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wonderful issues I’ve seen and accomplished


 

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My first Colombia solo journey was in 2013 after I began backpacking South America for 3.5 years. Since then, Colombia has been my favourite Latin American nation and on this information, I’ll share with you my years of expertise in Colombia journey. 

Reader Mail: Pricey Trisha! I adopted you in 2015 as really useful by a buddy right here in Finland. I like what you do and you’ve got fueled my need to journey to South America!

I plan to go to Colombia first however this nation is so massive I don’t know the place to start out! Are you able to please advocate one of the best locations to go to in Colombia?

Like those that I shouldn’t miss? I like the outside and Colombia seems to be prefer it has loads of it! Thanks a lot and maintain empowering us ladies to journey alone!

Eliisa, Finland

Pricey Eliisa,

Thanks quite a bit for reaching out and I’m so glad you lastly determined to go to South America! Colombia is one among my favourite nations in Latin America, principally due to its folks’s heat. Once I traveled for 90 days in Colombia, I at all times felt protected even when I used to be navigating the nation on my own – the persons are at all times useful!

On this publish, I’ll advocate locations to go to in Colombia. Really, it’s extra of a factor to not miss record as there’s actually quite a bit to do there however you get it. Good luck together with your journey and let me know in case you want the rest!

Xx,
Trisha

colombia solo travel

🇨🇴 Colombia journey at a look

  • Capital: Bogota
  • Foreign money: The forex in Colombia known as the Colombian peso (COP). US$1 = 4,127 COP
  • Energy plug: Colombia makes use of Kind A (two flat parallel pins) and sort B (two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin)
  • Visa: Individuals, Canadians, Australians, British, and most European residents don’t want a visa to enter Colombia. You’ll be given 90 days of vacationer visa upon entry. 
  • Language: The language in Colombia is Spanish. Many Colombians within the capital metropolis of Bogota and large cities like Medellin can converse English however distant areas and off-the-beaten-path (just like the Colombian coast) nonetheless don’t converse English. 
  • Transportation: It is extremely straightforward to go round Colombia by bus. I at all times lease a automotive (particularly if I’m solely going to the Pacific Coast) as a result of it’s cheaper and sooner. Within the getting round part of this text, I offers you full particulars about transportation in Colombia. 
  • Wifi/Web in Colombia: I by no means had issues with wifi in Colombia, besides in these areas the place there isn’t any sign (i.e. Tayrona Nationwide Park). Main cities like Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena have fiber-optic wifi.
  • Colombia sim card: Tigo, Movistar, and Claro are the most well-liked community suppliers in Colombia. I principally use Tigo since they’ve higher protection. A 5GB knowledge for 30 days prices US$3.50 whereas the 10GB plan prices US$6. 
  • Instructed journey length: There are numerous Colombia itineraries on this publish that offers you a transparent view of what number of days it’s best to journey in Colombia. I might advocate a 7-day minimal keep in Colombia (no matter space or itinerary you select). It is going to be greater than sufficient!

Colombia Travel Guide

Associated articles:

✈️ Planning your journey to Colombia

Greatest time to go to Colombia

The perfect time to go to Colombia is from December to March, which can be the excessive season in Colombia. Presently of the yr, it’s dry, sunny, and heat which is greatest for out of doors actions and seaside hopping within the Caribbean aspect of Colombia.

Anticipate massive crowds and excessive costs for lodging and excursions throughout the excessive season. Additionally, you will discover many northern Individuals who’re escaping the cruel winters of the north in these months, together with vacationers who need to spend Christmas and New Yr overseas.

The shoulder season in Colombia is from March to September. Climate in Colombia varies within the area (presently of the yr) so higher verify the climate within the place you need to go to in Colombia. Throughout the months of April and Might, will probably be raining in massive cities like Medellin, Cali, and Bogota. 

