If there is one South American country that is just waiting to be discovered in 2018, it would have to be Colombia. A fabulous holiday destination for intrepid travellers of every age, Colombia offers a diversity of landscapes that you simply will not find in other parts of the continent, and while it has a turbulent past of civil conflict, drug lords and violence, the country is now more stable than ever before.
Image source: http://www.colombia.travel
Colombian tourism has grown more than 250% since 2006, and with increased flight services from many US airports and international cities, that number is set to increase in 2018. Offering so much more than coffee plantations and year-round sunshine, Colombia is home to magnificent sun-drenched beaches, archaeological ruins, cosmopolitan cities, quaint colonial towns, the Amazon Rainforest, and an eclectic mix of people who are ready to welcome you with open arms.
A fantastic destination for adventurous travellers who appreciate natural beauty, Colombia offers endless hiking trails through national parks, one can swim in both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and as it shares its borders with five other South American countries, namely Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Panama, it is the perfect starting point for any multi-destination holiday.
Many people start their Colombian journey in the capital city of Bogotá. A city steeped in history and culture, it boasts resplendent churches, fine museums, great shopping opportunities and some of the liveliest nightlife in South America. While perhaps not the place to spend more than a few days, Bogotá is certainly worth a visit, and a great starting point for any South American adventure.
The city of Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a ‘must see’ for anyone visiting Colombia. Sitting on the Caribbean coast, this picture-postcard perfect city is filled with boutique hotels, pavement cafes and leafy plazas where one can sit back and relax with a glass of aguardiente and watch the world go by.
From Cartagena, you can head out to the majestic islands of San Andres and Providencia, where sandy beaches and the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean come as standard. If Amazonian adventures are more your thing, head on down to Leticia, Colombia’s gateway town to the Amazon rainforest, where you can catch boat connections to both Manaus in Brazil and Iquitos in Peru.
The ultimate destination of coffee connoisseurs, Colombia makes some of the finest coffee in the world. If you head inland to Pereira, a beautiful university city located in the middle of a triangle formed by Colombia’s three main cities Bogotá, Medellin and Cali, you take a coffee tour through one of the many plantations, before indulging your senses and your taste buds with a freshly made brew.
There are too many national parks in Colombia to list, but they are all worth a visit, and whether you have a week or a year, Colombia has enough going on to keep you entertained.
The FCO still advises against travel to certain areas of Colombia, but as with any country in world, if you stick to “safe zones”, avoid rural areas surrounding the borders (specifically Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador), and use common sense, you can travel safely throughout Colombia.