Colombia: travel information

Colombia: travel information

Russians do not need a visa to Colombia, without it you can stay in the country for up to 90 days. When traveling to the Caribbean coast and Tayrona Park, it is recommended to be vaccinated against yellow fever.

How to get there

There are no direct flights, you must change planes to get to the capital, Bogota. Round trip airfare starts from 68,000 rubles* per person.

It would be better to plan a trip for the winter or August. Colombia is located on the equator, so there are no traditional seasons, there are dry (December-January, July-August) and rainy (April-May, October-November) seasons.

The local currency, the Colombian peso (COP), is valued at around two kopecks per unit. Locals refer to it by the $ sign, but do not confuse it with the dollar. Check the current exchange rate before you travel.

What to see in Colombia

When you arrive in the country, take into account the big time difference – minus eight hours with Moscow – and possible jetlag. I advise you not to plan a busy program with transfers in the first days to have time to recover after the flight.

Bogota

Colombia’s capital of eleven million people is located in the Andes at an altitude of 2610 meters. It’s a melting pot of colonial mansions and slums next to shiny skyscrapers.

It’s more convenient to travel around the city by cab: there’s Uber and a local service called Cabify. Do not rent a car for this purpose, because Bogota is a city with crazy traffic.

Where to stay in Bogotá

Close to the main attractions are hotels in the safe neighborhoods of Candelaria (historic center) or Zona Rosa (trendy neighborhood). Selected convenient options:

Selina La Candelaria Bogotá – from 1,800 rubles* per night for two; Ibis Bogota Museo – from 2,300 rubles* per night for two; El Yarumo Hostel – from 2,800 rubles* per night (family room).

Day 1

Photo: OSTILL is Franck Camhi / shutterstock.com

We start our trip to Bogota from Plaza de Bolívar. Here you’ll find a monument to Colombia’s first president, Simon Bolivar, the cathedral and the presidential palace.

Walk through the Candelaria neighborhood with its colorful colonial buildings to the funicular to Mount Monserrat, which offers the best view of the city. The ascent costs COP 13,000*, and you can walk down. Then we go to the Park of Journalists (El Parque de los Periodistas), where we start a free walking graffiti tour. Graffiti is part of Colombia’s culture, and the government allowed graffiti in the capital.

Photo: De Jongh Photography / shutterstock.com

Museum lovers can check out the Museum of Gold (4,000 COP*), the National Museum (3,000 COP*) and the MAMBO Museum of Modern Art (12,000 COP*). The former features 36,000 gold pieces, the latter tells the story of Colombia, and the latter displays works by Warhol, Picasso, and Dali. Also worth a visit is the museum of Fernando Botero (free), Colombia’s most famous painter and sculptor.

Villa de Leyva

In Bogotá, rent a car for two days and go see the surrounding area, the city of Villa de Leyva, where colonial architecture from the 16th century is preserved. Rent a car on OneTwoTrip in a couple of clicks – it costs from 3700 rubles* per day.

Day 2

The first stop is 50 km from Bogotá, the sacred lake of Guatavita, at the bottom of which the legend says there is Eldorado. Nearby is the town of the same name with houses with white facades and clay tiles, it is also worth seeing.

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Then we reach Villa de Leyva (130 km). The architecture of the city has not changed over time, so wandering through the narrow streets, you catch the feeling as if you are in the colonial era. The main attraction is the 14,000 m² paved central square, making it the largest of its kind in South America.

Villa de Leyva is also interesting for its paleontological findings: ammonites, skeletons of pliosaurs, an 18-meter-long land lizard and a crinosaur were found here. You can see some of the exhibits in the Dinosaur Park (entrance 16,500 COP*).

Where to stay in Villa de Leiva

We chose atmospheric hotels with courtyards, arches and balconies:

Hotel Plaza Mayor from 2,800 COP* per night for two; Casa San Nicolas from 3,800 COP* per night for two.

Rakira

An artisan village 25 km from Villa de Leiva. Photo: Mark Pitt Images / shutterstock.com

Day 3

After breakfast, we leave for Raquira, the artisan capital of Colombia. Each cottage in the town is unique: the first floors contain pottery and ceramic workshops and shops, while the upper floors are decorated with whimsical patterns and trappings. This is where you should look for original and cheap Colombian souvenirs, such as colorful hammocks or ponchos.

