Bogota area, Colombia
Cartagena is located on the northern Caribbean coast of Columbia. Cartagena was founded in 1533 but found itself at the centre of many pillages and attacks including those of pirates. It was for this reason that the city was fortified with walls, castles and fortresses. This colonial architecture is the main attraction of the city and can be seen in the walls baring cannons, the old city and the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas. Though Cartagena de Indias is a thriving, modern city, it is also a UNESCO site that reflects Colombia’s rich heritage.
Tayrona National Natural Park is a one of the country’s most popular nature reserves that encompasses the diversity of the Colombian terrain. Biodiversity ranges from arid Caribbean beach fronts to the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range up to 900m above sea level. The park is home to a wide range of both animals and plant species including birds, deer and many different bats. You can hike a variety of paths within the park that take lead to various noteworthy ecological destinations including the Piedras River, the Pools, the San Juan Out and the Castilletes Beach. The Archaeologic Museum of Chairama located at the Cañaveral Site has evidence of early civilizations that lived within the park up until the early 1600’s.
Amacayacu National Park & Amazon Jungle: A trip to Amacayacu National Park provides you with the opportunity to explore the Amazon jungle. This 293 500 hectare area is based within the southern Amazon trapezoid. Features include viewing the varzea (seasonally flooded rainforest) as well as river systems, swamps, marshes and other beautiful areas that are characteristic of the Amazon forest. Arranged tours will allow you to visit native Indian settlements. The amount of wildlife in the park is staggering and includes among many others the lion marmoset, 469 bird species, enormous reptiles, crocodile, turtles, jaguars, tapirs, river dolphins and the famous Amazonian manatee.
Sante Fe de Antioquia is an agricultural city that produces maize, beans and coffee. The Colonial centre was established in 1541 and literally seems to be suspended in time as it retains all of the architecture from its early beginnings. This has resulted in entire city being declared a National monument. Places of interest include the Bridge of the West, the Plaza Mayor Juan de Corral, the Archiepiscopal Palace, the Museum of Religious Art, the House of the Two Palms, the Metropolitan Cathedral, and a famous ranch named La Playita.
Other cities and towns of interest: Other colonial towns of interest include Villa de Leyva, Popayan, and Santa Cruz de Mompox. Each hosts monuments and architecture that emulates the rich history of the country. The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá and Las Lajas Cathedral are two other popular tourist destinations. Medellín, the country’s second largest city, offers pretty parks, modern architecture and art galleries.
Beaches: Colombia has a Caribbean coast of 1,600km in length and a Pacific Ocean coast 1,300km long. The result is over three hundred sun drenched tropical beaches that play host to both resorts and untouched public beaches that epitomize the Garden of Eden. The Caribbean coast is characterized by beautiful beaches with swaying palm trees, tropical vegetation and calm waters. Conversely the Pacific coast has stronger tides and dark sands. Both however boast warm water and amazing diving opportunities. Some famous areas are Chocó , Providencia Island, Pacífico, San Andrés and Santa Marta.
Other Highlights - Nature: Colombia has policies that strongly favour the eco tourist. This coupled with the wide variety of natural environments on offer has resulted in a plethora of natural parks and attractions to choose from. These include among others the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, Cabo de la Vela, the Cocora valley , the Pacific islands of Malpelo and Gorgona, the central Andean region's Tatacoa Desert and the Amazon River basin. The Andean mountains and the glaciers based within them are simply beautiful to behold. These also give rise to strong rivers which are the ideal location for river rafting.