Colombia Off The Beaten Path

  • Iglesia Pedro Claver dome from port at dusk
    Iglesia Pedro Claver dome from port at...
    by richiecdisc
  • one of Colombia's stunning churches
    one of Colombia's stunning churches
    by richiecdisc
  • charming Calle de los Recuerdos
    charming Calle de los Recuerdos
    by mircaskirca

Colombia Off The Beaten Path

  • Zipaguira

    Bogotá Off The Beaten Path

    Zipaquira is an unassuming small town about 50 kilometers north of Bogota and would most likely not be visited by anyone aside from its star attraction, a salt mine of all things. But this is no ordinary salt mine, this one has a series of carvings depicting the last days of Christ. This should come as no surprise in very Catholic Colombia and in...

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  • Coumbia to Panama along the coast

    Take a bus from Medellin (or Cartagena to Monteria, then to Turbo) to Turbo from there a boat (7 am ?) to Capurganá, from there you have boats to Puerto Obaldia, or to boat or a 2hour walk to Sapzurro, a nice little beach and short walk to La Miel, Panama, the last stop of San Blas Adventures formerly Darien Gapster going to Carti, Panama. In...

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  • The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

    The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an isolated mountain range in northeast Colombia that rises abruptly from the Caribbean Sea. Attaining an elevation of about 18,700 feet (5,700 meters), the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta make up the world's highest coastal range. In fact, this is the only place in the entire Caribbean region where...

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  • Isla de Salamanca National Natural Park

    Isla de Salamanca National Natural Park comprises a narrow coastal barrier between the waters of the Caribbean Sea and Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta, a large, shallow, saline lagoon. The lagoon lies east of where the Magdalena River empties into the Caribbean Sea, and the varied habitats formed by the riverine estuary and the brackish waters of the...

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  • wildlife

    One of the big surprises of Colombia was the wildlife, especially with regard to birds. With minimal effort, we saw a great variety of birds and it was very easy to get close enough to them for great shots. It is a tribute to Colombia's other great scenery that I have not used many such photos in this overall Colombia page but wanted to remind...

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  • Güicán

    While Güicán lacks much of the charm of its nearby rival El Cocuy as a gateway town to enjoy the splendors of El Cocuy National Park, it does have a few attractions worth checking out if you are in the region for an extended time. It also serves backpackers who want to literally walk into the National Park and do the trek in a clock-wise direction...

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  • Laguna de la Cocha

    At twenty kilometers long and five kilometers wide, Laguna de la Cocha is not only a huge but also a stunning lake. The name cocha means lagoon in the native Quechua language. With a backdrop of rolling verdant hills, this mist-enshrouded gem features an idyllic island perfect for boat excursions. That this very island is home to an evergreen...

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  • Silvia & the Guambianos

    A great side trip from Popayán is is: Silvia is an unremarkable mountain town a mere fifty kilometers northeast of Popayán. This distance is a mere geographical one as it is worlds away with regard to what you will find as a person exploring. Though in a picturesque setting, there is little that would draw visitors here if not for a weekly...

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  • Pasto

    Pasto may not be on the average tourist to Colombia's top agenda list but it is not without considerable charm despite a less than perfect climate and it being somewhat isolated from the rest of the country. It does however have a great position to “catch” those traveling from Ecuador to Colombia or vice-versa. It appears much of its poor...

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  • El Cocuy

    El Cocuy is not likely to be on most travelers' itineraries of Colombia unless they are particularly keen on trekking. While this may stunt its touristic overtures to become mainstream it bodes well to maintain its authentic Colonial flair which stands out even in such a stellar natural setting. For make no mistake, all of the tourism that does...

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  • Valle de Cocora

    Valle de Cocora is a gently beautiful area full of rolling green hills and towering wax palms, the reason for the area's protection. Though rural at the lower elevations with farmland the dominant feature, once you climb into those hills the jungle terrain makes such things a more arduous option. Geographically next to the Los Nevados National Park...

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  • Las Lajas

    If you are in the need of a miracle, look no further. Spanning one gorgeous gorge sits the neo-Gothic Santurio de Las Lajas is an other-worldly sight especially at night. Though the original church in this spectacular location was built in 1803, this lovely incarnation dates back to the early mid-1900s and took nearly 20 years to complete....

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  • the salt of Zipaquira

    Zipaquira is an unremarkable but surely authentic Colombian town a couple hours north of Bogota. Few would visit it if not for its “famed” salt cathedral that draws surely more Colombian tourists as those hailing from outside the country. That's okay, it is for this very reason you should perhaps go. It is a great chance to see Colombians enjoying...

