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Where To Start Sightseeing In Colombia Today


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Sharl Shull



Welcome to Colombia, a vibrant and diverse country located in the northwest corner of South America. Known for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and warm-hearted people, Colombia has become a popular destination for travelers seeking a unique and memorable experience. From bustling cities to serene beaches, there is something for everyone in this beautiful country.


Colombia has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, shedding its negative reputation to emerge as one of the top tourist destinations in Latin America. With improved security and infrastructure, now is the perfect time to visit and explore all that Colombia has to offer.


Colombia is a country of contrasts, with a blend of modernity and tradition that can be seen in its cities and villages. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a foodie, Colombia has something to captivate your interest.


In this article, we will explore some of the must-visit destinations in Colombia. From the vibrant capital city of Bogota to the stunning beaches of Cartagena, each place offers a unique experience that will leave you wanting more.


So pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting land of Colombia!



Bogota, the capital and largest city of Colombia, is a vibrant metropolis nestled in the Andes Mountains. This bustling city is a fusion of old and new, with colonial architecture juxtaposed with modern skyscrapers. It offers a plethora of attractions that cater to all interests.


A visit to the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria is a must when in Bogota. Stroll through its picturesque cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings, adorned with stunning street art. Here, you’ll find several landmarks, including the iconic Plaza de Bolivar, which is surrounded by important government buildings and the impressive Catedral Primada de Bogota.


Art enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to explore the renowned Gold Museum, which houses a vast collection of pre-Columbian gold artifacts. The museum offers a fascinating insight into Colombia’s ancient cultures and their exquisite craftsmanship.


If you’re a fan of art and culture, the Botero Museum is a must-visit. This museum houses an extensive collection of artwork by Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist. His signature style of exaggerated figures and vibrant colors is a sight to behold.


Bogota is also a city for food lovers. Indulge in the local cuisine by trying traditional dishes like ajiaco, a hearty potato soup, or bandeja paisa, a plate full of beans, rice, avocado, plantains, and various meats. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a cup of freshly brewed Colombian coffee.


For those seeking panoramic views of the city, head to the iconic Monserrate Hill. You can either take a cable car or hike up to the top, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of Bogota and the surrounding mountains.


Additionally, Bogota is home to a thriving nightlife scene. The Zona Rosa neighborhood is known for its trendy bars, clubs, and restaurants, where you can dance the night away to salsa or enjoy live music performances.


With its rich history, vibrant culture, and exciting attractions, Bogota is a city that should not be missed when visiting Colombia. Immerse yourself in its energy, explore its hidden gems, and create lasting memories in this captivating capital.



Welcome to Cartagena, a vibrant coastal city located on the northern coast of Colombia. This enchanting city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and rich history. With its beautiful beaches, colorful streets, and cultural heritage, Cartagena is a must-visit destination for any traveler.


Begin your exploration of Cartagena in the historic walled city, known as the Old Town or Ciudad Amurallada. Here, you’ll find narrow cobblestone streets lined with stunning colonial buildings, vibrant facades, and charming balconies adorned with bougainvillea. Take a leisurely stroll through the picturesque neighborhoods of Getsemani and San Diego, and be sure to visit iconic landmarks like the stunning Cathedral de San Pedro Claver and the majestic Palace of the Inquisition.


One of the highlights of Cartagena is the famed Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, an imposing fortress that offers panoramic views of the city and the Caribbean Sea. Explore its intricate network of tunnels and learn about Cartagena’s history as a strategic port city.


No visit to Cartagena is complete without spending time at its beautiful beaches. Playa Blanca, located just a short boat ride from the city, is a paradise with its white sand, crystal-clear waters, and relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or simply soaking up the sun while sipping on a refreshing coconut water.


Cartagena is a city rich in culture and history, and its vibrant arts scene is evident in its many art galleries and museums. Visit the Museo de Arte Moderno to admire contemporary Colombian artwork or learn about the city’s African heritage at the Palenqueras Museum.


When it comes to culinary delights, Cartagena won’t disappoint. Sample the local flavors at the bustling Bazurto Market, where you can indulge in fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional street food. Don’t forget to try the famous Colombian dish, ceviche, made with marinated raw fish or shrimp.


