Dive head first into a cacophony of sites, tastes and cultures across the diverse landscapes of Colombia- from the heights of the Andes to the shimmering Caribbean coastline.
A cosmopolitan city of more than 8 million people, Bogota sits high up in the Andes Mountain Range – 8,660 feet above sea level. This plateau city enjoys beautiful mountain views and a mild climate. Bogota has been the epicenter of Colombia’s dramatic yet fascinating history, so visiting it is the best way to understand the country’s tough past and recent revival.
Bogotá is gaining worldwide recognition, particularly as a top gastronomic destination in Latin America. International and Colombian chefs that have trained abroad are flocking to Bogota to start exquisite restaurants with impeccable style and design. Furthermore, Bogotá’s sophisticated hotels, chic boutiques, designer shops, and thriving nightlife are turning Bogotá into what the international press is calling ‘South America’s next capital of cool’.
To see the best Bogota has to offer, waking up early is a must, especially if you want to catch the very best there is to see at the vibrant Paloquemao Market. Described as Bogotá's mecca of food, it brings together purveyors of flowers, meat, vegetables, fruits, packaged goods and seafood from all over Colombia.
This is one of the most important marketplaces in the country, where you can taste an infinite number of luscious fruits and get a chance to see some of the most colorful, exotic flowers in the world. In between snacking and sampling new produce, you can also opt to buy bottles of colorful potions that serve different purposes, such as attracting romance or money, scaring off spirits, increasing good luck, and communicating with the deceased.
The historic Colombia Peace Agreement, signed in 2016, signified a historic turning point in an armed conflict that lasted more than 50 years, and set forth a new future for the people of Colombia. Now, Colombia is at a crucial moment which will define its path for future decades. As a traveler, immerse yourself in the culture and learn the transformative history of the region from the locals.
Visit the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria, where you will hear about the Colombian geography and its relevance to the country's history. Visit important places in the country’s history and hear the voices of some true peace weavers, leaders that have managed to transform their community’s livelihood from coca plantation to cacao or coffee crops, ensuring the sustainability of their culture and lands.
Renowned Chef Leo Espinosa and daughter Sommelier Laura Hernandez Espinosa take an exosystemic and anthropological approach to portray Colombia’s gastronomy in their restaurant: Leo . With the support of biologists, anthropologists, producers and growers, the restaurant’s menu is based on local products and ancestral knowledge.
Part of the restaurant's profits support the owner's foundation "FUNLEO" that invests in the social and economic development of Colombian communities. Leo has made the list of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World, and Leo herself won Best Woman Chef in Latin America in 2017 and was named Best Woman Chef in the World in 2022.
The Colombian Coffee Triangle, also known as the Coffee Zone or Coffee Belt, consists of three Colombian departments: Caldas, Risaralda and Quindio. This region is famous for producing most Colombian coffee, often considered the best in the world. It is also a simply beautiful place to visit.
The Coffee Zone is considered by many travelers to be the most beautiful region of the country, with its mild spring-like climate year-round, friendly people and breathtaking natural beauty. In 2011, UNESCO added this area to its list of World Heritage Sites due to the beautiful scenery of lush, mountainous landscapes and coffee plantations, coupled with the traditional architecture of terracotta-roofed farmhouses.
Take a ride on a Willys Jeep through the coffee landscapes and visit the small towns of Salento and Finlandia, where you can explore interesting and historic architecture. The traditional villages of Salento and Finlandia are set on the Andes highlands, surrounded by coffee plantations, and filled with colorful houses. These coffee villages impress with their cobblestoned streets and notably colorful architecture dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Get a chance to enjoy the breathtaking Cocora Valley, where one can find some of the tallest wax palms in the world (up to 230 feet in height) amid a luscious green panorama. Take a walk in this beautiful landscape to enjoy unforgettable, breathtaking views.
Become a coffee master in the heart of one of the most famous coffee-producing countries on Earth. You will have the opportunity to discover Colombia through the different flavors of its exquisite coffee. Master the science of coffee from the seed to a finely prepared cup and learn about the culture, history, and the way in which coffee became a defining symbol for the Colombian people. Immerse yourself in the world of specialty coffees and explore an array of flavors through innovative textures and brewing methods.
Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was founded by Spanish explorers in 1533. The city is a stunning example of Spanish colonial architecture, African culture, and Amerindian heritage. It’s cobblestoned streets are lined with brightly colored colonial buildings, home to some of South America’s most exquisite restaurants, hotels and boutiques, which flaunt world-class interior design, service, and cuisine.
The Rosario Islands (or Rosary Islands) are an archipelago located on the Colombian Caribbean coast, an hour from Cartagena. They are part of the Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park. Primarily underwater, the islands and surrounding waters are remarkably well preserved and protected, meaning that you can enjoy their wonders as nature intended.
Cartagena is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the Americas. Its historic center, walled by the fortifications built in colonial times to protect the city from pirates, has preserved its original architecture, which is displayed today in endless colors that fill it with life and Caribbean joy.
Head to the historic city center to visit important landmarks, historic squares, imposing bastions, and colorful city streets, while learning about its intricate history. Afterward, visit the Fort of San Felipe de Barajas, the largest fortification built by the Spanish in their colonies. Appreciate this masterpiece of military architecture made from coral stone and understand the strategy used by the city to defends itself from pirates and other rivals.
The warmth and palate-pleasing tastes of Cartagena’s cuisine come right from the generosity of the local cooks who celebrate their culture with joy and passion using fresh ingredients and flavors old and new, all with the care and dedication served in their traditional cauldrons every single day. In one local restaurant, alongside the chef, prepare some of the most authentic dishes from Cartagena’s recipe books and create decadent pairings that'll have you craving for more. Learn from an expert mixologist about the history and characteristics of the varietals of the Caribbean’s most famous drink: rum. This journey of flavors will take you through a tasting of different Colombian rums, with a few classified as some of the best in the world.
Take a speed boat, a private catamaran or yacht and navigate towards the Rosary Islands. Think beach days, snorkeling adventures, and cocktail sunsets. Grab a kayak to explore the Caribbean Sea, journey through the mangroves before snorkeling coral reefs, grab a rod to go sport fishing, witness phosphorescent plankton at the Enchanted Lagoon, or simply enjoy quiet and refreshing time at the beach.
While Cartagena may receive all the attention as the most cosmopolitan and best preserved of Colombia’s colonial cities, it is Santa Marta that lays claim to being the oldest city. Founded in 1525, eight years before Cartagena, the city was the first Spanish colony in South America. Set along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Caribbean Sea, it is a gateway to Colombian’s most gorgeous jungle hikes, beaches, and wildlife. The biodiversity of this region is incredible, thanks to the different altitudes found along the coast. The region is home to the highest coastal mountain range in the world, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, rising up to 5,775 feet. Sixteen rivers are born in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and the wildlife is diverse with jaguars, tapirs, deer moor and condors, among others, calling the region home.
There aren’t too many places in the world where you can sip a tropical cocktail on a Caribbean beach and see snowcapped mountains in the distance. The jungles surrounding the small towns of Buritaca and Palomino are part of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, named one of the planet’s most important ecological areas by National Geographic.
Enjoy tubing down one of the many rivers that originate in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada that slowly make their way to the Caribbean Sea. Or saddle up a horse and gallop along the beach and waves while visiting both jungle, rivers, mountains, and beach, all in one ride!
Ciudad Perdida, or The Lost City, is an ancient settlement of the Tayrona civilization and is considered, along with Machu Picchu, as one of the most important archaeological sites in South America. The ancient settlement includes a complex system of paved roads, stairs and walls interconnected by a series of terraces and platforms on which ceremonial centers, houses, and storage sites were built.
Normally it would take 4-5 hiking days to get to the Lost City; however, a helicopter flight takes just 15 minutes! The helicopter will fly above this settlement, allowing you to see the multiple terraces, luscious jungle, and stunning landscape views.
Four indigenous groups (Kankuamo, Kogui, Wiwa and Arhuaco) currently inhabit the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and its coastal and lagoon zones. These natives live in remote villages where they have maintained their cultures and traditions for thousands of years. Other extinct indigenous tribes have also left their priceless remnants within these ancient cities, that are now beautifully protected and beloved archaeological sites.
Set off on a 4x4 expedition to meet one of the indigenous communities in the region. Learn about their local culture, beliefs, and customs. Out of an abundance of respect, no photographs should be taken unless you are granted permission.