Colombia Activities

The notorious reputation of Colombia’s mountains and jungles as the province of terrorists, armed revolutionaries, paramilitaries, drug cartels, and even ordinary kidnappers and thieves makes the very idea of venturing beyond Colombia’s cities brave and/or foolish. While it is true that a decades-long civil war indeed had made many of Colombia’s rural areas dangerous, a surprisingly high portion of Colombia’s breathtaking mountains and sierras are safely accessible.

With so many things to do in Colombia, it’s no wonder it has become one of South America’s most popular destinations. Stroll through the Saturday market in Málaga, dip your feet in the sands of the Caribbean coast, take a hike through the Lost City, or simply savor the flavors and sounds of Colombia in one of its largest cities. There are plenty of things to do in Colombia; you just have to be ready to find them.

  • Semana Santa
    Easily the most important holiday in Popayán, and one that has been celebrated annually for more than 450 years, Semana Santa transforms Popayán into a colorful procession of Catholic tradition, bringing in hundreds of visitors every year. Following the model of Seville, Spain, the proces
  • The Lost City Hike / Ciudad Perdida Hike
  • Iglesia del Cristo Rey
    Whereas the Iglesia de San Juan displays one style of medieval architecture, that of Arab-influenced Spain, a few blocks away the Iglesia the Cristo Rey shows us the architecture of northern Europe of the same period. This church, built in the 1930s, is a stunning example o
  • Colonial Buildings in Honda
    If you have a couple of hours to spare in Honda then take a stroll through the "City of Bridges", so called due to the fact that it has 29 bridges spanning the river Magdalena. For insight and understanding into the expansion of Colombia, Honda is a good place to start since pretty much all travel
  • Senor de Los Milagros
    On Sundays and public holidays masses of devout Colombian Catholics make their way from neighboring towns and from Cali itself to the town of Guadalajara de Buga to pay their respects to and ask favors of the Señor de los Milagros in the Basilica in Buga. Buga, also known as the "Cuidad Seño
  • The Churches of Tunja
    Tunja's Catholic temples present unusual architectural features seldom seem elsewhere. A common theme in many is the gold-leaf-on-red furnishings. Open mass hours except where noted. No photos are allowed of any of the interiors. --Catedral Santiago de Tunja (Basílica Metropolitana de Santiago el
  • Casa del Fundador Gonzalo Suárez Rendón
    Casa del Fundador was the home of Gonzalo Suárez Rendón, founder of the colonial city of Tunja. It is claimed to be the only home of a founder still existing in Latin America. Built in the mid-16th century by Spanish and indigenous laborers, the mansion has Mudéjar and Andalusian features.
  • Monasterio Santo Ecce Homo
    On a green spread of boulder-strewn land, four Dominican monks established a monastery in 1620. Inside this fossil-studded stone edifice, you can tour the original chapel (note the moon and sun in the apse arch) and a dozen galleries exhibiting religious art and the monks' daily life. The choir lof
  • Casas Coloniales of Villa de Leyva
    Besides those that have been made into museums, you may visit other colonial-era buildings: • Casa del Primer Congreso is the building where the First Convention of the United Provinces of Nueva Granada was held (Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday 8 a.m.-1 p.m., 2-5 p.m. Carrera 9 and Calle 13). â€
  • The Churches of Villa de Leyva
    The Catedral, on the Plaza Mayor, dates from 1604-1665, and reconstructed after an earthquake in 1845. A few blocks away, Carrera 10 and Calle 14, is the relatively new Iglesia del Carmen (1836-1845), with a stunning side chapel. Another colonial-era iglesia is that of the Carmelitas, built in 1642
  • Cali Teatro
    One of the few places in the city where you can get fresh air and a fine view of Cali is atop the hill in barrio San Antonio. Here you will find an 18th-century chapel and a park. The Cali Teatro, a block from the park, has seasonal performances that could be worth an evening out if your Spanish is
  • Teatro Municipal Enrique Buenaventura
    On April 9, 1918, construction of this beautiful yellow theater began. Ten years later, it was completed, with remodeling done in the 1950s. Modeled like an Italian opera theater, this Neoclassical theater holds up to 1,200 people in its stylish and elaborate European-like interior. It was declared
  • The Churches of Popayán
    Take refuge from Popayán's afternoon showers in the sanctuary of one of her churches. The schedule of masses and church hours is in the telephone book. Catedral Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Calle 5, between Carreras 6 and 7, Parque Caldas) La Enca
  • Iglesia de San Juan
    Walking into Iglesia de San Juan's interior is like entering a mosque. Built within a century of the Spanish conquest of the Americas,this temple, Pasto's original cathedral, exhibits a pure Mozarabic style of Islamic-era Spain. Note the almost complete absence of human figures within, the wall
  • Catedral Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
    Popayán's cathedral is a testament to the clean lines of Roman architecture. The whitewashed exterior is accented only by towering columns with ionic capitals. The interior of this sanctuary is painted ivory, pale blue and light grey with gold details. The barrel vaulting bands are intertwining vi
  • The Churches of Pasto
    Some stunning temples have been bestowed upon Pasto during its nearly 500 years of existence. Some of the most noteworthy are: Catedral (Calle 17 and Carrera 26) — A red-brick building of simple, classic Roman basilica design. Two Art Deco angels hold the baptismal font. Gain fascinating insight into rural community life, alternative agricultural systems, and medicinal and trop
  • Manglares de Cispatá
    Spend an interesting half-day trip at the Manglares de Cispatá in the Sinú River delta. Visit a small animal sanctuary with turtles and caimans. You can touch and hold most of the animals. A guide explains the kind of preservation work currently done in the area. If you come by boat, you al
  • Cultural Centers of Santa Marta
    Just because you are traveling on a tight budget doesn't mean you can't get a fair dose of the arts while you are in Santa Marta. The city's cultural centers often present free events. • Banco de la República: Library (Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Isla de Tierra Bomba
    Isla de Tierra Bomba, a rather large island off the coast of Cartagena, remains steeped in history. It was through the strait, Bocachica, that the first pioneers entered Cartagena. The narrow passageway was protected by two fortresses, which may be visited (daily 8 a.m.-6 p.m.): Fuerte San Fernando
  • Fishing
    Every morning and every afternoon local men head out to go fishing, the traditional trade of Taganga. To try your hand at catching some bonito pargo rojo (red snapper), albacore, barracuda or shark, talk with the local fishermen about taking you out. Or, contact Caracol about a
  • Santa Catalina
    The tiny island of Santa Catalina was connected to Providencia at one time, but it is believed that pirates—possibly Henry Morgan or the Dutchman Edward Manswelt—may have cut a 100-meter (328-ft) wide channel to make for an easily defendable, one-square-kilometer base on Santa Catalina.