The off-season in Colombia is in October and November. That is one of the best time to go to The Amazon aspect of Colombia the place you may hike and discover the outside/nature. Inns, excursions, and flight costs are very low-cost presently of the yr.

trip to colombia

To completely perceive one of the best time to go to Colombia, I’m including some nice occasions and festivals right here by month:

  • January: Carnaval de Blancos y Negros (Pasto), Hay Competition (Cartagena), Competition Internacional de Musica (Cartagena), Feria de Manizales (Manizales)
  • February: Fiestas de Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria (Bogota), Carnaval de Barranquilla (Barranquilla)
  • March: Holy Week (Semana Santa), Competition Iberoamericano de Teatro de Bogotá, Concurso Nacional de Belleza (magnificence pageant in Colombia), and Competition Nacional de Música Colombiana (Colombian Music Competition)
  • April: Vallenato Competition (an essential music pageant in Colombia)
  • Might: Primero de Mayo (Labor Day), Competition de la Cultura Wayúu (Uribia-La Guajira)
  • June: Torneo Internacional del Joropo (Colombian-Venezuelan Folklore Competition), Competition Internacional de Tango
  • July: Colombia’s Independence Day
  • August: Rock al Parque (Rock Competition), Competition Petronio Álvarez (Patron Saint), Feria de las Flores (Flower Competition), Competition del Viento y Las Cometas in Villa de Leyva
  • September: World Salsa Competition, Nationwide Gastronomic Congress, Worldwide Theater Competition, Petronio Alvarez Competition, Inexperienced Moon Competition, Free Theater Worldwide Jazz Competition 
  • October: Bogotá Worldwide Movie Competition, Dia de Brujitas (Halloween)
  • November: Competition Pirarucú de Oro (Music Competition) and Cartagena’s Independence Day
  • December: Alumbrado Navideño (Christmas), Cali Competition, and Lights Competition

📍 Locations to go to in Colombia 

San Gil

Deemed the out of doors capital of Colombia, San Gil is a haven for thrill-seekers. This small Andean metropolis in Colombia affords a diversified vary of out of doors actions and the most well-liked is white water rafting. Rio Fonce is nice for households whereas Rio Suarez will actually get your adrenaline going.

La Tierra de Aventura additionally affords trekking, spelunking, mountain biking, and paragliding amongst different issues. Non-adventure junkies may get pleasure from some waterfalls and pure swimming pools. San Gil actually is a small city that packs a punch.

Places to visit in Colombia
Find out how to get to San Gil: San Gil has two bus stations with quite a few names, however you’ll more than likely arrive on the intercity bus terminal (recognized regionally as terminal principal), positioned 3km west of downtown on the street to Bogotá. Native buses shuttle repeatedly between the terminal and the town middle, or you may take a taxi.

Leticia

I imply, it’s the Amazon. What extra can I say? The Amazonia area is within the southernmost a part of Colombia and makes up 35% of the nation. You’ll be welcomed into pristine jungles, distinctive biodiversity, and indigenous communities if you go to those elements.

Leticia is a small metropolis bustling with commerce and is taken into account the gateway to the Amazon. Search for quite a few fowl species endemic to the world in Amacayacu, seek for the pink river dolphin in Tarapoto Lake, go to Monkey Island and Puerto Narino. The Amazon is the Amazon so, actually, you’ll have loads of issues to do.

Places to visit in Colombia 
Find out how to get to Leticia: you may fly to Leticia’s Vasquez Cobo airport from Bogota.

San Andres and Providencia

San Andres and Providencia are shut to one another and are thought-about some of the distant seashores in Colombia. In right here, it is possible for you to to chill out and revel in a full-on nature exercise. It’s not straightforward to get as it’s actually distant. Flying and ferry rides are the most typical mode of transport to get to Providencia and San Andres.

Places to visit in Colombia 

Villa de Leyva

Are you making an attempt to think about what a colonial village appeared like 400 years in the past? Then you need to take a pitstop at Villa de Leyva. Based in 1572, this little city in a high-altitude valley of semi-desert terrain is filled with cobblestone roads and buildings of colonial fashion and structure.

