Colombia—lively, diverse, and full of stunning natural beauty—was less than a decade ago considered a no-go destination. With the drug cartel era behind it, however, the country has taken the top spot on adventurous travelers’ bucket lists. Pristine beaches, thriving wildlife, colonial cities, and a rich cultural heritage make it a treasure trove of travelers' riches. Colombia’s second largest city, Medellín, is eager to show itself off to visitors. It is a food-centric and legendarily friendly city. Its calendar is crowded with festivals while dance, music, and art can be found in every quarter of town. Beyond the country’s urban attractions, Colombia's famed beaches and natural parks await curious travelers.
The “Lost City” of Teyuna high in the jungle, for instance, was never considered “lost” by the local, indigenous people. Rediscovered by archeologists in the 1970s, it became Indiana Jones central for those who make the trek and feel like they have stumbled on a forgotten treasure. Along with the Teyuna ruins, rainforest expeditions are rich with wildlife sightings (thousands of hummingbird species alone make their home in these forests). National parks like Tayrona, with its Caribbean beaches, also support thriving wild species (including nocturnal jaguar). First established back in the 1860s, Tayrona was named for a tribe whose ancestors, the Koguis, still make their home here. It's also known as the home of some awesome waves that lure local and visiting surfers.
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