There are few countries with reputations more outdated than Colombia’s. South America’s hidden gem has become to one of the world’s top destinations to visit (honored by New York Times). Forget what you think you know about Colombia from all the campfire stories and come enjoy our private Colombia tours to see why the Colombian tourism board often says that “the only risk is wanting to stay!” Check out our Insider’s Guide to Cartagena on Wendy Perrin’s website to learn why this saying is true to its word.
Between the rapidly growing cosmopolitan cities such as the capital of Bogota, and Medellin (or City of Eternal Spring) and its second city, Colombia has become a top destination in South America for the business and technology industries. However, on our private Colombia tours, we highly recommend venturing out to discover Colombia's natural diversity through its many trails and treks. In addition to the jungle-rich, alluring Tayrona National Park and the staggering wax palms forests of the Coffee Region, there are thousands of options for exploring on foot or horseback.
Meet the locals and get inspired by their friendliness: The Colombia tourism office may be eager to shed the country's archaic negative image, but the Colombians really take it to another level--they’re considered one of the happiest people on Earth!
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Cartagena de Indias is indisputably the jewel of the Caribbean. Known as Colombia’s fortified UNESCO port-city, Cartagena is romantic, enchanting and magical.
At any hour of the day, be swept away by the Old Town’s maze of cobble-stoned streets filled with vibrant 400-year old houses drenched in cascading bougainvillea. Around the corner, be mesmerized by sparkling emerald-encrusted jewelry and sleek leather goods.
Escape to the New Town (Ciudad Nueva) where luxury condominiums are overtaken by blaring cumbia and salsa bands until the wee hours of the morning in Castillogrande, Lagito and Bocagrande, Cartagena’s Miami Beach. Window-shop and sip fresh Colombian coffee among the chic hip cartagenos in trendy open-air cafes by day and return for exquisite five-star dining at night.
Then be whisked away on a private one-hour boat ride to the clear waters of Islas del Rosario, where coral reefs sway and delight, or Isla de Barú, where white-sand beaches and palm trees encourage the perfect getaway and recharge after an entrancing visit in Cartagena.
Verdant green mountains, towering 70-meter wax palm trees, bright red Arabica coffee beans and dazzling array of tropical flowers are a small taste of what makes Colombia’s sumptuous Coffee Region so special.
Here you can drink in the comforts of boutique fincas (farms) and eco-luxury haciendas amidst cooler temperatures and a higher altitude. This exquisitely vast 350,000-hectare UNESCO World Heritage Site is marked by the three main cities: Pereira, Armenia and Manizales.
In Periera, take in the luxurious Botanical Gardens, enjoy a thrilling water-based sport along the Rio Barragan, saunter by horseback through Santa Emilia’s lush national park and nature reserve, and relax in the thermal baths at Santa Rosa de Cabal. At night, enjoy the region’s best nightlife.
Wonder at the Quimbaya tribe’s archaeological artifacts in Armenia’s award-winning architectural museum masterpiece before idling in the surrounding beautiful gardens. Discover the highly biodiverse Otun-Quimbaya reserve, which spans 489 hectares and is home to howler monkeys and over 300 species of birds!
Manizales boasts exquisite baroque-style architecture of the stunning Governor’s Palace, the towering Bolivar Condor monument and majestic Basilica de Manizales Cathedral located in the heart of Manizales, the central Bolivar Square. Feast on dizzying panoramic views, a restored railway station and the stunning Los Yaruma ecological park.
Medellín is hailed as the most innovative city of the world, and Colombia’s liveliest and most creative city! Since shedding it’s heavy and outdated nickname as “the most dangerous city in the world,” the City of Eternal Spring has flourished into a much wealthier, safer and hip city.
Float through Colombia’s second largest city’s dramatic skyline of rugged Andean peaks, tall skyscrapers, and ancient cathedrals on the modern metro-rail or new cable-car network.
Take in Medellín’s fashion-forward boutiques and try on original apparel from the city’s annual fashion show, Colombiamoda. Marvel at the city’s colorful array of gorgeous fresh cut flowers, dizzying textiles, and Botero sculptures dotting the dazzling city plazas and award-winning art galleries of this Antioquian city.
Walk barefoot in the Zen Parque de los Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Park). Enjoy the stylish middle-class neighborhood of El Poblado. Partake in a mesmerizing tour of Comuna 13, a historical neighborhood that was the original recruiting grounds for Pablo Escobar.
