Cartagena and its beautiful historical center attract thousands of tourists every year and is the most visited place in Colombia. The walled colonial city is absolutely beautiful and unique -a great place to get lost in-. The colorful colonial architecture in the old town -declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site- is a great place to be surrounded by while having a coffee or a delicious fresh juice in an old style plaza. Being in Cartagena is recalling the old times when conquers arrived and slavery was abolished back in the 19th century. The nightlife offers the opportunity to foreigners to dance salsa, merengue or vallenato, famous tropical rhymes of the country. Cartagena is for tourists on any budget but food, drinks and nights out can become pricey even for foreigners. While being there, you can visit the archipelago of Islas del Rosario by boat, in which you can find coral reefs and an aquarium with all kind of marine species.
As a friendly coastal city with beautiful beaches, Santa Marta is one of the top 5 destinations of Colombians when it comes to have holidays. Exciting places like the Tayrona National Park and the Lost City are close enough to make the city the perfect destination to stay when visiting the Caribbean coast. The old part of the city has suffered a significant improvement in the last 5 years, making it an enjoyable experience to have dinner and drinks in art-deco restaurants for local and tourists. Don´t miss the “Parque de los novios”, a square where you can have great night outs. The hotel offers vary from basic to luxury stays, which is convenient for any budget.
TAYRONA NATIONAL PARK
This national park is probably of the most beautiful parks in Colombia. It is 15.000 acres along the coastline and has over 300 bird species and 770 plant species. It is also a great place to spot sea turtles and swim with fishes next to the shore while doing some snorkel. If you prefer to explore the jungle, there are also many hiking trails to discover. Tayrona is a perfect destination to spend a day out or to stay a couple of days in eco-habs with amazing views of the park.
Tolu is a laid-back town just three hours away from Cartagena. Get ready to introduce yourself in the calm and relax lifestyle of the small towns of the coast of Colombia. Beaches are nice, with clear water and without the crowd you may find sometimes in Santa Marta or Cartagena. Don’t miss the chance to take a boat trip to the incredible archipelago of San Bernando, a paradise of coral islands and diving, an exciting natural place to practice some water sports while having a relax day on the beach. If you want to enjoy a natural spa, visit the volcano “El Lodo”, where you can submerge yourself in the mud volcano to relax and take the stress out of your routine, at least for one day.
The fishing village of Taganga is just minutes away from Santa Marta, and it´s one of the main destinations not only for tourists but also for locals to spend a day out. Enjoy fresh fish for lunch in restaurants in front of the beach. It can get crowded sometimes so avoid it if you prefer to have a quiet and calm day out. Ah, and don´t miss the beautiful sunset!
THE LOST CITY
Ciudad Perdida (the lost city) has become a famous plan amongst foreigners due to the challenging but astonishing trek that can take up to a week. It was built by the Tayrona tribe and preserves the spirit of the community, their beliefs and the charm of the people that still live there. The adventure includes walks of up to 6 hours a day enjoying the jungle on the way, nights in hamacs, basic toilet facilities and more details that will make the visit an unforgettable experience.
This traditional and colonial town is located next to the mighty Magdalena River. Churches, parks and plazas reflect the nostalgia of the old days of the town. The main streets are surrounded by beautiful architectural structures, which invite tourists to spend time taking fabulous pictures. If you enjoy jewelry shopping and love traditional furniture, you will spend some time (and money) in this lovely location.
CABO DE LA VELA
This little town up north of the coast of Colombia is off the beaten track for tourists. Cabo de la Vela offers a breathtaking landscape in the desert. Get ready for few hours of traveling by car in unpaved roads to have the pleasure to enjoy the unique views of this part of Colombia and to be in this famous and beautiful desert. It is home of the indigenous tribe called the Wayuu, for whom the Cerro Kamachi is sacred (try to climb it before sunset to have pleasant views of the region). This is a great place for tourists that are in search of adventure without the hassle of crowded destinations. Take some time to relax on the beach and its crystal clear water.
The city of Barranquilla has developed at a fast speed and is now one of the most important industrial centers of the country. The harbor of Barranquilla is the main port of Colombia, which has attracted many Colombians to move and work there. It is also the home town of Shakira, who has mentioned it in some of her most famous songs. If you are thinking to visit in February, you can experience the biggest folk and cultural festival in Colombia, the “carnaval de Barranquilla”.
SAN ANDRES & PROVIDENCIA ISLAND
San Andrés is the perfect destination for anyone looking for beautiful beaches, clear water and an authentic Caribbean atmosphere. These two islands, close to Nicaragua, are well known for the amazing variety of blues of the sea, which can be perfectly spot from the plane when landing. For divers and snorkelers it’s a paradise of marine life and coral reefs. Locals are extremely friendly and day and night life has the rhythm of the reggae music. The place offers a variety of hotels and resorts to enjoy a well-deserved holiday. For those who want to disconnect completely of the routine, Providencia is the right destination to enjoy a calm, quiet and lovely time by the sea.
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