Colombia in the north of South America has a Pacific Ocean and Caribbean coastline, both with off shore islands. While Bogota is both the capital and largest city, there are other cities such as Medellin, Cali and Cartegena which rightly attract significant tourism numbers. Its rich culture combines the original indigenous population with significant input from Europeans, those from the Middle East, and Africans who originally came to South America as slaves.
The Spanish first arrived here at the end of the 15th century and by the middle of the next controlled the majority of what is now Colombia. Independence was achieved two centuries ago but this land has not been without conflict for much of its history. The 21st century has seen stability and economic growth and increased tourism as a result.
Agriculture remains important to that economy while the country is rich in natural resources as well. Colombia offers rich diversity. Its coastlines are attractive but there are many other attractions. They include Amazon rainforest, deserts and grasslands. You will see in the tours below the wide range of options that make Colombia a very interesting choice for a holiday whatever your interests.
- Colombia Tours
- Top Tours
- Adventure Tours In Colombia
- City Tours in Colombia
- Coffee, Food & Drink Tours
- Leticia: Amazing Three Day Jungle Tours – must-do for wildlife lovers!
- From Medellin: Dream Hammocks, Zipline and Waterfall Day Trip – an exhilarating tour for adventure seekers.
- Cartagena: Rosario Islands Catamaran with Lunch and Snorkel – stunning views, islands and underwater delights.
Adventure Tours In Colombia
1- Explore The Jungle
Your expedition into the jungle starts at Puerto Nariño where you meet your guides and get plenty of information about the adventure that awaits you.
Puerto Narino is home to three indigenous tribes and plenty of monkeys.
The next day it is into Peru and the Amazon River.
The jungle trail from San Antonio is a new experience with amazing flora and fauna.
The river dolphins are among the wildlife you will see and at night, on a boat, there is an excellent chance of seeing nocturnal animals.
Day 3 involves more walking, monkeys, birds and much more.
Puerto Nariño Sightseeing Tower is another treat before the end of this 3-day tour.
Recommended tour: Leticia: Amazing Three Day Jungle Tours
2- Sail To The Islands
The Rosario and San Bernardo Corals National Natural Park is a day trip out of Cartagena on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast.
Your means of transport is a catamaran departing from the Muelle de la Bodeguita Pier.
The Rosario Islands are your first destination and your comfortable trip, either in sun or shade, has bar service.
The turquoise water and white sand of the islands are stunning and you have time to swim and simply enjoy the water.
There is colourful marine life so try your hand at snorkelling; it doesn’t involve any skill.
There is food on board of course and when it is time to return to Cartagena, you will have many happy memories.
Recommended tour: Cartagena: Rosario Islands Catamaran with Lunch and Snorkel
3- Reach For The Skies
Paragliding requires a little nerve but it is a great experience.
You will take off from San Felix, after receiving instructions and organising life insurance.
The flight is fairly short but it takes you over both Medellin and Bello.
You will love the photo opportunity this provides and a special camera from the tour operators makes it easy to capture the pictures that your eyes have seen.
The views are 360 degrees with the cities and the surrounding countryside giving images that you will never forget.
Few tours can provide an adrenalin rush to match this day in the skies.
Recommended tour: From Medellin: Paragliding Tour with GoPro Photos Videos
4- Hike To A Waterfall
The El Chiflón and La Chorrera waterfalls are the ultimate destinations on this trek in the jungle.
While mammals may be elusive, there is plenty of colourful birdlife to see as you walk.
Some birds may be trying to hide from sight but you will certainly hear them.
La Chorrera is the highest waterfall in Colombia and you will be at 2,600 metres (8,500 feet) above sea level.
This waterfall is at almost 1,950 feet (590 metres) and you are certain to feel that the trek has been worthwhile when you see it.
There is a lovely restaurant there where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch before starting the journey back ultimately to Bogota.
Recommended tour: From Bogota: Hike to Colombia’s Highest Waterfall
5- Enjoy A Sunset Cruise
Cartagena and the Caribbean are a great combination.
Boarding a yacht with a bar and restaurant on board, you cruise around the bay on a yacht.
There is background music and an attentive cruise to make this day perfect.
