The Old Town of Cartagena is the most popular attraction of Colombia. This historic old town was initially built by the Spanish conquistadors to safeguard their gold from pirates. The Old Town today has become a tourist hotspot within the city, with many high-end restaurants, luxury and boutique hotels, bars and few local residents.
It is also famous for its street-art murals, which celebrate different facets of Colombian culture and politics. You can reach most parts of the coffee regions via inexpensive flights from either Medellin or Bogota with Viva Colombia. One of the best places to visit is the Cocora Valley, where you can take guided hikes to vantage points and see close up the distinctive wax palms that grow up to m ft high. Hikes also combine other pretty nearby towns like Salento and Filandia. The other two are in Poland. Prior to , Caño Cristales was off limits to tourists.
Since , it has opened its doors and become a safe place to visit, but only with a reputable tour operator. The river itself is impressive. It is caused by a mix of aquatic plants, tricks of the light and circular rock pools, which combine to produce this liquid rainbow effect.
Tour del grupo gay de flor proporcionado por Out in Colombia Travel
To reach the river you need to take a flight from Bogota to La Macarena. As such, like the Northern Lights, there are no guarantees that visitors will see the full spectrum of colors when visiting. These two islands are the most famous in Colombia, located in the Caribbean near the coast of Nicaragua. San Andres is the more developed, and larger of the two because it has direct inexpensive flights from Medellin and Bogota. Providencia is the true hidden jewel, with some of the best beaches in Colombia and only a handful of places to stay. It is located 90 km 56 miles north of San Andres.
There are no direct flights from the mainland, so you first have to fly to San Andres, and then either take a 3. As such, it is less visited than San Andres but well worth the effort. Guatapé is a gorgeous town located about two hours away from Medellin by bus. Just outside of Guatapé is the famous El Peñol—a huge natural rock standing m ft high.
It has steps you can climb to reach the top. On a clear day, the impressive degree views from the top span the entire valley. You can easily visit Guatapé and El Peñol as part of a day trip from Medellin, or better still, stay overnight in Guatapé. Colombia has rich and diverse cuisine with a strong influence from the highlands as well as the Caribbean. The bandeja paisa is a large plate with a hearty mix of rice, ground beef, red beans, chicharron pork rinds , chorizo, morcilla blood sausage , fried egg, avocado, arepas and plantains.
Chicharron are deep-fried crispy pork belly snacks, which look like thick slices of bacon, but with a large chunk of fat and only a sliver of meat. In Medellin and the surrounding area, arepas are usually small white and round, served plain as an accompaniment in place of bread. In coastal cities like Cartagena and Barranquilla, the arepas are much larger, and they are stuffed with other ingredients to produce a more filling snack. Ajiaco is a chicken and potato soup, which is particularly popular in Bogota. Therefore, hearty soups like ajiaco are very popular here.
Although Colombia has some very progressive LGBTQ laws, society remains quite conservative, particularly by the coast, where a machismo attitude prevails. LGBTQ visitors are therefore advised to exercise common sense and a bit of caution when traveling outside the big cities. As with most countries in the world, there will always exist an element of homophobia, particularly in rural communities around the coast. Colombia is very much a deeply Catholic country despite its LGBTQ-inclusive laws, so society can still be quite conservative.
Most of the big cities have a small pride parade in June, July or August. The largest ones are in Bogota and Medellin. It takes over the entire city, everyone joins in, dresses up for it and partying continues through the night till the early hours.
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