Colombia holidays have grown in popularity in recent years, with intrepid travellers seeking a vibrant, lesser-visited destination with all the Latin charm of its South American neighbours. The country is blessed with beautiful coastlines, well-preserved Spanish colonial cities, fascinating pre-Columbian ruins and glorious scenery – from wild national parks to fragrant coffee plantations. Located at the northern tip of South America, Colombia is bordered by Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil to the south, and Panama to the north, meaning it can be easily built in to a longer trip.
Most holidays to Colombia begin in the capital, Bogota, set high in the Andes. Surprisingly large and well-developed – it’s the third-largest city in South America, and the third-highest after Quito and La Paz – Bogota is home to myriad universities and libraries, giving it the name the ‘Athens of South America’. Its cobblestoned centre features a number of preserved colonial-era landmarks, including the neoclassical Teatro Colon and the 17th-century church, Iglesia de San Francisco.
Another of Colombia’s attractive cities is Cartagena, located on the Caribbean coast. Most Colombia holidays feature this charming, colourful city – and indeed it should not be missed. Its relaxed atmosphere is a mix of Caribbean flavours and Latin rhythms, and in its old quarter you’ll find crumbling colonial mansions restored to their former glory and transformed into boutique hotels, restaurants and wine bars.
The country’s terrain is varied and fertile, offering plenty of scope for outdoor pursuits such as climbing, rafting, diving and trekking. Some of the continent’s best trekking can be found here, including hikes to ancient ruins and Andean peaks. On the coast, world-class reefs provide a playground for scuba divers and whale watchers alike, with Humpback whales often spotted off the Pacific Coast. Up in the highlands there are opportunities to stay on working coffee farms, where you can not only enjoy a delicious cup of the country’s rich blend, but learn about the production of the humble bean too. Alternatively, Tayrona National Park offers glorious scenery and plenty of space to relax; choose from forest-clad mountains, unspoilt white beaches or stay at a luxury eco-lodge.
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