Travel Colombia: Top Destinations, Photos, Travel Information

The departments of Colombia

Why Visit Colombia?

Seasoned travelers agree, while often misunderstood,  Colombia is South America’s best kept secret – beautiful, affordable and mostly undiscovered by foreign tourists. The country  is easy to travel with plenty of low cost internal flights, comfortable cross-country buses and inexpensive taxis literally everywhere.

The country is beautiful, the people  friendly and the climate is perfect. Everything is very affordable and with a good service structure already in place, tourism is overdue.

  • Colombia is  rated as one of the 10 most affordable countries in the world for foreign travelers.
  • It’s one of the five friendliest
  • And one of the top 10 countries for expats to live in.
  • It has been ranked #22 out of 140 countries fo  its quality of health care by the World Health Organization. Lasik surgery was invented here in 1963 as was the pacemaker in 1958.

Who Visits Colombia?

Colombia received 3 million foreign visitors in 2017 according to the country’s trade ministry.

Some Stats:

That might not seem like a lot  when compared to the world’s top tourist destinations for foreigners. But when compared to  tourism in South America, Colombia is gaining momentum.

  •  France, tops the list, with 84 million  foreign visitors followed by the USA with 77 million.
  • On the Latin continent,  Colombian only lags behind Brazil’s 6.3 million foreign tourists last year  and  Chile’s – 5.6 million
  • Colombia is keeping pace with Cuba’s 3.5 million foreign tourists in 2017 and Peru’s  3.4 million.
  • Foreign tourism is increasing in Colombia around 13%  every  year.
  • Having  increased over 300% since 2006 when only 1 million foreign tourists visited the country.

The top countries to visit Colombia are the USA and Venezuela followed by Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Spain, Chile and Panama

Major Destinations

The cities of Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin are the most visited sites. But foreign tourist hear the call, returning again and again. Colombia is a complex, fascinating country meriting  further investigation.

Outside of the passenger ships in Cartagena’s harbor discharging a flood of  tourists into into the towns’  historic center every morning,  it seems the world has yet to discover the more remote areas of Colombia. Corporate tourism barely exists here and tour buses are a rarity. Colombia has remained relatively unchanged for the last 40 years.

How Big is It?

With a land mass area larger than France, Colombia is the fourth largest nation in Latin America (440,800 square miles),  the third most populous in South America..  With an unequaled habitat, Colombia is the second most bio-diverse country in the world.

Even though it is one of the larger countries of South America, travelers can easily visit more than 2-3 destinations in a week. And there are dozens of destinations  for travelers with the luxury of  time to spare.  An inexpensive country, money for extended  travel is usually not a major concern here as there are a variety of inexpensive alternatives: cheap eats abound as do buses and  hostels. Colombia, never boring, never gets old.

A finca or coffee farm in the hills of Colombia

Is  Colombia Safe?

Prior reputation as a violent and unsafe country is for the most part unfounded today. Colombia, once the most notoriously violent epicenter of drugs and kidnappings has seen the murder rate fall from 70 people per 100,000 people to just 26 per 100,000 in 2015.

Peace is at hand after five decades of conflict involving two rebel movements, the Colombian army and right-wing paramilitary groups. The dark days  of violence resulted in more than 260,000 deaths, the disappearance of tens of thousands of people and the displacement of 6 million people.

In the last decade the  Colombian government has killed or imprisoned most of the notorious  narco-traffickers and the drug trade has been pushed out of the cities and into the jungle and the country’s most remote areas.

Peace accords have been struck with the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), a revolutionary group which financed itself through involvement in Colombia’s drug trade. The group has turned over its weapons and is in the process of reorganizing a political movement.  A cease-fire was also signed with the ELN (the National Liberation Army).

Colombians tell me they feel  safe walking the streets and country roads once again. But people, a resilient lot,  are still trying to come to terms with everything they have lived through.  But rather than look back, they choose to look ahead to a hopefully promising future.

Today, the tourist office’s promotional slogan is:  “Colombia – the only risk is wanting to stay!”

Colombians are genuinely happy to see tourists slowly returning. It’s a good sign, they say. There is more to Colombia than the stereotypes of narco drug traffickers and aimless violence.  And they  want the world  to know it.

Colombia’s Pacific Coast

Up-to-date information on Travel in Colombia

Todays travelers are finding there’s not  the right information out there about Colombia. What is essential to see? How do I get there? What will I find? How long does it take? How much does it cost? Is it safe?

While there’s decent coverage on the history, geography and politics  of the country, the newspapers, academics and guide books have taken care of that, there’s not enough on the nuts and bolts of traveling in Colombia. For the most part, travel in Colombia is still a leap into adventure.

Travelers in Colombia want and need more information on these places before and during their trips. Even with the internet,  updated information is often hard to find.  Travel experiences and information are still for the most part  being shared via word of mouth, in hostels, huddled over maps, traveler to traveler.

The purpose of this blog is simply  to supply more information to the people contemplating a trip to Colombia.

Want to learn more? Then keep reading here. Travel To –  Destinations Colombia

~~For more information on Colombian destinations click on the topics below:~~

Medellin                Cartagena                     Cali                    Popayan                  Pasto     San Agustin     Tatacoa Desert                North Valley of Cali                   Villa di Leyva                Mongui            Bogota      The Coffee Triangle             

Colonial Towns of Santander                Tolu              Capurgana           Mompox Santa Marta        Tierradentro       Bahia Solano            The Guajira Peninsula

Mocoa     Buenaventura       San Jose del Guaviare

Playa Belen        

Las Lajas 

Los Llanos-Villavicencio

17 Heritage Villages               Popayan                    Cali

Popular Destinations in Colombia – Tourist Traps or Mandatory Stops

    

Coming in 2020:   the Carnival of Barranquilla,  more thermal springs and spas, more colonial villages 

Check back in from time to time and leave your comments and personal experiences or any questions you may have in the comment box below. We will share them. 


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