Colourful colonial houses of Guatape, Columbia

Colombia Holidays

Just like its famed coffee, this country will bring your senses to life. Whether it’s the blossoming culture, pioneering travel experiences or colourful history, nothing in Colombia is done in half measures.

There are few countries in the world that the vast tourist industry has not assimilated but Colombia is one of them, and we urge you to travel to Colombia before the rest of the world wakes up to the fact that it has neglected one of the highlights of South America.

Downtown Bogota, Colombia
Downtown Bogota, Colombia

What to expect on your Colombia Holiday

We strongly urge spending some time in Bogota to visit the old colonial area of Candelaria with its classic Spanish architecture, huge plaza and old-world ambience as well as the buzzing modern zones that are replete with bars, restaurants, coffee shops and a wave of young Colombians who are revelling in a new safe and more liberal social world. Urban addicts should also visit the salsa city of Cali and modern Medellin, infamously associated with Pablo Escobar.

San Alberto Coffee Farm, Coffee Region, Colombia
San Alberto Coffee Farm

Coffee Region

Colombia produces some of the world’s finest coffee and a visit to the picturesque Coffee Region or any of the small family-run haciendas that are springing up around the country should feature in your trip.

Even if coffee is not your drink of choice, there are some highly scenic walks and horse treks to be had through coffee-country. Alternatively, you may choose to hold onto your hat and travel in the back of one of Colombia’s famous Willy Jeeps to explore plantations and a vertiginous landscape dotted with 60 metre high Quindian Wax Palms, the national tree of Colombia.

San Agustin archaelogical structures, Colombia
San Agustin, Colombia

UNESCO sites

History and archaeology buffs will revel in the UNESCO-designated San Agustin Archaeological Park and sister sites of Alto de los Idolos and Alto de las Piedras. Enormous pre-Colombian statues and funerary complexes dot the Andean landscape and it’s likely that you and your guide will be the only visitors.

If an Indiana Jones experience is more your style, then head to Tayrona National Park and embark on a six-day trek from a wild boulder-strewn and jungle fringed coast to Ciudad Perdida (Lost City). This is a challenging hike that ascends the slopes of the impressive Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. A less testing hike is to the ruins of Pueblito that can be visited as a day trip.

Rosario Islands, Colombia
Rosario Islands, Colombia

Colonial Legacy

Those interested in Spanish colonial legacy should head out from Bogota to the white-washed buildings and cobble-stoned streets of Villa de Leyva, stopping on the way to explore the huge underground Salt Cathedral at Zipaquira. Continue further into the countryside and arrive at the picture-perfect town of Barichara. The fortified port city of Cartagena should be high on your “to-see” list. The centre is a maze of Bougainvillea-draped balconies and terracotta roofs with coastal ramparts and forts to clamber over that will please the most demanding of military historians.

If you have enough holiday time for a few beach days, then the rugged Tayrona coast, the calm waters around the Rosario Islands or the coral encircled Caribbean island of Providencia are all worth considering.

Explore Colombia

  • Bogota
  • Cartagena
  • Coffee Region
  • Colombian Amazon
  • Guajira Peninsula
  • San Agustin
  • San Andres & Providencia Islands
  • Santa Marta & Tayrona N.P.

Experiences

Discover some of our suggested activities to include on your Colombia holiday

Jungle trek2, La Paloma Reserve, Colombia

Discover the Jungle

Hike jungle trails and visit riverside communities.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Wooden boat, Leticia, Colombian Amazon

Nuqui Adventure

Visit the ‘Eden’ of the Pacific Coast; Nuqui, only accessible by air and surrounded by jungle.

Humpback Whale, Bahia Solano, Colombia

Whale Watching

Between July and October, go whale watching in the Pacific Coast.

Tatacoa Desert, Huila, Colombia

Tatacoa Desert

Take the time to visit the impressive Tatacoa Desert with its wild west landscape, huge cacti and beautiful hummingbirds.

Mortino Waterfall, San Agustin, Colombia

Self-Drive to Magdalena River

Drive through rural San Agustin to see the mighty Magdalena River and the waterfalls of Bordones and Mortino.

Horse Riding, Cocora Valley, Colombia

Horse Riding Adventure

Horse ride or hike to El Tablon, a small site with a collection of sculptures in their original setting.