We should leave for Bogota at noon in order to be back before the evening traffic jams. Rent a car and fly to Pereira in the morning by local airlines. The flight costs from 3500 rubles per person*.

Salento

The city is located in the “coffee triangle” – an area where a lot of family farms for the production of beans, called “finca”. Some can be accessed with a guided tour.

Day 4.

At the Pereira airport we take the car again, this time for five days. Our final destination for today is Salento, but on the way into town we make a detour and stop by the Parque Nacional del Cafe. It’s an amusement park and open-air museum that tells the story of Colombian coffee (ticket with unlimited rides is 59,000 COP*).

Salento is a small bright city. The most popular activities here are tours of coffee farms and plantations (Finca Don Eduardo, Finca El Ocaso Salento and Finca Las Brisas) and hiking in the surrounding valleys and national parks.

Where to stay in Salento

Hotel Camino Nacional Salento – from 2300 rubles* per night for two; Hostal Tralala Salento – from 1500 rubles* per night for two.

Cocora Valley

The valley with the highest endemic palms is part of Los Nevados National Park in the Andes. 11 km from Salento.

Day 5

Dedicate this day to a walk in the park with wax palm trees, the symbol of Colombia. These huge trees reach up to 80 meters in height, and in cloudy weather their tops are lost in the clouds. There are also hummingbirds and rhinoceroses, often seen at feeders along the way.

The colorful jeep Willys are the best way to get to the valley. They leave from Salento’s central square every hour, catch the first one at 7:00. The round trip costs 8000 COP*.

Entrance to the park itself is free, but hiking is paid. There are two marked routes: a short 5 km (3000 COP*) which will lead directly to the valley with palm trees, and a long 17 km (7000 COP*) covering all parts of the valley.

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Afterwards we drive to Medellín (260 km).

Medellín

Once a city of drug lords, now a burgeoning metropolis with a metro and modern infrastructure.

Day 6

Today we walk through the “city of eternal spring”. The program includes Botero Square, the Metrocable cable car over the slums (not recommended, so don’t go out and come right back), the Botanical Gardens (Jardín Botánico) and the historic village of Pueblito Paisa. Get around the city easily by metro (fares start at 2,450 COP*, depending on the area).

Also, be sure to take a free walking tour with locals through the 13th commune. Not long ago it was the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhood, now it’s a neighborhood of artists and musicians. It even has street escalators!

Where to stay in Medellin

We chose hotels in the El Poblado area.

Selina Medellin – from 1400 rubles* per night for two; Soy Local – from 2900 rubles* for an apartment.

Guatape

Artificial reservoir 80 km from Medellin is a popular place for weekend trips of Colombians.

Day 7-8

Relaxing on the lake and admiring the scenery. Be sure to stop by to wander the colorful streets of tiny Guatape and try the local street food. You can rent a kayak (from 50,000 COP*) and sap-board (from 20,000 COP*) in the city tour companies.

At the end of the vacation we return to Medellín, rent a car and fly to Cartagena.

Where to stay

Picked accommodation options with a view of the lake.

Bacoa Hostel – from 2100 rubles* per night for two; Paradise Lake Hotel – from 4900 rubles* per night for two.

El Peñón de Guatapé, a 220-metre high mountain, is a monolith with 644 steps leading to its summit.

Cartagena

The romantic city on the Caribbean coast was once a major seaport through which goods from all over the continent were shipped to Spain.

Flight Medellín-Cartagena: from 2,700 rubles per person*.

Day 9

Stroll through the cobblestone streets of the old town, the historical center of Cartagena, walled to protect against pirates. Visit the Palacio de la Inquisicion (11,000 COP*), the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas (25,000 COP*), the Barrio Getsemani neighborhood with bright graffiti and evening performances by street musicians. Greet the sunset on the rooftop of Cafe Del Mar, take an evening ride on a chiva (an entertainment bus-bar with music) and dance the salsa at Cafe Havana.

If you want to spend the day on the beach, take a day trip to the Islas del Rosario. You can get to them with a motorboat tour (from 8,600 rubles). There are clean white sand beaches, blue water, and beautiful reefs.

Where to stay in Cartagena

We chose an option in the historic center of the city.

Hotel Casa de la Tablada – from 3800 rubles* per night for two.

Minka

The eco-village in the Sierra Nevada mountains 20 km from Santa Marta is an ideal place for an escape from the bustle of the city.