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  • steamy Mompós

    Mompós sits steaming on the mighty but sauntering Rio Magdalena, an ode to its former glorious colonial self, parts in decay but others gleaming as any World Heritage Unesco Site might. This is a Colombia found nowhere else, half Bayou swamp and half romance novel ala Garcia Marquez, rolled into a somewhat inaccessible gem that more and more people...

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  • Chingaza National Natural Park

    Located in the mountains east of Bogota, Chingaza National Natural Park protects 131,917 acres (53,385 hectares) of high Andean forest, sub-paramo, páramo grasslands, and fog forest. These habitat types are endangered, and are only located in the Andes Mountains in parts of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.The elevation of the park ranges...

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  • La Conejera Wetlands

    The Bogota Savanna is a high plateau that was once covered with vast wetlands, or humidales, that were home to innumerable species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and plants. During the last century, as Bogota grew, the wetlands of the Bogota Savanna were largely replaced with the urban sprawl of the city. Even now, the wetlands are...

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  • Side trip to Salamina

    We took a side trip, a little off the beaten track, to visit the small town of Salamina. What a wonderful little town. If you are looking for the Colombia of old where only the locals visit, this is your place. Within an hour of arriving in the town, we found a hotel and went to the plaza. We found a little store that rented DVDs, and when we asked...

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  • Head to the Ruins at San Agustin

    Personally I believe that everyone should get to San Agustin. The town does not offer a great deal, a pretty ordinary rural town...but the ruins are phenomenal... read onhttp://columbia-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_ruins_at_san_agustin

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  • Take a taxi and .........

    There are many places to go in Colombia, but any of this buildings, streets, beach, or island leave in my mind the same memory than the people I met. Perhaps in any other country people was so kind, soprepared to explain his life, his problems as I washis friend, or his brother.One day I took a taxi near my hotel and asked to the man to take me out...

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  • a donkey ride across the border

    While walking is faster, the donkey ride to cross the border seemed more eventful at the time. Meanwhile, only a jeep will suffice as the terrain is very rough and the road sometimes non-existent.

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  • New Years Eve Carnival

    On the mountain divide between Venezuela and Colombia on the Colombian side, the day before New Years Eve, Colombia hosts a carnival festival - see the local costume.

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  • The infamous Ciudad Perdida Trek

    This trek can be booked through the Casa Familiar and other posadas in Santa Marta.Costs : 125$ for 6 days including guide, accommodation in hammocks along the way and food.Ciudad Perdida is one of the most significantancient cities in South America. It was abandoned by the Tayrona Indians in the 16th century and rediscovered only as late as the...

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  • Parque Nacional Tayrona

    This national park close to Santa Marta offers picture-perfect Caribbean beaches with coconut palms, rock formations and white sand. If you don't have time to visit Ciudad Perdida, there are also some smaller Tayrona ruins within the national park.Accommodation is in hammocks on the beach (4.000 pesos), there are two restaurants and communal...

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  • Taganga

    Just a ten minute bus ride from Santa Marta this small fishing village is known for its excellent and inexpensive diving (unfortunately i did not have enough time to check it out).But even for people not interested in diving, Taganga is a great place to visit.The scenery looks very Mediterranean, very untypical for the Caribbean sea, esp....

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  • A lttle mountain town

    I had no guide book,no reservations,no plans. Late at night I found a nice place to stay thanks to a helpful young woman who led me around town.

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  • The most original church in the world -...

    The Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira near Bogota has to be one of the most original churches in the world. Carvedinto the rock of an old salt mine, the cathedral consists of long passages and wide halls, it nearly resembles a labyrinth. The passages are quite wide and ceilings are high, so no worries about becoming claustrophobic :) The ceilings and...

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  • A unique experience - relaxing in a mud...

    There are only a few mud volcanos left in the world. One of them is situated about 100 kilometers from Barranquilla in the direction of Cartagena. The Volcan de Lodo del Totumo offers a totally unique experience of floating in the mud on top of the volcano with nothing but 200 meters of mud under your feet. This is a totally undsicribable feeling,...

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  • Divers' heaven - Taganga

    This small fishing village is situated near the city of Santa Marta. It is the best place in the city if you are interested in diving - clear blue waters, interesting fishes and coral reefs, colourful underwater life and cheap prices make it one of the top diving sites in the world. You will find several dive shops renting equipment, offering dives...

