Prado is a small, quaint town in the municipality of Tolima, southeast of Bogota. This small town is situated away from the Andes mountain range in a low altitude area, meaning it has a warm, tropical climate all year round. Prado’s hidden gem is its dam and large body of water located just outside of the town. This extensive water system is backed by green, tropical, plant-covered mountains, and provides a great destination for a trip outside of Bogota. There are a small number of hotels located on the water’s edge, many complete with swimming pools and boats. Prado is a great place to discover a variety of water sports: water skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, swimming and general boating all take place here. Prado is also home to a small number of fresh-water waterfalls (located in hidden areas around the lake) and it’s a great place to go hiking or walking if you can take the heat.
This indigenous Amazonian tribe (made up of 20 families) live a two-hour’s boat ride from Colombia’s Amazon capital, Leticia. Valencia is a small community of native Amazon families who have settled on the river’s edge. This is a great place to discover how communities utilize the Amazon rainforest and make the most of their surroundings by growing an extensive range of crops, fruits and vegetables; the community is fully self-sufficient. In the center of the town is a tall viewing platform and from the top there is a panoramic view stretching for miles which shows a mix of rainforest, Amazon river and other communities in both Colombia and Peru. The best thing about the community is the people: their very unique stories and their way of life – this is a community which lives without running water, drainage or electricity.
Suesca is located 35 miles (60 kilometres, or one hour 30 minutes in real time) from Colombia’s capital, Bogota. This quaint, historic town is considered the birthplace of rock climbing in Colombia, and has extensive climbing routes ranging from beginner to advanced levels on natural cliffs. Suesca is also the perfect extreme sports destination for adrenaline enthusiasts, with whitewater rafting, mountain biking and hiking trails around the mountains and cliffs.
Guadalupe is a small, 10-square-block town located in the Santander region of Colombia. In typical Santander style, Guadalupe’s buildings are painted white with traditional red roofs. Guadalupe is located six to seven hour’s drive from Bogota, with the last hour of the trip being on unpaved, remote roads. The town has three hostels and one restaurant. The town’s magic is located just outside of the city, where there is a Caño Cristales-style, brightly-colored river, with a variety of reds, blues and greens in the water. Natural jacuzzis, waterfalls and caves are located around the river bed.
Capurganá is a remote beach village located in the Chocó region on the Pacific coast, close to the Panama-Colombia border. This village has no road access: it can only be accessed by small plane from Medellin, a two- or three-hour boat trip from Turbo, Colombia or a 45-minute boat trip from Puerto Obaldia, Panama. Capurganá has a tropical savanna climate and a picturesque beach with crystal-clear waters. This beach is a preserved area and is perfect for diving due to its coral reef, and is home to a number of sea turtle nests. A one-hour hike from the town is the famous El Cielo and “Pool of the Gods.”
Mocoa is located in the Putumayo region of Colombia and is a doorway to the Amazon. This traditional colonial town is on the border of the Amazonas region of Colombia; it combines the Amazon rainforest and the Andes mountain range in perfect harmony. Mocoa has everything the Amazon rainforest does: a large variety of endangered animals including parrots, toucans and monkeys. Mocoa is home to a large number of Indiana Jones-style rope bridges connecting the village to the rainforest. Just outside of the village are a large number of waterfalls including the Hornoyaco Falls and Fin de Mundo (End of the World) hike and waterfall.
Florencia is a town located at the bottom of the Andes mountain range with a population of around 165,000 people. This town is steeped in history (it was founded over 100 years ago) and is important for the surrounding area because on one side is the bottom of the Andes mountains range and on the other side is the start of the Amazon rainforest. The town is the boundary in between both ecosystems, with the Orteguaza River running through the town. Florencia is home to the breathtaking architecture of the San Francisco de Asis plaza and the unforgettable Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral.
Puracé is home to the Puracé National Park located in the Popayan region of the country, around five hour’s drive from Cali. The National Park is the origin of four main rivers – the Magdalena, Cauca, Japurá and Patía – and is home to a 15,100-foot (4,600-meter) high dormant volcano; you can take a six- to seven-hour trek to the top of it, or alternatively bathe in the hot springs or sulphur pools. The National Park provides a habitat for over 200 species of orchids, and wildlife such as bears, woolly monkeys, howler monkeys, capuchins, mountain tapir, pudu, and over 160 species of birds.
Punta Gallinas, La Guajira
Punta Gallinas is the northernmost point of Colombia and South America, located in the remote La Guajira desert region of the country. The town is predominately populated by the Wayuu indigenous tribe, as it has been for hundreds of years. Located on the Caribbean coast, the crystal-clear waters provide a contrast to the orange, 200-foot (60-meter) high, rolling sand dunes which line the coast. This town gives you the opportunity to experience Colombian culture, as you can learn about the indigenous tribes and their traditions.
Cerros de Mavecure
The Cerros de Mavecure is a picturesque location with three spectacular monoliths uprising from the Amazon rainforest: the three hills are named Llanito, Pajaro and Mono. The mountains range from between 820 feet (250 meters) high to 2,300 feet (700 meters) high, a contrast to the flat surrounding areas. A unique sight appears when it rains: during a heavy downpour, streams and waterfalls are created at the top of the mountains, waterfalls down the side of the mountains create the appearance that the mountains are crying.