From Cartagena we go to Santa Marta (230 km): by shuttle bus or rented car. Then from the central market by kollectivo (shuttle bus) to Minka for 7000 COP (21 km).

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Day 10-11

Cascading waterfalls, mountain air, trails through the jungle with monkeys, coffee plantations, hummingbirds and toucans make Minka a nature lover’s paradise. The roads here are difficult to access, tourists travel by motorbike-taxi or jeep.

Here we go on a tour of the 130-year-old La Victoria coffee farm (15,000 COP*), hike to Pozo Azul and Las Cascadas de Marinka waterfalls, hike along the Los Pinos trail, watch birds (from 25,000 COP*), meet the sunset in a hammock over the chasm at Casa Loma. You can also go trekking at Cerro Kennedy Peak.

Where to stay

We chose hotels in Minka itself, which is convenient to get to all the attractions.

Casas Colibri Hostal Minca – from 1300 rubles* per night for two; Rio Elemento – from 1700 rubles* per night for two.

La Victoria Farm still uses coffee processing machines, which were brought in 1892.

Tyrone Park

National Park on the Caribbean coast, 30 km from Santa Marta.

Day 12-13.

There are two ways to get to the park. By boat from Santa Marta (one hour, from 60,000 COP*) you will be taken directly to the popular San Juan Beach, where there are campsites for overnight stays and cafes. If you want to explore the park, you can take a bus from Santa Marta Market to the central entrance of El Zaino (45 minutes, 7,000 COP*), where the beach is a 2.5-hour walk through the jungle and along the sea. To get the most out of the park in two days, download maps.me.

There is a fee to enter the park (66,000 COP, plus insurance 2500 COP per day), and you need to buy tickets in advance on the website to get into the quota and avoid the lines.

Bring your passport, yellow fever vaccination certificate, water and a snack. There are several cafes and food tents in the area, but the prices there are high.

Where to stay

Overnight in the park you can stay in specially equipped parking lots in hammocks (from 15,000 COP*) or tents (from 30,000 COP*). They are occupied according to the fact

After the rest we go back to Bogota by plane from Santa Marta (from 3400 rubles* per person).

Text writer: Christina Boyko

*Prices are valid at the time of publication

If the article does not convince you to start planning a trip to Colombia now, go to the material in which we briefly describe which countries Russian tourists can go to and what the rules of entry for them are.

Colombia: travel information

Colombia is a country located in South America on the shores of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It borders Panama to the north, Venezuela to the east and Peru, Brazil and Ecuador to the south. Colombia also has eight islands: three are in the Pacific Ocean and the rest are in the Caribbean Sea.

The capital of Colombia, Bogota, is the scientific and cultural center of the region, so it is sometimes called the Athens of South America. It was in Colombia that the mythical “Eldorado” was supposed to be located. However, the golden city turned out to be just a legend. The real treasures of Colombia are coffee and emeralds.

Geography

Colombia has a total area of 1,141,748 km, most of which is covered by the Amazon forest, separated from the Pacific Ocean by the Andes.

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Colombia: travel information - Photo 2

Geography

The equatorial rainforest climate is not conducive to settlement, so the population is concentrated in the eastern, mountainous part of the country.

The highest peaks in Colombia are Pico Colón and Pico Bolívar. They reach an altitude of 5,775 meters above sea level.

Colombia has many active volcanoes, the most famous and active being Galeras. In recent years it has erupted several times, fortunately with only minor consequences.

Many rivers flow through the country. The three most important (Baudo, Patia, San Juan) flow into the Pacific Ocean, 5 others – into the Caribbean Sea (Atrato, Cauca, Magdalena, Nechi, Sina). In addition, the river network is diverse with numerous tributaries of the Amazon and Orinoco. Climate

Colombia: travel info - Photo 3

Geography

In the areas covered by forest, the temperature never drops below 25 ° C . Here is a typical equatorial climate – warm and humid, in the mountainous areas it is not so hot anymore.

Bogotá, the capital of Colombia (2,640 meters above sea level), has an average annual temperature of about 15 ° C. Colombia’s coast, on the other hand, has a typical Caribbean climate. Here you can enjoy great weather almost all year round.

Flora and fauna

As much as 45% of Colombia’s total area is covered in rainforest . The forest is covered with mahogany, cedars and igapo. However, its area is gradually diminishing due to the clearing of trees for pasture and farmland. On the coast facing the Pacific Ocean, there are mostly floodplain forests and mangroves characteristic of the region.

