Country guides South & Central America
Colombia Travel Guide
After decades of unrest, Colombia has emerged as the darling of South American destinations. Travellers can look forward to cloud-forested mountains, pristine Caribbean beaches, gorgeous colonial architecture and mysterious archaeological ruins. Nature lovers can discover a huge range of ecosystems, covering the Amazon rainforest near Leticia, the tropical islands of San Andres and Providencia, and the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Culture seekers can indulge themselves in vibrant cities too, where salsa dancing and delicious foods are the order of the day.
Best time to visit Colombia
The weather in Colombia is not particularly seasonal, and varies more by region and altitude. The coastal and lowland regions enjoy a warm, tropical climate year-round, with little temperature variation. There are frequent rain showers in the wetter months of April to June and in October to November. Bogota and other highland areas are relatively cool all year and although days can be hot, nights are chilly in areas of higher altitude. The weather on the Caribbean coast and in Medellin is warm and dry throughout the year. In general, Colombia is a year-round destination, although the peak season is from December to March.
What to see in Colombia
-Visit Tayrona National Park for its rich biodiversity.
-Take a tour into the Amazon Basin.
-Visit Santa Cruz de Mompox, one of Colombia's best-preserved colonial towns.
-Trek to ancient Ciudad Perdida (Lost City).
-See the salt cathedral in Zipaquira.
-Experience Afro-Colombian culture in Cali.
What to do in Colombia
-Take a guided tour of the historic Candelaria district in Bogota.
-Go in search of adventure in the Amazon.
-Bike, trek and raft through the Coffee Region.
-Explore the rugged coastline around Tayrona National Park.
-Discover life in the hillside communities in Medellin.
-Live among the cowboys and enjoy wildlife safaris in Los Llanos.
-Watch whales breach just off the shore of the Pacific.
Getting to Colombia
Colombia is well connected by air to major cities in South and Central America. There are also direct flights from a number of major airports in the US, Europe and Asia. Most visitors arrive at Bogota's Ed Dorado Airport
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Maria by Jorge Isaacs, The Armies by Evelio Rosero
Donde Estan los Ladrones? (Shakira), Toque de Clase (Joe Arroyo)
The Wind Journeys (2009), Land and Shade (2015)
Aguardiente, rum and chocolate Santafereno.
Bandeja paisa (rice, plantain, corn cakes, avocado, minced meat, chorizo, black sausage and fried pork rind with an egg on top), empanadas (cheese or meat-filled pasties), sancocho (traditional Columbian stew)
What to buy
Wayuu mochila bags (crochet), volteado hats.
What to pack
Umbrella, hiking boots.
What's on in Colombia
The Festival de Luces (Festival of Lights) takes place in December and is set in the historic city of Villa de Leyva. Its fireworks display serves as a prelude to Christmas.
The Feria de las Flores (Flowers Festival) is Medellin's biggest festival. The annual event takes place in August and celebrates Paisa culture (northwest Colombia).
Did you know?
Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world. Brazil comes in first, though it's ten times the size of Colombia.
Colombia is the world's leading source of emeralds.
A final word
Tremendous biodiversity and a rich cultural heritage make Colombia a must-see South American destination.