Colombia is known as a ‘megadiverse’ country, home to an impressive variety of environments and ecosystems, including deserts, Caribbean coast, Pacific coast, Amazon rainforest, plains, the Andes mountain range and countryside landscapes. These unique environments provide many activities unique to Colombia. Here are ten of the best.
Swim in the River of Five Colours
The Cano Cristales is otherwise known as the river of five colours, this unique river formation is located in the Serranía de la Macarena National Park. This National Park contains a one-of-a-kind environment, where three ecosystems converge: the luscious green Amazon Rainforest, the dry forest of the Andes mountain range and the shrublands of the East Llanos. The 100 kilometre (62 mile) stretch of river is filled with deep reds, black, blue and yellows, flowing waterfalls and natural pools for swimming.
Visit La Cueva del Esplendor (the Cave of Splendor)
This unique waterfall is located within a cave under a flowing river, the cave contains a hole which water flows into, creating a unique waterfall flowing from the roof of the cave. Located close to Jardin, Antioquia, around 140 kilometres for Medellin, the waterfall can be accessed by a 1 hour 20 minute hike or horse ride.
Climb the Stairs of El Peñol
El Peñol is a rock 198 meters (650 feet) high, emerging from the surrounding flat land this rock can be seen for miles around. The rock was once a sacred monument for the Tahamies Indians, now it is a major tourist attraction. Located 1 hour 22 minutes or 42 miles (68 kilometres) from Medellin, tourists come from miles around to climb over 700 steps and reach the top of the rock. From the top you can see the spectacular vista that is otherwise known as the ‘best view in the world’.
Discover the underground salt cathedral
Located 32 miles (53 kilometres) from Colombia’s capital Bogota in Zipaquirá is a unique wonder of the architectural world. This functioning salt mine is now a major Colombian tourist attraction, with the 14 stations of the cross representing Jesus’ last journey. Everything in the salt mine is created out of salt including the walls, benches, floors and stairs. Various tunnels lead down to a 3,000 person Cathedral and the largest subterranean cross.
Swing in the world’s largest hammock
Located high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and National Park, close to the town of Minca, are two giant hammocks, jutting out over the mountains edge. Located within the Casa Elemento hostel these hammocks provide a breathtaking view over the surrounding mountains and landscapes.
Go Tubing in Palomino
Palomino is a small town located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, close to Tayrona National Park. Palomino is unique, located at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, from the beach you can see the snow capped mountains. The beach is where the rainforest, the ocean and the rivers flow down from the mountain tops to the ocean. These rivers allow for a fun activity – tubing. This activity involves a small hike through the rainforest up into the mountains along the rivers edge, after reaching the desired spot, individuals get into the water, sit in an inner tube and float down river until they reach the ocean. This activity is not only relaxing but a perfect way to spot wildlife (endangered birds) and beautiful scenery.
Walk beside the world’s tallest palm trees
Colombia’s National Park, the Valle de Cocora is a beautiful valley in Colombia’s coffee triangle. The National Park is famous for its endless landscapes and Palmas de Cera (Wax Palms). Colombia’s National Tree grows high into the air, with palms at the very top. In the Valle de Cocora you can hike through the mountains and stand next to these tall trees.
See the ‘fat Mona Lisa’
Colombia’s famous artist Fernando Botero is well known for producing paintings of people and figures in exaggerated volume. Botero’s parody to Leonardo de Vinci’s Mona Lisa was his breakthrough piece, gaining lots of media attention. This painting is now located with the Botero Museum in Bogota.
Go fishing for Piranhas
Colombia’s Amazon rainforest is home to a large number of endangered animals and fauna. The rainforest covers around 35% of Colombia, with a large number of indigenous communities living within it. The Amazon river is located on the border of Colombia, Peru and Brazil; with an open borders policy in the Amazon area, it’s easy to travel between countries and go on boat trips. One of the unique experiences to be had is fishing for Piranhas, whether it’s with a fishing rode or stick with a wire attached, the river is home to a large number of fish species, with Piranhas being the mot well known.
Watch thousands of black crabs make their way to the ocean
Each night during the wet season (April to June), thousands of Black Crabs or Gercarcinus Lateralis make their way down from the forests of the High Hills to the freshwater and South West Bay. They do this to release their eggs into the water, the government closes the roads on the crabs trail to prevent the crabs from being run over.