Often times, people associate Colombia with drug wars and gangster, but cast these outdated ideas aside. You`ll find today that the nation is moving forward into a more confident and more peaceful and prosperous future. The land of the country boasts many beautiful contrasts, from the capped Andean peaks, tropical Amazonian jungles to the tranquil Caribbean coasts and beautiful warm deserts. It is also famous for the mines of Muzo, Chivor, and Coscuex located in the Andes Mountains. These region produces the world`s finest Emeralds. Colombia boasts a rich cultural history, Biodiversity and heritage. It is the the 2nd country for the highest biodiversity in the world.
Colombia is also associated with its coffee, being the fourth-largest producer of coffee in the world. When you here of famous people from Colombia, singer Shakira and actress Sofia Vergara are the first names that come to mind. Escobar, another name associated with Colombia, is the surname for the infamous Pablo, Medellin`s former drug lord, where today, you can take guided tours of Escobar`s Medellin. The country is also known for its love for dance, music and entertainment, supported by their diverse tradition in the arts. Above all else, the famous Colombian hospitality is what makes this country shine!
Colombia offers a wide variety of interesting things to do and beautiful places to see. For history, explore the narrow streets of South America`s original capital in Bogota, check out the old Spanish colonial provincial retreats such as Villa de Leyva, explore the oldest colonial city of Santa Marta and its charming port with bountiful beaches, and walk the walls of Cartagena`s on Colombia`s Caribbean coast.
For nightlife, vivacious Cali is today`s capital of salsa, claiming that competitive distinction over Colombia`s other hot big-city party scenes, which keep the music going long into the wee hours of the night. The chic cosmopolitan city of Barranquilla lies on the banks of the majestic Magdalena River and the hipsters` playground around the El Poblado neighborhood in Medellin downtown.
Colombia`s is situated near the equator which brings a tropical climate with relatively constant climatic conditions throughout the year. However, the climate does differ across the country due to the variation in topography with tropical rainforests, mountains and savanna all found in Colombia.
The best time for the country as a whole is between December and March as it rains the least during these months, especially in the Andean regions. This is Colombia`s peak tourist season and prices are at their highest as well. The rainy season hits the Andes between May to July and October to December when heavy rains can fall on a daily basis though they`re usually followed by clear skies and sunshine. Elsewhere, the Caribbean coast experiences its heaviest rainfall in September and October, and is relatively dry for the rest of the year while the lowlands experience little variation with a tropical climate.
Temperatures remain fairly constant throughout Colombia for much of the year, which makes it a year-round destination. Changes in temperature and rainfall are determined more by region rather than season and it`s best to pack for all weather conditions.
We recommend 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in larger cities.
Colombia`s generally reliable and numerous buses are your best bet for intercity travel, though increased competition between domestic airlines means that air travel is frequently only slightly more expensive than travel by bus and far faster and more comfortable. Read more about getting around Colombia:
By Car: There are several toll motorways throughout the country, though narrower and less well-maintained tracks become more frequent when traveling to smaller destinations.
The major international rental car companies have offices and can arrange for vehicle pick-ups at the airport, but driving in cities is not recommended. Most companies require you to be 25 or over; some allow drivers over 21 but they are subject to a surcharge.
By Taxi: There are plenty of taxis in the big cities, and they are reasonably cheap. They are also considered fairly safe to hail in the street. You may get charged a bit more for being a tourist; in Bogota, Cali and Medellin they have meters, but in smaller places you have to negotiate the price. Drivers are generally not tipped.
By Bike: Cycling is extremely popular in Colombia and hter are all sorts of routes throughout the country, including cross-country missions, several day-long expeditions, mountain bike routes and city cycling. Some hotels and hostels in coastal cities and a few in Bogota lend out or rent bikes to guests.
Urban Travel: Bogota`s bus service, TransMilenio, is the most efficient way to travel around the capital. There are also buseta (shared taxis) which are not expensive and stop on demand. Medellin, Colombiea`s second largest city, has a metro train service and cable-car lines to hillside suburbs. Traveling on public transport in Colombia is safer than expected, but you should always use precaution.
By Air: There is an excellent internal air network connecting major cities, including those in the Caribbean coastal area. There are also local helicopter flights. Flights between the mainland and the islands of San Andres and Providencia operate from most major Colombian cities.
Some areas have no road access, such as the Amazon River border town of Leticia which must be accessed by air. Other areas have road routes but a flight is far more expedient and not too expensive.
US dollars and credit cards are not accepted at most stores or restaurants. ATMs are available in mst cities. The currency used locally is the Colombian Peso. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for Colombian Pesos upon arrival. For more detailed information, consult our guide by clicking here Tipping in Colombia.
Spanish is the most popular language spoken in Colombia, and is spoken by more than 99% of Colombians. However, the Spanish language spoken in Colombia, known as the Colombian Spanish, varies from the traditional Spanish language spoken in Spain and other Spanish-speaking nations.
English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. We suggest you get a good English-Spanish guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.