As the sun sets in Cartagena, the vibrant nightlife comes alive. Experience the lively atmosphere of the Getsemani neighborhood, where you’ll find a mix of bars, clubs, and live music venues. Salsa and reggaeton beats fill the air as locals and visitors dance the night away.


Whether you’re captivated by its history, charmed by its colorful streets, or enchanted by its beautiful beaches, Cartagena offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in its charm, soak up its vibrant culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime.



Welcome to Medellin, a city that has transformed itself from a turbulent past to a thriving metropolis that is now considered one of the most innovative cities in the world. Nestled in the Aburra Valley and surrounded by stunning mountains, Medellin showcases its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes.


Begin your exploration of Medellin by visiting the lively neighborhood of El Poblado, known for its trendy bars, restaurants, and nightlife. Stroll along the bustling streets of Parque Lleras, where you can enjoy delicious cuisine, sip on craft cocktails, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this popular district.


For a glimpse into the city’s history, head to the Plaza Botero, home to a collection of sculptures by the renowned Colombian artist, Fernando Botero. Marvel at the oversized figures that are a trademark of his artwork, and learn about the cultural significance behind each piece.


Medellin’s transformation can be seen in its innovative transportation system. Take a ride on the famous Metrocable, a cable car system that not only provides an efficient mode of transportation but also offers panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas. The Metrocable has played a vital role in connecting the once marginalized communities in the hillside barrios to the rest of the city.


Another must-visit attraction is the Botanical Garden of Medellin, a tranquil oasis in the heart of the city. Explore its lush greenery, vibrant orchid garden, and serene lakes, and take in the beauty of this urban escape.


For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Museum of Antioquia is highly recommended. This museum houses an extensive collection of Latin American art, including works by Botero, as well as other renowned artists. The museum also offers a glimpse into Medellin’s history through its archaeological exhibits.


If you’re seeking outdoor adventures, head to Parque Arvi, a natural park located just outside the city. Take the Metrocable to Santo Domingo and then transfer to the cable car that will take you up to the park. Enjoy hiking, biking, or simply revel in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and lush vegetation.


Medellin is also known for its electric energy and vibrant festivals. If you happen to visit in August, don’t miss the Feria de las Flores, a week-long celebration featuring colorful parades, floral displays, concerts, and traditional dances.


With its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and a spirit of innovation, Medellin offers a captivating experience for travelers. Embrace the warmth of its people, explore its exciting neighborhoods, and discover the charm of this transformed city.



Welcome to Cali, the salsa capital of Colombia and a city known for its vibrant culture and lively atmosphere. Located in the southwestern part of the country, Cali offers a unique blend of history, music, and dance that will captivate your senses and leave you wanting more.


Cali is a city that lives and breathes salsa, and there is no better way to immerse yourself in the local culture than by dancing to the rhythms of this energetic music. Join a salsa class or head to one of the many salsa clubs and experience the vibrant nightlife that Cali has to offer.


For a taste of local history, visit the historical neighborhood of San Antonio. The quaint streets are lined with colorful colonial houses, art galleries, and charming cafes. Be sure to visit the iconic San Antonio Church, which offers splendid views of the city from its hilltop location.


One of the highlights of Cali is the famous Cristo Rey statue, a towering monument that overlooks the city. Take a cable car or hike up to this iconic symbol of Cali and enjoy panoramic views of the city below.


If you’re a fan of outdoor activities, head to the Parque del Perro, a popular park where locals gather to exercise, have a picnic, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. This is also a great place to try some delicious street food or enjoy a cold beer at one of the laid-back bars.


Make sure to visit the Cali Zoo, home to a diverse range of animals, including jaguars, monkeys, and birds. Wander through the park, learn about the conservation efforts, and enjoy a day surrounded by nature.


For a unique cultural experience, don’t miss the Cali Fair, held every December. This week-long celebration features colorful parades, live music performances, bullfighting, traditional dances, and an overall festive atmosphere that showcases the essence of Cali’s culture and traditions.