The sunset is especially impressive and your camera will capture some memorable colours as the sun sinks.
Your journey passes Bocagrande, and the lighthouse before you reach the richest part of Cartagena, Castillogrande.
After the sun has set, you will see the city under lights, especially the neighbourhoods of Bocagrande, Manga and Getsemani before reaching the pier to disembark.
Recommended tour: Cartagena: Sunset Cruise with Open Bar
6- Experience A Range of Activities
If you have energy to burn, you should head on this day tour in La Guajira on the Caribbean Coast close to the border with Venezuela.
It is a region where you can enjoy a number of activities as well as experience local culture.
Your transport will be a guide who takes you on a motorbike initially.
There is a hike of three hours through the Palomino Forest to reach the territory of the Seviaka people where you will learn about their traditions and customs.
Then it is on to the river to float on a tyre, life jacket provided.
Initially the waters are calm but there is a stretch of rapids.
This is a real adventure.
Recommended tour: Palomino: Hiking, Tubing and Indigenous Community Encounter
7- Ride A Horse At Sunset
Starting close to the centre in Cartagena, you can enjoy an evening on horseback with the sunset a reward for your choosing this activity.
The horses are all well-trained so even if you are a novice when it comes to getting on a horse, you will enjoy the experience.
The route is the coastline, lovely sands and views out to the Caribbean.
The ride is around 90 minutes with your final destination a lovely restaurant which also looks out to sea.
The tour itself does not include the cost of dinner and drinks but you will be more than happy with the menu and the prices.
Recommended tour: Cartagena: Sunset Tour On Horseback Along The Beach
8- Get An Adrenalin Rush
If you want real adventure, how about a zipline, the most impressive one in the country.
It is 1,400 metres (4,600 feet) in length and 330 metres (1,082 feet) high.
The chance to enjoy this zipline is a 1.5-hour journey out of the city of Medellin in a landscape of mountains and waterfalls.
You will hike as well, to the base of one of these impressive waterfalls, El Salto del Buey which is 100 metres (328 feet) high.
It is now time for lunch and then time to relax in a hammock.
Another run on the zipline follows before walking back to your transport for the return to Medellin.
Recommended tour: From Medellin: Dream Hammocks, Zipline and Waterfall Day Trip
City Tours in Colombia
9- Walk Historic Streets
A guided walking tour of Bogota is a “must” if you are visiting the city.
The highlights of the walk will include visiting Monserrate, the Gold Museum, and the Plaza de Bolívar.
There is hotel collection for bookings and you will head up in a cable car to get well above the city.
The Monserrate Monastery is beautiful in itself and the panoramas you get from above the city are stunning.
The Gold Museum is spectacular and while there you will learn about the legend of El Dorado.
It is then on to the Candelaria neighbourhood and the Botero Museum while honours the famous national painter, Fernando Botero.
The Plaza de Bolívar with the Palace of Justice, the presidential palace, the mayor’s office, and the Primate Cathedral follows.
The last stop is Chorro de Quevedo.
Recommended tour: Bogota: Private City Tour of Monserrate, Gold, and Botero
10- Learn More About Pablo Escobar
The notorious drug dealer Pablo Escobar brought the city of Medellin to the attention of the world.
He is long since dead but his home remains a tourist attraction in what is now a much-visited, and safe, city.
The estate is now a memorial park to victims of the violence from those days.
“La cathedral”, the jail where Escobar agreed to live (he built it) is on the itinerary.
He escaped in the end.
Escobar also built a soccer field where he launched his bid to involve himself in national politics.
After seeing this, it is time for the cemetery where he, and members of his family and organisation are buried.
Recommended tour: Medellin: The Real Pablo Escobar Tour
11- Take A Trip To A Cathedral
The city of Zipaquirá is two hours to the north of Bogota and it is famous for the where you will visit the Salt Cathedral.
It is a stunning monument to faith, a Roman Catholic church in the hollows of a salt mine.
You will descend 180 metres (almost 600 feet) underground to see the church within the caves and tunnels.
This tour allows for two hours exploring with an audio guide explaining everything to do with salt, the site and the construction involved.