Guests can cool off in outdated church buildings, seize a cup of espresso on the city plaza, folks watch on the parks, store at native markets, stroll or bike and marvel on the structure or soak in some historical past at one of many city’s museums. Day journeys and hikes not too removed from the city are additionally obtainable and simply accessible.

Places to visit in Colombia 
Find out how to get to Villa de Leyva: From Bogota, you may take a bus. The journey is about 4 hours.

Johnny Cay

Removed from mainland Colombia however nonetheless politically a part of Colombia, the island of San Andres and the smaller Johnny Cay is one thing to see. Johnny Cay is a Caribbean paradise boasting white sand seashores, crystal clear waters, and palm-lined shores.

Guests can go lounge on the seaside and eat recent seafood. Snorkeling websites will also be discovered throughout the space. Within the evenings, native bands taking part in reggae songs have dwell performances on the island. Are you able to get extra Caribbean than this?

Places to visit in Colombia 
Find out how to get to Johnny Cay: You possibly can go on constitution boats that may convey you to the island for $5 USD approx. Decrease costs will be given to larger teams.

Cali, the salsa capital

Cali is the salsa capital of the world. Regardless of having roots in Cuba, salsa gained reputation in New York throughout the Seventies. Finally, it discovered its approach to Colombian shores and has remodeled and advanced over time. The Cali College of salsa is uptempo and entails sooner and extra energetic beats.

It’s all concerning the footwork for the Cali fashion of salsa. Salsa will be heard all over the place within the metropolis and salsatecas are in abundance. For those who wanna study salsa or simply merely dance every single day, a visit to Cali is a should for you.

places to visit in Colombia
Find out how to get to Cali: Cali is on the backpacker’s path and is well accessible by bus and aircraft, relying on the place you might be coming from.

Barichara

Barichara is one among Colombia’s prettiest cities. It’s a tiny city positioned within the north of the nation (near San Gil) with well-preserved colonial buildings and cobblestone roads. Barichara actually means place of relaxation within the native Guane language and you’ll perceive why as quickly as you go to.

The place emanates tranquility and peace. It in all probability doesn’t look any totally different from the way it was again in 1714 when it was first established. In a number of hours of strolling across the small city, you certainly really feel that you’re transported again in time.

Places to visit in Colombia 
Find out how to get to Barichara: To get to Barichara, you may take buses or fly from Bogota, Medellin, Cali. Be aware that the vacation spot is Bucaramanga or San Gil. From these 2 cities, transport to Barichara is fairly frequent and are straightforward to search out.

Guatape

Guatape is dubbed essentially the most colourful city in Colombia. It’s well-known for its brightly-colored conventional homes that function work depicting the historical past of the city.

There’s additionally loads to do on this small city. You possibly can problem your self by climbing the 740 steps of the Penol Rock and be rewarded with panoramic views or you may kayak or do quite a lot of water actions in Embalse Guatape.

After a day of being within the outdoor, you may indulge your self with nice meals in any of the various eating places scattered throughout city. You don’t want to remain the evening in Guatape. It’s a simple day journey from Medellin!

Colombia Destinations
Find out how to get to Guatape: From Medellin’s Terminal Norte, you may take a bus to Guatape. Bus journeys are fairly frequent and are straightforward to find as soon as you might be within the station.

El Cocuy

White and inexperienced colonial buildings topped with crimson Spanish tiled roofs with a backdrop of the Andean mountains, the small city of El Cocuy is a sight to behold. In fact, the most well-liked attraction within the space is Parque Nacional Pure El Cocuy.

Right here, you’ll get beautiful views of Andean snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes. The park affords three trails at totally different ranges for every kind of climbers to get pleasure from.

Don’t neglect to identify the uniquely stunning frailejones (perennial subshrubs within the sunflower household).

