6 reasons you should travel to Colombia

Colombia is shedding its shady reputation to emerge as one of 2017's hottest travel destinations; here are six great reasons why Colombia is so caliente right now
Fruit-seller in Cartagena. Photo: Shutterstock
Fruit-seller in Cartagena. Photo: Shutterstock

Colombia is back in the headlines – and this time it's encouraging news. The country is emerging as one of the hottest destinations for 2017; here are six highlights for your holiday itinerary

Taking a holiday to Colombia: how to get started

Insight Guides can help you with planning, organising and booking your trip to Colombia. Simply, get in touch and share your budget, interests and travel style. Our local experts will create an itinerary that is exclusive to you and your requirements, which you can then amend until it's just right. Alternatively, browse and modify ready-made holidays to create your dream trip today. 

1. Coffee country

Colombia is one of the world's top producers of coffee beans. To understand how coffee goes from the bean to cup, join a guided tour of a coffee farm, like the one included on Insight Guides' Discover Colombia trip. At Hacienda Combia, near the town of Armenia, you'll learn about the coffee-making process and how they extract the best aromas from the humble bean. Your experience will end with a chance to sample the finished product and bring the best beans home to recreate this sensory journey.

2. A museum full of gold

The Colombian capital Bogotá has a real gold nugget of a museum – literally. The Museo del Oro holds the world's largest collection of pre-Colombian gold, so be prepared to be dazzled by over 55,000 pieces including gold animals, figurines, and even a gold boat. Visit the gold museum on a tour of Bogotá, the starting point of Insight Guides' Discover Colombia holiday.

A mask at the Gold Museum.A mask at the Gold Museum. Photo: Shutterstock

3. Re-live Cartagena's pirate days

A visit to this colonial gem is the highlight of any trip to Colombia. Founded in 1533 by the first of Spain's scurvy-ridden conquistadors, the town quickly blossomed to become the main colonial port on the Caribbean, and the gateway to the whole South American empire. But as the wealth plundered from the local populations oiled up in galleons to be taken back to Cádiz (Spain), the city became the target of every pirate and desperado cruising the Caribbean seas. So the Spanish built stone ramparts and battlements, still standing today. You can visit them as part of Insight Guides' Colombia Express trip, which includes a guided tour of Cartagena's atmospheric cobbled streets evocative of the town's early days of bloodthirsty pirates and sword fights beneath the palm trees.

4. Birds, birds, birds

Boasting the largest bird list of any country in the world, Colombia is a birder's paradise. During a walk in the Andean forest, you'll encounter a rainbow of creatures: purple-throated woodstar, yellow-vented woodpecker, saffron finch, red-headed barbet, citrine warbler, black-billed mountain toucan and the bright orange Andean cock-of-the-rock among many others.

Cartagena's pirate-repelling fortifications.Cartagena's pirate-repelling fortifications. Photo: Shutterstock

5. A forest of statues

In the southern cordillera region of Colombia is San Agustín, a village famous for its ancient stone statues. These mysterious remnants of a lost culture are from one the of the most important archaeological sites in South America. The 500 or so statues continue to baffle archaeologists: some resemble masked monsters, others eagles, jaguars or frogs. See the statues for yourself on Insight Guides' Discover Colombia holiday, which covers the whole site in a one-day excursion.

6. A Cathedral of salt

North of Bogotá is a sight to behold: the cathedral of Zipaquira is carved entirely out of salt. Cut from a mountainside above the small town of Zipaquira, a tunnel leads into a sulfur-laden darkness. The cathedral is 25 metres (78 ft) high and the walls are black, giving the unsettling sensation of walking through space. Visit this other-worldly cathedral as part of Insight Guides' Colombia Express trip.

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Browse suggested holiday itineraries to Colombia online or speak to our local expert David, to create your trip from scratch