Bask in Medellín’s year-round summery climate, nearby forests and bird reserves. Enjoy less pollution, thanks to the novel eco-árbol, a tall, hi-tech tree-like structure that purifies 22,000 cubic metres of air every hour by removing carbon dioxide and traffic toxins. Attend one of the many festivals and understand firsthand why this valley-nestled city is a more desirable destination for upscale travel. Don’t delay. Experience Medellín’s magic today!
Bogotá is excitement. Zoom along the Carrera Séptima, a 12-mile autopista (freeway) that bisects the financial and commercial districts and government sector of this high-altitude capital.
Marvel at the hustle of ever-stylish Bogotános alongside stealthy emerald traders from inside an elegant cafe. Escape the noisy haze of honking cars in La Candelaria, a cobble-stoned barrio (neighborhood) with eclectic, brightly painted 300-year old homes and colonial-era landmarks, such as the neoclassical Teatro Colon and 17th century Iglesia de San Francisco. Drink in Bogotá’s hypnotic collection of pre-Columbian gold at the Museo del Oro before taking in Latin America’s most-recognized artist, Fernando Botero’s exaggerated paintings and sculptures at Museo Botero.
Snake past hurried workers and the warm hues of the civic buildings to catch a teleferico (cable car) ride up to the picturesque Cerro de Monserrate (Monserrate Peak) where inviting fresh air, a soothing calm and breathtaking near-panoramic views of Bogotá’s sprawling expanse await you. Duck into the 17th-century white church, perched 3,152 metres (10,341 ft) above sea level, and snap a photo of the quaint shrine to El Señor Caido (The Fallen Lord), who watches over the bustling downtown city centre.
Descend back into exhilarating Bogotá to lunch at a stylish patio in the trendy, tree-lined streets of north-end Zona Rosa and Zona G. This barrio, burrowed in the base of the Andes, is where upper class Bogotáns shop for up-to-date fashions at upscale malls and boutique hotels.
Expect cooler climates at nighttime here and don your fashionable finds for some all-night dancing. Be sure to share some Agua Caliente, the beloved national liquor, by drinking from the bottle’s cap while captivating rhythms of cumbia drown your senses.
On Sundays, leisurely stroll Bogotá’s infamous Ciclovía, or Open Streets, a weekly closure of more than 70 miles of roadways from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Here some of Bogotá’s normally dangerous, car-laden streets can finally be experienced at ease. Relax with an ice cream and take in the pretty Nuestra Señora de Torcoroma Church. Pleasing white stalls house beautiful artisan leather goods, wooden kitchenwares, delicious sweets, and captivating artwork by local artists at the attractive Mercado des Pulgas (flea market).
Infectious Colombia celebrates world-renowned music and dancing, tropical flowers, exotic fruit and colorful costumes almost daily in this joyful Land of Festivals. There is something for everyone here, so pick your dates and enjoy some of Latin America’s most scintillating parties.
Join Latin America’s ‘other’ February Carnaval de Barranquilla, Colombia’s northern Caribbean coastal city. Take in some 25,000 performers and dance the days away with 1.5 million visitors on pristine white sandy beaches and through the cobble-stoned Barranquilla at the world’s second largest carnival. Each April, the ever-popular El Festival de La Leyenda Vallenata, located in the City of Valledupar, has been crowning the country’s King of the Accordion and caja drum (box drum) at one of Colombia’s most important musical festivals since 1968. The melancholic melodies of the accordion instill a magical realism of a quaint Colombia.
Medellín’s superb ten-day La Feria de Las Flores celebrates the floral diversity of the Antioquia region and is the largest open-air flower display in the world. Here you can adore the warmth and enthusiasm of the Paisa people and experience a horse parade alongside a fabulous display of classic cars and musical concerts.
Start off the new year in Colombia and celebrate the country’s ethnic and cultural diversity January 2-7 at El Carnaval de Blancos y Negros in Pasto, one of the continent’s oldest carnivals in San Juan de Pasto. Situated near the stunning, and still active Galeras volcano, this five-day festival literally bursts with color and sound through large floats, colorful headpieces and loud music. Experience why Carnaval de Blancos y Negros in Pasto is proclaimed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO!