Woman in traditional dress smiling with Cartagena skyline in the background.

Why Columbia is So Popular Right Now

Colombia’s Immersive Adventures, Captivating Culture, Beautiful Beaches

If you’re looking for a vacation destination that includes amazing natural wonders, immersive culture experiences, and offers a distinctively different, but delicious cuisine – look no further! You may want to consider Colombia – quickly growing popular among tourists.

Colombia’s coastlines touch both the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, and its interior terrain ranges from Amazon rainforest to tropical grasslands. Its varied landscape offers adventurous travelers opportunities to dive from jungle cliffs, go white-water rafting down surging rivers, or go paragliding to get a bird’s-eye view of the country’s magnificent beauty below.

Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia

In addition to its natural beauty, Colombia is a world-class center of culture. For example, Cartagena – a UNESCO World Heritage site whose vast colonial-era walled city “Cuidad Allmurada” – attracts thousands of national and global visitors every year in part because of the city’s numerous upscale restaurants, luxe boutique hotels, lively public squares and vibrant nightlife.

And although Cartagena is a city you should add to your Colombia itinerary, you should also consider a few other popular cities. Visit Bogotá, where visitors get a balance of century-old plazas and churches with towering modern skyscrapers. Medellín, the “City of Eternal Spring,” is the famous birthplace of contemporary artist Fernando Botero; and home to the Museo de Antioquia, which houses his work. Looking for a vacation that resembles a Swiss mountain retreat? Consider visiting Pereira, located in a mountainous, coffee-growing region in Colombia and known for its mild Arabica beans.

With help from an expert travel agent, you can customize your trip to visit Colombia to include amazing adventures, historic tours, picturesque beaches and more! Here’s 3 reasons why we think Colombia is hot right now.

La Piedra del Penol, Medellin, Colombia
La Piedra del Penol (Medellin, Colombia) 

Experience Colombia’s Captivating Culture

Colombia has no shortage of ways for tourists to immerse themselves in the country’s rich history and culture. Don’t miss out on visiting Cartagena’s Old Town or Cuidad Allmurada – best explored on foot with an experienced guide. The city walls, or murallas, surround the old town and feature massive gates, cannons and lookout points as reminder of how many invaders coveted the port city’s wealth.

Inside the walls are shops, street vendors, large squares and restaurants. The restored Palacio de la Inquisición (Palace of Inquisition) is one of several intact examples of Cartagena’s 18th century Colonial architecture highlighted by carved wooden balconies, ceilings and windows.

A Vacation travel agent can arrange a customized trip that includes tickets to one of the city’s annually hosted events – including its International Music Festival and Carnaval de Cartagena – and reservations to visit local restaurants and historic museums.

Carnaval in Colombia
Carnaval (Barranquilla, Colombia)

For culturally curious travelers, explore Popayan, a beautiful, white-washed city that is Colombia's religious epicenter. Each year, this city hosts the world’s second-largest Easter festival (after Seville, Spain). And while you’re here, don’t miss visiting the archeological sites of San Agustin and Tierra Dentro via Purace National Park.

Further north and located on the Caribbean Sea, the city of Santa Marta is the perfect destination for you if you enjoy beaches and snowy mountain foothills – all within the city. History buffs can also visit the grave of General Simón Bolívar, Latin America’s legendary revolutionary hero. La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino is famous for being where Bolívar’s died on December 17, 1830, when the estate produced rum, honey and panela.

Tallest Palm Trees in Cocora Valley, Colombia
Tallest Palm Trees (Cocora Valley, Colombia)

Colombia’s Beautiful Beaches and Amazing Adventures

Sun seekers will likely find their ideal beach experience in Colombia, which has more than 300 beaches along its 1,802 miles of coastline. Most of Colombia’s Pacific coast is lined with small beaches, while the Caribbean coast features larger stretches of sand with beachfront resorts and numerous water sports activities.

Consider visiting Bogota, Colombia’s largest city, if you enjoy hiking in green spaces in close proximity of the city’s historic districts. Take a stroll through streets to hike to the Chapinero waterfalls, which also offer a panoramic view over the city’s eastern mountains.

Tayrona National Park
Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Colombia is a world-class destination for dive enthusiasts because it provides divers with the option to take the plunge in the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea. And tourists can explore the country’s natural parks (like Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona), secluded beaches, jungles as well as engage in an immersive experience to learn about the indigenous villages and their ancestral traditions.

Looking for a little adventure? Water cascading from Colombia’s mountains with strong currents create electrifying river rafting opportunities. Popular rafting excursions are available along the Magdalena River in Huila); the Río Negro in Cundinamarca; the Barragán River in the Café Triangle, and the Suárez, Chicamocha and Fonce Rivers in Santander.

La Charrera Park, Bogota, Colombia
La Charrera Park (Bogota, Colombia) 

Get a bird’s-eye view of Colombia and arrange a paragliding excursion in Santander, Valle del Cauca, Bogota and Medellin. With the exception of rainy days, paragliding is practiced year-round in Colombia.

And if you’re looking for tame adventures, wildlife lovers will find unmatched bird-watching in Colombia, including Rio Blanco Nature Reserve near Manizales and Rio Claro Nature Reserve located 3 hours from Medellin. The country is also home to the world’s largest collection of butterflies, flowers and amphibians – 589 species of amphibians to be exact.

Inspired by this article and want to speak with an expert travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable vacation in Colombia? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with an expert travel agent, who can customize an itinerary you’re going to love.

Hummingbird in Colombia
Colombia Bird Watching: The long-tailed Sylph, a rare hummingbird, is just one of the friendly-feathered animals you may spot on a bird-watching excursion in Colombia.