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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.

Read 

‘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.

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