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Exploring Colombia | 6 Places You Need to Experience

colombia_what_to_do_and_see Highlights from my trip to Colombia
I just returned from two warm and sunny weeks of travel in Colombia, exploring the bustling cities of Bogotá and Medellín, charming colonial highland towns, wildlife-filled llanos grasslands, and the incredible Caribbean coastline. I can't recommend it enough! Still vastly undiscovered by travelers, Colombia has so much to offer: varied climates, endemic wildlife, indigenous cultures, friendly people, beaches, mountains and so much more. In fact, Colombia is the second most biologically diverse country in the world. Here are 6 places from my trip that you shouldn't miss:

1. Medellín
- My favorite city in Colombia

Infamously known as the home of Pablo Escobar, Medellín is now known as the City of Eternal Spring, and has transformed itself into an award winning metropolis, with incredible street art, music, pedestrian walks and a sophisticated transit system linking rail, cable cars and escalators. I was swept off my feet by warm invitations to walk among neighborhood barrios to explore the nature parks, markets, street food, coffee and so much more. With a number of great day trips nearby, you could easily spend 3-4 days there. Read more about Medellín

2. Bogotá - Markets and Museums

The 3rd highest capital in the world, Bogotá is nestled in the Andean highlands at 8,675 ft. I loved visiting Paloquemao market, trying all of the exotic fruits and learning about Bogotá's exciting gastronomy scene. The Gold Museum was the best I've ever seen and the Botero Museum was worth a whole afternoon. If you're there on a Sunday, don't miss riding the cyclovia with the locals and La Candelaria, the old part of town, is great if you want to explore on your own. Watch our 90 second Bogotá Video

3. Colonial Towns - Barichara & Villa de Leyva

In the colonial town of Barichara, I had a blast biking country roads and hiking on the Guane Royal Road, a network of stone trails with spectacular views. At night, I loved strolling the quiet streets and enjoying local dishes and music. Villa de Leyva on the other hand, had a vibrant night scene, with lots of local Colombians and travelers walking its cobblestone streets enjoying the music and food. Both UNESCO towns are great bases for adventures such as horseback riding, rafting, hiking, cultural experiences and more. If you have the time, I recommend visiting both! Read more about Colombia's Colonial Towns

4. Los Llanos - Wildlife Paradise

In Los Llanos, I experienced ranch life and the cowboy culture of Colombia, and so much wildlife. Los Hatos (vast grassland plains) are like the Serengeti of South America, rich with deer, caimans, wild pigs, anteater, armadillos, huge herds of capybara, and much more. For those who seek out wildlife and enjoy bird watching, it's paradise. Combine that with luxury tents, great gastronomy, outstanding service, amazing sunsets and endless sundowners and it makes for a truly special experience. Read more about Colombia's Cowboy Region 

5. Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park, on the north coast of Colombia, protects a vast swath of rain forest and some of the most beautiful palm-fringed Caribbean coves and beaches of South America. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains tower 18,700' above the coastal lowlands of the park, resulting in one the most spectacular and biologically diverse landscapes on Earth. Here, the native Kogi live in small communities among sacred archaelolical sites hidden in the jungle, and the area is famous for bird watching. I highly recommend Tayrona for its wildlife, spectacular landscapes and indigenous culture! Read more about how to visit Tayrona National Park 

6. Cartagena - History

The walled "old town" of Cartagena, founded in 1533, was once a strategic port, often attacked by pirates and European powers competing for control of the "New World". Steeped in history, it now offers visitors charming colonial boutique hotels, sophisticated cafes (where I could relax all day), museums, and great shopping. And the beaches are among some of the finest I've seen, which is saying a lot, as a native Costa Rican! The picture perfect sunsets over the Caribbean made it the ideal place to end my trip to this incredible country. Watch our Cartegena Travel Video

Call me with any questions about our trips to Colombia and read some of our recent travelers guest reviews from Colombia. They will tell you, "book your trip to Colombia as soon as you can!"
Keeping it wild, 

Grettel Calderon

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Colombia's Cowboy Region: Los Llanos

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