Colombia is a diverse country known for its breathtaking natural destinations, coffee plantations, historic architecture and thriving contemporary culture – and it’s also home to seven stunning Unesco World Heritage sites. We look at the best places to visit for an insight into Colombian culture and history.
Want to explore the Caribbean coast of Colombia? Join our eight-day epic small-group adventure. Or you may prefer a trip round the cities of the Andes – TRIPS by Culture Trip has that covered too, on an eight-day trip from Bogotà to Medellín.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Cartagena is a fortified coastal city that exudes its rich history through its centuries-old architecture. Founded in 1533, the city held a vital seaport for the Spanish conquerors, making it a key location to hold treasures acquired from the native population. This strategic value also made the city a prime target for pirates and other attackers, thus Cartagena was designed to be one of the most sophisticated fortifications of the time.
Unesco-listed in 1984, the key sights to see here include the old town within the walls and the many monuments that stand in and around the city.
Los Katíos National Park
Located in Northwest Colombia and stretching over 72,000ha (177,915ac) Los Katíos is a Unesco-protected national park that is home to an abundance of rare and endangered animals, as well as a diverse wilderness that stretches from rainforests to mountains. The park also holds the world’s fastest river – the Atrato River – reportedly capable of pouring 4,900 m3 of water into the Caribbean Sea every second.
The national park has been listed as endangered since 2009 due to the damaging effects of deforestation as well as illegal fishing and hunting. Due to this, the park is not open for eco-tourism activities.
Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox
Santa Cruz de Mompox is an enchanting city that takes travelers back in time to the era of the Spanish Conquest. Founded a decade after Cartagena, Mompox became a crucial city in the Spanish colonization effort because of its position on the Magdalena River.
The time-defying qualities of the city come from the impressive preservation of architecture – dating back to the 16th century – and the fact that many of these buildings are still in use for their original purpose. Filled with multiple squares and colonial structures, the church of Santa Barbara stands out as one of the highlights of this entrancing city.
National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro
Delving back further into Colombia’s rich history, the National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro offers a window into the life and culture of the inhabitants before Spanish colonization. Located in the Cauca department of Colombia, the park hides many preserved hypogea (underground chambers), filled with engravings and objects that reveal social and cultural aspects of life from the sixth to the ninth centuries. These excavated finds are unique in their size and architectural sophistication – holding large interiors, curved walls and even staircases.
San Agustín Archaeological Park
San Augustin Archaeological Park is located in Huila and holds hundreds of carved stone statues that date back thousands of years. These statues are incredible examples of the creativity and artistry of the inhabitants who left the area in the 8th century.
Inscribed as a world heritage site in 1995, the sculptures reveal the religious, artistic and technological aspects of this lost civilization. The three main areas in the park are Las Mesitas, Fuente de Lavapatas, and Bosque de Las Estatuas.
Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary
The largest no-fishing zone in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary is a Unesco-listed area that is home to a number of endangered marine species. The sanctuary includes Malpelo Island and its surrounding waters, renowned as one of the best diving spots in the world. Home to rare and endangered species, Malpelo is recognized as a vital component of the biodiversity in the area.
The Coffee Triangle of Colombia
Protected as a world heritage site, the Coffee Triangle is a vast area around the Cordillera de Los Andes in the West of Colombia that is significant in its maintenance of tradition and its influence on the global coffee industry.
Colombian coffee is renowned all around the world for its high quality and flavor and the protection of this plantation-filled landscape is vital for its sustainability. The Coffee Triangle holds sweeping coffee plantations, historic architecture and beautiful mountainous views – providing awe-inspiring views, even for non-coffee drinkers.
Tayrona National Park and the Lost City
Close to the city of Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park sits on the coast of Colombia and is a haven of natural beauty. Here visitors will witness the meeting of picturesque beaches with lush rainforests, the combination of which creates a unique biosphere. Many tours of the park will also visit the ancient ruins of Ciudad Perdida.
Translated as the Lost City in Spanish, Ciudad Perdida is thought to have originated around 800CE – more than 500 years before Machu Picchu. Surrounded by forests, these age-old ruins hold an aura of mystery and beauty – and tell of a time long lost.
Gorgona Island lies about 50km (31mi) off the west coast of Colombia and has a rich history, with its unique location and geography being used for multiple reasons throughout the years. The earliest evidence found of human inhabitants dates back to 1300AD.
Swapping ownership between the indigenous Kuna people, Spanish rulers, pirates, Colombians and even the English, it also served as a prison from 1954 to 1984. Now a national park, it holds an abundance of wildlife and its surrounding waters are renowned as great scuba diving spots.
The capital of Colombia, one of the largest cities in South America, is full of museums, galleries and monuments that highlight the country’s past, present and future. A thriving cultural hub, it hosts festivals and events throughout the year, making it a great destination no matter what your interest.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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