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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
Coffee Region, Colombia

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

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

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

Tatacoa Desert

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

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 Adventure

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

San Agustin Archaeological Park

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

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.

Visit Wayuu Communities

Learn about their way of life, myths and legends.

Visit the Resting Place of Simón Bolivár

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

Salt Flats

Visit the salt flats at Manaure.

The Lost City

Trek to the lost city, high up in the dense jungle of Sierra Nevada, only discovered in 1975.

Visit local fishing communities

Explore Cabo de la Vela, a remote fishing village.

Mountains, Colombia
Mountains, Colombia

Highlights of Colombia & Sail Rosario Islands

This journey through Colombia takes in a host of the nation’s highlights, from the grand colonial churches and street art of Bogota to the UNESCO World Heritage city and coffee-growing regions of Cartagena. With just a sprinkling of internal flights and some indulgent nights spent aboard a privately chartered yacht exploring the turquoise waters of the Rosario Islands, this is a beyond the ordinary way to experience the “gateway to South America”.

13 days

from $13,399 pp

See holiday idea

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 $6,033 pp

See holiday idea

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.
Talk with our experts
  • 1 855 2037885

James Armitage

James has discovered the huge variety of landscapes from the flat Llanos flood plains to the towering Andes and the rich golden beaches of the Pacific and Caribbean coasts.
Talk with our experts
  • 1 855 2037885

Let’s chat

Speak to our experts

Our team is waiting to help you tailor a trip that will leave you with stories for a lifetime. Call us on

01285 601 784

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John put together a phenomenal itinerary to Colombia that included the Colombian Amazon, a place that we understand to be little visited. What a trip it was – you have made Steppes clients out of us, John.

Destination: Colombia
Travel Expert: John

Sailing around the Rosario Islands was not something we had even considered, but we are so grateful to John for putting this enchanting archipelago on our radar.

Destination: Colombia
Travel Expert: John

Our trip to Colombia and Peru, organised by James, exceeded all of our expectations! We travelled initially to see our eldest son who lives in California and then decided that (while close by) we would "nip" to Peru with the aim of visiting Machu Picchu, and onward to Colombia. A spectacular and memorable trip of a lifetime.

Destinations: Colombia & Peru
Travel Expert: James

Frequently asked questions about Colombia

Is there a direct flight from the UK to Colombia?

Yes, a direct flight has recently been introduced by Avianca but there are also alternative airlines and routes that offer indirect options depending on your preferences.

What standard of accommodation is available? Are there boutique hotels?

There are some great boutique properties in Colombia, particularly in Bogota & Cartagena. There is no shortage of interesting options and if you are looking for a very high standard then this is perfectly possible in the most visited parts of the country.

How good are the beaches?

There are some beautiful beaches along the Colombian coast and a range of accommodation depending on your preferences. We can suggest options to include eco huts in amongst the forests of a coastal national park or more luxurious boutique hotels on the Caribbean island of Providencia.

I’ve heard that the coffee is fantastic. Will I get lots of opportunities to try it?

You’ll definitely have plenty of opportunity to sip coffee during your trip. You might like to explore the coffee region to visit coffee farms and do some tastings but wherever you go, coffee will be hard to avoid!

Is it safer than it used to be? Do many people travel to Colombia?

Colombia is a fantastic country to travel within and the areas that we would suggest for an itinerary are receiving more and more international travellers. There are no restrictions in place for areas such as Cartagena, Bogota & Santa Marta and the Tayrona National Park and we would not have any concerns over safety. There are still areas of Colombia that we would not recommend travelling to and we always keep up to date with the latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice.

Is it safe in Colombia?

As with most cities around the world, pick-pockets are always on the lookout for easy pickings. Please be vigilant and keep wallets and purses safely out of sight, especially when paying at attractions.

What is Colombia like?

In the midst of an ever-changing political landscape is a beautiful country that has much to offer. Nature has provided the Amazon Basin, large lakes surrounded by majestic mountains as well as the unspoilt beaches of the Caribbean coastline.

Colombia’s vibrant cities are similarly scenic. Urban Colombia centres on Bogota, home to about 20 percent of the country’s inhabitants. This ancient city was the pre-Columbian capital of the Chibcha Indians and remains a blend of old and new, teeming with Spanish colonial buildings and plazas alongside modern skyscrapers.
Another highlight is the Spanish colonial port of Cartagena with its spectacular walled old town, a medieval wonderland of palaces, monasteries, plazas and overhanging balconies. To the south of the town are Colombia’s major seaside holiday resorts with excellent beaches and scuba diving opportunities.

Do I need any vaccinations?

Yes. A Yellow Fever certificate is now required to travel within Colombia.

Can I use my mobile phone in Colombia?

Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies, with good coverage in cities and tourist areas, although charges can be high. The further off the beaten track you go, the harder it will be to get reception.
Internet is accessible in all major towns and cities.

What is the international dialling code for Colombia?

#ERROR!

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