Colombia Destinations
Find out how to get to El Cocuy: Get a bus to the city of El Cocuy from Bogota or Bucaramanga. The journey will take 6 hours (est).

💃🏻 Issues to do in Colombia

Colombia is a rustic that exceeds all expectations. Regardless of its tumultuous previous that entails somebody named Pablo Escobar and drug cartels, Colombia is much from its violent previous and thrives as we speak greater than ever. Its tantalizing and diversified terrain affords each panorama possible.

Its equatorial place makes Colombia the second most biodiverse place on this planet. 10% of the earth’s wildlife is inside this nation. Additionally, notice that it’s the one South American nation that boasts coastlines in each the Caribbean and the Pacific.

You actually have greater than 300 seashores to select from. When you see what unbelievable magnificence and variety Colombia has to supply, you’ll perceive the eagerness that drives the Colombian folks.

Colombia Destinations
For every time I go to the Colombian coast, I at all times be certain that to camp and hike Tayrona Nationwide Park for two nights! Warning: no telephone sign right here.

Tayrona Nationwide Park

Situated on the northern coast of Colombia, you will get to Tayrona Nationwide Park by flying to Santa Marta or by bus from Cartagena or Barranquilla.

Nestled on the foot of the world’s highest coastal mountain vary, Parque Nacional Pure Tayrona is paradise. It’s a slice of heaven on Colombia’s Caribbean coast with crystal clear waters, golden stretches of sandy seashores, and plush rainforest.

Guests may have a number of out of doors and seaside actions to select from. The 9 Stones hike is a well-liked selection and can mean you can see the scope and vary of the park.

For the historical past buffs, archeological proof of pre-Hispanic settlements will also be discovered on the park. 

Colombia Destinations
You will discover good climate and fewer crowds throughout March, July, and August. | Tayrona Nationwide Park, Colombia

The church buildings of Popayan

Nicknamed as La Ciudad Blanca or White Metropolis, Popayan is one among Colombia’s most stunning and well-preserved colonial settlements. Town simply has that feeling of peaceable magnificence. Mansions, colleges, and monasteries constructed within the seventeenth century sit alongside the well-known church buildings of the town.

Non secular or not, the church buildings are positively price a cease. Iglesia de San Francisco, Iglesia de San Agustin, and Catedral Basilica Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion are the most well-liked ones though Iglesia La Ermita, Iglesia de San Jose, and Iglesia de Santo Domingo deserve a glance, too.

colombia destinations
Find out how to get to Popayán: You possibly can fly to Popayan (they’ve an airport) however you may also do land journey from Cali or Ipiales.

Ciudad Perdida

Ciudad Perdida actually means “The Misplaced Metropolis” in Spanish. On the time of the Spanish invasion, this metropolis disappeared and was found once more within the 70s.

It’s positioned within the Sierra Nevada mountains – one among Colombia’s biggest pleasure within the outdoor. If you’re a fan of climbing and shall be visiting Santa Marta and Tayrona, don’t skip this!

colombia travel guide

Los Nevados Pure Park

Parque Nacional Pure Los Nevados affords essentially the most beautiful glimpse into the Colombian Andes. Colombia, being part of the Pacific Ring of Fireplace, is residence to greater than a dozen volcanoes and this nationwide park is residence to some jaw-dropping snow-covered ones.

Spot the Nevado del Ruiz, Nevado del Tolima, and Nevado de Santa Isabel. The park’s various altitudes create panoramic scenes of paramos (high-mountain plains), cloud forests, and glaciers. It’s the right place for climbing at any degree. Be cautious of the altitude although and be sure you acclimatize.

colombia destinations
Tolima Mountain in Los Nevados Nationwide Park in Colombia.

Carnaval de Barranquilla

Think about 4 days of road events and continuous dancing. That is Carnaval de Barranquilla. Throughout the 4 days in February that lead as much as Ash Wednesday, the entire metropolis of Barranquilla comes alive with masquerade parades and dwell performances.

