Colombia

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Unusual Columbian Experiences

Colombia. Now we’re talking. When you hear the words ‘travel’ and ‘Colombia’ being used in a sentence you know it’s a conversation you probably want to be involved in.

Anthony Bourdain, when describing this South American Country, once said: “It’s ludicrous that this place exists and everybody doesn’t want to live here.” And as soon as you land in your first Colombian destination you’ll know exactly what Tony was talking about. Putting its troubling past behind, this place offers a captivating history, interesting architecture, rare wildlife, delectable cuisine and Indiana Jones-esque landscapes, all ready to be explored, hiked, biked or whichever way you want to bask in pure Colombian adventure. Not to mention its warm and welcoming locals who really are the cherry on the top of a very large cake.

There’s no doubt Colombia is quickly becoming the first destination on travel agendas for many discerning travellers, so shake a leg and get here before everyone else decides to join you.

Highlights

Hello! Nidia here, the Not In the Guidebooks local ambassador for the simply breathtaking country that is Colombia. I was born in Colombia in the capital of the country Bogotá and have travelled the country far and wide, so knowing the highlights to tell you to visit is pretty easy, the hard part is narrowing it down to just a few top highlights. But you don’t want to be here all day, so I’ll do my best…

The Coffee Region

Otherwise known as the ‘coffee triangle,’ this area is one of my favourite regions in Colombia. The landscape here is amazing, there’s cascading mountains, vast coffee plains, stunning, colonial haciendas, and there’s also some beautiful valleys in the area. The people here are so friendly and if you go to the area it gives you a chance to learn more about Colombian culture around coffee, it’s a really interesting way of showing people why coffee is important for Colombians how the coffee making process is part of our culture.

Cartagena 

Of course, if you’re planning to visit Colombia, you have to visit Cartagena, which is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in the country. It is a very historic city that encapsulates the typical Colombia you see in the pictures. With most of its old building superbly well preserved that lie inside the old colonial, stone walls. And the old town is a protected UNESCO heritage site, enough said.

Boyaca

Located just north of Bogotá, Boyaca in the Andes mountains and it’s peppered with loads of traditional, colonial towns, each serving up their own truly unique offering and you could easily spend your whole Colombian adventure hopping between them. In Boyaca, the only famous town in the area you might have heard of is Villa de Leyva, which is definitely worth a hop to as well

The Eastern Region

Another top highlight would have to be the Eastern region of Colombia, which in Spanish we call it Los Llanos. And in this area there are many, many rivers, which makes the environment of this area fascinating for wildlife.

Also, it’s a profoundly unexplored region, before the peace agreement of the country, we had terrible conflict and many guerrillas, all of these were located in the Eastern region because it’s a jungle/rainforest area, so it was easy for them to base themselves in this area. Obvisouly this has now passed, so what you have is a natural treasure trove ready to be explored. So you can imagine the wildlife there and the landscape is very, very beautiful.

When is the best time to go?

We have the advantage that we’re on the equator so it means the weather is the same all year round and we don’t have set seasons. So you can travel anytime really, however, what we have is drier and wet times of the year, not like monsoons or anything, but we have months when it rains a little bit more.

Basically the months it is more likely to rain are April, October and November, it doesn’t mean you can’t travel, it just means there’s more chance of having some rain.

December and early January are definitely the busiest times to visit Colombia especially Cartagena and Santa Marta because they’re on the Caribbean coast and the beaches are incredibly popular for both locals and tourists a like

At this time you need to book hotels well in advance, it doesn’t mean you can’t visit, you just need to plan ahead

It is good to visit Colombia in mid Jan, February and March, especially after holiday season. It’s usually dry around this time and it’s definitely not as busy as Christmas time.

May, June and early July are also good times to visit as the weather is very good, you might get a little bit of rain, or you might not, it can be pretty unpredictable.

We don’t really have high holiday season either but another busy time is from the 15th June – 15th July because of local tourism and schools finish for summer.

NotintheGuideBooks Tips

Learn some Spanish – it’d be very useful to learn a few basic Spanish words before you came, as a lot of people in Colombia don’t know or know very little English.

Get your vaccinations – we are a tropical country, so make sure you have the up to date vaccinations, especially for yellow fever. And what protection you need to protect against mosquito bites

Plan properly – have a plan of all the different places you want to visit throughout. 

When outside the main cities carry cash – there’s a lot of places outside of the main cities that don’t have ATMs, so make sure you have some cash.

Ask for help when booking taxis – if you’re out late at a restaurant or for drinks, get the hotel, restaurant or bar to book a taxi. Never take a taxi on the street as it can be dangerous.

Always be prepared for the weather – especially in Bogota as it’s not uncommon to have the four seasons in one day. 

Top Things to do

Top Places to Visit
  1. Bogota

    Bogota

  2. Medellin

    Medellin

  3. Cartagena

    Cartagena