Lush. Frenetic. Exotic. South America’s former blemish is about to become its prize draw.
Colonial old towns and impenetrable jungle, sweeping coffee plantations and hectic cities, Colombia is the only South American country with both Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Teeming with birdlife, boasting pristine beaches and the capital city Bogotá – a cultural behemoth, crammed with salsa-clubs, replete with a booming gastronomic scene and a recent Nobel Peace Prize – Colombia has never been so appealing.
Head underground into the surreal salt cathedral with a local guide; lay back and take it easy on the Caribbean Coast at Taganga and kayak to empty, buttery beaches in the Parque Nacional Tayrona; trek to the Ciudad Perdida (Lost City), the largest pre-Colombian town in the Americas; journey to the once off-limits Pacific coast to swim with marine turtles and see migrating humpback whales; dive and surf; explore the photogenic streets of colonial Cartagena and learn to balance a tray of fruit on your head with a palenquera fruit seller; take a private plane over the coral-fringed islands; stand and reflect on the country’s brutal history in the Monserrate monastery in Bogotá; take a light plane to Popayán to join in with the Holy Week festival at Easter.
Where to Stay
A beautiful colonial mansion in old Cartagena or a hill top hacienda with sweeping views.
When to Go
Colombia’s proximity to the equator keeps regional temperatures stable throughout the year, around 24°C (75°F) along the coast and 7–17°C (45–63°F) as you move further inland. However, rainfall does vary with the seasons. In the Andean region there are two dry and two wet seasons per year, with the driest months being from December to March and July to August. In low-lying areas, especially southern Colombia, rainfall is more constant but showers never last very long. The Amazon climate is uniformly wet the entire year.