Little or no is thought concerning the origins of this carnival but it surely’s an ideal illustration of Colombia’s distinctive historical past and cultural range.

There are additionally occasions main as much as the four-day festivity such because the studying of the carnival proclamation, crowning of the carnival queen, the homosexual parade, and the La Guacherna. It’s a particular must-see and distinctive to this nation. And because the carnival motto goes, “those that dwell it are those that get pleasure from it.”

I lived with a neighborhood household in Barranquilla, Colombia which made my expertise extra genuine. Experiences are actually totally different if you go along with locals. It was my greatest week in Barranquilla as a result of they confirmed me locations and issues I wouldn’t even know (or do) on my own!

Things to do in Colombia

Museo del Oro

Situated in Bogota, Museo del Oro offers you a captivating peek into how gold was weaved into the lives of pre-colonial inhabitants of the nation. The museum accommodates the biggest assortment of gold artifacts on this planet. Every flooring reveals how gold was utilized in totally different facets of indigenous life.

If you need a extra in-depth understanding, excursions are provided throughout the museum for an affordable value. Admission is free on Sundays.

things to do in colombia
Considered one of my favourite museums on this planet is the Gold Museum in Bogota. | Photograph: Luis Franco R.

Whale watching

Yearly between July and November, humpback whales migrate to Colombia’s Pacific coast. They arrive to the hotter waters from the Antarctic to be able to mate and provides start.

Nuqui, Bahia Solano, Bahia Malaga, and Gorgona Island are standard spots for this yearly spectacle. Avid lovers of those large mammals can go for boat excursions.

It’s thought-about protected for each people and whales if the space is saved and boat excursions are your most secure guess in seeing these majestic creatures up shut.  Greatest to go early within the morning in excellent circumstances. For those who don’t get an opportunity to get on a ship tour, you may also spot the whales at excessive distances from land.

things to do in colombia

Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira

A Roman Catholic church constructed throughout the tunnels of a former halite mine is a sight to behold. Halite or rock salt has been mined on this space as early because the fifth century BCE. Native miners again within the Thirties determined to carve a sanctuary throughout the mines as a spot for prayer.

Finally, a cathedral was lastly constructed and accomplished in 1954, and guests and pilgrims now flock to the small city of Zipaquira (north of Bogota) for this.

Guests may go on guided excursions and study concerning the historical past of the place and the salt manufacturing processes which have existed on this deposit for hundreds of years.

things to do in colombia
Find out how to get to Zipaquirá: This city is an hour and a half away by bus from Bogota.

Caño Cristales

A collection of distant rivers, Caño Cristales is a river of 5 colours positioned in Parque Nacional Pure Sierra de La Macarena. Witness the streams in crimson, inexperienced, pink – a pure phenomenon that solely occurs between July and November.

Things to do in Colombia - Caño Cristales
Find out how to get to Caño Cristales: Situated in La Macarena, you may take an in a single day bus for 10 hours from Bogota.

The tombs of Tierradentro

Tierradentro is much from the same old vacationer route in Colombia. In a distant valley within the southern a part of the Colombian Andes lies the underground tombs of Tierradentro. Little is thought concerning the civilization that flourished on this space as early as 200 BCE.

Kind of 100 tombs are discovered on this space and these funeral temples are distinctive and distinct from the remaining discovered within the Americas.

Proof of pre-colonial life within the space is discovered contained in the tombs–from wall drawings to pottery and sculptures to textiles. It’s an exquisite day journey whereby you may absorb on some tradition and historical past amid great mountain and jungle surroundings.

things to do in colombia
Find out how to get to Tierradentro: This UNESCO Heritage web site is positioned within the southwest of Colombia in Andean’s central cordillera, within the municipality of Inzá, division of Cauca. The closest and most acquainted metropolis is Popayan, the place it’s only 4 hours by bus. The bus prices $7.67 USD.

