Best Places To Visit In Colombia – Beaches, Cities, Jungles



In the last few years, Colombia has slowly been creeping back onto the radar of holiday goers and backpackers alike. Since the country has slowly been emerging from a bad reputation in the 1990’s, Colombia has started to attract thousands of tourists each year.

From some of the driest deserts to snow capped mountains, stunning beaches, and dense jungles, Colombia is a country filled with diverse landscapes, metropolis cities, an expansive history, and plenty of culture. Through food, architecture, clothing, and goods, the culture of Colombia can be explored.

While Colombia only recently emerged from its darker days, tourists can safely travel through most of the country. This provides travellers with the opportunity to experience everything from the largely unexplored Amazon region to the stunning coastal towns of Cartagena and Santa Marta. No matter the type of setting, landscape, or weather, Colombia’s varies so much that there is a perfect holiday location for everyone.

Parque Tayrona

Best Beaches To Visit In Colombia – Cartagena, Punta Gallinas

Most tourists who visit Colombia rave about visiting the coastal city of Cartagena. Located in the north of the country on the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena is a colourful city with plenty of character and charm.

The city closely resembles an old Spanish colonial town, with small buildings lining the streets with stunning details and bright colours. Everything, from the doorways to the balconies, is charming, providing an exciting city to explore during the daytime. However, even with the beautiful city streets, many tourists flock to Cartagena because of the beaches.

cartagena beaches colombia

The beaches are busy every day of the week, year round, because the weather is often warm enough to swim in the water, tan on the beach, or socialize with friends and family.

Further along the coast, Santa Marta is another popular beach town that provides easy access into the jungle of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The beaches at Santa Marta are less busy and cleaner than the ones found in Cartagena.

Further up the coastline in a small place called Punta Gallinas, the most northern point in the continent of South America, the beaches are completely untouched.

A small tribe of people live in this area, ensuring the beaches are pristine, and only a few people each day travel through the area. Along the Pacific coast, there are a few small beach towns that are worth visiting. These areas are less touristy, and generally serve as fishing and surf towns.

Colombia’s Best Jungles Tours – Leticia, Amazon, Santa Marta, Lost City, Capurgana

There are a few areas in Colombia that are worth visiting if you are looking to head deep into the jungle. Perhaps the most popular jungle area is the Amazon, which is located in the far south of the country of Colombia.

In one of the most southern cities of the country known as Leticia, entry to the Amazon region is incredibly easy, and is becoming more accessible to tourists.

Leticia, Colombia

Day tours take guests out onto the Amazon river to discover many incredible animals and river creatures. Tours also take visitors on treks through the jungle, and allow tourists to discover how some of the local tribes live.

Some of the lesser visited jungles in Colombia are the ones in the north close to Santa Marta. Arguably, one of the lesser known treks on the continent, it is possible for tourists to hike for a few days through the Sierra Nevada to reach the Lost City.

The jungle in this area is perhaps a lot safer and tamer than the Amazon, however, it provides visitors a chance to see artifacts from another civilization, and a chance to walk through an entire city that has been left for ruin.

santa marta colombia

The least visited jungle in the country can be found in the region around Capurgana, close to the border of Panama. This region is known as the Darien Gap and is one of the least explored places in the world.

Capurgana was once a dangerous town located on the coastline between the two countries. The area was known as a notorious place to transport drugs across the border of Colombia and into Panama, where they continued their journey up through Central America.

Capurgana has recently changed its reputation, and is slowly becoming a tourist port of entry into Colombia from Panama and Central America. While the jungle is dangerous to explore alone, there are parts close to the beach that offer visitors a chance to see incredible wildlife.

Best Cities To Visit In Colombia – Medellin, Bogota

One of the most visited cities in Colombia is Medellin, best known as the home of the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. As the country has slowly become a tourist friendly place, Medellin attracts thousands of visitors each year.

The city has plenty of great museums, parks, and restaurants, as well as offering day trips to nearby cities of interest including Guatape, coffee plantations, and tiny towns like San Jeronimo.

Medellin offers tourists and visitors the chance to enter neighbourhoods that were once dangerous. These days, many of these neighbourhoods, known as Comunas, are now filled with plenty of colour and life in the form of artwork, graffiti, and children playing sports in the streets.

Bogota is another popular city for tourists and holiday goers. Bogota serves as the capital of the country, and offers visitors the chance to dine at many incredible restaurants, visit churches and historical landmarks, check out the street art, and take in the incredible views from the tops of the surrounding mountains.

Bogota, too, offers visitors and backpackers many great day trips, including a visit to the mountainous town of Villa de Leyva, which offers visitors the chance to explore a stunning colonial town.

bogota colombia

There are plenty of hikes and waterfalls located in the mountains and hills surrounding the capital city of Bogota. There are many other popular cities located all across Colombia that are less frequented by tourists, and offer a more authentic experience, including Cali, Barranquilla, and Popayan.

However, the cities of Bogota, Cartagena, and Medellin still offer incredibly authentic experiences as the country has only recently moved onto the tourist radar.


About the author: Patrick has the record of travelling the most out of everyone, visiting over 30 countries around the world in 15 years, and sleeping in the most tents with the least amount of blankets and cushions.  He can literally sleep anywhere! A few countries Patrick has lived in include India, Mexico, Tanzania, and Morocco, and currently he lives in Peru.