Why you should visit Colombia in 2018

From the brink of disaster to comeback of the century, Colombia has regained its status as a must-visit gem of South America – here’s why 2018 is the time to visit.
Cartagena was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984
Cartagena was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984

Colombia, a land of extraordinary natural beauty and a friendly and hospitable people, is gracing our top destination lists once again. The Colombia that wary tourists have heard about for years – from the first spasm of La Violencia to the constant battles and skirmishes between the government, drug cartels and leftist insurgents – is finally a thing of the past.

But the decades of violence have also served to preserve some of South America’s most pristine and stunning landscapes, as well as the wildlife that call them home. Colombia has largely leapfrogged mass tourism; the tourist industry, which only gained a serious foothold in the early 2000s, has developed in a more sustainably conscious climate, and the country still radiates every treasure the first inhabitants found in its soil. Its mountains are emeralds, stretching to the four corners of the country; the Caribbean sunsets are pure gold. Colombia is El Dorado, and the real gems are the people – always ready to welcome visitors with open arms, just waiting for them to discover their country’s natural wonders.

Colombia has earned its status as a must-visit destination for 2018 for the simple reason that its diverse environments offer something for everyone. Bogotá is a fascinating metropolis with culture to spare. Travellers can indulge their inner Indiana Jones by venturing deep into Amazonas and canoeing on the Amazon, alongside pink river dolphins and caimans, or making friends with the world’s smallest primate, the adorable diminutive pygmy marmoset. Adrenaline junkies can head to San Gil for a paragliding trip or a raft journey down raging rivers. The Guajira Peninsula, with its arid coastal deserts, beckon those looking for a spiritual retreat rich in indigenous culture. The ramparts of Cartagena’s walled city tell a story of a once great fortress that protected ignominiously appropriated treasures from invading hordes, while the white-sand Caribbean beaches and crystalline waters of Santa Marta and Isla San Andrés are the stuff of postcards. Music lovers will find their fix in the salsa clubs of Cali, or the outdoor Vallenato concerts in Valledupar. All of Insight Guides' trips to Colombia are all fully customisable, and can be adapted to feature stops to all of these destinations, and more!


Beautiful bay in Colombia's Tayrona National Park. Photo: Shutterstock

In recent years, Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, has also worked hard to reinvent itself, shedding its dark and infamous past in favour of a present filled with rich culture, high fashion, world-class dining and raging nightlife. In one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world, fresh local ingredients are varied and available; no wonder its capital city is pleasing the foodie crowd – with the likes of Harry Sasson and Leo both making the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2017 (numbers 17 and 18 respectively). Explore Bogotá as part of Insight Guides' Discover Colombia trip

So why wait to visit this beautiful country, its virgin landscapes and up-and-coming cities? Be part of the story by booking onto one of Insight Guides’ trips today.