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  • Heavenly places

    Some places not so touristy places i'd suggest to visit - Taganga (a small fishing village near Santa Marta - a perfect place for diving or just relaxing), Zipaquira (a small town near Bogota - has an amazing salt cathedral built out of an old mine), Suesca (another small town near Bogota - beautiful mountain scenery and great for hiking or...

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  • Picture of Popayan in the...

    Picture of Popayan in the southwestern part of Colombia. Check my Cali page for more information on the old colonial town of Popayan.

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  • Leticia doesn't have a...

    Leticia doesn't have a well-defined market like many other Amazon towns. The stalls are set up at various locations on the waterfront, or along roads running up from the river into town. Leticia is located about 1.5 hours by plane from Bogota, right in the middle of the Amazon forest. From there, you can continue your trip to Peru or Brazil,...

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  • Lost City Trek (Ciudad...

    Lost City Trek (Ciudad Perdida): a six-day adventure. The trek was amazing! As a fellow backpacker put it, the six day trek is a childhood fantasy turn true... you go through rivers, waterfalls, Indiana Jones type cliffs, tropical vegetation, ruins, more ruins, and more.

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  • A great way to see Bogota is...

    A great way to see Bogota is from the Ciclovia on Sunday mornings. The city authorities close off several streets to allow cyclists free passage from teh north to the city centre. It is open from 7 am until 2 pm. It is difficult to rent bikes but your hotel should be able to point you in the right direction.

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  • I would like to visit Leticia,...

    I would like to visit Leticia, if someone could coincide a visit to colombia with me. Let us wait a little to see what FARC is going to do as they are told to leave their territory

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  • Las Lajas, close to the border...

    Las Lajas, close to the border with Ecuador near the town of Ipiales. The place is well known for its alleged miracles. I didn't witness one though. A good place for taking pictures of people.

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  • Bolo criollo

    Play some 'Bolo'.It's a game like a mixture of Bowling and Boccia.You have a ball like in Boccia and have to hit three sticks which stand in a row, in front of a wooden board, and are about 20 meters away.You get one point for every fallen stick!'Bolo' is quite cheap as in most time you only have to pay the person bringing back the...

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  • Most of the touristic sites...

    Most of the touristic sites are good described by several travelbooks. If you want to visit the colombian equivalent of a leisure park, check out the 'Parque Nacional del cafe' this park gives a good picture of the coffee production about 100 years ago, there is also a walking path that leads you to a beautifull bamboo forest, and along statues of...

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  • Where ever you travel in...

    Where ever you travel in Colombia, every town has a church (at least one). The Church is basically located on the Main plaza of the town and its the most important part of the town. Around the Plaza the mayor´s office, banks, government offices and main shops are situated. Its the meeting point. Colombia is 99.9% catholic and religion is an...

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  • The Chunchurria Palace: I can...

    The Chunchurria Palace: I can only recommend this 'establishment' for those who've been out too late and who have consumed too much. Best visited in the wee hours of the morning and I encourage you to not look too closely into the kitchen area or the oil that your meal will be fried in. Although you may have second thoughts about the flavour and...

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  • El Mirador, Pereira: Nestled...

    El Mirador, Pereira: Nestled atop a low hill and commanding an impressive view of Pereira, Dosquebradas and the Viaducto this restaurant/bar provides a perfect setting to sip aguardiente and listen to an acoustic conjunto play salsas, boleros and rancheros.

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  • Drink perfect ''jugo', shakes...

    Drink perfect ''jugo', shakes of ice and water or milk with the fruit of your choise in one of the stalls next to the harbour in Cartagena de las Indias, just south of the old city, and see the 'activity' in the harbour. Ever had a jugo of Mamoncillo, Zapote, Anon, Guanavana, Níspero, Curuba, Lulo or Guama?

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  • *Villavicencio. At the edge of...

    *Villavicencio. At the edge of the Andes and the Llanos (the plains of the Meta river) is unique. Nice climate, safe and tranquil place after hectic Santafé de Bogotá. Do not come here using the 'highway' from Bogotá to Villavo!!*Fusagasuga, south of Bogotá to see the coffee plantations, orchids, the national flower and lush green mountains. Try...

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  • There is a small town called...

    There is a small town called Leticia in the southeastern part of the country in the middle of the Amazon basin. The Brazilian town of Tabatinga is attached to Leticia. There are no border checks or passport controls between the two cities. You can notice that you are in Tabatinga when the signs are in Portuguese. In Leticia they are in Spanish. If...

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Colombia Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Colombia off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Colombia sightseeing.
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