Reserva Pure Cañon de Río Claro

Three hours from Medellin lies Reserva Pure Canon de Rio Claro. Guests can go for a swim or chill out in its river that runs by way of a surprising marble canyon. It’s an ideal place to sit down again and simply take pleasure in all of the wonders that nature has to supply.

You are able to do hikes and marvel on the distinctive biodiversity of the world. It’s residence to the wildlife endemic to the world. The three-hour Cueva de Los Guacharos cave and stream stroll is a should. You don’t have to spend the evening. This could possibly be a very good choice for a day journey while staying in Medellin.

things to do in colombia
Find out how to get to Cañon de Río Claro: From Medellin, take a bus in Terminal del Norte. Trans Oriente is a bus firm that steadily goes right here. Journey time is 3 hours (est) and the associated fee is $7.37 USD. Bus departs each half-hour. | Photograph: Jose Alveart

🍲 Colombian meals: what to eat and drink

Aguardiente

Colombia’s licorice-flavored nationwide liquor roughly interprets to firewater. The sort or model of Aguardiente you drink varies no matter a part of the nation you might be in but it surely’s very straightforward to search out wherever in Colombia. Have enjoyable with it. However please do drink with warning.

colombian food
Photograph: Mark Lemmon

Ajiaco

Ajiaco is a wealthy stew sometimes made with hen, corn, potatoes, capers, and bitter cream. It’s a hearty soup and it’d take some time for some folks to get used to it. What units Colombian ajiaco aside although is using the herb guascas.

colombian food

Arepa

A Colombian staple, arepas are technically corn pancakes. It may be eaten alone or with merely butter and cheese or no matter else you need to eat it with, truthfully. It’s additionally an ideal match for any savory meat or vegetable dish.

colombian food

Bandeja Paisa

Dubbed as Colombia’s nationwide dish, bandeja paisa is a should attempt. Be aware that it’s excessive in energy and never for the faint-hearted or anybody watching their ldl cholesterol.

Initially made to supply employees with sufficient power all through the day, this dish sometimes accommodates rice, plantain, arepa, beans, floor beef, steak, chicharrones and avocado, and is topped with a fried egg.

colombian food

Chocolate con queso

This standard breakfast or snack is well-loved by Colombians. It’s cheese dipped in scorching chocolate. It’s the right steadiness of candy and salty and will certainly fulfill your style buds.

colombian food
Photograph: Fats Lady Hedonist

Empanada

Deep-fried pockets of perfection containing no matter ingredient is on the market in every area from meat to cheese to greens. Empanadas are a Colombian staple. It’s straightforward to search out on the streets and simply as straightforward to eat any time of the day.

colombian food
Each Latin American nation has their very own model of empanada.

Fritanga

It’s mainly a grilled meat platter served with arepas, plantains, potatoes, and corn. Excellent approach to attempt to munch on bits and items of meat. It’s best shared with a bunch of individuals with an alcoholic beverage in hand.

colombian food

Lechona

A whole pig full of quite a lot of components reminiscent of rice, onions, peas, and spices and roasted for 10 hours or extra. It might be on the heavy aspect however relaxation assured that you’re going to get a hearty platter of flavors mixing collectively completely.

colombian food

Sancocho

Quite a lot of Colombian cuisines are based mostly on making a meal out of no matter is on the market and Sancocho is a kind of stews that actually exemplify that custom. It varies from area to area however the Sancocho staples are meat, potatoes, yucca, corn, and plantains. Eat it with white rice and a few slices of avocado and also you’ll stroll away feeling full and completely happy.

colombian food

Tinto (espresso)

You possibly can’t miss out on espresso in Colombia and you need to attempt it the way in which locals devour it. Actually translated as ink, that is your common cup of unsweetened black espresso. It’s not one of the best cup that Colombia has to supply but it surely’s positively definitely worth the attempt. It’s low-cost and it will get the job accomplished.

colombian food
Colombia has many espresso farms and you’ll even embrace a go to to your journey itinerary!
colombia solo travel
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