With both a Caribbean and a Pacific coastline, dense Amazon jungle, beautiful colonial towns, ancient civilisations, stunning deserts and the friendliest people in South America, Colombia is a country ripe for discovery.
Southern Colombia is a region of great diversity, with a wealth of landscapes, peoples and cultures. Few outsiders have discovered this beautiful area, where captivating cities with ancient monuments meet spectacular wildlife havens and mud volcanoes.
Elegant churches, world-class museums, excellent shopping and an exciting nightlife make Bogota captivatingly cosmopolitan. The citys Gold Museum is the best in the world, offering a unique insight into the history, origins and traditions of this intricate craft. Walk or take the cable-car to Monserrate church for stunning cityscapes. Wander through the historic Candelaria area and admire the colourful mishmash of architectural styles. Bogota is constantly developing as a city, but while progressing toward the future it has still retained its fascinating history, keeping traditions alive.
The Salt Cathedral
The Salt Cathedral at Zipaquira, found underground inside a salt mine, is an impressive architectural feat measuring 75m long by 18m high. Lying 200m below ground, this Roman-Catholic church is testament to the faith and perseverance of the miners. Built in 1932, the church houses three rooms showing the birth, life and death of Jesus. Wander quietly around and feel the charming atmosphere of this unique phenomenon.
Colonial Villa De Leyva
The whole town of Villa De Leyva has been a national monument since 1954, and is almost completely unspoiled by modern architecture. With its meandering, cobblestone streets, this colonial town seems to have been forgotten by time. Locals will greet you with a welcoming smile.
The Coffee Triangle
Dotted with traditional farmhouses (fincas), the coffee triangle is one of the greenest and most beautiful regions of Colombia. The area not only boasts beautiful scenery, a quaint way of life and picture-postcard villages, but is also home to the spectacular Parque Nacional los Nevados, which contains active volcanoes, snow-capped peaks and lunar-like landscapes. Take a dip in the thermal springs on your way back from the park to reinvigorate yourself for the rest of the adventure ahead.
The "White City" of Popayan
Partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1983, the towns administration had the foresight to devote lengthy time and care to Popayans reconstruction, and two decades later there is almost no evidence of damage to the stunning, almost uniform white streets. Filled with impressive churches and colonial architecture, its easy to spend hours wandering around this tranquil town where every beautiful street leads onto another.
Historic San Agustin
San Agustin is one of the true gems of Colombia - a village blessed with stunning scenery, a fascinating history and an environment prefect for hiking, horse riding and rafting. The archaeological park displays incredible statues of a lost civilisation still shrouded in mystery. Here folklore meets infectiously friendly and welcoming locals, and youll see why many consider San Agustin a paradise on earth.
The spectacular Tatacoa Desert
Squeezed between the cloud basin of Cordillera Central and the dense Amazon basin, Tatacoa boasts an ecosystem dramatically different from anywhere else in Colombia. Though technically a dry tropical forest, Tatacoa certainly feels like a desert with its abundance of fruit-bearing cacti and beautiful, barren landscapes. This little-seen area is as serene and tranquil as it is charming. Take a dip in the open-air swimming pool in the heart of the desert, look out for turtles, lizards and eagles as you drive through the desert in an open-air buggy, and wander at dusk through the beautiful sparseness of El Cuzco.
"Colombia is an amazing country. It is varied, hospitable and exhilarating. Travel The Unknown know this country very well and you simply couldn`t be in better hands."
Other Areas in Colombia
This incredible tour will take you into the heart of the Amazon as you trek through an uninhabited region of Amazonian jungle. Take a boat to discover remote Amazonian tribes, look out for monkeys, alligators, turtles, jaguars, eagles, parrots, anacondas and pink Amazonian dolphins. Shower in a waterfall and sleep in hammocks and traditional wooden cabins.
Caribbean Islands of San Andrés & Providencia
Discover another side to Colombia on the beautiful islands of San Andrés and Providencia. The slow pace of life and welcome of the friendly natives on these islands will soon soothe all travel weariness. Take the opportunity to go for a boat trip, go snorkelling or diving, horse riding, hiking, or simply relax on the beach.
Lost City Trek (La Ciudad Perdida)
The famous Lost City trek is the highlight of many peoples Colombian adventure. Discovered as recently as 1975 by treasure hunters, the city had vanished from all maps for centuries. Six days of trekking through jungle, wading through rivers, and finally, climbing the thousand steps to the magical Lost City or Ciudad Perdida makes for an incredible experience. Learn about the history of the Tayrona people, who built the city between the 11th and 14th centuries, as you enjoy this exhilarating and intrepid adventure.
Cartagena & the Caribbean Coast
Cartagena, a fairy-tale city of legends is the poster-boy of Colombian tourism. A UNESCO heritage site, it boasts stunning colonial architecture, leafy balconies, cobbled alleys, giant churches and open-air cafes in mellow plazas. This is a city to wander endlessly and randomly - as theres something around every corner. Head north from Cartagena and take a dip in a mud volcano with magical healing powers!
Santander: San Gil and Barichara
Get your adrenalin rush in Colombias adventure sports capital. Whether you fancy taking on the rapids, climbing up challenging rock faces, riding horseback through rugged country or want to get a birds eye view whilst paragliding, San Gil has it all. If you prefer something more leisurely, visit the quaint plaza and its striking 18th century stone cathedral or go for a stroll in Parque El Gallineral, which is set on an island and dotted with silver-branched trees.
Gastronomy of Colombia
Visiting Colombia is a captivating experience from a culinary perspective. The diversity of traditions from the mix of the countries Spanish, indigenous and African people are reflected in the cuisine.
Colombian food is varied, with strong influences from its Creole roots. From guinea pig (a favourite in the Andes) to lobster (on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts) or a typical meal of meat or chicken served alongside frijoles (kidney beans) or lentils, fried plantain, rice and salad, there is something for everyone. Seafood on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts is plentiful, fresh and delicious. Coffee is ubiquitous and always tasty and rich. However, the real delight is the fruit, which is delicious and found everywhere in many endemic varieties. The tropical blend of guanabana, papaya and guava is just one of the fruit mixes that awaits you.
Colombia`s national tipple, Aguardiente, flavoured with anise, is typically bought by the bottle or half bottle, and people usually drink it in shots. Each region has its own aguardiente: "Antioqueño" (from Antioquia), "Cristal" (from Caldas), "Quindiano" (from Quindío), "Blanco del Valle" (from Valle del Cauca) and "Nectar" (from Cundinamarca). Regional pride runs strong and no visit to Colombia is complete without an Aguardiente evening. There is also an excellent variety of rum throughout the country, such as "Ron Medellin Añejo" (from Antioquia) and "Ron Viejo de Caldas" (from Caldas).
"Travel The Unknown are real Colombia specialists. Their knowledge and passion for the country is unparalleled in terms of the UK marketplace. It is always a pleasure to work with them."
Juan Guillermo, Director of Colombia Tourism (UK)