  • Piscina Municipal Las Moyas
    Once the sun begins to shine in San Agustín, it gets down right hot. The perfect way to cool down after visiting the Parque Arqueológico or doing the El Tablón-to-El Purutal circuit is to swing by the Piscina Municipal Las Moyas. A more-than-Olympic-sized swimming pool full of cool, fresh spring
  • La Chaza
    Sundays, men of all ages partake in Chaza de Bombo, a ball game where four-to eight-man teams hit a tennis ball with a bombo, an 80-centimeter (32-in) -long, wooden racket with a 22-centimeter (9-in) -wide head stretched with hide.When the ball hits the rackets, it sounds like the be
  • Cumbal
    In this small indigenous village on the altiplano, the Sunday market trading is still going strong. Stalls display fruits from highlands and low, or ponchos from local workshops. Doña Yolanda stops stirring the helado de paila for a moment to serve clients a portion. The copper b
  • To Santa Sofía
    In the 18-kilometer (10.8-mile) stretch of road from Villa de Leyva to Santa Sofía, many attractions await the eager visitor to the Desierto de Villa de Leyva. Pozos Azules, three kilometers (1.8 miles) outside of the city, are sapphire pools that sprinkle the desert. One kilometer (0.6 mile) furt
  • Bolo Americano
    Ever wonder what ever happened to all those bowling alleys once the sport lost favor in the United States? Well, it appears everything was shipped to Colombia, lanes, shoes and balls. (The pinsetters, though, not—they're human, so watch for him to get on the rafters before you fire your ball do
  • Churches & Plazas of Ipiales
    Ipiales has two pleasant public squares: Parque de la Independencia (also known as Parque 20 de Julio), between Carreras 5 and6, and Calles 8 and 9, and Parque La Pola, betweenCarreras 5 and 6, and Calles 13 and 14. Around Parque de la Independencia are the municipal buildings (t
  • Plaza de la Aduana
    Plaza de la Aduana is Cartagena's oldest and largest plaza. It serves as the commercial heart of the city and the parade grounds for festival days. People mingle here throughout the day and into the evening. It is the ideal meeting place for day-trippers taking the ferry to Isla Barú or for
  • Plaza Santo Domingo
    The always-happening Plaza Santo Domingo is filled with classy cafés ideal for people-watching. The brick plaza and the shops that dot the periphery of the plaza seem much like they would have been centuries ago, so it is easy to imagine life back then while you enjoy a limonada de coco (c
  • Plaza San Francisco
    San Francisco is an enormous brick plaza and one of the largest in Cali, where pigeons (and humans) gather to catch some rays and chill out. This plaza was actually destroyed in 1960 and rebuilt in 1969. Be sure to check out the black fountain near the entrance to Capilla de la Inmaculada. This
  • Plaza de Caicedo
    Plaza de Caicedo has always been the center of public, commercial and political life in Cali. During the colonial period, it was called the Plaza Mayor. Between 1674 and 1897, the park was used for public markets. In 1813, it took the name of Plaza de la Constitución. In 1913, the name was chang
  • La Catedral
    Construction of Cartagena's first cathedral began in 1575, using the modest materials of wood and cane. Plans were revamped by Simón González, who performed the greater part of its construction from 1577 until 1612. Francis Drake famously destroyed it in the midst of construction in 1586. It t
  • Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo
    Deep into the student heartland of the Candelaria there is a small plaza with bars, restaurants and eclectic shops that appeal to an off-beat crowd. Here in the Plazoleta del Chorro de Quevedo is where Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada - the founder of Bogotá - stopped and drank from a stream in his push
  • Plaza Bolivar
    The grandeur that confronts you upon entering the unashamed opulence of Bogotá's Plaza de Bolivar is overwhelming. Tall stately buildings rise up on all four sides, from the Capitol building and the Palacio de Narino to the Alcaldia of Bogota to the Cathedral and the Palacio de Justicia. This plaza
  • Plaza de Bolívar
    Plaza Bolívar is the ideal place for relaxation in the center of the old city. At lunchtime, locals take advantage of the shade offered around the center statue of Simon Bolívar on his horse, and the tourists sit down to rest their feet and people-watch. Women dressed in bright, typical Caribb
  • Guatavita
    Guatavita is a pleasant day trip destination from Bogotá that allows the traveler to escape the fumes of Bogotá and explore a little of the Cundinamarca countryside. The original laguna de Guatavita was a sacred site to the local Muisca people who were known to have enormous reserves of gold. Her
  • Bioparque Los Ocarros
    Following the zoo trend of creating natural spaces for its resident animals, Bioparque Los Ocarros teaches about the creatures of the Orinoco River Basin. Spread throughout 5.7 hectares (14 ac), it houses 181 species, ranging from land and waterfowl to the majestic jaguar, from inquisitive monkeys
  • Parque Nacional Natural Amacayacu
    Located 60 kilometers (36 mi) upstream from Leticia, Parque Nacional Natural Amacayacu is one of the most easily (and safely) accessible jungle national parks. Its 293,500 hectares (725,254 ac) on the banks of the Amazon and Amacayacu Rivers is home to more than 150 species of mammals, including pin
  • Isla de los Micos
    Isla de los Micos (Island of the Monkeys) is a standard stop on tours of the Amazon. Thirty-five kilometers (21 mi) upstream from Leticia, this 450-hectare (1,112 ac) island is home to our distant primate cousins, capuchin monkeysâ??a not-so-elusive bunch of creatures. Take an interpretive hike th
  • Ruta Piedemonte Llanero
    Ruta Piedemonte Llanero follows the eastern edge of the Cordillera Oriental. On one side, the mountains scrape the sky, and on the other, the endlessly flat land merges with the heavens. The route passes through Bioparque Los Ocarros and Centro-Cultural Etnoturístico El Maguare of the Uitoto indig
  • Lago Tarapota
    The Río Loretoyacü bulges a bit to one side, creating Lago Tarapoto, a beautiful lake surrounded by jungle and speckled with mangrove islands. Along its shores are isolated indigenous hamlets hidden in the dense vegetation. This is a place of magic, where pink dolphins leap from silver waters.
  • Bogotá's Literary Scene
    It's typical for many of Colombia's writers to spend a spell in the nation's capital. Catch the latest words scribed by the modern poets and authors when you hit Bogotá blossoming literary café scene. Some venues even open the microphone up to the public —your opportunity to share some verse
  • Centro Cultural Gabriel García Márquez
    Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez was born in Aracataca, Colombia. Although, his most famous piece of work, "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is set in the author's homeland, it was born in México, where he has resided for many years. As a gift from the Aztec nation to the writer's
  • Indigenous Villages
    Several indigenous villages are accessible by path or by boat from Puero Nariño. Sendero Interpretativo Puerto Nariño San Martín leads to the Tikuna hamlet of San Martín, not too far from Parque Nacional Natural Amacayacu. Unfortunately, it has become affected by tourists, and people ar
  • Casa Proartes
    This great little Neoclassic-style building, next door to the Teatro Municipal, is yet another center for the arts in Cali. Built in 1871 and beautifully restored in 1991, several free temporary art exhibits and arts performances are on the center stage inside. There is a small cinema on the ground
  • Hike to El Pico, Providencia
    Check the skies, consult the weather forecast, speak to some islanders and then choose the ideal day to hike up to El Pico (360 meters/1,181 feet). The highest point on the rugged island of Providencia, El Pico offers breathtaking views over the whole island, its azure bays, white sandy beaches, ma
  • Mountain Climbing
    One of the biggest draws to PNN El Cocuy is the mountain climbing. The Sierra Nevada del Cocuy is considered to be one of the most beautiful ranges in the country and the lack of tourists makes for an un-crowded, quiet adventure. These peaks were first summated by a Swiss team in 1928. Colombian
  • Centro Cultural Bolívar
    The Central Cultural Bolívar screens art films from Colombia and around the world Thursday to Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. in this small theater just a few blocks from Parque Caldas. Other days of the week, you can catch documentaries or theater productions; check the websites for sche
  • Salsa in Cali
    Ride in a public bus, sit in a bar or walk down Avenida Sexta in barrio Granada and you will know that this city is all about salsa. There are dozens of salsa schools in Cali where a novice can learn a few steps to impress friends back home. In addition, there are many clubs where the irresistible u
  • Horseback Riding
    Another great way to see the beautiful and vast countryside around Salento is by horse. Paulino Callejas, a local cowboy, has 35 willing horses and a crew of cowboys ready to take you on trails up the mountain or along the Río Cocora. Trips range from 1.5 hours up to six hours, depending on the l
  • Parque de la 93
    You would be hard pushed to really called Parque de la 93 a park, but more an upmarket grassy tree-lined plaza in north Bogota. The Parque 93 is somewhere to go when you have had your fill of colonial buildings and the mayhem of the Candelaria. Here you can spy how the other half live in luxury appa
  • Volcán Puracé
    The star of this 803,600-hectare national park is Volcán Puracé. A near-perfect cone peak, it rises 4,760 meters (15,613 feet). A well-defined trail leads from the Pilimbalá ranger station through high mountain and páramo ecosystems to its summit; near the top, loose cinders make the going a bi
