Colombia is a country of many eco-systems, from Amazonian jungles to the snow-capped Andes, whilst the country’s human heritage includes the remains of pre-Colombian civilisations and beautiful Spanish colonial architecture. The nation stretches from the Caribbean to the Pacific and the Colombia capital Bogota sits on a plateau high among the mountains.
Magical Cartagena was once a stronghold of the conquistadores and luckily for us, much of the old city and its mighty fortifications have been well-preserved. There are plenty of things to do in Cartagena, such as walking the walls, streets and plazas. Soaking up the atmosphere is all.
As it is a nation of great diversity, it is not surprising that Colombia has a great many festivals including its very own Barranquilla Carnival. Cali, in the south, has its fair (La Feria de Cali) and, if you like your Latin music, the World Salsa Festival in August. Medellin is known for its Feria de las flores (flower festival).
The Ciudad Perdida or “Lost City” in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Santa Marta was once part of the Tairona civilisation that was destroyed by the Spanish. They settled first at Santa Marta and soon after in Cartagena, establishing the Viceroyalty of New Granada. This lasted until Simon Bolivar’s forces from Venezuela defeated the regional Spanish army at Boyacá in 1819. Colombia came out of the breakup of the Federation of Gran Colombia in 1830.
A city with a year-round Mediterranean climate that has been reborn in recent years due to inclusive urban planning. The central plaza is filled with the sculptures of the artist Botero. For natural beauty, there are the botanical gardens and the trails of Park Arvi on the city’s outskirts. The state museum and the art museum are worth a visit too.
The Colombian peso is freely convertible and prices are very reasonable. Many large urban centres have a strong police presence and incidents of crime against visitors are infrequent. Nevertheless, be aware that some areas of the country (these tend to be well away from tourist zones) have travel advisories on them. In urban centres, take sensible precautions in crowded places and after dark – read our Safety in Latin America tips. Before you go, read up on the latest situation in sites like: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/colombia.
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