Colorful, spectacular, unforgettable Colombia. If you’ve been, you know that its incomparable to other destinations. It’s past reputation deemed it “unsafe” and full of drug cartels, but this is no longer the case. Colombia is now one of the most safe countries to visit and one of the most diverse. Check out outlying islands for white sand beaches and turquoise waters, Tayrona Park for nature, beach and views, Cartagena for colorful buildings and great food, Medellín for museums and culture, and so much more.
Graphic designer and DJ Lia traveled to Colombia recently, and her photos of the South American country stand out and shout “book your flight NOW!” If it hasn’t been added to your travel itinerary, check out her photos below and spots in Colombia you can’t miss…
Medellín (pictured above) is referred to as “the City of Eternal Spring” for its wonderful year-round weather and flower festivals. Situated inland between Bogota and Cartagena, its a great stop between the two cities. The botanical garden is a popular landmark and Arví park is great for those interested in ecotourism. Located in Aburrá Valley, it is a pre-hispanic archaeological site with gorgeous views and plenty of walking trails.
The Favelas in Medellín were once full of drug traffickers and violence, but now the favelas are peaceful neighborhoods and have even been updated with escalators! (shown above, orange rectangle escalators). The roads in the favelas are not best for drivers, and citizens who live in the favelas used to walk up to 28 stories to get home after working in the city. As a part of building Medellín’s growth, these escalators were added and have made a great difference in these beautiful favelas. It is recommended to visit the favelas on a guided tour, so book before your trip for an unforgettable experience!
“Spent a day in Comuna 13, a favela which was once the most notorious in Medellín. Nowadays children’s laughter echoes in every alley in lieu of gunshots. Lovely, faith restoring experience to say the least.” -Lia
If you have limited time to visit Colombia, we recommend flying into Cartagena and visiting nearby islands and Tayrona National Park. Spend a few days in Cartagena, eating the local food and enjoying the colorful city. The Old Town brings you back in time, and a new part of town with updated hotels and restaurants for every type of traveler.
The Spanish colonial architecture in the Old Town is splashed with color, and Bocagrande in the new part of town is a good retreat for a quick beach break. Visit the Convento de la Papa for some history and views, hop aboard a “Chiva” for a tour of the city, go souvenir shopping for colorful items, or stop by the Colombia Modern Art Museum if you’re an art lover! Need a beach day? Rosario Islands are easy to get to and offer paradise away from the city. One hour from Cartagena, its easy to get to and there is a lot to do. Coral reefs are abundant, so snorkeling is wonderful here. Swimming, kayaking, visiting the national park, or relaxing in a hammock are all things you must do!
After you’ve fulfilled your city needs, head Northeast to Tayrona National Park. It’s known for its stunning white beaches upon a backdrop of palm trees and the hillsides of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The currents in the ocean at Cabo San Juan de Guía beach are strong (photo below), so take caution when swimming and find the best areas for a dip. The park was created to protect the ecosystem and is consisted of over 100 mammals, 300+ birds, and thousands of marine species!
One experience Lia tried was horseback riding, and you should try it too!. The horses will help you carry your things, bring you to where you’re staying (uneven ground is not fun to walk on!) and will take you through the park in ways you cannot imagine! And you’ll have a new friend!
Be Prepared to pay a fee to enter the park ($20 USD) and save up for either an eco hotel/hostel or camping fees. Food is a also a little more expensive in the park (restaurants especially). If you have the ability to rent a car or carry things with you on your way to Tayrona, bring some food, snacks, water. cash, and any extra toiletries you might need. Plastic bags and alcohol are not allowed in the park, so don’t bring those items with you!
Visit the indigenous villages, take a hike, go on a search for wildlife, or fall asleep in a hammock on the beach and under the stars. Whether you are solo, traveling in a group or with a friend or significant other, Colombia should be next on your places to visit. If Lia’s photos don’t convince you, we’re not sure what will!
Follow Lia on Instagram for more Colombia inspiration!