  • Volcán Galeras
    Early Pastuso mornings you can catch a glimpse of Galeras, when the clouds lift enough to see it sending up smoke signals. Located only seven kilometers (4.2 mi) from Pasto, the volcano has high Andean páramo and sub-parámo ecosystems woven by over 120 rivers and four lagoons. Butterflies, deer,
  • El Faro
    The lighthouse is located on the very tip of the cape, warning those at sea of the imminent danger of these rocky shores. These days, it is a modern device keeping watch for sailors. The walk through this desert landscape or along the shore strewn with washed-up fragments of large shells and
  • El Pilón de Azúcar
    Out on the northeastern horizon, you see an odd triangular-shaped rock rising out of the flat landscape. This is Kamainshi (Kamaici), the Lord of the Things of the Seaâ??or for alijuna, El Pilón de Azúcar. It has always been a sacred site, believed to be Jepira, where the spirits of th
  • Camino Real to Guane
    The Camino Real to Guane is part of the old Camino de Herradura that traversed the countryside from Girón, near Bucaramanga, to Barrancabermeja on the banks of the Río Magdalena. It was originally built by the Guane indigenous, and later used by the Spaniards. From Barichara to Guane pueblo is th
  • The Camino Deshecho and Petrographs
    An alternative route down to the hot springs is what the locals call the Camino Deshecho, or the Unmade Road. And that is precisely what this trail is: An old stone road, dating from who knows when, beaten by centuries of foot and hoof trod. It is a pleasant walk downhill through the forest, past t
  • Senderos and Miradores
    A network of trails and lookout towers help visitors appreciate the natural beauty of this region. The journey to any of these attractions begins on Carrera 6, where signs begin to point you in the direction for each. Although a guide is not necessary, one would help you understand and learn about t
  • Peñol de los Muertos
    And it occurred that men with faces of greed Overthrew and erased our villages Imposing their way of life by force. Liberty is a gift that is born with life, It justifies its existence. Without it, Mother Earth reclaims us. And to her breast we return conscious We have fought for life, the race, fo
  • Cadena Volcánica de Coconuco
    Like a necklace of rough, uncut jet stones draping the páramo is the Cadena Volcánica de Coconuco. Beginning at Pan de Azúcar, a volcano towering 4,670 meters (15,318 feet), nine more volcanic craters form a chain across the lunar-like landscape within the hinterlands of Parque Nacional Natural
  • The Camino Real from San Gil to the Río Magdalena
    I heard a bit of buzz from a friend in San Gil: Go trekking on the old camino real (highway), or Camino de los Guanes, to the Río Magdalena. I checked it out a bit. Indeed, it appears you can follow the footsteps of the Guane ancestors, who had laid down this path, later used by the S
  • Jardín Botánico Eloy Valenzuela
    On the banks of the Río Frío is the Jardín Botánico Eloy Valenzuela. Paths wind through its nine, lake-dotted hectares ablaze with mini-gardens of orchids, bamboos, palms, aquatic plants, medicinal herbs and other flora. There is even a Japanese meditation gardenâ??a perfect place to do a sess
  • Parque de los Fundadores
    On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, local families hang out at the Parque Los Fundadores, on the south side of Villavicencio. The masterpiece of the park is the Monumento a los Fundadores, which is the last work executed by renowned Colombian sculptor Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt. In the center of the
  • Laguna de Utta
    A virtually unexplored birder's paradise awaits you: Laguna de Utta, which stretches across the desert just east of Cabo de la Vela, between the village and El Pilón de Azúcar. Not many visit this lagoon, which is a seasonal haven for waterfowl, such as flamingos and herons, as well as for sh
  • Paragliding in El Cocuy
    To the west of El Cocuy village a dark cliff looms out of the greened landscape. This peak is call Maohama. It is the spot easiest to access in PNN El Cocuy for practicing parapentismo, or paragliding. Any time of the year is good for leaping off its heights and soaring like an Andean condor over t
  • Watersports
    ous traveler with an eye on adrenalin-packed watersports. Each hotel that lines the rugged and dramatic coast near to the town of Nuquí can provide you with a kayak with which to hopefully view whales and explore the rocky promontories between each bay. If kayaking is not your thing, you can rent
  • The Parks of Bucaramanga
    Bucaramanguenses are proud to live in the "Ciudad de Parques," a well-deserved nickname for this city of almost two dozen parks. Parque Santander is the modern downtown. Down the bustling streets you'll find Plaza Cívica Luis Carlos Galán, around which are governmental buildings, and Parque Garcí
  • Parque para las Artes
    Uphill from the Capilla de Santa Bárbara is Parque para las Artes, a small park dedicated to the main art form Barichara is known for: stone sculpture. Founded after the second Festival Internacional de la Talla en Piedra, it features 27 statues carved by artists of 11 countries. Some are based on
  • San José de Miranda & Tequia
    (Miranda: Altitude: 1980 meters/6496 feet; Population: 5,450) Tequia was founded in 1539, but due to lack of water and being only two kilometers from Málaga, Padre Isidro Miranda moved the town four kilometers further on to the Valle de Cutaligua. A few yet live in Tequia, caretaking the ruins o
  • Cave Exploration
    Tourists brave enough to ignore the bad publicity given to such a culturally diverse country, must surely contain a sense of adventure somewhere inside themselves. And there's no better place for thrill seekers in Colombia than the small town of San Gil in the mountain province of Santander. Ask on
  • Sierra Nevada del Cocuy
    If mountaineering and appreciating rare, natural beauty is your cup of tea, then you better start planning now to climb Sierra Nevada del Cocuy. Pico Iyer listed the mountain range with 18 snow covered peaks as one of the “20 Places to See Before They Die” in the May 2007 issue of Condé
  • Trekking
    Another prime activity in PNN El Cocuy is trekking across its plains. A series old trails traverse the wind-swept landscaped rimed with snow-covered mountains. The solitude makes it a wondrous experience. A highlight is the Valle de Cojines, an area of huge pillows of Plantago rigido carpeting the
  • Parque Natural El Gallineral
    Long tendrils of moss hang from ancient trees and sway in the slight breeze. Sunlight sparkles on the torrent of the Río Fonce. This is Parque Natural El Gallineral, four hectares (10-ac) of botanical gardens where the Quebrada (creek) Curití meets the robust river Río Fonce. Within
  • Cueva de Cuchumba
    Not too far from Hacienda La Esperanza, along the Quebrada El Cóncavo, is Cueva de Cuchumba. This cave with a waterfall within was once an important ceremonial center for the U'wa. It was here they kept the image of a woman on cloth that a tall white man with a long white beard, dressed in white,
  • Las Lagunillas
    An easy one-day hike road trip is to Las Laguillas. The “camino” is well defined along the Río Lagunillas, a small stream flowing around copses of “frailejón” and across the plain, sculpting the ancient, rock-strewn earth into mounds and forming small crystalline lagoons acros
  • Bicicletero
    A good way to get out and see Tolú and its malecón (boardwalk) is to hire a bicicletero and ride around town for an hour or two. Many of these â??bikersâ? sit around the main square and by the bus terminals and are very happy to show you the sights and sounds of Tolú for $1.25
  • Parque Arqueológico
    The main attraction in San Agustín is the Parque Arqueológico, which encompasses four mesetas (A, B, C and D), artificially leveled hills containing tombs and in-situ sculptures that are hallmarks of the â??Agustinianâ? culture. Between these mesetas are Fuente de Lavapatas, hand-carve
  • The Tombs of Tierradentro
    Four major archaeological sites, all dating from 600 to 900 AD, comprise Tierradentro: three burial and one of statures. The tombs were carved by hand from volcanic rock. Some are up to 3 meters (ten feet) deep. Most are painted within, with geometric and figurative designs in red, black, orange, g
  • El Infiernito
    The official name is Parque Arqueológico de Monquirá, but everyone calls it El Infiernito. This Muisca site was an astronomical center—and, according to archaeologists, a bit more. They state the Muisca (1000-1550 A.D.) believed when the sun cast no shadow of observatory's twin lines of 36 st
  • Los Gatos
    In 1996, renowned painter and sculptor Hernando Tejada began what came to be a collection of a dozen cat sculptures along the Cali River, close to El Peñón. Tejada's original cat, “El Gato del Río,” is the largest of the collection. The subsequent cats are half its size but some have t
  • San José de Isnos
    Altitude: 2,075 meters / 6,806 feet, Population: 23,756, City Code: 2 San José de Isnos (Quechua for Sacred Rock) is a small village 26 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of San Agustín. Five kilometers (3 miles) west is one of the most important Agustinian sites, Alto de los Ídolos, consisting o
  • Ciclovia
    Every Sunday, as with other major Colombian cities, many of Bogotá's major roads and arteries are blocked off and given over to joggers, cyclists and bladers. People are out with their dogs, taking a stroll, meeting friends, heading to the park where authorities put on an all-inclusive aerobics wo
  • The Malecón and Beach
    Riohacha's Malecón hugs the shell-strewn, pale beige sand. Depending on the season, the sea is café con leche-colored or turquoise. Along its length are plazuelas where you can rest from the burning sun and buy Wayuu artesanía. From the long wharf at the foot of Carrera 6, t
