7 Best Places to Visit in Colombia

Colombia is one of the most beautiful countries to visit in the world. It has it all: mountains, sea, forests, jungle, natural parks, rivers, snow peaks and even volcanoes. In the last years, it has increased in popularity as an amazing tourist destination to enjoy some of the most unique, exotic and beautiful natural landscapes and places you’ll ever experience!

Colombia is a place of rich biodiversity and vibrant cities. The South American country is also home to many unique travel surprises. For example, it’s the only country where you can take a gondola from the heart of a major city 30 minutes up into a national park in the mountains. Its best hike is actually done in reverse, from the end to the beginning.

And the empanadas are so good you’ll never consider a low-carb diet again. Getting to Colombia is a direct flight from several American cities, and with the country’s new digital nomad visa, you might even be able to stick around longer than you’d planned.

Best places to visit in Colombia

Here are some of the best places to visit in Colombia. In no particular order, we have chosen options because of their importance, uniqueness and amazing views!

1. Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

One of the most breathtaking natural landscapes you can ever witness. Located in the north of Colombia, close to the city of Santa Marta, Tayrona is an amazing place to visit and explore because of its exuberant nature and wildlife, amazing beaches and sea, and cool paths to trek. It’s also home to one of the highest coastal mountain ranges in the world, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with 5770 meters above sea level.

Even if you just fancy a relaxing afternoon laying down on the beach, Tayrona is great for that as well, but do keep in mind that there’s only one place (called La Piscina) where you can actually swim as the sea there has a very strong rip tide that can get quite dangerous. Besides that, Tayrona is definitely a no-miss in your trip to Colombia!

2. Chicamocha Canyon

As the second largest canyon in the world, Chicamocha is the “Grand Canyon” Colombian style. This majestic natural landform is located at the northeast of the country, close to the city of Bucaramanga, and filled with endless mountains that compose a breathtaking landscape.

It’s also a natural park (also known as Panachi) where you can enjoy a wide range of sports and cultural activities for all tastes such as paragliding, zipline, rafting, and a beautiful farm for the little ones among many other things; there’s also a cable car that you can ride to have a spectacular view of the whole canyon and plenty of trails to experience. So, make sure that Chichamocha is on your list when coming to Colombia!

3. Leticia

If you are a true lover of nature and wildlife, your trip to Colombia would not be complete without a visit to the Amazon Jungle. Called the lung of the planet, it’s absolutely one of the most fascinating, mesmerizing and biodiverse places on earth. Located in the southern part of the country, the Amazon is as good as it gets for any nature lover but it’s not by any means a comfortable or luxurious trip.

Going to this jungle is a rewarding but very challenging experience that can also test your stamina and resistance; be prepared to feel the endless humidity and rain and make sure you are bathed in a super strong and effective bug spray or you’ll be eaten alive. Otherwise, the Amazon will steal your heart if you give it a chance!

4. Chiribiquete

Recently discovered, Chiribiquete is a magical paradise out of this world that seems to have been taken out of a movie, but it’s of course as real as it can be. It has thousands of acres of virgin jungle that probably no man has ever walked on and it’s said to be the home of Indigenous people yet unknown to the outside world.

It was declared a protected area and a world heritage site because of its rupestrian art and its tepuis (table-top mountains). However, it’s quite expensive to go as it cannot be reached by land, but you can arrange tours to fly over it and have a chance to see the spectacular landscape. Chiribiquete is yet not as popular but it’s perhaps the most amazing place of this list. We promise you won’t regret it if you pay a visit!

5. Cocora Valley

Home to the tallest wax palm trees in the world (above 60m tall) Cocora is a popular destination for visitors that enjoy unique and exotic landscapes. Located in the area known as the “coffee region” in the center of Colombia, it also hosts beautiful hiking routes that are totally worth a try as you’ll be able to experience the view, some cute small bodies of water and exuberant vegetation.

The weather is very nice too as it can get quite sunny with clear blue skies or chilly with relaxing mists. Cocora is one of those very photogenic places that you see on postcards (although all of the ones mentioned in this article are) and is definitely one of the highlights of Colombia, so we strongly recommend you to visit it!

6. San Andrés

It is known as the island with the sea of seven colors. This Colombian island is ideal to enjoy as a couple or with the family where you can experience plans such as Johnny Cay, the aquarium, the malecom or go shopping. About forty dive sites; one of the best beaches in the Caribbean; a blue sea that is also green and lilac, and people full of generosity and flavor. These are some of the charms of the islands of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, in the Colombian Caribbean.

Travelers from all over the world come to these paradisiacal islands in search of perfect sunsets, white beaches, the sea breeze and tall coconut trees that, combined with the carefree smiles of its inhabitants, make this destination one of the best places to spend some time. The island of San Andrés is, together with Providencia, an ideal beach destination for those who want to end their trip through Colombia in style.

Now, it is time to leave you with the travel guide to the island of San Andrés, with everything to see and do and a lot of useful information to plan your visit on your own. Rocky cay is an islet that is connected to the beach through a line of buoys tied with a rope. We were on the beach but we didn't make it to the island. From what we saw, it is not difficult, and we believe that you can walk the entire route. Anyway, it's like 200 meters and you can always hang on to the rope.

Spratt Bight is the main beach in the town of San Andrés, and the most crowded. Although it is quite long and you will surely find your place to plant your towel. The easternmost part seemed the most beautiful to us. It is an urban beach along an interesting boardwalk. When we went it was with a lot of seaweed.

Cocoplum bay is the beach that connects with Rocky Cay. It is somewhat less crowded than the previous one and the water for us is clearer (besides that there were not many algae). We park the motorcycle for free in front of the Aqua Club (not in its private parking lot) and go through its pedestrian entrance.

Tours depart between 8:30 and 9:30 and there are two starting points: from the Portofino pier and from the main beach of San Andrés. If you approach one of these two areas in the morning, you will see that many call you offering the tours.

7. Tatacoa Desert

Yeap, Colombia has deserts too! Tatacoa is the second largest desert in the country as well as one of the most beautiful arid zones with around 330 square kilometers of unique red and grey earth tones. Located near the city of Neiva, at the center of the country, Tatacoa is truly an amazing natural landscape where you can trek and wander numerous valleys and caverns, sightsee the wide variety of cactuses, and enjoy an incredible stargazing.

It’s also an important site if you are into geology or paleontology as it has a fascinating pre-history involving a lot of fossils. Tatacoa is a perfect place to escape and relax from the hustle for a couple of days so it surely has to be in your bucket list!

If you can’t wait to visit these amazing natural landscapes, learning some Spanish will definitely be helpful for your trip as locals don’t speak English that much.

We’ll never get tired of recommending Colombia as an important and popular destination for all nature lovers and tourists in general. It’s full of wonders and majestically places that don’t seem real, but they are all ready to welcome you with open arms and show you its uniqueness! Make sure you cross off your list some of these places to visit in Colombia (or all) to have a long lasting, once in a lifetime experience!
Kalyan Panja