Colombia’s 25 Best Sights
Snow-white beaches washed by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, bustling carnivals, and tropical vegetation are not all of Colombia’s attractions.
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Who goes to Colombia and Why?
Museums in Colombia present a variety of collections that tell about the richness and culture of this country. They will be of interest to inquisitive individuals and families with children.
The architecture of megacities and small towns in the hinterland will introduce tourists to South American flavor. It will be especially appreciated by romantics and fans of contemplative leisure.
Natural Parks of Colombia is a magical world of colors, inhabited by exotic creatures. Unforgettable experiences and colorful photos are guaranteed.
Natural attractions and parks
About 150 kilometers from Bogotá the Sierra Macarena Natural Park is one of the largest natural parks in Colombia. Its territory exceeds one million hectares. Much of it is covered by mountains which are home to hundreds of species of birds, animals and insects.
The park’s flora is as diverse as its fauna. There are more than 50 species of orchids, many plants are endemics. They are found only here and nowhere else in the world.
The jewel of the park is the “crystal” Caño Cristales River. Periodically it changes its color like a chameleon. The phenomenon is explained by the presence of colorful microorganisms and algae in the water.
The national park spreads out in the heart of the rocky Andes. Covering about 60,000 hectares, it features bizarre forests, mountains, dormant volcanoes and deep lakes of glacial origin. The most visited place in the park is the Enchanted Lagoon.
For tourists have developed several hiking and automobile routes. Those who plan to linger in Los Nevados are invited to stay in one of the guest houses with minimal amenities and maximum immersion in the enchantment of nature.
Tyrone National Park.
The natural gem of Colombia is located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. It occupies an area of about 12,000 hectares, where you will find impenetrable jungle, picturesque coral reefs, blue lagoons and sandy beaches.
The park is home to over 100 species of birds and 300 species of animals, and its fish fauna is considered one of the richest in the world. Local waters are home to over 100 species of fish and shellfish.
The amenities of civilization are virtually non-existent here. The main means of transportation is a bicycle and feet. Overnight accommodations are open-air hammock or bungalows without amenities.
One of the most picturesque places in the Colombian Andes has been turned into a national park. It is a realm of jungles, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Among the local flora and fauna are many endemics, such as goggle bears and cougars.
Wax palms and cedars are rare specimens found only in mountainous areas. You can admire the beauty of local nature by hiking one of the many trails of varying degrees of difficulty.
The national park stretches along the Atrato River on the border with Panama. This place will appeal to those who want to see nature in its pristine beauty. No construction or farming has ever taken place within the park.
The trees are giant giants several thousand years old. The lakes are a water kaleidoscope (although their inhabitants are not always friendly). It is in this part of Colombia that one-fourth of all birds in the country live. Los Catios is famous for its cotton trees, the fruit of which is used to make eco-friendly fabrics.
The Rock of El Peñón de Guatapé
The giants with almost smooth slopes are located between the settlements of Guatape and El Peñol. They are what gave it such a beautiful long name. The height of the rock is about 220 m, about two-thirds of the colossus, like a land-based iceberg, is hidden underground.
The rock is 70 million years old. To get to the top, you have to overcome 644 steps made of concrete. The peak is crowned by a bench and a statue of the Virgin Mary.
This place was once home to the Tahamis Indians. They considered the mountain sacred and worshipped it as a deity.
Located 35 km from the capital of Colombia on the Bogotá River, the Tequendama Falls are considered one of the most scenic in the country. The water rushes down from a height of 140 meters. The gorge narrows sharply at the precipice, making the furious stream literally roar. But in December, the river bed dries up and the waterfall changes its usual location.
Religious sites and architecture
Church of Las Lajas
Part of this Gothic-style cathedral is built on a high bridge, the other part rests on a mountain. It looks as if it is floating in the air. The effect is boosted by the decorative elements of the facade, sharp spires, lancet windows and numerous arches.
The main relic of the temple is the image of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus that miraculously appeared on the rock about 250 years ago. It is believed that the face of the Mother of God heals all kinds of diseases. This is confirmed by the hundreds of clay tablets of thanks on the rock near the church.
The Salt Cathedral of Sipakira
The Catholic cathedral is located in a salt mine underground where not a single ray of light can penetrate. All the rooms are carved into the rock. The salt crystals on the walls shimmer like gems in a colored light. The temperature inside is always constant – about +20 °C. Moreover, the church is active and on Sundays services are held there.
