The Best Things to Do in Colombia
Collected by AFAR Editors , AFAR Staff
Swim the Caribbean Sea. Hike through Tayrona National Park. Trek to Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City. Take in Colombian coffee culture in the Coffee Triangle. Or just wander the streets of one of Colombia's cities to take in enough art and culture to keep you talking about this stellar South American country for the rest of your life.
Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia
Since Bogotá relaxed its rules about street art, the usual hurried scrawls that used to cover walls in some neighborhoods have been replaced by beautiful murals of vivid color and pleasing form. Though some are purely decorative—often...
Parque De La Sal, Zipaquirá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
About an hour north of Bogotá lies the so-called Salt Cathedral, an intriguing and impressive church that has been sculpted from the empty chambers of a working salt mine, one that’s been in operation since pre-Hispanic times....
Cl. 73 #51d14, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Medellín’s botanical garden is a 35-acre oasis of green amid the bustling city. Stroll through lush tropical vegetation, towering trees, and flowering bushes to a quiet, picturesque pond amid the gardens. Or peek into a butterfly...
Carabobo, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
At the center of Medellín, Plaza Botero gets its name from Colombian artist Fernando Botero, who donated 23 of his much-loved, disproportionate-bodied bronze sculptures to the city. There’s a huge chubby head, a reclining woman, and...
Via a Piedras Blancas, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Medellín’s urban renewal, following decades as one of the world’s murder capitals, has drawn international attention. Perhaps nothing symbolizes the revival more than the Metrocable, a system of cable cars that connect the city...
Parque Bicentenario, Cl. 51 #36-66, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
This sobering museum reminds visitors that Colombia’s beauty, natural and otherwise, has often coexisted with civil war and its brutal violence. Galleries present stories and images as well as survivor, victim, and ex-combatant testimonies....
Cra. 12 #9-70, Santa Fé de Antioquia, Santafé de Antioquia, Antioquia, Colombia
Located about an hour from Medellín, Santa Fe merits a detour for its lovely, well-preserved colonial architecture. The town was Antioquia province’s capital before Medellín, from 1584 until 1826, and time seems to have stopped...
Cra. 53 #7375, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
The four huge red cubes set amid the verdant mountains around Medellín will seize your attention and pique your curiosity—they are pavilions that architect Alejandro Echeverri designed to house Parque Explora, a science museum that is...
Cl. 36 #46 - 66, Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia
Colombians from the Caribbean coast, known as Costeños, are immensely proud of their cultural, musical, literary, and historical heritage, all of which are on display at this interactive museum. The country's famous shore stretches from the...
Av. del Libertador - Sector San Pedro Alejandrino, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia
Tayrona National Natural Park has become such a popular destination during typical vacation periods that authorities have had to limit admission. But an off-season visit offers singular luxuries like miles of all-but-solitary beaches, jungle...
Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia
Ciudad Perdida (or “lost city”) is believed to have been a political and spiritual center for the people that inhabited the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta highlands around 800 C.E. Treasure hunters "discovered" the complex in the 1970s...
calle san Augustin nº 6-14, Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
The best way to enjoy Cartagena’s historic center is simply to get lost. Wander the narrow streets that flow past gaily colored edifices and into small, leafy parks or sprawling plazas. Stroll the city ramparts, the walls built starting in...
Pueblo Rico, Risaralda, Colombia
Up in the rolling hills of Colombia’s Caldas, Quindío, and Risaralda regions, some coffee plantations offer guest accommodations for visitors looking to lap up traditional coffee culture (pardon the pun). Many of the farms give tours...
Salento, Quindio, Colombia
Officially founded in 1865, Salento is one of Colombia’s quaintest, most traditional towns. Its main street, the cobblestoned Calle Real, is lined with handicraft shops and restaurants that serve delicious, locally farmed trout (among many...
Santa Cruz de Mompox, Mompós, Bolivar, Colombia
The languid, poetic pace of life at Mompox, a mostly untouched colonial village not far from the Caribbean shoreline on the banks of the Magdalena River, evokes García Márquez novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the...
San Agustín, Huila, Colombia
This mysterious archeological site near the town of San Agustín is hard to get to, but well worth the trip. The hundreds of megalithic stone sculptures found here are believed to have been carved between 50 and 400 C.E.; many were likely...