pace of life is fast. Down on the coast, life is slower and more laid-back. Jewels in Colombia’s magnificent crown include the beautiful colonial city of Cartagena, and popular Santa Maria, which is sandwiched between glorious beaches and the Andean foothills.
There is so much to see and do in Colombia that there is something for every taste and budget. Go for the Spanish colonial architecture, excellent trekking, lazy days on beautiful beaches, hospitable Colombian culture, people-watching in the plazas, and dreamlike vistas.
When to Go?
The weather in Colombia varies according to altitude. Places on the coast such as Cartagena and Santa Maria are hot and humid most of the year. In winter Bogota and other mountainous locations are cold, often dropping to single figures. Cities such as Medellin and Pereira, which are mid-altitude, are spring-like throughout the year. The busiest times to visit Columbia are around Christmas and New Year, and mid-June to mid-July.
How to get there?
There are no direct flights from the UK to Bogota’s El Dorado International airport (BOG), but there are plenty of indirect flights. The airport is 13km from the city and there are regulated taxis at the airport. There are also regular indirect international flights into Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cartagena, Pereira and the San Andres Island, along with a few smaller airports. Domestic flights are the safest and easiest way to get around the country.
Spend time in the country’s engaging capital, Bogota. Visit beautiful historic Cartagena - Colombia’s most popular tourist city - and see the colonial architecture and skyscrapers. Go to Santa Maria to relax on the gorgeous beach one day and walk in the foothills of the country’s highest mountain -- the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta - the next. Go trekking in Los Nevados National Park, the country’s highest volcanic peak. Dance the night away in one of Cali’s salsotecas. Please note: some areas of Colombia are still unsafe - please check travel advice before travelling.