Best Things To Do In Colombia
Traveling to Colombia is the adventure of a lifetime. It has it all and is one of the most diverse countries on the planet from its lush Amazonian jungle, to its beautiful tropical islands, to its trendy cities and colorful Latin American culture. A vacation in Colombia is incredible no matter where you go. Here is my list of things to do to make your trip the best of all time.
1. Take Salsa Dancing Classes, Cali
Cali is the capital of salsa, where dancers take to the floor as early as the afternoon. Although the dance has its origins among the Cuban population in New York City in the mid 1900s, it wasn't long before salsa reached Colombia. Cali decided to produce its own style of salsa, and the city has never looked back.
There are two types of dancers: the old school purists, who stick to the original footwork, and the younger crowd, who like to dance with flair and gymnastic-style lifts. Sondeluz Academy, one of the most renowned salsa studios in Cali, specializes in one-on-one lessons. After mastering the basics, visitors can swing by Zaperoco, a famous salsa club packed with talented dancers and a live band on Thursday nights.
2. Trek The Lost City, Magdalena
The Lost City is Colombia's answer to Machu Picchu -- just cheaper with fewer tourists. It's also believed to have been founded some 650 years before Machu Picchu. An intense, two-and-a-half day trek will see you traverse waterfalls, natural pools and rivers on your way to the sacred place of the indigenous Tayrona tribes.
Led by indigenous Kogui guides, Colombian travel agency Expotur takes hikers through the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta jungle, and ascending 1,200 steps on the third day to reach the Ciudad Perdida. The beautiful ruins are full of relics and ancient carvings, and visitors can be regaled with ancestral tales before heading back to start their descent.
3. Experience A Coffee Plantation, Caldas
With all the hype about Colombian coffee, no traveller should miss taking a tour of a coffee plantation and enjoying a cup of black gold; even if you’re not really into coffee (it would be like going to Champagne in France and not trying at least a sip of that sparking stuff).
Hacienda Venecia is a plantation that offers tours with hands-on activities, a detailed history of the coffee industry, and delicious cups of their fresh-grown joe. It really is one of the best things to do in Colombia if you love coffee!
4. Light Up The Waters, Puerto Naito
5. Take A Chariot Through The Old City, Cartagena
The charm of Colombia’s colonial city of Cartagena is tough to beat. Think colorful buildings with sprawling balconies. An authentic neighborhood filled with restaurants serving up delicious fresh seafood outside in the cobblestone plazas, and a beachy, Caribbean vibe unlike any other place in Colombia. You can’t leave Cartagena without exploring the stone-walled Old City while riding in a chariot. Strolling the historic Old City is like stepping back in time and truly feeling the evocative history that makes Colombia such a fascinating country.
6. Paraglide At Chicamocha Canyon, Santander
The Chicamocha Canyon is located in the Santander Department, about an hour’s drive outside of San Gil. This is one of the best places to go paragliding in the country. The canyon is one of the largest in the world and the scenery is outstanding. Book this experience at Parapente Chicamocha for one of the most adventurous things to do in Colombia for sure!
7. Take A Mud Bath In A Volcano, Bolivar
According to legend, the Volcano of El Totumo once spewed lava and fire; however, when the volcano threatened to destroy its neighboring towns, a priest sprinkled holy water over the magma instantly turning it into harmless mud. Myths aside, the 50-foot-tall Volcano of El Totumo is in fact filled with a mineral-rich mud rumored to have healing properties. And while a dip in the crater will leave your skin silky smooth, you don’t have to be in and out of the sludge-tub in a flash. You can also enjoy an in volcano massage, cleansing rinse, and commemorative photo from one of the local attendants that work the area for tips. It's just a 45-minute ride from Cartagena and you can book your excursion here.
8. Check Out The Street Art, Bogota
Bogota is a quirky, young, and happening city packed with incredible street art. It's overflowing with history and is one of the safest cities in Latin America. Whether you’re the type to eat your way through the city, play an explosive game of tejo, or just soak up the local art scene, you’ll definitely find a Bogota highlight to write home about.Local guides will tell you a little something about the artist and the social movements that the paintings represent or the politics they’re speaking out against. It’s an eye-opening look into both Bogotá and Colombia’s tumultuous past and hopeful future. Book your tour here Bogotá: Capital Street Art.
9. Visit A Street Market, Usaquén
This street market takes place on Sundays in Usaquén, a neighborhood in the north of Bogotá. Vendors set up stalls and tents in the park and down the streets to sell handicrafts, trinkets, and lots of stuff that’s different from the typical souvenirs you’ll find in Colombia. You can buy high quality, handmade goods like bags, shoes, and jewelry here. This area is filled with upscale restaurants and cafes, but during market days you’ll find tons of cheap foods options on the street – like cupcakes, sausages, fresh juices, and cheesecakes.
10. Bask On The Beach, Colombia
Colombia’s Caribbean Coast offers beaches galore – from Santa Marta’s tourist-friendly El Rodadero beach, Costeño Beach, to islands such as Islas del Rosario and San Andres, San Bernardo Archipelago, Isla Grande, Isla Múcura, or Isla Tintipan offer crystal clear water, fresh seafood, and less urban distractions than mainland.
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