Colombia has so many different activities, each of which can integrate perfectly within a round trip or package. Here we explain which activities might be interesting to you and which ones can be included in which packages during your visit to Colombia.
Colombia affords the visitor a wealth of chances for responsible tourism whilst enjoying the country in harmony with mother nature. On the Pacific Coast you can find the Cabañas El Cantil in Nuquí, wooden cabins built next to the most beautiful dark sand beaches. The cabins utilise sustainable local timber and the ecological destination is carefully managed to work alongside nature.
The other main eco-destination on the Pacific Coast is the El Almejal Lodge in Bahia Solano. This lodge is located next to the small fishing village of El Valle and is home to a renowned turtle conservation project where turtles are reared before being released back into the ocean. This project also offers volunteering opportunities for those wishing to become more involved in their work.
On the Caribbean Coast, there are also plenty of eco-tourism destinations. El Golfo de Morrosquillo has a marvellous eco-hotel located next to the nature reserve of Sanguaré. The hotel offers plenty of activities such as kayaking and diving in spectacular surroundings.
Also the region around Santa Marta has good eco-tourism credentials. Colombia’s Parque Tayrona has so far managed to stave off the threat of mass tourism and under strict government control, the only formal accommodation there consists of wooden eco-habs made from sustainable resources in the original style of the Kogi Indians. Also close to Santa Marta is the famous trek to La Ciudad Perdida, the lost city of the Kogi Indians whilst becoming increasingly popular, is completely without tourism infrastructure and your impact as a visitor on the area is virtually unmeasurable.
Further to the East is Palomino, The El Matuy reserve is located on pristine beaches and also boasts an eco-hotel.
Enjoy unique alpine-like landscapes in the Andes at some of the highest elevations that Colombia has to offer with 3 day treks. Combine your trek with some history and take your pick from our 3, 4 or 5 night guided trek to La Ciudad Perdida, the lost city of the Kogi Indians.
Visit our hiking and trekking guide for a full list of destinations.
Beach and Diving
Colombia is the only South American country which boasts both Atlantic and Pacific coasts so you can rest assured that a huge variety of beaches, diving and snorkeling opportunities are available to you.
On the Caribbean coast, we offer the isolated beaches of Golfo de Morrosquilo, the international feel of Santa Marta, diving in Taganga, the beaches of Cartagena, and diving and snorkeling opportunities in the Rosario Islands.
On the pacific coast you will find Gorgona, arguably Colombia’s best diving destination along with opportunities offered by El Cantil and El Almejal.
Flora and Fauna
Colombia has the world’s second highest bio-diversity after Brazil and the world’s highest bio-density due to its smaller land mass. Such variety is easily within reach of the international visitor with incredible natural attractions such as The Could Forest of Chicaque, Isla Gorgona, Parque de Fallarones and El Valle de Cocora alongside the Acaime Natural Park.
Archeology buffs should head south to San Agustín and Tierradentro, both UNESCO world heritage sites. Bookworms can follow the footsteps of Gabriel García Márquez by visiting Cartagena, Barranquilla and Aracataca.
Colombia is the world’s number 1 producer of emeralds and yes, it is even possible to combine emerald trading in Bogotá with a visit to the mines of Muso.
Music fans with a Latin bent might like to party hard at the Barranquilla Carnival, or be a pilgrim to salsa at the Feria de Cali. Perhaps head to Valledupar to discover La Leyenda del Vallenato.
One has to hand it to the Spanish, they did know how to build an attractive town, and the Colombians have certainly done a great job in preserving them. Villa de Leyva is arguably Colombia’s most imposing small colonial town and has evolved into a world class destination with great tourism infrastructure.
Whilst Villa de Leyva has the tourism infrastructure and the huge plaza to woo its visitors, the title of prettiest Colombian colonial town ultimately rests with Barichara in the Santander department
For possibly the most beautiful Spanish colonial city in the world, Colombia plays proud host to Cartagena whose immaculately preserved narrow streets take you back to a bygone era.
A half day trip away from Cartagena and you find Mompox, a haven for perfectly conserved centuries old architecture and craft workshops making intricate goldwork.
Fans of colonial architecture should also consider the white city of Popayán and the coffee town of Salento, a town of brightly coloured buildings whose U-shaped construction has through the years helped protect them from earthquakes.
Colombia’s capital Bogotá, as a result of its chequered 20th century history, has a similarly chequered urban landscape. Between the colonial buildings of La Candelaria, expect to find both art deco and post-modern infill. Bauhaus styles can also be found in Avenida Jiménez and San Victorino. Elements of Le Corbusier‘s post-Bogotazo masterplan are evident in Avenida Caracas and La Macarena.
Now in the 21st century, Medellín is the city most lauded for its forward thinking and progressive architecture.
Colombia’s undisputed capital of adventure sport is San Gil. The area offers paragliding, caving, trekking, mountain biking and horse riding among other activities. River activities such as rappel, rafting and kayaking can be found in Tobia, close to Bogotá or similarly Rio Claro nearer to Medellín.
Villa de Leyva is proving to be a tourism all-rounder as it is also maturing as an adventure sports destination in its own right. Whatever thrill you seek, and whichever destination you choose, Colombia’s adventure sports destinations not only offer you adrenaline-fueled fun but also spectacular natural surroundings.
We love photography and Colombia definitely isn’t camera shy. Whether your favourite subjects are architectue, landscapes, nature, people or even food, Colombia has it all and each destination has its own photogenic charm.
We work closely with The Colombian Photographic Society to promote photography as an activity in Colombia and offer both full day guided photography tours in and around Bogotá as well as complete photography courses in Colombia
Colombia is slowly beginning to emerge as a destination for gastronauts, especially for the budding Anthony Bourdain within that wants to get to the very heart of Colombian food culture. Independently you will find a wealth of street food, especially on Bogotá‘s Ciclovia and Septimazo. You will also be able to discover regional variations and local specialities when travelling throughout the country.
If you are heading to Cartagena then you are in for some of the country’s best restaurants with consistently excellent quality and inventive modern takes on Colombian classics such as arroz con coco and local fish dishes.
Bogotá unfortunately is less consistent but does have some great young innovative chefs that are quietly and diligently transforming the dining landscape. If you are visiting Bogotá with The Colombian Way, then ask for our up to date list of recommended restaurants.
Villa de Leyva gets its own special mention in our gastronomy section. In restaurant terms, it has great variety, consistently high quality and interesting international flavours along with organic and locally sourced produce.