Cali is also a city that takes pride in its culinary scene. Sample traditional dishes such as sancocho, a hearty soup made with various meats and vegetables, or empanadas filled with cheese or meat. And of course, don’t forget to indulge in refreshing guarapo, a sugarcane juice that is a popular local beverage.


With its pulsating salsa beats, rich history, and warm hospitality, Cali offers a unique and lively experience for travelers. Dance your way through the city, explore its vibrant neighborhoods, and embrace the passion that flows through the veins of this cultural hub.


Santa Marta

Welcome to Santa Marta, a coastal paradise nestled on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. With its stunning beaches, natural wonders, and rich cultural heritage, Santa Marta offers a tropical escape that will leave you enchanted.


Start your visit by exploring the vibrant city center, where you’ll find charming colonial architecture, bustling markets, and lively plazas. Make sure to visit the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Marta, one of the oldest churches in South America, dating back to the 16th century.


No trip to Santa Marta is complete without a visit to Tayrona National Park, a breathtaking natural reserve that combines lush rainforests with pristine beaches. Embark on a hike through the park’s trails, marvel at the diverse wildlife, and relax on the idyllic beaches such as Cabo San Juan or Playa Cristal.


For those seeking adventure, a visit to Ciudad Perdida, or “The Lost City,” is a must. This ancient archaeological site is hidden deep in the Sierra Nevada mountains and requires a multi-day trek through challenging terrain. The reward is the awe-inspiring sight of ancient ruins that date back to pre-Columbian times.


If you’re a diving enthusiast, Santa Marta offers excellent opportunities to explore the underwater world. Head to the Tayrona Coral Reef, where you can dive or snorkel amongst colorful coral formations and a wide array of marine life.


Another must-visit destination is Minca, a picturesque mountain village located just a short drive from Santa Marta. Immerse yourself in the lush natural surroundings, hike to stunning waterfalls, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Don’t forget to try a cup of locally grown coffee, as Minca is known for its coffee plantations.


For a taste of the local cuisine, indulge in fresh seafood dishes like ceviche or fried fish. You’ll also find a variety of tropical fruits, such as mangoes, papayas, and passion fruits that will tantalize your taste buds.


As the sun sets, the Malecon, a coastal boardwalk, comes alive with activity. Take a leisurely walk along the promenade, enjoy live music performances, and savor the ocean breeze as you experience the laid-back nightlife of Santa Marta.


Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches, adventure in the mountains, or a cultural journey through ancient ruins, Santa Marta offers a truly diverse and enchanting experience. Immerse yourself in its natural beauty, embrace the warmth of the Caribbean coast, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


The Coffee Region

Welcome to the Coffee Region, a picturesque area in the heart of Colombia known for its lush coffee plantations, scenic landscapes, and warm hospitality. This region is a paradise for coffee lovers and nature enthusiasts, offering a unique experience that will awaken your senses.


The Coffee Region, also known as the Coffee Triangle, is made up of the departments of Caldas, Quindio, and Risaralda. Here, you can immerse yourself in the fascinating world of coffee production by visiting working coffee farms or haciendas. Learn about the coffee cultivation process, from picking the ripe cherries to the final roasting and tasting. Sample some of the finest Colombian coffee and appreciate the dedication and craftsmanship behind each cup.


Quindio is home to the Cocora Valley, a stunning natural wonder that showcases Colombia’s iconic wax palm trees, the national tree of the country. Hike through the misty cloud forests, cross picturesque wooden bridges, and marvel at the towering wax palms that can reach heights of up to 60 meters.


The Coffee Region is also dotted with charming towns and villages. Salento, a colorful colonial town, is a popular base for exploring the Cocora Valley and offers a vibrant atmosphere with its traditional architecture, handicrafts markets, and cozy cafes. Manizales, the capital of Caldas, offers a blend of modernity and traditional charm, with its beautiful cathedral, plazas, and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.


For adrenaline seekers, a visit to Los Nevados National Natural Park is a must. This protected area is home to snow-capped volcanoes, glacial lakes, and rugged landscapes. Embark on a challenging hike to reach the summit of Nevado del Ruiz or explore the pristine paramo ecosystem, where unique plants and wildlife thrive.


