Also referred to as the ‘Gateway of South America’, Colombia is a country nested in the northwestern end of South America. Colombia is a unique tourist escape and is known for being the magnificent land of dense Amazon rainforests, peaceful hills, vibrant beaches, and friendly neighborhoods.
Colombia’s diverse population comprises European and Anglo-Colombian residents. Besides breathtaking landscapes and warm hospitality, Colombia is globally recognized for its coffee, emeralds, biodiversity, music and entertainment, and well-preserved colonial architecture.
Every year Colombia welcomes thousands of tourists and offers them many unforgettable experiences. From looking past, the historical horizons of the colonial museums in Bogota to embracing the modern-day developments of the up-and-coming Medellín, Colombia will take you on a journey like never before.
To make your next trip to this beautiful destination even more remarkable, we’ve listed some of the best places to visit in Colombia:
Bogotá- The Cultural Capital
The largest city in Colombia is also the country’s capital, Bogotá is easily one of the most prominent Colombia tourist attractions. Safe to say, Bogotá is exactly like how it is shown in the movies. From colorful and vibrant neighborhoods built on hilly roads to local art galleries on the city streets, Bogotá is the epitome of urban charm and modern sophistication. A diverse population of 8 million keeps the city alive and cheerful.
- Gold Museum: Take a historical dive into Colombian heritage and witness pre-Colombian gold artifacts and ancient jewels.
- La Candelaria: A unique checkpoint for tourists to experience the beauty of Colombian architecture, art galleries, and museums.
- Mount Monserrate: Take an eagle view of Bogotá from the top of a mountain.
Best time to visit: December-February, July-August
Best places to eat: Santa Fe Café and Restaurant, Storia D’amore, Omnia,Cantina La 15.
Cartagena: A coastal colony
Situated on the Carribean Coast of Colombia is a colonized retreat that will transport you back to a different era. What makes this city one of the top places to visit in Colombia is it’s 13km stretch of colorful, well-maintained, preserved colonial architecture, narrow aesthetic streets, and vibrant restaurants and eateries makes it a unique Colombian destination. Cartagena has a lot to offer to its tourists, from scenic views of the Carribean sea to the ancient walls that protected the city from pirates.
- Castillo San Felipe de Barajas: Enjoy picturesque views of the Carribean sea as well as the city.
- Unwind on the white sandy beaches of Rosario Islands and take a dive in the crystal-clear sea waters of the beaches.
Best time to visit: December-April
Best places to eat: Maria, Misia, Moshi, La Mulata, Carmen Restaurant, El Bistro.
Medellín: A pleasant escapade
Nothing attracts tourists better than a pleasantly amiable climate. And what other Colombian city can do this better than Medellín? Infamous in the 90s for being the headquarters for the most notorious drug cartel in the world to being a rich cultural vacation spot, Medellín has come a long way. Lush green eco-parks, cable cars, metros, and libraries make this iconic destination even more explorable. Other than the subtle comforts, Medellín also offers the best nightlife in Colombia.
- Plaza Botero: Witness the finest works of celebrated artist Fernando Botero and admire the colossal sculptors.
- Parque Arvi: Hop on a cable car for an adventure-filled evening at the Parque Arvi natural reserve and enjoy refreshing activities like hiking and cycling.
- Communa 13: Blend in with the city’s colorful neighborhoods and interact with Colombian locals.
Best time to visit: December-March, July-August
Best places to eat: Real eatery, La Pampa Parrilla Argentina, Mezcla, 360 Rooftop Bar, The Market, Cala Roca.
Tayrona National Natural Park: Haven on Earth
A haven for nature enthusiasts and beach lovers, this serene destination is one of Colombia's most recommended places to visit. Home to some of the world's most magnificent white sand beaches, the Tayrona National Natural Park will be a notable addition to your itinerary. One of the few destinations in the world where lush green mountains meet white sand beaches, a visit to Tayrona National Natural Park is a great side trip while exploring Colombia.
- Cabo San Juan: Experience this iconic beach's culmination of lush green forests and serene crystal-clear waters.
- Pueblito: Travel back in time as you explore the ruins of the old Tayrona village hidden in the forest mountains.
- Playa Cristal: Swim, snorkel and boat in the calm waters of this beautiful beach.
Best time to visit: February to November
Best places to eat: Agua De Rio Cafe & Bistro, Divanga Bar Restaurant, Restaurante Bar Babaganoush, Pachamama, Bitacora Restaurante.
Eje Cafetero: Coffee Lovers Unite!
The name is enough to tell you that this region in Colombia is the third-largest coffee producer in the world. Eje Cafetero is the sole reason why Colombia is known for its coffee. Translated to English as ‘coffee axis’, Eje Cafetero is home to a growing number of coffee plantations that offer luxury farm stays, tours, and tastings to the tourists of Colombia.
- Salento: Visit the beautiful Cocora Valley for breathtaking views and visit the colorful streets of Salento's Historic Center.
- Armenia: Another haven for coffee lovers, Armenia is home to some of the biggest coffee farms in the world. While visiting, tourists can also try out mouthwatering local cuisine in Colombia.
- Pereira: Home to diverse animal species and also the Bolívar Square where you can enjoy local Colombia street food and cultural spots.
Best time to visit: June-August
Best places to eat: Hacienda Venecia Coffee Farm (Manizales), Casa de Lola García (Pereira), Helena Adentro Café y Cocina (Salento), Café Jesús Martín (Chinchiná).
Colombia might have a controversial history, but it has made a name for itself in the global travel and tourism sector over the years. From Bogotá’s vibrant neighborhoods, Cartegena’s colonized coastal areas, Medellín’s pleasant climate to Eje Cafetero’s coffee plantations, Colombia offers an array of distinctive experiences to its visitors. Whether you seek adventure, cultural heritage, pleasant climatic tourist escapades or just the best coffee in the world, Colombia is where you should be.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the capital of Colombia?
A1. The capital of Colombia is the cultural city of Bogotá.
Q2. What makes Medellín a notable destination?
A2. Medellín is known for its pleasant climate. But what makes it special is the transition from being the most violent city in the world in the 90s to being a calm and vibrant tourist destination.
Q3. What are some of the things Colombia is known for?
A3. Colombia is known for its coffee, beaches, lush green forests, emeralds and biodiversity.
Q4. What is the best time to visit Bogotá?
A4. As a result of its high altitude, Bogotá enjoys a pleasant climate all year. Tourists prefer the dry months of December through February and July through August.
Q5. What are the best places to eat in Cartagena?
A5. The local cuisine in Colombia varies from region to region. Here are some of the best places to eat in Cartagena:
- La Mulata
- Carmen Restaurant
- El Bistro.