  • Obando
    Altitude: 1,700 meters / 5,576 feet, Population: 1,000, City Code: 2 Traveling towards the small village of Obando, you'll cross the Magdalena River at the Estrecho, or Straits, the narrowest point—only 2.2 meters (7 feet) wide—of this río in its over-1500-kilometer (900-mile)
  • Pozo de Hunzahúa
    Hunzahúa, the Muisca leader who founded Hunza (Tunja), fell in love with his beautiful sister Noncetá, much beloved by her people. During a journey, they consumated their love and became husband and wife. When their mother, Faravita, discovered the act, she beat Noncetá with the chicha-making pa
  • A Walking Tour of Colonial Barichara
    The real treasure of Barichara is its pristine colonial architecture. Many come to this pueblo just to wander its flagstone lanes, snapping photos of the white-washed, red-tile-roofed buildings. Start your exploration at the Templo de la Inmaculada Concepción y San Lorenzo on the main square. It is
  • Bogota Bike Tours
    On a rain-free day, bicycling is a fun way to see Bogota and get a little exercise at the same time. The guides are bilingual and also knowledgeable about the country's history, social problems and the long armed conflict. On our tour, we visited several parks, including one with a camp of displace
  • El Mirador de Salento
    The Mirador de Salento is much more than a lookout point. First, you must climb 200 stairs to the big cross at the top. Along the way, you will find signs that tell the story of Jesus. Follow the path to your left to the mirador, which is a covered viewpoint with a grand vista of the Valle de Cocor
  • El Pueblito
    The Tayrona nation lived up in heights, escaping the harsh environment of the beaches. They nestled their cities in the cool, lush forests of the mountains. Within this park are the wonderfully preserved ruins of Chairama, popularly known as El Pueblito. The paved path from Cabo San Juan del Guía
  • San Basilio De Palenque
    San Basilio de Palenque, two hours south of Cartagena, is an African palenque founded by run-away slaves in the late-16th century. It was an important center of resistance against Spanish rule and slavery. Palenque's language is a unique blend of Congo River languages fused with Spanish. The
  • Cali Nightlife
    Cali is known for its Salsa and it doesn't disappoint. Ask around for the most fashionable places while you are there since the quality may vary although the standard of dancing is sure to be very high everywhere. Of course other nightlife options can be found as trendy lounges are springing up in
  • Diving in Providencia
    Arguably having clearer water that its larger and more frequently visited neighbor, San Andrés, Providencia is a scuba diver's dream. The island has calm, crystalline waters and an abundance of marine life (many of which are endemic species). Both beginners and seasoned professionals will enjoy
  • The Medellin Cable Car
    It is hard to imagine a more delightful and relaxing way to make your daily commute to work than drifting over the rooftops in a cable car. In Medellín, this dream for commuters is a reality. Since building a metro running up the valley wall into the poorer neighborhoods of Medellín was logistical
  • Valle de Cocora
    Cocora Valley is a great launching point for nature hikes and wildlife spotting. There are several trails leading up the mountain, along the river and farther into the valley. A peaceful cloud forest with little manmade pedestrian bridges over the river is about an hour away by foot. Another 30 min
  • Trout Fishing
    Your fly makes a soft plop as it lands in the crystalline water of Río Aguasilencioâ??Silent Water Riverâ??or one of its tributaries flowing near Coconuco and Paletará. A subtle breeze passes through the trees and grasses, sunlight dapples the landscape. Tonight you will be frying up those tend
  • Pedestrian Mall
    There is plenty of shopping along Avenida Bolívar (or Cra. 14), where you can walk a dozen blocks down a pedestrian walkway that extends from Plaza Bolívar (cross street: Ca. 21) to the hospital (on Ca. 9). On weekends, this street is packed with people in need of some retail therapy. Artisan sh
  • Tierra Viva
    Tierra Viva is a private agricultural and ecological park where you can rest, take part in some outdoor activities, and learn about nature and the cultural values associated with this area of the country. The park's thermal springs are natural and clean, and horseback riding as well as park and int
  • Tren Turístico Café y Azúcar
    Much like the Sabana train that runs from Bogotá, the Tren Turístico Café y Azúcar runs trips from the station in downtown Cali to points in the Valle del Cauca countryside and beyond. Choose from a variety of journeys that leave in the morning and return in the later afternoon, such as Cali to
  • Parque Nacional Ucumarí
    Parque Nacional Ucumarí is one of Colombia's best locations to spot birds, animals and plant life. The variations in altitude in this area are what make Ucumarí so biologically diverse. Because the park covers some 16 kilometers (10 mi) in diameter, the best, and practically only way, to experien
  • Reservas Naturales de la Cocha
    Since being declared a Ramsar protected area, local indigenous and campesino communities around Laguna de la Cocha have been taking an active role in conservation and the development of eco-tourism. All told, 32 hamlets are now reservas naturales, practicing sustainable agriculture an
  • Puente de Occidente
    The bridge of the West, or Puente de Occidente, is a 291-meter-long (955-ft) bridge over the Río Cauca, linking the municipalities of Olaya and Santa Fe de Antioquia. Designed by José Maria Villa and built between 1887 and 1895, it is a showpiece of late 19th-century engineering. The wooden platfo
  • Ecoparque Río Pance
    The Río Pance runs to the south of Cali, by the city garden and the university district. A very popular spot that sees hundreds of city folk on the weekends, the Ecoparque Río Pance is a convenient place to relax by the river. The park has open-air gym stations, a lake for recreational fishing, a
  • Zoológico de Cali
    What is likely the best place in Colombia to see the widest variety of animal life resides in the western portion of the city, in Barrio Santa Teresita. The Zoológico de Cali is a surprisingly clean and well-organized spread with every imaginable mammal (lions, tigers, pumas, jaguars and spectacl
  • Cienaga San Silvestre
    Likened to a freshwater â??ocean,â? the Ciénaga San Silvestre spans out from Barrancabermeja to as far as Puerto Wilches, making it a vast body of water measuring nine square kilometers (3.5 sq mi). On the banks of San Silvestre, a 10-minute drive from Barrancabermeja, various water sports
  • Parque Eólico Jepirachi
    Like giant stoic soldiers lined up across the flat barren lands, awaiting the charge of a Quijote, hundreds of windmills reel their three arms against the clear azure sky. This is one of the largest electrical projects in the world, generating a good portion of Colombia's energy needs. Here, there
  • The River Train
    “Peto, peto,” Doña Sorelly calls. She opens her milk can, steam from the corn drink escaping into this slightly cool morning. The toot of the autoferro's horn warns of our imminent passage. We leave Barrancabermeja, entering this new day swaying, occasionally jolting down narrow-gauge tra
  • Combeima Canyon
    The Combeima Canyon is the gateway to the Nevado del Tolima and a favorite weekend getaway for ibaguenos due to its clean air, beautiful scenery, and interesting flora and fauna. Approximately 30 kilometers (18.6 mi) from the city of Ibagué, visitors can enjoy typical dishes from the region, bathe
  • Whitewater Rafting
    San Gil has become renowned for its whitewater rafting. Three principal rivers, all with different characteristics, offer adventures for novices and experts alike. The Río Fonce has class 2+ rapids. This 1.5-hour trip is popular with beginners and families ($13.25 per person). Río Suárez is cons
  • Botanical Garden
    The Botanical Garden in the university district is yet another great place to spend a sunny day. There are plenty of colorful flowers and fauna to admire, as well as benches to sit on to read or people-watch. The park is smaller than the others in the city, but the free entrance into the garden is
  • Aquatic Sports
    During Semana Santa and the December-January holidays, locals open sites renting equipment for different aquatic sports. How about skipping across these crystalline waters on a velero (sailboat) or windsurfing? Gusanos, or giant rubber water worms, are another way to enjoy a trip acro
  • Recinto del Pensamiento
    This cloud forest with a biotic and hydroid resource has several walkable ecological trails, a butterfly farm, an orchid garden and a gorgeous bamboo pavilion. The café in the park sells Buendia (locally farmed) coffee and other local products. Recinto el Pensamiento is just 20 minutes from Plaza
  • Tejo
    After going through the stands of the market on a lazy Sunday, you might find yourself staring at a sign that reads “Cancha de Tejo El Recreo.” Through the courtyard of the rough, tin-roofed cancha, you'll find men in various stages of drunkenness throwing a 1.125-kilo (2.5-pound) lead we
  • La Ermita
    Its original name was â??Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad del Río,â? and in the early 1600s, it was a small Baroque chapel. In 1787, it was destroyed. Today La Ermita stands as a very different yet gorgeous gothic structure, built in 1942 and modeled after the cathedral in Cologne, Germ
  • Laguna Sonso
    Laguna Sonso is just outside Buga and is one of the premier bird protection and watching areas in the Colombia. You can walk to a look out tower (water level permitting) or hire a local fisher man to take you around in a canoe or in a little motor boat.