The Coffee Region is also known for its warm and welcoming people. Take the opportunity to connect with locals, learn about their traditions, and immerse yourself in their vibrant culture. Experience traditional music and dance, try delicious local cuisine, and engage in conversations to gain insights into the rich heritage of the region.


Whether you’re a coffee aficionado, an adventure seeker, or a culture enthusiast, the Coffee Region offers a delightful experience that combines natural beauty, rich history, and a deep appreciation for Colombia’s coffee culture. Allow yourself to be embraced by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, indulge in the stunning landscapes, and let the warmth of the people leave a lasting impression.


Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park is a natural gem located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. It is renowned for its idyllic beaches, lush rainforests, and rich biodiversity, making it a paradise for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts.


The park is named after the indigenous Tayrona people, who once inhabited the region. Today, it stands as a protected area to preserve its natural wonders and cultural heritage.


One of the main attractions of Tayrona National Park is its stunning beaches. Playa Cristal is a popular choice, known for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand. Relax under the shade of palm trees, snorkel amongst vibrant coral reefs, or simply bask in the beauty of this pristine beach.


Another notable beach is Cabo San Juan del Guia, which captivates visitors with its unique rock formations and picturesque views. Settle into a hammock in one of the rustic eco-habs perched on the hillside and enjoy incredible vistas of the Caribbean Sea.


For those seeking adventure, Tayrona National Park offers a network of hiking trails that wind through dense rainforests and lead to hidden treasures. The trail to Ciudad Perdida, or “The Lost City,” is particularly famous. This multi-day trek takes you through rugged terrain, crossing rivers and ascending steep slopes to reach an ancient indigenous archaeological site.


While exploring the park, keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls it home. From colorful birds to howler monkeys swinging through the trees, you’ll have the opportunity to observe a rich variety of fauna in their natural habitat.


Tayrona National Park also holds sacred significance for the indigenous communities. It is a place where their traditions, rituals, and connection with nature are preserved. Visitors are encouraged to respect their cultural heritage and be mindful of the park’s ecological conservation efforts.


Accommodation options within the park range from rustic camping areas to eco-friendly lodges. Spending a night under the starry sky in a hammock or waking up to the sound of waves crashing against the shore is an unforgettable experience.


Remember to pack essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable walking shoes when visiting Tayrona National Park. It is advisable to plan your visit during the dry season between December and March to enjoy pleasant weather and calm seas.


Tayrona National Park offers a sanctuary of natural beauty, tranquility, and cultural significance. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches or embarking on an adventurous hike, this national park is sure to leave you in awe of Colombia’s natural wonders.


Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva is a charming colonial town located in the Boyaca region of Colombia. Known for its well-preserved architecture, cobblestone streets, and picturesque landscapes, it is a popular destination for history buffs and those seeking a tranquil escape from the bustling cities.


Step into the past as you wander through the streets of Villa de Leyva, which have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. The town’s main square, Plaza Mayor, is one of the largest in South America and is surrounded by colonial-era buildings, including the impressive Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. Take a leisurely stroll along the square, marvel at the colonial facades, and soak up the historical atmosphere.


The town is also home to impressive landmarks such as the Casa Terracota, a massive clay house that resembles something out of a fairytale. Explore its unique architecture and learn about the creative vision behind this unconventional masterpiece.


Villa de Leyva is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Just outside the town, you’ll find the El Infiernito archaeological site, an ancient astronomical observatory believed to have been used by the indigenous Muisca civilization. Wander among the stone pillars and imagine the celestial observations that were made here centuries ago.


Nature enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the nearby Iguaque National Natural Park, home to a sacred lagoon and scenic hiking trails. As you hike through the park, you’ll be surrounded by lush forests and will have the opportunity to spot a variety of flora and fauna.


The town itself is a haven for art and culture. Explore the numerous art galleries and boutiques, showcasing the works of local artists and artisans. You can also immerse yourself in the region’s history by visiting the Paleontological Museum, which houses fossilized remains of ancient creatures that once roamed this land.


Villa de Leyva is known for its traditional festivals and cultural events. The Festival de las Cometas, held annually in August, showcases the art of kite-flying with vibrant displays taking over the sky. Immerse yourself in the festivities and witness the colorful kites soaring above.


