Colombia is a sizable country with a lot of diversity for travelers, but it’s a mountainous country with significant distances between the most popular regions. That means you need one of two things if you want to get a proper taste of the destination as an independent traveler: 1) weeks of time or 2) really good organizational skills for itinerary planning.
I said “independent traveler” there because there is a third way. You can book an organized tour of Colombia and leave all the logistics to someone else. If you sign up with an experienced planner like International Expeditions, you can have someone else arranging all those internal flights, the transfers, reliable places to stay, and the curating of the best experiences.
I have been to Colombia three times and will surely return again at some point. It’s also a favorite of many of our contributors. A couple of them have ended up putting down roots there, at least for a while. The land of coffee, cumbia, and Cartagena exerts a pull on adventurous travelers that makes them want to stick around or come back again.
The Greatest Hits of Colombia for Travelers
Cartagena is a walled fortress city that looks like nothing else in the Americas, its imposing walls and high fortress still standing solid hundreds of years later. It’s got the best selection of luxury hotels in Colombia, from historic boutique hotels to new resorts on the beach.
Medellin and Bogota are two very different cities, the first a high-elevation “eternal spring” city favored by expats, Bogota is the center of government and industry as the country’s capital. Check out the food and nightlife in the former, the Gold Museum and works of Botero in the latter.
The Coffee Triangle of Colombia is the best place in the world to tour a variety of locations where the world’s favorite beverage crop grows and to sample good coffee at its source. The countryside is beautiful in this area, clouds moving through the misty mountains and birds fluttering among the shade-grown coffee farms.
The Nature Reserves of Colombia
If you look at a map of the Americas, as the tropical bird flies, Colombia is not far from Panama and Costa Rica, prime destinations for bird watchers and nature lovers. With 11% of the country preserved as 58 protected areas and national parks, it’s not hard to get away from people and connect with nature instead.
IE’s Colombia Wildlife Tour allots plenty of time to nature trails and remote areas, while also hitting some of the greatest hits areas for some fine dining and shopping. If you want to explore further, however, you can set up a custom tour that’s exactly aligned with your wish list, utilizing top-tier local guides. Or you can take a hybrid approach with a custom add-on to a regular tour. See more at the Colombia section of their website.