  • Island tours
    Tours to Isla Guacán and Isla Verde cost $15 and last about five hours, departing at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. You must have a group of at least five or pay for the empty spaces. Tours can be arranged by Enrique Barrera at Carrera 1A No. 18-35, a restaurant near the river bank close to Plaza del Moral.
  • Los Yarumos Ecological Park
    Los Yarumos Ecological Park is a lush, green forest reserve situated in the city's surrounding cloud forest. Visitors can enjoy trails and lovely views of the countryside, and can even participate in extreme sports like rock climbing or canopy tours. The park is home to nearly 30 species of birds a
  • tour to ciudad perdida
    Learn about pre-Columbian culture, modern indigenous life and the farmers of the Sierra Nevada through a trip to la Ciudad Perdida (the lost city). Start out from Santa Marta by jeep. Two hours later you'll arrive at the entrance of the National Park. (Don't bring too much luggage, you will have to
  • Jardín Botánico José Joaquín Camacho Lago
    The Jardín Botánico José Joaquín Camacho Lago on the southeast side of the city is a center for the study and preservation of Andean endangered flora species. Stroll through these 33 hectares (81 acres) that have been set aside and learn about the eco-systems of the Colombian Andes. This is a g
  • The Cultural Centers Of Ipiales
    If you find yourself stuck in Ipiales for a few days, don't sweat. There are places where you can while away a few hours. The Banco de la República has a cultural center that hosts art exhibits, seminars, concerts, movies and other free cultural events. The building also
  • Parque Nacional Olaya Herrera
    If the Parque Central Simon Bolivar is simply too far away, a far easier option is to head to the Parque Nacional Olaya Herrera located in Chapinero. Not as large or as scenic as Parque Central Simon Bolivar, it is still very popular with Bogotanos. There are fountains, plazoletas, football pitches,
  • Aquatic Sports in El Rodadero
    Where there is a sea resort, of course there will be plenty of water sports. Scuba diving quickly comes to mind in these parts, and many dive shops are eager to help you plan your excursion. Other activities await your diversion, though. Rent a kayak to paddle around this bay, or a jet ski to zoom
  • Paragliding
    Have you ever wished you could fly? Well, you can't quite get fitted with a permanent set of wings in Bucaramanga, but nearby Mesa de Ruitoque offers you the next best thing. Those heights are considered to be the best place to practice paragliding. Soaring over river valleys and ancient stone road
  • Sand and Sea
    The little beaches along Tolú's boardwalk provide a nice break from the heat. The water is as warm as you will find anywhere in South America if a bit too warm! It isn't the cleanest water, so it's not the kind of beach you would sit on all day to relax. The best way to experience the sea is to
  • Volcán de Lodo
    Treat yourself to a healing mud bath at Volcán de Lodo, where the mud supposedly has special healing properties. The great thing about this place is the price: For just $3 you can play in the mud while feeling your skin transform and soften. The facilities here are basic. Get yourself dirty, an
  • Tren Ecoturístiso de las Flores to Las Bocas de Cenizas
    The long, covered wooden cars of the Tren Ecoturístico de las Flores rock along these narrow tracks, slowly, steadily pulled by a mini máquina. Already the winds have grown stronger. Sand swirls through the warm sky. My hair whips across my face in a furied frenzy. We are arriving at Las Bocas de
  • Jardín Zoológico
    Barranquilla's Zoological Garden is said to be one of the best on the continent. The majority of its resident animals (there are more than 140 species) come from Colombia's Caribbean region, and others from other parts of the country and world. Among its denizens are spectacled bears, manatees, fla
  • Free In Cartagena
    Upon arriving in Cartagena, budget travelers are slammed with the reality of how expensive the museums, and excursions to Playa Blanca and Islas del Rosario are. These journeyers might wonder just what they can do on a shoe string. The answer is, Plenty. Grab the camera and had out to wan
  • Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
    A statue of Blas de Lazo, who famously and successfully defended Cartagena from invasion in 1742, stands in front of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, Cartagena's strongest and largest military fortress. This fortress was built on San Lázaro Hill over the course of nearly 150 years and features
  • Islas del Rosario
    About 45 kilometers (27 mi) southwest of Cartagena, Islas del Rosario is a coral islands archipelago with arguably the best beaches and diving in Colombia. The islands were declared a protected area, PNN Corales del Rosario y de San Bernardo, in 1977. The park, which includes 43 islands, covers 120
  • Volcán del Totumo
    Just 40 minutes northeast of Cartagena is natural wonder, Volcán del Totumo. The volcano is not what you would expect, as it is more of a hill than a mountain. Visitors climb to the top and descend to float on the thick mud, believed to have healing properties. Locals are on-hand to give massages.
  • La Boquilla
    During the week, the men of La Boquilla still doff their fishermen's caps and head out to sea. But when weekends and holidays come, they are often helping their womenfolk take care of hungry tourists. This little village comes alive with day trippers arriving, to enjoy surf, sun and fresh fish.
