Don’t have much time in Colombia and want to make the most of it? We’ve narrowed down the best things to do into a top 10 list so you can be sure to see some of the most amazing attractions, sites and cities! This is in no way a complete list as there are hundreds of things to do in Colombia. The order is random, so one is not necessarily better than the other. Don’t agree with the list? Leave your favourite things to do in the comments.
10. Tayrona National Park
One of the main attractions in Colombia, located on the northern coast, may people come here for hiking, swimming and just relaxing. There are many beautiful beaches in the park and many trails. You can get here from Santa Marta but make sure to check if the park is open before you go. Day trips are common, however there is accommodation along the main road beside the park.
9. Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City)
Ciudad Perdida is the second oldest city in the western hemisphere, and a major up and coming tourist spot. If you enjoy a grueling 6 day hike then this adventure is for you. It’s estimated to be about 1200 years old, that’s 650 years older than Machu Picchu.
8. Visit The Coffee Region
Colombia of course isn’t complete without a visit to their world famous coffee zone, The Zona Cafetera. Including the departments of Caldas, Risaralda, Quindio, and part of Valle del Cauca, including the small cities of Salento, Periera and Manizales. Salento is known as having the talest palm trees in the world (reaching up to 60m or 200ft). There are many tours to take, including hot air balloon rides and paragliding.
7. Carnaval De Barranquilla
Colombians sure know how to party and they have some amazing festivals to prove that they are a party capital of the world. The most famous Carnival is to the north in the large city of Barranquilla. Every year hundreds of thousands of people flock here, making it the second largest carnival in the world, surpassed only by Rio de Janeiro.
If you’re ever in Medellin, then you must make this 2 hour journey to the small, quaint town of Guatape. Famous more for the giant rock “La Piedra” than the town itself, it’s one of the best day trips you can make in Colombia, with one of the most spectacular views.
5. Underground Salt Cathedral
Many years ago, the people of Zipaquirá needed away to give more protection to their towns salt miners. To do this, they carved from the salt a large underground church. The Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral is now a major destination, not far from Bogota, seating over 500 people.
4. San Agustín Archaeological Park
This amazing archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the world’s largest necropolis and the largest collection of megalithic and religious structures in Latin America. The statues are thought to have been made around 50-400 AD and who built them still remains a mystery to this day. The shear number of statues and monuments will astound you.
With an interesting Caribbean vibe not found in other parts of Colombia, Cartegana is arguably the most beautiful city in Colombia, take a stroll through the old town and marvel at the colonial architecture. The city was founded in 1533 and named after Cartagena, Spain. The major port was capable of defending against pirate attacks from the Caribbean. Head to Boca Grande for some crowded, somewhat acceptable beaches, or take a day trip to the beautiful Playa Blanca.
2. San Andrés
Colombia owns an island Archipelago off the coast of Nicaragua? Today I learned. The largest island, San Andrés contains many beautiful beaches, coral reefs and coves. Tourism is rapidly increasing on this small island with many flights from most cities in Colombia. Scuba Diving and snorkelling are two of the most popular activities.
Just over 10 years ago this city was a no no for most tourists, now it’s a hot spot of backpackers, digital nomads, 5 star resort tourists and fans of the Netflix series Narcos. Known as “The City of Eternal Spring” the city does really have an ideal climate, not as hot as Cartegena and not cold like Bogota. Situated in a very large valley, the houses and suburbs “crawling” up the hillside makes for an incredible site, especially if you take the cable car up to Arvi park.