Which word best describes this country? Enchanting. Although I haven't seen all the cities, the nature around Colombia, for me, is beautiful and widespread. If you need another reason to visit Colombia, though, I’ll give you four reasons: the food is delicious, the people are friendly and helpful, many things are cheaper in comparison to the US or European countries and, finally, the country has a rich culture that is present everywhere.
Colombia is located at the northern tip of South America, and, as many people know, it is known for producing high quality coffee. It is also famous for great artists like singer Shakira, sculptor Fernando Botero and talented novelist Gabriel García Márquez.
It’s clear that the country has a lot to offer in culture, people and cuisine, but let’s focus on the travel spots to visit. While I have not doubt that there are many beautiful locations to visit in each of the countries 33 cities, I’ve chosen just one place from each region to show you the country’s diversity.
In Colombia, you can see volcanoes, snow, a desert, rivers, mountains, buildings, beaches and vegetation. Most online searches recommend visiting Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, Cartagena or Barranquilla, but there’s so much more to the country that these locations.
1. The Amazonia Region: The Amazon
The Amazon is known as the lungs of the world, and is located in the southern end of the country. It is the perfect destination for nature lovers, but I recommend visiting the entire region because this is where you will find some of the most representative cultures of the country. Also in this region are amazing rivers that lead us to magical places located in the middle of the jungle, such as parks, nature reserves and reservations where you can meet remote populations.
Don't forget to visit the Museo Etnográfico del Hombre Amazónico, the Isla de los Micos, the Puerto Nariño, the Parque Ecológico Mundo Amazónico as well as buying handcrafted items.
Also, if you love outdoor activities: you can climb trees, walk in the jungle, practice canopy, ‘float’ on treetops and navigate the river. I personally think you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see all the flora and fauna and interact with leaders of the indigenous communities—nor the Amazon River, the world’s widest, deepest and most abundant river.
2. The Caribbean Region: Riohacha
Riohacha is the capital of La Guajira department, the northernmost department of Colombia. I chose this destination because it faces the Caribbean Sea and is alongside a desert. To reach La Guajira, you need to pass through Riohacha, which is the gateway to it. The capital was founded on August 6,1545, and is situated on the Ranchería River.
Here, you can buy handcrafted items inspired by the legacy of the indigenous Wayúu people. Besides buying handcrafted items on the touristic pier next to the sea, you can visit the Plaza de Padilla (a hero of Colombian Independence), the Wayúu settlements, the Salinas de Manaure, the beaches of Cabo de la Vela and the Taroa Dunes at Punta Gallinas.
3. The Pacific Region: Pasto
Pasto is located in the southern area of Colombia and is the capital of the Nariño department. The department is filled with many small plots cultivated with different produce, creating an amazing green landscape.
Founded in 1539, Past begins every year with happiness by celebrating the first week of January with the Carnaval de Negros y Blancos. This carnival unites people of all races.
From the capital, you can explore volcanoes, museums, churches, natural reserves and beaches. In Pasto, however, you can see the Templo de San Juan Bautista, the Estadio Libertad, the Museo Casona Taminango, the Teatro Imperial and the Volcán Galeras.
4. The Orinoco Region: La Macarena
La Macarena is a town in the Meta department, located in the center of the country. The town is located 280 km south of Bogotá. It has a beautiful place called Caño Cristales, where the water looks like a rainbow. To see the colorful river, you need to drive, take a boat and walk—the trip takes two hours. Another place to visit is La Ruta Tinigua, where you can see petroglyphs elaborated a long time ago by indigenous Guayaberos and Tinigua. You can enjoy some fishing.
5. The Andean Region: Santa Rosa de Cabal
Santa Rosa de Cabal is the gateway to the Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados, which is one tourist location you need to visit from the Risaralda department. The department is located in the western central area of the country. The town was founded on October 13,1844, and is part of the territory declared Patrimony of the Humanity by the UNESCO in 2011, the Paisaje Cultural Cafetero Colombiano.
Besides the snow in the Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados, you can visit the hot springs and taste the exquisite chorizo Santarrosano. For coffee lovers, you can learn more about the Colombian coffee by visiting the haciendas and, of course, drinking some delicious coffee. You can visit the natural reserve Parque Regional Natural Serranía Alto del Judo to see birds, waterfalls and brooks.
These are only some famous attractions: the more you discover, the more you’ll want to see. Now, buy that ticket and plan your next vacation—you won’t regret it!