At Journey Latin America we use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website.
Find out more

2013 and earlier

Colombia: a beginner's guide

On July 20, Colombia will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its independence.

Top five attractions 

  • Cartagena de Indias for the sort of idyllic vision of Old Colombia that García Márquez readers will swoon over.
  • The coffee region (the triangle of land formed by the towns of Armenia, Perira and Manizales), where you can stay in a hacienda.
  • Undeveloped Providencia island in the Caribbean.
  • Small but lively Santa Marta.
  • The Tayrona National Park, where there are stylish eco-lodges and the chance to see howler and titi monkeys, iguana and, maybe, jaguar.

Best city 
Bogotá, with its famously extensive cycle lanes, the pretty, colonial Candelaria neighbourhood, and the cool restaurants and bars of the Zona T.

How will Colombia be celebrating independence? 
On July 20, there will be a bike ride across several provinces, a gala classical concert in Bogotá, and an independence-themed dance spectacle in Bolívar. Cartagena will stage a sailing festival, as well as food and folk music events, between May 19 and 23.

Souvenir to buy 
Fat-bottom ants as “tasty” snacks.

Quirky Colombia 
The country is famous for its cosmetic beauties and a Colombian best-seller is Gustavo Bolívar Moreno’s ‘Without Tits There Is No Paradise’. It became a hit television series and NBC is currently working on an English-language version.


‘The Fruit Palace’ by Charles Nicholl, a vivid and funny account of expat idling in Santa Marta, squeezing juices, smuggling cocaine and hanging out with colourful, corruptible locals. 


By Chris Moss, Telegraph Journalist.

Post a comment

Upcoming Events

See full Event Listing

Other articles you may like

Browse our inspiration area of the site. It's packed with insider travel tips, Top5s, competitions, events, recipes and holiday ideas for Central and South America sure to whet your travel appetite.

Journey with the UK's NO1 specialist in travel to latin america

We Love Latin America

  • A passion for the region runs through all we do
  • All our Consultants have lived or travelled extensively in Latin America
  • Up-to-the-minute knowledge underpinned by 35 years' experience

Full Financial Protection

  • Fully bonded and licensed
  • ATOL-protected
  • On your side when it matters
  • Book with confidence, knowing every penny is secure 

The Real Latin America

  • Our insider knowledge helps you go beyond the guidebooks
  • We hand-pick hotels with character and the most rewarding excursions
  • Let us show you the Latin America we know and love

Wanderlust Reader's Travel Awards - Top Ten Tour Operator 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015

Latin American Travel Association – Award for Customer Service 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Specialist Tour Operator 2012

Sunday Times Travel Magazine – Best Value Tour Operator 2011

Sunday Times Travel Magazine - Editor's Award2013

British Travel Awards – Best Small Tour Operator Central & South America 2011, 2012

Condé Nast Traveller – Top Ten Specialist Tour Operator: 2010, 2011, 2012

Guardian and Observer Travel Awards– Top Ten Small Tour Operator: 2009, 2010, 2012

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/travel-inspiration/travel/colombia-a-beginners-guide

Page ID: {AC0D5DD8-21C1-4407-996F-C03E91A97EC5}

Page Name: colombia-a-beginners-guide

Page Display Name: Colombia: a beginner's guide

Page Template Name: T031-PapagaioBlogPost

Page Template ID: {ECC6A232-9784-4CC7-BA26-18421546B8F5}

Parent ID: {DC65CFB2-D81C-4A04-A7F8-0A1B3D88E7EB}

Parent Name: travel

Parent Display Name: Travel

Parent Template Name: T029-PapagaioCategoryListing

Parent Template ID: {4D163066-ED7E-48E6-AF31-34B6C47536CD}