Complete your visit to Villa de Leyva by indulging in the local gastronomy. Sample traditional dishes such as ajiaco, a hearty soup made with chicken, potatoes, and corn, or try the local specialty called lechona, a roasted pork dish.


With its colonial charm, natural wonders, and thriving art scene, Villa de Leyva offers a delightful and rejuvenating experience. Take the time to wander through its streets, immerse yourself in its rich history, and appreciate the serene beauty of this enchanting town.


San Andres and Providencia Islands

Located in the Caribbean Sea, San Andres and Providencia Islands are a tropical paradise that offer pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture. These islands, nestled off the coast of Colombia, are a hidden gem waiting to be explored.


San Andres Island is the larger and more developed of the two, boasting stunning beaches such as Playa Spratt Bight and San Luis Beach. Swim in the turquoise waters, relax on the white sand, or try exciting water sports like snorkeling or scuba diving to discover the colorful coral reefs that surround the island.


Immerse yourself in the island’s unique cultural heritage by visiting La Loma, a small village where descendants of the original slave population have preserved their African traditions. Explore their thatched-roof houses and learn about their customs, music, and cuisine.


Providencia Island, on the other hand, takes you back in time with its slower pace and untouched beauty. This tranquil island is home to stunning secluded beaches, such as Manzanillo and Southwest Bay, where you can relax in tranquility and enjoy the unspoiled natural surroundings. Don’t miss the chance to snorkel or dive in the crystal-clear waters of Crab Cay, a small rocky islet known for its vibrant marine life.


The local cuisine on the islands is a delightful fusion of African, Caribbean, and Colombian flavors. Savor delicious dishes like rondón, a hearty seafood stew, and coco rice, made with coconut and beans. Try refreshing tropical fruits and indulge in traditional desserts like guava candy or cocadas, coconut sweet treats.


Explore the lush natural wonders on the islands by hiking through the dense forests or embarking on a kayak adventure in the mangroves. Be captivated by the beauty of the McBean Lagoon National Natural Park, a protected area that is home to diverse wildlife, including marine turtles and exotic birds.


The local community on these islands is warm and welcoming, making your stay even more memorable. Enjoy live music performances with Afro-Caribbean rhythms, dance to the beats of reggae, and experience the vibrant local culture during festivals and celebrations.


Whether you choose to bask in the sun on pristine beaches, discover the underwater wonders of the Caribbean Sea, or immerse yourself in the Afro-Caribbean culture, San Andres and Providencia Islands offer a tropical escape like no other. Lose yourself in the breathtaking scenery, unwind in the laid-back atmosphere, and create memories that will last a lifetime.



Colombia is a country that truly has it all. From vibrant cities to stunning natural landscapes, this diverse and captivating nation offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. Whether you’re sipping coffee in the Coffee Region, dancing to salsa rhythms in Cali, or soaking up the sun on the pristine beaches of Tayrona National Park, there is something to suit every traveler’s taste.


Colombia’s rich cultural heritage is evident in its colorful colonial towns, such as Cartagena and Villa de Leyva, where you can wander through cobblestone streets and immerse yourself in centuries of history. The warmth and friendliness of the Colombian people make every visit a memorable one, as they proudly share their traditions, cuisine, and vibrant culture.


The natural wonders of Colombia will take your breath away. From the towering wax palms in the Cocora Valley to the stunning beaches of San Andres and Providencia Islands, there are countless opportunities to connect with nature and revel in its beauty. Hike through lush rainforests, dive into vibrant coral reefs, or embark on a trek to the ancient ruins of Ciudad Perdida – the possibilities are endless.


Colombia has come a long way in recent years, shedding its negative reputation and welcoming travelers with open arms. Improved security measures and infrastructure have made exploring this vibrant country safer and more accessible than ever before. The hospitality of the Colombian people will make you feel at home, and the country’s dedication to sustainable and responsible tourism ensures that your visit will leave a positive impact.


So, whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking a vibrant and immersive cultural experience, Colombia awaits you with open arms. Explore its cities, dive into its natural wonders, and embrace the magic of this South American gem. Start planning your Colombian adventure today and prepare for a journey you’ll never forget.