The unusual cathedral is part of the Parque de la Salle nature reserve, which also includes a mineralogy and natural resources museum, a movie theater, and a souvenir store.
San Felipe de Barajas Fortress
Located on the outskirts of Cartagena, this fortress is considered a Colombian treasure. The fort with its strong and almost sheer walls stands on the hill of Lazarus, from where you can clearly see the surroundings.
From its construction in the 16th century until the beginning of the 19th century the fortification successfully repelled attacks. Today the fortress hosts cultural events and reconstructions of historical events from Colombia’s glorious past.
In Bogotá’s central Plaza Palacio Bolívar stands the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, the most visited temple in the capital. The building, built in the 16th century, was destroyed in an earthquake and its reconstruction dragged on for almost 2 centuries. Now the cathedral in classical style abounds with columns, porticoes and domes. But inside it is minimal decor and modestly decorated.
The National Capitol Building
A classical-style structure with eight columns stands on the Plaza Bolivar, in Bogotá. It is the house of Congress where the most important laws that determine the life of the country are passed. The famous artist and sculptor Santiago Martínez Delgado worked on its interior decoration.
Convento de la Popa Convent
The convent is located on a hill about 150 meters high. It is the highest point of Cartagena and offers a stunning view of the surroundings. The 16th century building, which was erected on the site of a wooden chapel, attracts visitors with its Spanish Colonial style architecture, the image of the Virgin Mary on the carved altar covered generously with gold and the shady garden in the courtyard.
This square in Medellín is named after Fernando Botero, Colombia’s most famous artist. There are 23 bronze sculptures that he donated to the city. The figures, frozen in strange poses, are very unusual and eye-catching. The square is always full of tourists wanting to take beautiful pictures.
San Pedro Clavera Cathedral
The main cathedral of Cartagena was built in 1575, but 10 years later it was destroyed and plundered by pirates led by Francis Drake. The church was rebuilt only in the early 1600s and was given the name of a Spanish missionary priest whose remains are still preserved in the cathedral’s chapel.
The gilded and carved altar deserves special attention inside. It is believed to have been made by African slaves whom Clavera converted to Catholicism.
Historical sites and places of interest
On the banks of the Magdalena River, between the eastern and central Cordilleras, an important archaeological find was made. In the jungle, scientists found more than 500 stone figures depicting gods, rulers and mythical animals. Presumably the statues were made in the VI B.C. The area “inhabited” by the ancient statues was declared an archaeological reserve.
The Naked Legs Park
The park is located in Medellín and fully corresponds to the Oriental Zen philosophy.
The area is divided into 3 zones that can only be visited by taking off your shoes:
- The Air Zone is a beautiful garden with a cyclical maze of paths for walking and reflection.
- The Earth Zone is notable for its rock garden and is popular with contemplative lovers.
- The water zone features small pools, fountains and waterfalls.
The name of this archaeological reserve translates as “the land within.” There are crypts and burial chambers – some available for tourists to see. The burial chambers are located at a depth of 5-8 m.
The walls are decorated with images of spirits and ornaments and the ceiling in the catacombs are supported by massive columns. Near the entrance to the park is a museum where the artifacts found in the tombs are kept. These are objects of everyday life and worship, as well as ancient ceramics.
The garden with the long name Jose Celestino-Mutisa is one of the tourist attractions of the capital. The park was laid out at the end of the 18th century. Since then, it has grown noticeably, and its collection of flora has been enriched with many new species of vegetation.
Now there are over 800 of them on an area of 8 hectares. The long walks invite you to take an exciting stroll, the benches offer shade and the small fountains and statues complete the landscape.
The ancient Native American town is lost in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. It is thought to have originated in 800 B.C. and was home to 8,000 people. It was a major religious and cultural center of the Tyrone Indians.
When Colombia was invaded by the Spanish, the city fell into decline and was swallowed up by the jungle. In the 1970s it was rediscovered. Of particular interest here are the main square and temple, but to get there, you have to climb 1,200 steps.
This theme park appeared in 1995 thanks to the Colombian Association of Coffee Producers. The park is one of the most visited. There are many rides, swings and merry-go-rounds. In the open-air areas several times a day there are exciting performances based on national legends. Colorful parades and parades are as grand as the famous carnivals.
