Colombia has it all! High Andean mountains, beautiful Carribean beaches (think: white sands and turqoise waters), thick Amazon jungle, mysterious archeological ruins and cobbled colonial villages.
It's probably the best selling tour of Bogota, but it's really good. In 5 hours you get to know about the city, it's people and Colombian history, food and culture. The guide told us about how drugwars and FARC influenced daily life and how optimistic the Colombians are about the future. Loved it!
Don't forget to put on sunscreen :)See detail page
I thought this place was out of this world and for a moment believed it could be the perfect hide away for aliens ;) The desert is not extremely large, but it offers enough different landscapes and activities for a few days’ worth of exploration. Plus, it’s one of the best places on the entire continent for stargazing, due to the near-total lack of light pollution.
Visit the observatory after sunset for a one-on-one with the Milky Way.See detail page
The largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America stands in a wild, spectacular landscape. Gods and mythical animals are skilfully represented in styles ranging from abstract to realist. Next to an outstanding archeological parque, you can find them on plains, cliffs, in the middle of grassy fields. It takes about 3 days to see all of the statues.
Look out for the one that looks like a penguin, but is actually an eagle...See detail page
In this breathtaking valley you find the Colombia's national tree: the wax palm. It's the world longest palm tree, to be found at 2500-2800 meters and gets up to 60 meters tall. This palm only grows here (in natural circumstances) and there are hundreds of them!
The most spectaculair view is from Finca La Montaña.See detail page
The Aurora cable car provides incredible views of the west of Medellin and a view into the different aspects of its society. The cable car floats over the hills and some of the poorer areas of Medellin. It passes favelas as well as new government housing projects. When you're interested in visiting a favela, I recommend Comuna 13. Formerly Medillins most dangerous neighbourhood, but due to urban renewal rejuvenated. I walked up the barrio's hill until it didn't feel safe anymore.
Don't be a hero, listen to your gut when visiting a favela.See detail page
This market is not for beginners. It's filthy and obscure, a wrong turn in the mazes of Bazurto would prove harmful. But it's bustling and enthralling, an assault to your senses! The chaotic market seems to stretch on forever in every direction, offering everything from parrot fish to clothes. No tourists here!
Don't wear juwellery, I had someone pull on my necklace...See detail page
You cannot imagine a bigger contrast. 10 kilometers from rich Cartagena lies Isla Tierra Bomba, where 12.000 African Colombians live in poverty. There's no water of medical facilities.
Indulge on fried fish at a beach shack, just behind the fort San Fernando.See detail page
Once a week the Guambiano indians, young and old, go to Silvia's market. They are considered one of the most conservative indigenous people and wear beautiful blue-purple scarfs and ponchos with bowler hats to top it off. At the market they buy and sell fruits, vegetables, meat and traditional medicine. Around the plaza, you'll find typical "chiva" buses lined up to transport everyone back to the mountains.
Visit the market on Tuesdays to see this timeless scene.See detail page
Full-figured, big-boned, chubby, voluptuous, or just good old-fashioned fat, however you describe the sculptures of Fernando Botero they are definitely larger than life. You'll find most of the bronze sculptures at Botero Plaza.See detail page
Cartagena's city centre to me comes across as an amusement park, with hip restaurants and over expensive shops. So not the Colombia I've seen in the rest of the country. The bohemian Getsmani neighbourhood still has some authenticity left. Its has artsy streets and a vibrant nightlife, although it is the domain of backpackers. In the next years I am afraid, it probably will evolve into the next amusement park.
Try the food stalls at the atmospheric Plaza de la Santisima TrinidadSee detail page
Fuerte de San Fernando is a fantastic fort. Built in 1779, in pristine condition and the best thing is: everything is accessible.See detail page
With only 1,5 hours before take off, I realised that Medellin has 2 airports. One in the city and the other 60 kilometers out of town. Ouch!