Rich colonial history, unparalleled bird watching, beautiful landscapes and a vibrant urban art and gastronomic scene
We spent six weeks between us travelling around Colombia in 2017 and the overwhelming impression which we took home was of a wonderfully open and friendly people, full of optimism and a country with a highly developed infrastructure and some of the best hotels in South America. Add to this a host of UNESCO World Heritage sites, stunning mountain landscapes, cloud forests, pristine beaches and clean, buzzing modern cities it is easy to see that Colombia set to become one of the main tourist destinations in South America.
The capital city Bogota has a new airport and enjoys direct flights from London, the USA and Europe, making it a very convenient starting point for a holiday. This city of ten million people has a charming historic centre, La Candelaria, but also dramatic modern architecture, excellent museums (including the ‘must-see’ Gold Museum) and some of the most interesting street art and modern art galleries we have come across in South America. One of Colombia’s gems is Villa de Leyva, a remarkable preserved colonial town approximately three and a half hours from Bogota by car.
Cartagena has always been famed for its outstanding colonial architecture and has long been a stop on the Caribbean cruise circuit. However, with its art and music scene, the proximity of the Rosario Islands and its great hotels, visitors should stay for at least a few days.
To the east of Cartagena close to Santa Marta lie the Tayrona and Sierra Nevada National Parks, home to some of the best bird watching in the world and where the altitude rises from sea level up to over 5,000 meters on one of the northernmost outcrops of the Andes.
In order to bag more of Colombia’s bird species (at almost 2,000, it has the largest number of any country in the world), nature lovers can then continue to the Amazon, flying to Leticia where the Colombian border meets Peru and Brazil for an amazing rainforest experience.
Colombia’s second city, Medellin, is known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ due to its pleasant climate. Once considered off limits to many, this city should now be very much on the visitors list with its cool hotels, vibrant night life and of course the arts scene including the Botero Park (Plaza de las Esculturas). In Financial Times Postcard from Medellin journalist Paul Richardson writes about this re-invented city during a recent visit.
Heading south, the city of Cali is the Salsa centre of the country where guests are encouraged to try their moves with an instructor. From here, visitors should travel to Popayan to visit the fascinating ancient statues at San Agustin and enjoy the local scenery.
No visit to Colombia would be complete without a visit to the Coffee Region where you can stay in beautiful old haciendas in lovely countryside and experience the production of what many consider to be the best coffee in the world.
Perhaps the thing which surprised us most about Colombia was the outstanding quality and variation of the cuisine throughout the country. Visitors to Cartagena and Bogota are literally spoiled for choice, and the extraordinary variety of local ingredients will be well and truly confirmed by a visit to the food market in Bogota.
To discover more about Colombia and the broad variety of experiences it offers, give us a call or send us a message.
Places we love to stay
Monasterio del Viento
A Caribbean gem on the island of Providencia, lying 500 miles north of the Colombian coast.View details about Monasterio del Viento
Deep Blue Hotel
Located on the Colombian island of Providencia, this is the perfect place to ‘get away from it all’ in comfort and style.View details about Deep Blue Hotel
Located deep with in the Cloud Forest, but with far reaching views, this is a perfect base from which to go bird watching in the Sierra Nevada.View details about Casa Galavanta
Reserva One Love
Opened in 2016, Reserva One Love is a beautiful eco-hotel in 80 hectares on the bank of the Palomino River in the Sierra Nevada National Park.View details about Reserva One Love
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
The Sofitel Legend Santa Clara is a magnificent historic hotel set in the walled city of Cartagena.View details about Sofitel Legend Santa Clara
Casa San Agustin
Located in the heart of the old city of Cartagena three historic houses have been redesigned to create a charming contemporary hotel.View details about Casa San Agustin
Bastion Luxury Hotel
Built on the site of a 16th century colonial house in the heart of Cartagena’s old town this hotel merges original features with a panache for designView details about Bastion Luxury Hotel
Punta Faro Resort
A charming beach hotel located on a private island within easy reach of Cartagena.View details about Punta Faro Resort
Anandá Hotel Boutique
The Anandá is one of the best run – and best value – boutique hotel options in Cartagena.View details about Anandá Hotel Boutique
Overall Hotel Sazagua is a delightful retreat and offers great value; it is our number one choice for the Coffee regionView details about Hotel Sazagua
Park 10 Hotel
The long-established Park 10 Hotel is a safe bet and located in a safe, quiet and leafy area of Medellin.View details about Park 10 Hotel
La Nube Posada
Stylish Boutique Hotel renowned for Colombian cuisine in Barichara, a picturesque, 300-year old Colonial Town.View details about La Nube Posada
La Posada de San Antonio
Colonial houses converted into a small hotel in historic Villa de Leyva where the reception area doubles as an art gallery.View details about La Posada de San Antonio
Although it is not set inside Tayrona National Park we believe that this hotel offers a better experience than those inside the park itselfView details about Merecumbe Hotel
This place oozes Miami style, and it’s location means it’s the place to go if modern, exclusive luxury is your thing.View details about Four Seasons
Four Seasons Hotel, Casa Medina
Staying at the Casa Medina gives you the feel of staying in a private mansion, but with the comfort of the Four Seasons brand and services.View details about Four Seasons Hotel, Casa Medina
This is a working hacienda with cocoa, ginger, plantain, banana and tangerine plantations, as well as cattle. It’s a peaceful place, set amongst fields and mountains in the southern part of the Coffee Region.View details about Hacienda Bambusa
A review of Hacienda Buenavista in Quimbaya, Colombia, a new luxury hotel in one of Colombia's greatest cultural gems — its Coffee Triangle.View details about Hacienda Buenavista
This is the place to stay if you are coming to Medellin to hang out with the cool crowd and partyView details about Hotel Charlee
Hotel Terra Barichara
Staying here offers a dichotomy of tranquil relaxation and access to adventure sportsView details about Hotel Terra Barichara
Stylish hotel in the north of Bogota with impressive city views.View details about W Hotel
Hotel Casa Real
Cosy boutique hotel with lots of colonial charm in the picturesque town of Villa de LeyvaView details about Hotel Casa Real
Monasterio San Agustín
Cosy boutique hotel near the Unesco site of San Agustín archeological park in the Huila region.View details about Monasterio San Agustín
Movich Casa del Alférez
Boutique hotel that is well located in one of Cali’s best residential districts.View details about Movich Casa del Alférez