This is why you should go to Colombia
From vibrant, up-and-coming cities adorned with dramatic street art to extraordinary wildlife residing in magnificent and diverse habitats, Colombia has so much to offer the discerning traveller. Below, we have selected seven spectacular photographs that illustrate some of the countless reasons to travel to this underrated South American country.
For the colonial charm
Cartagena, a beautiful colonial city on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, is a wonderful place to explore. Here, you pass the time strolling around colourful alleyways and pretty plazas, soaking in the atmosphere; or you can set out on foot with an inspiring guide to admire some amazing street art, before retreating to Casa San Agustín, a charming boutique hotel with a private beach.
For the cacao and coffee
The man pictured works at Hacienda Bambusa, a traditional cocoa farm in Quindío in the south of the Coffee Triangle. Colombia is the second-largest coffee-exporting nation after Brazil and produces some of the best-tasting beans in the world. Quindío is one of three departments in this mountainous region, the others being Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda. The most interesting time to come here is during the harvests – from April to June and October to December.
For a taste of the Caribbean
Colombia’s sun-drenched Caribbean Coast boasts palm-fringed bays, warm, turquoise water, coral reefs and some incredible islands, including Providencia (pictured) and Santa Catalina. Our favourite place to stay on the former is Monasterio del Viento, a delightful four-bedroom house, sleeping 12, right by the sea. From here, we can arrange all sorts of experiences, including a brilliant day spearfishing with a local, who will cook you your freshly caught lobster on one of the island’s deserted beaches.
For the wildlife
With the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range tumbling down to the Caribbean Sea, Tayrona National Park is one of South America’s most scenic reserves. Home to abundant monkeys and birds, such as this exquisite indigo-capped hummingbird, it is a magical place to explore on foot or on horseback, using One Love as your jungle hideaway. It’s also possible to embark on a private boat trip from Marina Santa Marta to discover the area’s best secret coves for swimming, snorkelling or scuba-diving, something we always recommend.
For the cities
The world’s third-highest capital, Bogotá, may be a little rough around the edges but it is an exciting and continually evolving metropolis with plentiful character, several museums worth visiting, bustling markets, lovely boutique hotels and a growing number of top-notch restaurants and bars.
For the landscapes
Colombia’s landscapes are breathtaking and varied, ranging from the Andean Mountains and the Amazon rainforest to the unspoilt Caribbean Coast. This photograph is taken from Hacienda Buenavista, a stunning boutique hotel in the Coffee Triangle’s Quindío department, which is surrounded by verdant mountains.
For the rich cultural heritage
One particularly memorable encounter is meeting some of the last of Colombia’s cowboys (or Llaneros) in Los Llanos, a vast grassland area south-east of Bogotá. The Llanos culture is enthralling and unknown, even by most Colombians. They still use the cattle-ranching practices inherited from Jesuit settlers in the 1800s, riding barefoot and chanting to call and calm the livestock. Music – played on the harp, the cuatro (a small guitar) and the maracas – is very important to them, and often accompanied by joropo, the local dance, which consists of fast-paced stomping and twirling. At Corocora Camp, you can gain an insight into their intriguing way of life by listening to the chants, watching horses being broken in and learning how to herd and lasso cattle. We can even organise for you to stay in a local house – a rustic but authentic and truly fascinating experience.
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