The flora of the mountainous regions looks very different. Unlike the evergreen palms, the trees of the sub-Andean zone (oaks, ferns) shed their leaves for the winter. High-mountain vegetation is present in the high mountain ranges.

Colombia: travel info - Photo 4

Flora and fauna

Colombia is home to jaguars, cougars, tapirs, peccaries, and numerous rodents . Larger mammals are unlikely to be found in more populated areas.

Population size

Most of Colombia’s population is mestizo (58%). In addition to them, white descendants of its former colonizers still live in Colombia, as well as mulattoes, blacks, and Indians. It is estimated that there are 90 different Indian tribes living in Colombia. Each has its own traditions, costumes, and customs. However, they make up a small percentage of the Colombian community.

Colombia is currently experiencing record levels of urbanization due to a massive migration from rural to urban areas. As a result of this process, cities such as Bogotá and Cartegena have grown to enormous proportions.

Colombia: travel info - Photo 5

Population size

“Manners.”

Colombians, like most Latin Americans, are very cheerful and helpful . They are also characterized by optimism and openness in showing their feelings.

Colombian women are obsessed with beauty and see nothing wrong with plastic surgery, which can help them correct certain beauty defects.

A rather unusual Colombian custom is to move weekday holidays to Mondays, allowing people to enjoy their weekends longer.

Religion

Most Colombians are devout Catholics (79% of the population) and not only declare themselves Christians, but they actively participate in masses. There is also a large Protestant community (14% of the population).

On the other hand, atheism is becoming increasingly popular among young people.

Colombia: travel information - photo 6

Religion

History

In pre-Columbian times there were two Indian tribes living in what is now Colombia: the Chibcha and the Arawak, who formed the third civilization of South America after the Maya and the Aztecs. However, the local culture declined dramatically after the arrival of the Spanish in the 15th century.

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Colombia remained a Spanish colony until 1819, when rebel forces drove out the conquistadors. Similar events occurred in other parts of South America. But the young states were too weak to govern themselves, so in 1821 the Federation of Greater Colombia was created. Initially it included only Colombia and Venezuela. Later Ecuador and Panama joined them. However, the federation did not last long. As early as 1831 border conflicts between Colombia and Ecuador broke out, resulting in the disintegration of the Great Colombia.

The second half of the 19th century was a time of many reforms . The country adopted a new constitution and became the United States of Colombia, slavery was abolished, and the influence of the Catholic Church was limited.

Colombia: travel information - photo 7

History

In 1903 Panama seceded. This event marked the beginning of a very sad period in Colombian history. With the growing influence of the U.S. (thanks to which Panama’s secession was completed) the situation of Colombia’s poorest peasants deteriorated sharply. Most of them lived in extreme poverty, working in slave-like conditions on the plantations of the American Union Fruits Company. There was no chance for better working conditions – in 1928 a workers’ strike in the city of Ciénaga ended in the so-called “banana massacre,” which killed about 2,000 workers. As a result, about 2,000 people died. Gabriel Garcia Marquez spoke about this event in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.

The bloody strike was only a prelude to the civil war that lasted for more than half a century (beginning in 1948) between the conservative government and the leftist guerrillas. The conflict did not formally end until 2016. At that time a peace agreement was signed between the government and the guerrillas, for which Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (However, the level of security in the country clearly improved earlier, during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010).

Active recreation

Recreation on Colombian beaches (especially on the Caribbean coast) is possible almost all year round. For this reason, many people from the northern hemisphere come to the country in the winter.

While in Colombia, you should go deep into the forest – preferably in a traditional canoe. The trip can be combined with a visit to an Indian village. Staying there is an opportunity to taste authentic South American cuisine, learn about local customs, and buy original handicrafts.

Colombia: travel information - photo 8

Active recreation

It is also worth traveling to the mountains not only to admire the nature, but also to see the local towns. The most famous is undoubtedly Ciudad Perdida. The ruins, discovered in 1975, are one of the most precious monuments of pre-Columbian culture in the world. To reach them, you have to sneak through the forest and climb 1,260 stone steps.

The Andes hide no less interesting places: Sipaquira is famous for its historic salt mine and Villa de Leyva for its unique colonial “atmosphere”.

A visit to a Colombian coffee plantation is also a unique attraction . You can not only taste it, but also pick it yourself and observe how the drying and roasting of the beans looks like.

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