Colombia is blessed with natural beauty – think high Andean peaks, Caribbean beaches, pristine Amazon jungle – not to mention mysterious archaeological sites, colonial treasures and thriving cities.

Named after Christopher Columbus, Colombia is one of South America’s hidden gems, adorned with magnificent landscapes and coasts on both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as well as tropical rainforests and snow-capped Andean peaks that tower over fertile valleys.

From an historical standpoint, few Latin countries boast better museums or more exquisite colonial architecture. Colombians are proud of their cultural and intellectual tradition that has borne Nobel prize winning writers such as Gabriel García Márquez and artists such as Fernando Botero. The country boasts a rich variety of native musical styles and a population that is ethnically diverse and always ready to greet you with outstretched arms.

The capital Bogotá is an easy city to while away a couple of days on arrival. The historic centre known as Candelaria has an interesting mix of old colonial buildings with churches, cafes and museums which sit alongside modern structures. For a lateral diversion head to Zipaquira and visit the bizarre underground Church, built in a tunnel of salt mines. The Gold Museum is an absolute must see as well.

Colourful Cartagena is a must visit for anyone wanting a Caribbean coastal setting combined with Spanish colonial architecture. It is a beautifully preserved town and as such is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bustling streets house many monuments and museums to fill the day as well as tranquil bars ready with sundowners, hammocks, fantastic seafood restaurants and salsa clubs which come alive at the weekends.

East of Cartagena, head into the nearby mountains on horseback and experience the beautiful Tayrona National Park where you’ll find hidden beaches and a true off the beaten track setting. A perfect island escape is Providencia Island a wonderfully remote and traditional Caribbean island with beautiful scenery, gorgeous golden-sand beaches, friendly locals and superb diving.  Other highlights include the whitewashed village of Villa de Leyva, Medellin and nearby colonial Santa Fe de Antioquia. For the ultimate lateral trip head into the depths of the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Nature lovers can discover a huge range of ecosystems, from the Amazon rainforest near Leticia to the tropical islands of San Andres and Providencia, and the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.


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