An ideal destination for backpackers, Colombia has much to offer; whether you are looking for an affordable destination where you can make your money go further (and put off returning to that desk job), want to experience the amazing Amazon rainforest, while away the hours on a beautiful beach, or visit one of the thoroughly modern cities; there really is something for everyone.
If you like your beaches to contain white sand, meet with crystal clear turquoise water and have snorkelling & scuba diving opportunities a plenty, then you’ve definitely come to the right place, as Colombia has some of the best beaches in South America.
If you’re not a fan of beaches then here are my alternative top 5 places to visit:
Medellin is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in South America (often called “city of the eternal spring”) with plenty to see and do; a superb mixture of modern, bustling city, whilst retaining its unique heritage and beauty.
Due to it being around 5,000 ft above sea level and near to the Equator, it benefits from a subtropical climate and year round warm temperatures (the lowest around 15°C).
The city rose to prominence in the 1980’s due to the exploits of drug baron Pablo Escobar, but this has long since been forgotten and the welcoming and friendly locals mean it’s a much safer destination.
What visit to South America could be complete without visiting the Amazon Rainforest?
Covering over 1 billion acres and encompassing areas in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, the Amazon Rainforest produces around 20% of the worlds oxygen and contains half of the planets estimated species of plants, animals and insects.
A tour can easily be arranged from Leticia which is the capital of Colombia’s Amazonas region and there are a number of jungle lodges to stay at (July and August is the driest time of year to visit).
Cartagena is another of Colombia’s popular cities which combines a wealth of history – to be found in the old walled city – with modern conveniences, 5 star luxury hotels and beautiful Caribbean beaches (although I promised I wouldn’t say anything about those in this article…).
The historic centre of Cartagena is labelled a UNESCO World Heritage Site and should top any travellers list of places to see, especially at night when it is at its prettiest.
If you fancy an adventure while you’re in Colombia then why not head to the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida). Not for the fainthearted, it’ll take a 5-6 day trek to reach the city, but what awaits you there is well worth the effort.
On your way through the 20km, you’ll cross various rivers, see indigenous villages and their inhabitants and see some amazing sights, culminating in reaching the spectacular ruins of Ciudad Perdida.
Located on an island in the Magdalena River and another of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites due to its well-preserved colonial architecture, Mompox (officially Santa Cruz de Mompox) is definitely worth a visit if you want to experience the town that time forgot.
With no bridge from the mainland, it’s no easy feat to reach Mompox, but for the determined the effort will be rewarded. The locals are a friendly bunch (something you’ll find a lot in Colombia) who always seem willing to share whatever they have with you.
This post was provided by Chris Rowlands from the UK price comparison website moneysupermarket.com.