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Best Things To Do & See In Colombia: Tourist Attractions


The top tourist attractions in Colombia have just now started to develop into the mainstream. A country marred by its past is just now staring to climb outside its shell and shine on the world stage.

Everything that you can think of from the history of Cartagena, the world renown coffee plantations, and even the lovable city of Medellin leaves tourists wanting to come back for years.

There are tour companies sprouting up in almost every city (every day) and the things to do in the once war torn country are growing rapidly. Living in Medellin has allowed me to learn more about the great Colombian people. Here are the top 5 things to do in Colombia:

Tayrona National park, things to do in Cartagena, things to see in Cartagena

Sunset off the coast of Tayrona National Park

THE CARIBBEAN COAST

Cartagena is one of the old capitals of the Spanish Empire. Here you can see a great part of history and die of heat at the same time. Its an extreme tropical climate so make sure to bring your sun screen and plenty of water. Walking inside the old city will make you feel like you are in a whole different world. The colonial architecture and balconies that line the streets will take your heart away. If it wasn’t for Buenos Aires, this city could easily be the romantic capital of South America.

The area around Cartagena has much to explore as well. Scuba Diving in and around Cartagena is very popular. In a small city call Taganga about 2 hours from Cartagena, the city lives of scuba diving training. Tayrona National Park is massive for beach and out door lovers.

Botero, Botero sculptures, things to do in Medellin, medellin tourist attractions, fat people scultpures

A Botero Sculpture in Plaza Botero, Medellin

You can also get a glimpse of Colombia’s lost city, la cuidad perdida, inside of the Parque Nacional Natural Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (a national park with a name thats way too long). You can take a great hike that takes about 4-5 days.

One of My Favorites in the world: MEDELLIN

One of the best things to do & see in Colombia is Medellin, hands down.  The city is incredible which is the reason I decided to live here. This city too was recently run by drug lords until the government took the city back house by house in the early 1990′s. The culture in the city will astound you as everyone is friendly and willing to help.

You can paraglide over the city to get great views of the mountains and after landing take a gander at the gorgeous botanical gardens. Medellin is also the city where the famous artist Botero was born. You can explore both the Botero Plaza and the museum in the center of the city. When in the city no one misses Medellin nightlife, make sure you head out for some reggaeton or salsa dancing.

PUEBLO HUNTING

Your stay in Colombia wouldn’t be fulfilled unless you head into the country side and see the small pueblos (towns). Near Medellin you have great ones to see in Guatape, Jardin, and Santa Fe, among others. Most Colombian families head into fincas (country houses) during holiday and extended weekends. This is a great way to get the real taste of Colombia!  One unique thing that you can do is visit the coffee region.  The cities you want to visit are Manizales or Salento which are roughly 5.5 hours away and 1.5 hours away from Medellin by bus, respectively.

BOGOTA

museo del oro bogota, museo del oro, gold museum in colombia, gold pictures, ancient gold pieces, gold from the incas

The capital of Bogota offers a look into both the political and financial capital of the country. The historical district is called La Candelaria in Bogota. Here you can explore the old streets of the city, see the popular Plaza de Bolivar, and also check out the fantastic Gold Museum and Botero Museum (both are extremely impressive). If you don’t have the opportunity to go up into the mountains, specifically Mt. Monserrate, then you will miss some of the most breathtaking pictures of the city. About an hour away from the city is the popular Salt Cathedral where you can see a salt mine that was converted into a church.

SAN ANDREAS

scuba diving with lion fish, lion fish underwater

The Caribbean island of Colombia just off the coast of Central America has a lot to offer to tourists. Diving or getting your open water scuba diving certificate is a great idea with crystal clear waters and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve (If UNESCO recognizes it, you have to see it!). You can find all the outdoor adventures you can dream of including tanning at the beach, para sailing, wind surfing, and even horseback riding.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

WanderingTrader August 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

They are poisonous.. you always touch what they tell you not to touch don’t you? Im a stubborn thing i tell you! lol

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Nancy & Shawn Power August 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Thanks a bunch for this great post about what to do in Cartagena, we only got to spend a full day there, but clearly from you post, there is so much more to see. More time would have been great but here’s a sample of our pictures that we were able to get and things we were able to in one day. Let us know what you think. :-)

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Nicole Smith August 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Oh man, I thought having them on your fingers like that would be scary! (I’m a girl… I’m not a huge fan of fish… I would probably have run screaming from the water! haha)

Will have to check out some of these things when I finally make it to Colombia!
Beautiful photography as always Marcello. :)

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Jakeclahr February 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

Lion fish aren’t poisonous stupid!

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WanderingTrader February 3, 2012 at 1:39 am

You only live once Jake!

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demeron December 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

This helped me alot thankyou!

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Dazer Duzz It December 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Iv’e only been there for like 4 days and there’s so much fun things to do !! c: it’s really fun ! if you are only visiting there for one day still ! you can do lots of fun things in one day !

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Zee Zee B February 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm

This was a great post! I’m doing a project on Colombia and this helped me a lot!

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Dasagamer April 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Thx dude so much! I was doing a report on colombia and this helped me ALOT THANKS SO MU7CH AGAIN!!!

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MaNya August 21, 2013 at 10:44 am

DANGOREOUS

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Marcello August 22, 2013 at 1:59 am

It really isn’t that bad anymore Manya

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karem June 14, 2014 at 9:36 am

MaNya one word for you. IGNORANT!

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Daniel January 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

I think Miami or Hawaii is a much cooler place to live…

Or Florianópolis where you combine surf, nightlife and low cost lifestyle ?

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Marcello January 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm

That may be because you like the beach but I am impartial to the beach and don’t necessarily need to be by a beach. I prefer the mountains here in Colombia because the weather is perfect. I don’t like the heat and would prefer being here in Medellin that is considered the city of eternal spring.

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Dave January 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Marcello,
We’re going to be in Medellin in mid March. Are there any specific events we should be planning for around that time?

Any tips are much appreciated!
-Dave

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Marcello February 9, 2014 at 11:17 am

Don’t know of any specific events in Medellin during that time Dave but there is always something going on in the city.

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Jay Patel February 20, 2014 at 10:36 am

We are going to Medellin in June for a Bachelor Party, but wanted to get your opinion on Cartagena for a city to visit prior to the actual debauchery. It would be for adventure, drinking, and sight-seeing.

Thanks,
Jay

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Marcello March 16, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Would definitely recommend it Jay there is quite outdoors stuff to do there

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Escape Hunter August 6, 2014 at 8:27 am

I heard the Museo del Oro is captivating in Bogota. I would certainly want to visit it.
Cocora Valley and Cartagena too!

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