  • Playa Blanca
    One of the must-do tours from Cartagena is Playa Blanca, on Isla Barú. This is the dream beach: A palm-shaded white strand of fine sand skirting a crystalline turquoise sea. Many dream of a paradise like this, of passing the days swaying in the hammock, going for a swim—swaying in the hammock
  • La Popa
    Atop the highest point in the city sits Convento de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. Founded in 1607, this church is also known as Convento de la Popa, (Stern of the Galley) because of its location behind the city and because many thought the hill looked like a ship's poop. An image of La Virgen
  • Cartagena Water Sports and Activities
    Sea breezes usual dance into Cartagena in the early afternoon, making this a perfect time to play in the water. Surfers can hit the waves off the north coast of Isla Barú. The best spot for windsurfing and sailboarding is La Boquilla. Scuba divers can explore the coral reefs and shipwrecks alon
  • The Cultural Centers of Valledupar
    Culture in Valledupar isn't just limited to Vallenato music. Several centers provide free exhibits, literary readings and concerts: • Alianza Colombo Francesa (Carrera 13A, 13C-66. Tel: 570-3344) — monthly art exhibits, movies (Thursday 6:30 p.m.), concerts and other free events â€
  • The Road To Guacoche
    The road to Guacoche, a small village where pottery is made, is a wildlife watchers paradise. Rice paddies on either side of a tree-lined lane attract a variety of fauna. Hopping through the canopy are red howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus). Their cri
  • Caving
    Delving into the bowels of the earth (a.k.a caving) is another adventure you can undertake while in San Gil. You can only visit a few of the many caves that gouge the landscape. Cueva del Indioâ?? This cave out in Páramo is the easiest to spelunk, suitable for the whole family. A special
  • Museo Chairama And Sendero Nueve Piedras
    At Cañaveral, visitors to PNN Tayrona can learn a bit more about Tayrona culture. Museo Chairama has a 7,000-piece collection of items from that pre-Hispanic culture, displayed in two galleries. The artifacts are from El Pueblito and other sites within the park. Beginning at th
  • Reserva Natural Laguna de Sonso
    Roughly 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) southwest of the municipality of Buga, the Reserva Natural Laguna de Sonso is a wetland reserve that offers delights to the birdwatchers. The eastern margins of the River Cauca pour into this area, also known as the Laguna de Chircal, and create an area of 2045 hectar
  • Parque Central Simon Bolivar
    The veritable lungs of Colombia's capital city, Parque Central Simon Bolivar offers the largest collection (more than 400 hectares) of greenery in Bogota. Open from the early morning to the early evening, the park is a great place to while away a sunny day, wandering around the lake, participating i
  • Ritual de Refrescamiento y Limpieza
    After months of being on the road, you may need to have a Ritual de Refrescamiento y Limpieza done. The Refresh and Cleansing Ritual is an ancient custom of the indigenous peoples here that is yet being preserved and recuperated. Agriano Piñacue and Victoriano Quinto, two traditional curanderos
  • Jardin Botanico Jose Celestino Mutis
    For anyone who does not have the time to see all of Colombia's diverse regions, or for those who just want to escape the bustle and mayhem of downtown Bogotá, a trip to the Jardin Botanico should be high up on the list of things to do. Wide lawns and snaking pathways lead the visitor through the f
  • Parque Nacional Natural Old Providence Mcbean Lagoon
    Parque Nacional Natural Old Providence McBean Lagoon, in the extreme northeast of Providence Island, is the only national park in the archipelago. It protects McBean Lagoon, Three Brothers Cays and Crab Cay, as well as reefs and 37 hectares (92 acres) of well-preserved mangroves. Land features incl
  • Musichi
    A spectacular sight is watching a flock of flamingos wading through shallow waters, bending their serpentine necks to sieve food through their bills. A perfect place to observe these majestic, rose-colored birds is at Musichi, 14 kilometers from Manaure. Here the sea forms a lagoon which is a rende
  • The Road To Guatapurí
    Up until 2008, most roads winding into the Sierra Nevada were off-limits. Now travelers may explore the incredible wonders along them, including the road to Guatapurí. The paved road heads north from Valledupar. Just past the Guacoches turn-off is Eco-Parque Los Besotes, a 1,000-hectare (2
  • Pueblo Bello And Nabusimake
    Travelling westwards, into the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, you arrive at the village of Pueblo Bello, on the edge of Arhuaco territory. From here an arduous road crawls like an old snake to Nabusimake (San Sebastián), a ceremonial center of this native nation. You obtain permission to enter Nabus
  • La Mina
    A visit to La Mina means that you will encounter natural swimming facilities and amazing rocks, a natural spa mine and handicrafts. At La Mina, there are amazing rock formations that were carved long ago by the flow of the water. The handicrafts, such as bags and other accessories, were handmade by
  • Santuario de Flora y Fauna Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta
    Santuario de Flora y Fauna Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta is a mangrove eco-system comprised of 23,000 hectares within the deltas of the Río Magdalena and rivers streaming from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Created in 1977, it was declared a Ramsar site in 1998 and a UNESCO Human and Biosphere
  • Old Point Regional Mangrove Park
    Old Point Regional Mangrove Park embraces two bays on San Andrés Island's east coast: Hooker and Haines. The reserve protects the largest and best-preserved expanses of red, black, white and button mangrove forest. In addition, the park preserves coral reefs and pastures of sea grass. Old Point is
  • Johnny Cay Regional Park
    One of the most popular tours in San Andrés is boating to Johnny Cay, a four-hectare (11-ac) island 2 kilometers (1.6 mi) off San Andres' north coast. Since 2002, the islet has been a regional park, which is a natural habitat for green iguana (Iguana iguana rh
  • El Parque de Los Deseos
    El Parque de Los Deseos (The Park of Wishes) is described as an open space to observe the universe. Fundación Empresas Públicas de Medellín began this work to encourage visitors to lie back and get lost in the stars. Built close to the planetarium and the Botanic Garden, the idea was to promote
  • Other Water Sports
    Besides whitewater rafting, there are other aquatic sports to partake in here in San Gil. Check with tour operators in the town for these excursion opportunities. Kayaking-- There are eight rivers to run, though commercial trips are offered only on three of the rivers. Multi-day e
  • Palacio de la Inquisición
    With its large, baroque-style stone entrance, external balconies facing the Plaza de Bolívar and Spanish coat of arms, the Palacio de la Inquisición is one of the city's best examples of late colonial architecture. Beginning in 1610, this palace was the site of the Punishment Tribunal of the Ho
  • Rock Climbing
    For those who get their adrenaline rush hugging the faces of cliffs, feeling for the next hand hold, the next foot hold, PNN El Cocuy has some special treats for you. Perhaps the most popular is El Púlpito del Diablo, a 5100-meter (16,728-foot), two-pitch challenge of not only rock, but also ice.
