Barranquilla Bogota Ciudad Perdida Colombia Providencia Santa Catalina Tayrona National Park

6 Reasons Colombia Should Be on Your Bucket List

 It’s a traveller’s paradise, with rich culture, friendly locals and stunning architecture. Here are just six reasons for why you need to visit Colombia!

It’s a country that is yet to become a tourist hotspot, which means Colombia is all yours to explore. It’s a traveller’s paradise, boasting some of the most beautiful sights in the whole world alongside a rich culture, friendly locals and stunning architecture. Here are just six reasons why Colombia should be the next country you tick off your bucket list.

 


This is a guest post by Isabel Leong of Bel Around the World.


Jardin, Colombia

Photo Credit: Pedro Szekely

 

You can see a stunning alternative to Machu Picchu

Peru’s Machu Picchu is seemingly at the top of every traveller’s bucket list. And for good reason, too – the lost city is intriguing and full of historical value, as well as being visually impressive, too. But Colombia offers a site that’s just as, if not more incredible. The Secret Traveller recommends you visit Ciudad Perdida, built by the Tayrona people in the 11th Century and remaining largely undiscovered by tourists to this day.

 

Ciudad Perdida

Photo Credit: Poirpom

 

In fact, the lost city is so secluded within Sierra Nevada that you can only reach it by hiking. It’s worth the walk, though – ascending the mountains provides you with spectacular views all around, and once you arrive you’re welcomed by breathtaking ruins of a city that once was. On the way you’re likely to run into members of the Kogi tribe, according to Adventure Junkies, which will give a genuine insight into a Colombia of the past.

 

Indigenous Villages, Ciudad Perdida Hike

Photo Credit: William Neuheisel

 

Bogota is becoming a resurging hotspot

After having a reputation as a criminally troublesome country many years ago, Colombia as a whole has blossomed into a wonderful destination – Bogota is where you’ll see it in full force. Once considered an unsafe city, it’s now the place to go for travellers wanting to see it first. It’s full to the brim with cultural value in the form of fashion, art and festivities, and the locals are always welcoming and friendly towards tourists.

 

Bogota, Colombia

Photo Credit: Pedro Szekely

 

There’s a wealth of things to see here in Bogota, too – consider visiting the Monserrate, a cathedral that stands tall upon the Eastern Hills. You can hike up to the majestic building or take a cable car, and once you’re there you’ll be greeted by one of the most glorious views you’ll ever see in the form of a panorama over the whole city.

 

Arepas con Chorizo

Photo Credit: William Neuheisel

 

Back on the ground, make sure you sample some traditional Colombian food – the fruit markets in Bogota are renowned for their unique fresh fruits that you’ll find upon market stalls throughout.

 

Bogota Fruit Market

Photo Credit: Laurent de Walick

 

It has an annual carnival that is unmatched by any other

You may not have even heard of it, but Colombia’s Barranquilla’s Carnival is one of pure wonder. Running for four days every year, it’s the most important event in the country and is celebrated massively. Barranquilla’s streets are overtaken by colourful and joyous parades and parties, so much so that normal business is suspended for the carnival’s duration.

 

Fiesta_de_Fantasia_2016_Carnaval_de_Barranquilla-89

Photo Credit: Ignacio Ramírez Torrado

 

If you attend, expect to see a six-hour long parade on the first day called La Batalla de Flores, or The Battle of Flowers. This kicks off the celebrations in full force, with several different celebrations occurring in the aftermath, before the Death of Joselito on the fourth day concludes it all. Between these two parades, you’ll witness spectacular dancing, extravagant costumes and an overwhelming feeling of happiness that is so traditionally Colombian.

 

Fiesta_de_Fantasia_2016_Carnaval_de_Barranquilla-31

Photo Credit: Ignacio Ramírez Torrado

 

There’s plenty of secret diving opportunities

If you’re looking to try something completely different, diving might be for you. It’s an activity being more frequently tried by travellers, and Colombia hides some secluded yet beautiful opportunities for you to see some stunning underwater worlds. The islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina are largely untouched by tourists, meaning you’ll be free to explore the third largest coral reef system on Earth without the overwhelming crowds.

 

Colombia

Photo Credit: Belinda Grasnick

 

Just Gotta Dive recommends some of the islands’ underwater highlights to explore once under the surface – Felipe’s Palace is one of them, a sight as majestic as its namesake with a “huge, cracked labyrinth” consisting of big and bright coral, tropical fish and even sharks. Then there’s the Stairway to Heaven, a site that’s coveted by every diver who has experienced it – a cave sits at a depth of 170 feet, boasting a coral reef system that gives the illusion of steps. It’s a sight you need to discover before it becomes overwhelmingly popular.

 

Sound Setters - Providencia/Colômbia 11 a 21 de Maio

Photo Credit: Cultura de Red

 

You can visit an underground salt cathedral

Colombia actually boasts one of the strangest tourist attractions in the world – an underground salt cathedral. Its real title is the Zipaquira Salt Mine but it’s commonly referred to as the former, and you’ll find it by heading around 90 minutes out of Bogota. The mine is essentially now a place of worship, illuminated by colourful LEDs throughout. It’s a fascinatingly surreal sight.

 

Catedral de Sal

Photo Credit: Jussi Ollila

 

Wandering through the salt mine, you’ll find 14 chapels on the other side that give way to an enormous chamber, complete with seats and a massive cross. Services do actually take place down here, even though it feels like an otherworldly film set or a showy, fake scene. You’re able to take a guided tour or simply wander through the site yourself, and the latter is perhaps the more favourable as you’ll be surprised with every step you take.

 

Colombia, Bogota, Zipaquira

Photo Credit: Jonathan Hood

 

It is home to one of the best national parks in the world

Located on the very furthest edge of northern Colombia, Tayrona National Park is so big and sprawling that most people stay for more than one day just to see it all. There’s no vehicles allowed, but that’s definitely a good thing – walking around Tayrona will allow you to soak in the magnificent sights throughout. The Cabo San Juan beach is the highlight of the park according to Backpack Me, a luxurious stretch of white sand that gives way to vibrant turquoise waters beckoning for you to wade in.

 

Cabo San Juan Beach - Tayrona National Park

Photo Credit: Mark Rowland

 

In the park itself, there’s an abundance of wildlife to be seen – over 100 mammal species, 300 bird species and 1000 marine species, to be exact. The lush jungle beckons to be explored, and hiking through it leads to some natural wonders, unmatched by anywhere else on Earth. It’s a true example of paradise that hides itself on the edge of Colombia, a country that is full of vibrance, culture and joy.

 

116 Tayrona Cabo San Juan Colombia

Photo Credit: David Shankbone

 

 

A B O U T  T H E  A U T H O R

Isabel Leong travel blogger guest post Isabel draws energy from being outdoors. 23 and from Singapore, she believes there is nothing more fulfilling than being unplugged. An explorer at heart, the world is her playground. She chronicles her student travel adventures and budget tips on Bel Around the World.

 

1 Comment

  • Reply
    Carlos Mayorga Ramirez
    July 19, 2017 at 6:13 am

    awesomeeeee. Me gustó muchísimo soy mitad Colombiano y sin duda alguna you guys are right about Colombia. Big hug for you and thanks for talk about Colombia in this way !!! Hope to see you in my website elviajedeljaguar.com #ElViajeDelJaguar my name is Carlos Mayorga in instagram @cemayorga —> fb.com/elviajedeljaguar if you guys need something from my side just let me know.

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