Colombia is often over-looked when it comes to travel destinations, due to its violent past. However, the country has transformed in recent years and is definitely worth visiting and embracing. The strength and resilience of its people shows in every city or town you visit! The country is absolutely bursting with colour, culture, art and friendly people! Not to mention the unbelievable natural scenery and opportunities for adventures. From jungle trekking to beach chilling to Andean foothill hiking, this country is not to be missed.
- Salento – Boasting some of the tallest palm trees in the world, Salento (and adjacent Cocora Valley) are home to beautiful, lush green scenery and astounding views. The quaint, colourful town filled with shops and art is a treat to stroll through. It’s a great place to use as home base to hike through the wax palm trees and explore the delicious coffee region of Colombia!
- Medellín – If you want to truly experience Colombia, you can’t miss visiting Medellín. Learn the history of what used to be the most dangerous city in the world, due to the violent drug trade and notorious criminals like Pablo Escobar. Now a thriving city, you can see first hand how it has rebuilt itself through education and creative innovation.
- Minca – Nestled in the coastal mountains of northern Colombia, this small two road town was the highlight of our trip. Deep green rainforest surrounds you as you spend your days hiking to sparkling waterfalls, bird watching and experiencing amazing sunsets. Budget some time to stay one or two days in a hostel up in the mountains, and you’ll never want to leave!
Worth a Trip
- Taganga – This small seaside town is often overlooked, but its simplicity definitely drew us in and reminded us of the beach towns in South East Asia. Nestled in a bay and surrounded by beaches and turquoise water, we were happy to relax and enjoy the Caribbean sun without the hustle and bustle of nearby city, Santa Marta. It also boasts some of the cheapest diving in the world, so put this one on your list!
- Cartagena – Though much more touristy and extremely hot, this seaside city is rich in street art, delicious food and history. Take a walk along the old city walls and watch the sunset, stroll the cute and colourful streets and use it as a base to head to nearby beaches and perhaps the Rosario Islands!
- Guatapé – The most colourful town in Colombia (which is saying something), this fun town is worth a day trip or one night stay to enjoy delicious coffee, live music, lovely little shops and the vibrant streets. Climb to the top of El Peñon for an awesome view of Colombia’s “cottage country”.
- Tayrona National Park – Colombia’s national park boasts beautiful beaches, awesome hikes and turquoise water. However, the hike itself was muddy and hard work! Worth it if you want that rustic camping experience. Go early to get a hammock!
Just Pass Through
- Ipiales – A small town on the border of Colombia and Ecuador, this town doesn’t have much to offer except one church built over top of a cliff/canyon that gives us Hogwarts, Harry Potter vibes! If you can time it right, head to see the church before or after your boarder crossing, but you don’t need to stay longer than an hour!
- Santa Marta – This bustling city is used as a base for travellers to get to nearby Tayrona, Minca and Taganga, all very worthy places! However, Santa Marta itself doesn’t have much to offer with the exception of a few fun restaurants. Don’t worry about budgeting any time for this place, get in, and then move on to other awesome destinations nearby!
- Armenia – This is the city you will travel to in order to get to Salento. It’s a nice city with tons of awesome food, but doesn’t offer a ton right now for tourists (though it is on the rise!). Hop on your forty minute bus ride and stay in Salento instead!