  • Islas de San Bernardo
    In an effort to attract affluent clientele and foreign revenue, the Colombian tourism industry has recently begun actively promoting the tiny 10-island archipelago of San Bernardo, which is part of PNN Corales del Rosario y de San Bernardo, founded in 1977. Tours include visits Isla Palma, with i
  • Casa de Gabriel García Márquez
    Gabriel García Márquez's house in San Diego has not been turned into a museum or tourist attraction. If it were, it would be one of the most popular sites in Cartagena. Still, the house that inspired the writing of one of his most famous novels, Love in the Time of Cholera, still stands
  • Climbing the Nevado del Tolima
    With its snowy peak, the Nevado del Tolima is a challenge that hikers, climbing enthusiasts and adventure sports junkies should not miss. At 5,200 meters (17,060 ft), the Nevado del Tolima is one of the most difficult (but also one of the most beautiful) peaks in Colombia. The route up is steep and
  • Casa Museo Rafael Núñez
    Casa Museo Rafael Núñez was the home of former Colombian President Rafael Núñez. This native-born cartagenero was the country's only four-time ruler and served his last two terms in this port city. Núñez was much more than a mere governor: He wrote the 1886 Constitution (which was in effec
  • Templo de Santo Domingo
    Templo de Santo Domingo was originally located in Plaza de los Coches, but after a terrible fire that consumed the city, it was destroyed and relocated to where it stands today. The church's construction began in the late 16th century, making it Cartagena's oldest temple. Santo Domingo has a Spani
  • The El Tablón-El Purutal Circuit
    Between San Agustín and the Parque Arqueológico are several quite interesting sites. El Tablón, only 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the village, is El Tablón, said to be dedicated to the Moon Diety, with five statues and an ethnographic museum. A dirt path wends almost 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) th
  • El Macizo Colombiano
    If you are yearning to get off the beaten track and experience rural Southern Colombian charm, then go take a hikeâ??from San Agustín to Quinchana and on to Valencia. The five-day trek on a Camino Real (stone and dirt trail) takes you across the Páramo de las Papas (3685 meters / 11,976 feet abo
  • La Piscina
    A natural sea pool of crystalline waters has formed surrounded by rock and reef. Large and tranquil with warm waters, La Piscina is home to many species of colorful fishes that dart amongst the coral. Manta silently wing through the liquid blue, the white sand billowing beneath their forms. A se
  • WhitewaterRafting on the Magdalena
    As Colombia's greatest river, the Magdalena winds 1540 kilometers (924 miles) through an estrecho (narrow) and boils through many canyons before eventually winding up in the Caribbean Sea. You can begin this sojourn with the río, riding on class-II to IV white waters. The most popular course is an
  • Plaza de los Coches
    Walking under the Torre del Reloj into El Centro, you come to Plaza de los Coches. Today, this space bustles with shops and vendors. But try to imagine it 300 years ago, when Plaza de los Coches was the center for transportation, and where slaves were bartered and sold. A statue of Pedro de Her
  • Rumba Bogotana
    Bogotá may have some of Latin America's greatest party spots, and no visit to the city would be complete without a night on the town. Your options are vast and varied, from clubbing the night away in the Zona Rosa, the Candelaria or Usaquen to something more refined like a night at the theater or a
  • Horseback Riding
    Imagine mounting a beautiful mare to traverse these emerald hills, exploring the silent sentinels that yet guard the San Agustín region, or the many lagoons and waterfalls hidden within the folds of this landscape. Prices per hour ($5.20) and per excursion are set by the municipality. The five-ho
  • Providencia And Santa Catalina Beaches
    Providencia has some of the Caribbean's premier beaches with calm waters. The most secluded is Manchaneel (Playa Manzanillo), which is accessible only by taxi or private transport. Get here early to enjoy a full day in the true paradisiacal cliché. Roland's Bar serves a mean red snapper and some
  • Cartagena's Beaches
    After spending hours wandering Cartagena's narrow streets, a perfect way to cool down is to hit the beach. Marbella is the closest to the city. This several-kilometer-long beach begins just 300 meters (1,000 ft) east of Tumaco, 72 kilometers (45 mi) from Pasto, is Túquerres. Founded in 1541 by Miguel de Muñoz at an altitude of 3,051 meters (10,010 ft), this village enjoys a cool climate. On Thursday mornings, Tú
  • Hike: Calabozo to Cañaveral
    This humid tropical forest blankets you with its own type of silence: the hum of cicadas and the rustle of wind through leaves. In the mosaic you can catch glimpses of howler monkeys swinging overhead or of iguanas, skinkers and other lizards darting amongst the brush. You sense the reverence the T
  • Catedral De Sal
    Dark passages beneath the mountain had been traditionally associated in the Christian culture with Hell and the devil, but a group of miners transformed their workplace into a place of worship which became a symbol of their devotion. For more than 500 years, the salt mountains that surround t

  • Iglesia de Santa Bárbara
    Iglesia Santa Bárbara is perhaps the most unusual of Tunja's churches. Upon entering the atrium, to the right is a room full of niche tombs. Steps then lead from the atrium down into the nave. The color scheme of the sanctuary is impressive: the walls are dark blue-gray accented with gilt-wood orc
  • Hiking
    On the last Sunday of every month, Inder (Tel: 260-6611) plans hiking trips to rural areas around Medellín. The small towns of San Cristóbal, Palmitas, San Antonio de Prado, Santa Elena and Altavista are used as points of departure or arrival. Six guides and a coordinator take the hike alo
  • Museums and Churches
    The Museo de Arte Religioso Francisco Cristóbal Toro has a collection of paintings, sculptures and goldwork from the 18th century on (admission $1. Saturday-Sunday and holidays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Ca. 11, 8-12. Tel: 853-2345). You may also want to explore Santa Fe's five churches, including the
  • Reserva Natural Fin Del Mundo
    Some may believe the Fin del Mundo (End of the World) exists at the very tip of South America. But in the north of the continent, in Colombia's Putumayo region, there is another place where the world seemingly ends. Here, a beautiful waterfall plunges 80 meters (262 ft.) into dense jungle
  • Monumento de las Tres Cruces
    Standing at 1,500 meters (4,921 ft) above sea level, the three crosses that comprise this high-altitude monument were constructed in 1837. Every May 3 (Colombia's Labor Day), caleños climb to the top of this hill to pay homage to Santa Cruz and to celebrate their city's independence from Spain. T
  • Río Casino
    Río Casino is a great place to spend your evening winning (or losing) money. This casino is part of a larger South American chain, so don't mind the name as it's not by the river, close to a river, nor does it feel or sound like a river. There are, however, the ever present sounds of computeriz
  • Puente de Boyacá
    You'll see it alongside the highway between Tunja and Bogotá, this large white monument to the Battle of Boyacá. On the seventh day of August in 1819, a small liberation force under the direct command of General Francisco de Paula Santander defeated a large column of Spanish troops. Simón Bolív
  • La Chorrera
    Toppling 60 meters (197 feet) down a rock face is La Chorrera waterfall. A motorcycle taxi can take you as far as the Chorrera school ($5.30) if you don't want to walk the approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) from town. Still, it's a one-hour hike further into the mountains to see these waters casc
  • Piedra Pintada Aipe
    Over six meters (19.7 ft) long and three meters (9.8 ft) high, the Piedra Pintada, in the municipality of Aipe, is a marvel that has survived the ages. Experts believe this was likely a meeting point for commerce and trade, and you can try to make meaning of the marks carved into the rock by both t
  • Camino Natural
    One of the three park roads, the Camino Natural cuts across the park, from San Sebastián in Cauca to San Agustín in Huila. This pre-Hispanic road takes the average hiker two days to complete, staying the night in San Antonio. Before you start asking if you are there yet, take into consideratio
  • Piedra de los Monos
    While at Santuario Nuestra Señora de las Lajas, take a hike down to what was certainly a holy site for the previous inhabitants of this region: Piedra de los Monos. Following a well-signed path from the Catholic sanctuary, along the Río Guáitra, you will arrive at these
  • Concepción
    (Altitude: 2005 meters/6578 feet; Population: 7,000) Concepción is a weaving center not too far from Málaga. Here, small workshops create blankets, jackets, ponchos and other items from virgin woolâ??a perfect place to pick up some warm clothing before heading to Parque Nacional Natural El Cocu
  • Jardín Botánico de Medellín
    Considered the lungs of Medellín, the Jardín Botánico Joaquín Antonio Uribe is a delightfully leafy and tranquil destination within the confines of the bustling city. The verdant wealth contained within the garden's 14 hectares (2.5 ac) ranges from a spectacular orchid collection (the country's
  • Fishing