San Agustin archaelogical structures, Colombia

San Agustin Archaeological Park

Discover artefacts dating back to 3300 BC in San Agustin and marvel at the forest gallery of huge stylised stone sculptures.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Ecohabs, Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Stay at the Ecohabs

Stay at the only hotel in the National Park, with its huts perched on the hillside overlooking the jungle and the sea.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Cabo de la vela, La Guajira, Colombia

Visit Wayuu Communities

Learn about their way of life, myths and legends.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Statue of Simon Bolivar, Colombia

Visit the Resting Place of Simón Bolivár

See the historic final resting place of Simón Bolivár, the 17th century Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino.

Suggested Holiday Idea

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Alfiz £££££

  • Colombia
  • Boutique

Alfiz Boutique Hotel is located in the heart of Cartagena. A former smuggler’s house, and then the British Consul, each of the eight rooms are dedicated to a specific period in the history of Cartagena. Alfiz offers very personalised service and makes for an excellent base from which to explore this charming city. Only breakfast is served although there is a wide range of bars and restaurants nearby. If Carl (the Swedish owner and historian) is in residence, he will fascinate you with the history and stories relating to this very old building.

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Akawanka Lodge £££££

  • Colombia
  • B&B, Motel and Guesthouse

Akawanka Lodge is located in peaceful countryside just 1km outside San Agustin and offers tremendous views of the surrounding Andean scenery. There are just 22 rooms, all of which are decorated with pictures of and are named after animals that have been painted by one of the hotel’s gifted staff members.

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Ecohabs £££££

  • Colombia
  • Wilderness

Located in the Canaveral area of Tayrona National Park, Ecohabs has 14 double bungalows and can provide extra beds to sleep up to two children within most of them. Ecohabs makes a comfortable base from which to explore the area, they are built on two floors with stunning views of sandy coves and rocky outcrops – where in May turtles come to lay their eggs.

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Casa de Campo El Delirio £££££

  • Colombia
  • B&B, Motel and Guesthouse

Casa de Campo El Delirio, is a beautiful colonial-style house a kilometre away from Montenegro. Surrounded by a large garden and with great mountain views, it is an ideal base from which to explore the country’s coffee triangle. The house itself is decorated in a traditional, period-style and there are eight rooms with private bathrooms. There is also a swimming pool, restaurant, billiard and games room and a nature path that takes you through coffee plantations and forests of heliconia and guadua (bamboo).

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Miss Elma £££££

  • Colombia
  • Beach and Island Escapes

A beachfront property situated in the Fresh Water Bay, Miss Elma is a simple property flanked by turquoise ocean – here, the island is the star of the show. With just four air-conditioned rooms, all with balconies and sea views, this small hotel prides itself on its personal service with typical Caribbean charm.

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Heliconia Reserva £££££

  • Colombia
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Located on a quiet tributary of the Javari River, just over the border into Brazil (59 miles by river from Leticia) and surrounded by jungle vegetation and heliconias hide the Heliconia Reserva jungle lodge. Maloka Indian thatched-roof wooden cabins offer simple living with charming open bathrooms and garden views and are spread out among trails connected by wooden paths. The terrace bar-restaurant serves home-made local dishes and there are activities such as canoeing, canopy trails, bird and dolphin watching, as well as walks and visits to native communities.

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San Pedro Claver Church, Cartagena, Colombia
Colombia

Highlights of Colombia

Combine a host of Colombia’s cultural highlights, spending time in vibrant cities, peaceful mountain villages and fertile coffee growing valleys, topped off with time on the coast.  

15 days

from $6,057 pp

UN SDG - 14 Life below water logo UN SDG - 17 partnerships for the goals logo

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Salt production, Guajira Peninsula, Colombia
Guajira Peninsula, Colombia

Off-the-Beaten-Track in Colombia

This Colombian adventure unveils some of the nation’s most offbeat locations, while still taking time to privately tour the galleries and architectural highlights of the cosmopolitan capital.
An extraordinary trip for intrepid visitors to “the gateway to South America”, it traverses both the Amazon Rainforest and the Guajira Peninsula.

18 days

from $7,050 pp

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

John Faithfull

Colombia is a firm Latin favourite with John, who’s most memorable moment in the country included an exhausting hike through the wild (and lawless) Darien Gap with The Times journalist Martin Fletcher.

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