In the coffee museum, located here, one can learn about the stages of production of the popular beverage. At the interactive stands are always a lot of children. And the endless coffee plantations are part of the landscape. The park even has its own mini-railway with an 18-meter clock tower. It is equipped with an observation deck, which allows you to see the panorama of the area.
Simón Bolívar Museum
The house where the great revolutionary leader lived has been turned into a museum by the Colombian authorities. A small one-story structure with a spacious patio contains Bolivar’s personal belongings, documents, books and clothes. It will be of interest to those who are interested in the history of Latin America and the personality of the general, who fought for the independence of the Spanish colonies.
Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold)
Colombia’s richest museum contains almost 500,000 pieces of jewelry. Most of them belong to the pre-Columbian era. This jewelry, ritual masks, figurines and everyday objects. A separate exhibition is devoted to ancient weapons from all over the world.
Museum of Emeralds in Bogota
It is in Colombia where almost all of the natural emeralds are mined and processed. The appearance in the capital of a museum dedicated to this gemstone was natural.
The private institution has three expositions:
- The first room displays the rarest collection of emeralds, where the most beautiful and expensive stone weighs 265 carats.
- The second room is a sales room.
- A narrow tunnel leads to the third section of the museum, where you can learn a lot about the mining and cutting of emeralds.
Museum of Modern Art
The museum opened in 1974 in Barranquilla quickly became famous. It houses a rich collection of modern art. These are paintings, sculptures and installations by Latin American authors.
Among them are works by recognized giants Carlos Rojas, Enrique Grau and Luis Caballero. In addition to permanent exhibitions, there are also temporary exhibitions where you can meet new names in the art world.
Colombia’s Most Memorable Places
A colorful port city on Colombia’s Atlantic coast.
Indian peoples of the Chibcha group in northeastern Colombia, in the mountains.
Carnival in Barranquilla
One of the world’s largest carnivals and a very important cultural event in Colombia.
The water in the river is so clear that the bottom can be seen even in very deep water.
Nuestra Señora del Carmen Church, Bogotá
A religious temple worth visiting while in Colombia.
A terracotta house made entirely of clay.
An underground cathedral in a Colombian salt mine
The salt cathedral topped the list of the seven most significant sights in Colombia.
One of the most notable monuments of ancient Colombia.
Statue of Christ
A scaled-down copy of the famous sculpture of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
Very tasty spicy Colombian potato soup with corn.
Desfile de Silleteros Flower Show
Thousands of porters silleteros “saddled,” carrying large ornaments of fresh flowers on their backs in wooden sillets.
The Rock of El Peñón de Guatapé
A giant rock that is one of the most unusual in the world.
A walk down the street in Bogotá
La Gorda Sculpture
The highlight of the square, is a sculpture of a reclining nude woman in bronze.
The aroma of fresh fruit
No one thinks of preserving fruit, which is available fresh all year round.
Bogotá is a city of contrasts
Bogotá lies in a valley between mountains, at an altitude of 2,000 meters, almost on the equator.
Las Lajas Cathedral in Ipiales
The attraction of the cathedral is the unwrought rock icon Nuestra Senora de las Lajas depicting the Virgin Mary.
Each region of Colombia has its own cuisine, closely related to agriculture.
Tayrona National Park
The most popular place among Colombia’s many national parks.
Gallineral Nature Reserve
The reserve is among the most visited places in Colombia.
Jamie Duke Recreational Park.
A park for families.
El Rodadero Beach in Santa Marta, Colombia
The beach is a stretch of white sand.
Medellin Flower Fair
The Feria de las Flores flower fair is one of the highlights of summer in Medellín.
The northernmost cape of South America, on the Guajira Peninsula.
Tyrone National Park.
Located on the Caribbean coast of Colombia.
Pool in the middle of the Tatacoa Desert
A swimming pool on a hot day will delight any traveler.
The theater was built in 1885 by the talented Italian architect Pietro Cantini.
“Tequendama Falls, Bogotá, Colombia
A view from the window of a spooky hotel, a favorite spot for suicide bombers.
City of Barichara.
Sleepy, relaxed, quiet and sparsely populated, full of low old houses with ochre roof tiles.