    Don't forget to pack your rod and reel when coming to Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy. You can whip loose your fly and take a hand at the trout swimming in the icy depths of Laguna Grande de Pachacual, Laguna de la Parada, or in the rivers slicing the páramo. To fish in the lagoons, you must have
  • Serpentario Armero-Guayabal
    Slinking through the dense underbrush, coiling around the boughs of trees, slithering through the rivers' roots are creatures whose eyes are watching you explore the Amazon. Some are venomous, others harmless, and still others would love to give you a big hug before swallowing you whole. All of the
  • Vuelta a las Sierras / The Sierra Circuit
    The most challenging of the treks in PNN El Cocuy is around the base of the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy, which is 22 kilometers (13.2 miles) and approximately 5 kilometers (3 miles) wide. The excursion takes five to ten days. A medical doctor with over 10 years experience trekking in Cocuy suggests
  • Reserva Tanimboca
    Dosel is the term used for the highest part of the tree canopy, usually about 35-40 meters (115-130 ft) up. Climb to those heights at Reserva Tanimboca and explore an 80-meter (300-ft) trail from tree-to-tree, through a neighborhood inhabited by lizards, birds and monkeys ($40 per person). Other ac
  • Cultural Centers of Bucaramanga
    Besides attractions like its churches, parks, la Casa de Bolívar and Museo de Arte Moderno, this city has several other foci of culture: * Casa de la Cultura, with special exhibits and events (Calle 37 12-46, Tel: 7-630-2046) * Casa Mexicana, whose mission is bringing Mexican art, literature
  • Santuario de Flora y Fauna de Iguaque
    Amidst the chill mists swirling across this páramo, the goddess Bachue rose from the crystalline waters of Laguna de Iguaque. Thus was born mankind, according to Muisca legend. It is believed a pilgrimage to this sacred place cleanses the soul and purifies the spirit. The Laguna lies in the midst
  • Río Blanco Ecological Reserve
    This well-organized eco-park is ready for a high volume of tourists, but few foreigners make the time to visit it. The water of Río Blanco is considered some of the purest in the world, and 35 percent of the water used in Manizales comes from here. Start your visit at the museum by gathering info a
  • Waterfalls and Torrentismo
    Waterfalls drape the river canyons slicing the countryside around San Gil. At some of the cascades, not only can you gaze upon these natural wonders, but you can also practice a sport offered by the good folk of this area, like rappelling in waterfalls. Get ready to zip down a slick rock face, mist
  • La Ciénaga de Caimanera
    Just fifteen minutes out of town, between Tolú and Coveñas, is a pleasant natural half-fresh and half-salt water lagoon, Ciénaga de Caimanera. Here, you can take a boat around the lagoon, pick and eat raw oysters, spot jaibas (small crabs) scurrying around the exposed roots of the mangro
  • Fibas Jardín del Desierto
    Fibas Jardín del Desierto is more than just a botanical garden. In the Muisca language, fibas means wind. This garden is a project to recover a piece of land was eroded by the winds. Through this process, Fibas hopes to teach others about xero-culture, or cultivating in desert climates. Two labyri
  • To Gachantivá
    The road to Gachantivá is a pleasant mix of human and nature's hand. Delve into one of the many caves that pockmark the land, like Cueva del Indio and Cueva la Furatena. This earth, too, is bathed by many creeks and cascades. Practice torrentismo (rapelling) in Cascadas la Periquera, camp on the b
  • Beyond Santa Sofía
    If the road to Santa Sofía is imprinted by the past and present denizens of the Desierto de Villa de Leyva, the road beyond this small village is sculpted by nature herself. Waterfalls, like Cascada Guatoque (80 m / 262.5 ft) and Cascadas de Sorocota (three cascades, the tallest being 30 m / 98.5
  • Parque Temático Mundo Amazónico
    A ONE-STOP SITE IN THE AMAZON Amazonia World Theme Park offers you the opportunity to observe all the things you expect to see in the jungle in a safe and controlled environment for all family members. Do not miss a thing! This is a place suitable for children, elderly and disabled visi
  • Studying Spanish
    To study Spanish in depth, sign up for one of the courses offered at any one of the following Universities in Bogotá. All of the following have internationally recognized courses and can offer differing levels of instruction. Universidad Javeriana - Universidad Externado - www.uexter
  • Centro Experimental Amazónico (cea)
    Centro Experimental Amazónico (CEA) is a research station with horticulture, fish, animal rescue and other projects. While visiting CEA, be sure to check out the tanks of pirarucú, the Amazon's largest fish. The three trails weave through the jungle. To the left of the main pond are
  • Fundación Maikuchiga
    This foundation works with the indigenous communities of Parque Nacional Natural Amacayacu to reduce the hunting of and trafficking of Amazonian wildlife. Committed to the conservation of the Amazon's rich biodiversity, the organization rescues, cares for and rehabilitates
  • Plaza de Toros la Santamaria
    Head to the Bull Ring in the early morning during the months of January and February to glimpse young toreros training. Maybe this is not the ideal activity for every taste, but it is a big deal here in Colombia, and the Plaza de Toros la Santamaria routinely fills to capacity during the season mont
  • El Campin
    If you possibly can, try to get to a football game between the two city rivals Santa Fe and Millonarios or, even better, an international match at the Nemesio Camacho Stadium (otherwise known as El Campin). See almost 50,000 rabid fans cheering on their side in true Latin American style, complete w
  • Keeping Fit in Bogotá
    Aside from the Ciclovia that takes place every Sunday morning there are other options that can allow the visitor to keep fit while in the capital. There are several gyms that allow day pass entries and are decent. In the Candelaria there is a cheap and relatively respectable gym at the corner of th
  • Corferias
    Corferias is a huge conference and exhibition center and is worth checking out. Whether you are a literature fanatic and need to get your fix at the book fair or you fancy coming to Expoartesanias to see the finest crafts that Colombia has to offer, there may be something going on at Corferias that
  • Playa El Morro
    The Isla Tumaco-Isla El Morro road ends in a loop at a glistening, black-sand beach and warm-watered sea. Just offshore is the haystack-shaped El Morro rock formation. The main strand is the most popular place to swim and sunbathe. After spending the day in the warm sea, take in the sunset while ha
  • Bocagrande
    Bocagrande is a small island, tucked into the mangrove estuaries near Tumaco. A magical place to spend a few days, the crystalline sea washes upon fine silvery sand and soft breezes moderate the warm days (temperature averages 27°C/81°F). Opportunities for scuba diving or snorkeling are nonexi
  • Volunteering in Bogotá
    Volunteering opportunities in Colombia are not as available as in Ecuador or Costa Rica. There are volunteer opportunities, but with the political climate here a lot of this is looked upon with suspicion and doubt. In the past, unwanted visitors to Colombia have entered the country using NGO visas o
  • Walking Tour
    In a day, you can cover most of what the old center of Medellín has to offer on foot—and there is no better way to see this part of town. Start the day at the Basílica Metropolitana de Medellín, located at the far end of the Carrera Junín. Enjoy a tinto coffee in the park
  • Beaches near Manaure
    In and near Manaure are a number of lagoons where you can observe flamingos and other waterfowl. Many also have beaches where you can cool down. In Manaure itself, the beach is a shadeless, pale gray expanse and the sea is a deep teal. Playas Pájaro and Mayapo have kiosks providing s
  • Ruta del Amanecer Llanero
    Sunsets and sunrises blaze over these eastern plains. The Ruta del Amanacer goes deep into the flatlands, teeming with cattle farms and wildlife. Upon leaving Villavicencio, you will pass the Monument to the Fallen Combatant before passing the military base and oil installations at Apiay. Merecure,
  • Parque Nacional Natural Sierra de la Macarena
    Those few travelers who ever make it to Parque Nacional Natural Sierra de la Macarena describe crystal-imbedded rock outcroppings from the Cenozoic Era that glitter in the Llano sun. The mountain range is 150 kilometers (90 mi) long and 35 kilometers (21 mi) wide, and gives birth to the Duda, Guay
  • Ruta del Embrujo Llanero
    The Route of Llanero Enchantment begins its southward journey on Highway 65 from Villavicencio. The first town of note, Acacias (Km 22), is the tourism capital of the Meta Department and has a malecón (riverwalk). In mid-October, Acacias celebrates a llanero music festival. Guamal (Km 41) is a vac
  • Aquarium Island
    Aquarium Island, a small key just 10-20 minutes by boat off the western coast of San Andrés, actually comprises two islands: one small and sandy, the other larger and covered in palm trees. Both islands feature rudimentary tourist facilities, and they are connected by a sand bar just few feet un
  • Snorkeling
    The north side of the bay is rocky with coral reefs. Combined with the clear waters, this is a good place to practice a bit of snorkeling. Beneath the surface are a variety of colorful tropical fish and other marine life to discover among the arrecife (coral reef) and plant life. The water