13 Adventures in Colombia

Finally shaking off its dangerous reputation as a “no-go” travel destination, Colombia is now ready for tourism and offers a rich culture and outdoor adventures for the pioneering traveler.

Photo By: G Adventures ©Shereen Mroueh

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Photo By: G Adventures ©Shereen Mroueh

Photo By: Kathleen Rellihan

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Photo By: Kathleen Rellihan

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Photo By: Shereen Mroueh

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Colombia Is Ripe for Tourism

Struggling with bad press in the last several decades due to rampant drug cartels and civil unrest, Colombia has made huge strides in cleaning up its act and providing safety and security not only for its residents, but visitors as well. Sustainable travel company G Adventures is leading the way in putting Colombia back on the tourism map with more than 13 itineraries that include working with indigenous communities in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to help them benefit from tourism while protecting their sacred land.

Take a Dip in Totumo Volcano

Just an hour outside of Cartagena, lies Totumo’s otherworldly volcano mud bath – a mile-deep mix of thermal water and subterranean minerals. After you enjoy a muddy massage (part of the experience, but tips are expected), join the rest of your mud people getting bathed rigrously by the local women in the nearby lagoon.

Visit a Colombian Coffee Farm

See where all that great coffee you’ve been drinking for years comes from with a tour of a coffee plantation in Armenia, the heart of Colombia’s coffee region. Learn about the entire coffee process, including how to know when a coffee bean is ripe for picking, before you enjoy a tasting of the various brews.

Stroll Through Cartagena’s Stunning Streets

Cartagena lives up to the hype with its bougainvillea-lined balconies and charming cobblestone streets. This is the place to throw out your itinerary and let the day take you as you hop from one open-air cafe to the next, until you make your way to the legendary Cafe del Mar located directly on the Old City’s fortress walls to watch the sun melt into the Caribbean Sea.

Take in Bogota’s Street Art

While this artsy city is known to hold art exhibitions in some unexpected places, including hotels, warehouses, hair salons and even churches, Bogota is most known internationally for its prolific street art, and graffiti artists from all over the world congregate here to work on their urban art form. Take the Bogota Graffiti Tour to get the story behind the city's staggering street art.

Bask on Colombia’s Beautiful Beaches

Colombia’s Caribbean Coast offers beaches galore – from Santa Marta’s tourist-friendly El Rodadero beach to islands such as Islas del Rosario and San Andres that offer crystal clear water, fresh seafood, and less urban distractions than mainland.

Tour Modern Medellin

Colombia’s second-largest city, Medellin, transformed since its crime-ridden past into one of the most innovative and creative cites in South America. A thriving art and culinary scene, Medellin is changing by the minute. Hop on the Metrocable for sweeping views of this modern city in the mountains.

Support the Local Artisans

Take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir from Colombia with a colorful mochila bag handmade by the indigenous Wayuu women using their unique art of weaving that has been passed down for generations. The bags, traditionally used to carry food and water, can take up to 20 days for a Wayuu woman to make.

Trek to the Lost City

Explore the tourist-free (at least for now) ruins of Colombia’s Lost City or "Ciudad Perdida" with sustainable travel company G Adventures. Sleep in hammocks, visit the indigenous communities, and climb the 1,200 steps to get to the Lost City for breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Hike in Tayrona National Park

After a day trekking through the lush jungles of Tayrona National Park, rest your feet in the sand on the park’s pristine beaches that you’ll have all to yourself. Don’t want to carry a tent? You can rent the most eco-friendly accommodation in the park – a hammock.

Enjoy Traditional Colombian Music

You can’t come to Colombia without participating in the country’s national pastime – dancing. While the coastal city of Cali is known as Colombia’s salsa capital, you’ll find live music and dancing in the streets all over the country.

Climb Monserrate for Mountain Views

The best way to take in the sweeping views of Colombia’s capital city Bogota is from the mountaintop of Monserrate, which can be reached by train, cable car or, for the fit, a pilgrimage up to the peak on foot. A beautiful white church is the focal point on Monserrate, but there are also restaurants at the top and vendors selling souvenirs and coca leaf tea, the local’s recommendations for high-altitude sickness.

See Old World Treasures in Bogota

In the heart of Bogota’s historic center, lies the expansive Plaza de Bolivar, a great place to take in Colombian culture from the surrounding colonial buildings to the young street performers. Nearby is the Museo del Oro or Gold Museum, home to the largest gold collection – more than 55,000 pieces – from all the major pre-Hispanic cultures in Colombia.

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