Colombia Travel Guides

Colombia travel guides is an introduction to the best areas that Colombia has to offer. We have tried to write about the areas that we think you will want to know about and hopefully this will be able to make planning for your trip that much easier.

Colombia travel is an outstanding experience and Colombia is an absolutely beautiful country with a truly unique feel. You have the relaxed, Afro-Caribbean feel to the coast in the north of the country, there is the Andean region in which you have the capital, Bogota as well as the Amazonian region around Leticia, which is only accessible via plane or boat.

Colombia travel guides is a brief summary to the major cities and regions – for further information on specific Colombia Attractions there is a more detailed page for you.

Colombia Travel Guides: Bogota

We really have to start with the capital, Bogota. Bogota is situated in the lower foothills of the Andes but is still very much a city at altitude. This can have a pretty significant effect on the body but travellers should not be put off by this. Whilst working on the Colombia guide we had no issues with altitude - it's not as noticable as in La Paz.

The streets of Bogota
The streets of Bogota

Bogota has a real culture of a city that likes to enjoy itself. There are a huge amount of great restaurants, bars and nightclubs that really have to be seen to be believed. As well as the great nightlife in this city, there is a fantastic array of more cultured things to keep you entertained. Colombia travel guides would particularly recommend visiting the Gold Museum on the corner of Carrera 5 and 16th Street; we thought that this was a great place to visit and it is easy to walk there from most hostels in Bogota. Other museums worth looking around are the Botero Museum, the Police Museum and the National Museum.

The Bogota Gold Museum
The Bogota Gold Museum

As the picture below might suggest, we would definitely recommend taking the cable car, a.k.a. the telefrico, to Monserrate. This gives you a great view of the city and is based seen at sunset so that you get to see Bogota in both sunshine and then the night as well.

View over Bogota from Monserrate
View over Bogota from Monserrate

Colombia Travel Guides: Cali

Cali is a great place to spend some time and is probably first on the list if you cross the border from Ecuador into Colombia. Cali is not at an altitude and as a result the weather is pretty decent all year round.

Cali is a city that has managed to create an international reputation for loving parties, the most beautiful women in Colombia and also the Colombian home of Salsa dancing. As a result of those three aspects of their reputation it should perhaps come as no surprise that it is exceptionally easy to find yourself up all night dancing in the great bars and clubs that Cali has to offer.

They also have a good football team called Deportivo Cali and the matches are meant to be incredibly exciting. We never went to a game so can’t really judge on the safety aspect but as always, just use your common sense and speak to people in the hostels for advice.

Colombia Travel Guides: Medellin

Medellin...infamous around the world for being the home of notorious gangster and drug lord Pablo Escobar. Luckily for everyone involved, gone are the days of newspaper headlines spouting negative stories about this place and the city has blossomed in recent years and is regarded as one of the safest destinations on the continent, which again, must be taken with an understanding that common sense is an absolute necessity!

Medellin has an advanced and exceptionally useful metro system that is safe and allows easy access to the different tourist attractions throughout the city. There are so many interesting things to do in Medellin and as with much of Colombia there is a stunning nightlife.

Paragliding is one of the more popular tourist activities and most hostels will cater for this with customised tours and trips to make your lives easier.

Colombia travel guides: Cartagena and the Caribbean Coast

Without doubt our favourite part of the trip to Colombia was the 6 – 8 weeks spent in Cartagena, Santa Marta, Parque Tayrona and Taganga. The Caribbean coast is just stunning, the temperature is very hot, the locals are friendly and there is a real relaxed vibe throughout. Many evenings are spent on the hostels roof-top terraces sipping away at rum with the rest of the hostel occupants. Make sure you’ve got some Bob Marley on your MP3 player!

Cartagena
Cartagena

Cartagena is an absolute must-see city. The old town is surrounded by huge citadel walls and each corner that you turn around bring something new to be amazed by. Colombia travel guides would definitely recommend taking a late-afternoon walk along the old city-walls culminating with a coffee or something in one of the restaurants and bars there, overlooking the sea at sunset. We will be writing a detailed Cartagena guide in the coming weeks.

Another view of Cartagena
Cartagena II

One of the best day-trips to do from Cartagena is to Playa Blanca. This can be reached via water taxi’s leaving the port every morning and is well worth a visit. Playa Blanca is a tiny island with a few “restaurants” which are more akin to small huts but the sea food that they produce is exceptional. There isn’t much else here apart from a gorgeous beach so make sure you bring water, sun cream and the other essentials.

Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca

Elsewhere on the Caribbean coast that is worth visiting it Santa Marta. Whilst contributing towards Colombia travel guides we spent a long time using Santa Marta as a base for lots of interesting trips to places such as Tayrona National Park, Taganga and Sierra Nevada National Park for the Lost City trek.

Santa Marta is worth a visit in itself, it is a nice little town with a cool strip of restaurants and bars along the sea front. It has a colonial feel to it with a large church right in the middle of town and is a fun place to base yourself.

Importantly, in Santa Marta there are loads of places to buy supplies from the pharmacies and supermarkets. This is particularly important if you are about to do the Lost City trek where it is absolutely vital that you have water purifying tablets and mosquito repellent.

Susnet over Santa Marta
Sunset over Santa Marta

Tayrona National Park is a great place to visit. To get there, you will have to go through the local market in Santa Marta to catch a bus that will take you to the entrance of the park. From here, it is a 45 minute trek through the jungle to the stunning beaches. Do not worry though, there are lots of signposts to help you. Colombia travel guides thought that the best place to stay in the national park is the Tayrona Cabanas, which is a place where you pay minimal amount of money to sleep in a hammock right by the beach. It really is stunning. For more information, as always, you will be able to ask advice from your hostel.

Tayrona National Park
Tayrona National Park

Taganga is a great place to go if you like being outside of a large town and certainly worth a visit if you are a SCUBA diving enthusiast. There are loads of good SCUBA schools offering individual dives or PADI qualifications. It is always worth checking out their PADI rating online before signing up for a course but on the whole these are all very good. I did my PADI Advanced Open Water in Taganga which included a night dive – definitely one of the best dives that I have ever done. There are also some good bars here that are worth visiting.

SCUBA diving in Taganga
SCUBA diving in Taganga

The Lost City Trek is incredible. Quite simply, it is one of the best trips that I have ever done and I cannot recommend it enough. For a good, day-by-day guide to the trek, please have a look at this page as part of our greater Colombia advice: Lost City Trek