While there, you may admire other stonework and sculptures and see a wonderful light show before you return above ground.
Recommended tour: Bogota: Daily Group Tour of the Salt Cathedral Zipaquira
12- Cycle Bogota’s Streets
An interesting way to get around Bogota and cover more ground than you would by walking is to do a cycle tour taking in a coffee factory and food markets which may not be on a traditional walking tour.
As well as the centre of the city, you can head to parks, other neighbourhoods, and the bull fighting stadium.
Routes vary and you will have a guide who will show you the best of the city.
There is plenty of traffic as there is in any large city but you should have few worries about problems, and Bogota is relatively flat so you should be able to get around comfortably.
Recommended tour: Bogota: Bicycle City Tour
13- Get A Different View Of Bogota
El Paraíso is a favela, a district similar to those in many South American cities, where the city’s poor live.
Such areas are off limits to tourists after dark but perfectly safe by day with an experienced guide.
You will see plenty of colour, walls covered in graffiti.
There is the chance to meet local community leaders during your time there.
El Paraiso is on high, up the cable car and beyond.
Life is tough here though there are constant efforts to improve the lives of people living there.
It is a difficult task but seeing this neighbourhood will give you a new perspective of life in South America when you are poor.
Recommended tour: Bogota: El Paraiso Favela Tour with Cable Car
14- See Cali In A Day
Cali is the largest city in the south west of Colombia and the third largest by population in the country behind Bogota and Medellin.
It is just inland from the Pacific Ocean and its economic growth in recent years is significant.
A guided tour takes you to its many attractions which include Cristo Rey and Sebastian de Belalcazar, a site providing great panoramas over the city.
You will sample the food and drink associated with this part of Bolivia.
The tour also goes down the Boulevard del Rio to the historical centre, an area known for its art, culture, and myths.
Recommended tour: Cali: Grand City Tour
15- Hop On And Off In Cartagena
Hop On Hop Off buses are a great way to explore a city.
They are a great concept and something that you can use in the Caribbean city of Cartagena.
It is a city that combines the old with the new.
There are 14 stops on the route, all significant places within the city so you can plan your day based on your main interests and rejoin a bus later in the day to continue.
The Clock Tower, the San Felipe Fortress, the walled city itself, the Rafael Núñez House and the Rio Casino are all on the route the buses take.
Buses run throughout the day, finishing in the early evening.
Recommended tour: Cartagena: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour & Optional Attractions
Coffee, Food & Drink Tours
16- Sample The Wonderful Coffee
Colombian coffee is famous the world over so a tour to a coffee farm is a real treat.
You can go to San Sebastián de Palmitas near Medellín learn everything there is to know about coffee.
Once at the farm, you will get a brief history of the origin of coffee and how it first arrived in Colombia.
For a bit of fun, dress up in local clothing and get involved in all the work on the coffee plantation.
A juice made from the beans is very refreshing and you will also be served tea and food.
Tastings follow with more locally produced food and you will get a present; a small pack of coffee but you are welcome to buy more.
17- Discover Colombian Food
There are regional variations in Colombia and this tour within Bogota will introduce you to many of them.
The tour takes place in La Candelaria District where you will visit seven different places.
Each of them is family-owned.
A visit to a local food market is very interesting and dishes you will taste include aborrajado (sweet plantain and cheese) and ajiaco (chicken and potato).
Coffee is obviously part of the tour as well and vegetarians and vegans are also welcome.
Recommended tour: Bogota: Food Discovery Tour
18- Try Your Hand At Cooking
Getsemaní in Cartagena is a place where you can learn more about Colombian cuisine and cooking.
The menus you will be involved with depend upon the time of day when you attend, and also vary by the day.
There are many different flavours in Colombian food, a result of the mix of people and cultures that make up the population.
Experienced chefs will teach you about preparation after you put your apron on.
It is fun and definitely a way to make new friends especially because you will all sit down with a beer or a glass of wine to eat the food you have prepared.
Recommended tour: Cartagena: Cooking Experience with a Local Chef
19- Drink Local Craft Beers
Tapazo (blindfold) is a traditional Colombian game and it kicks off a tour that’s main purpose is to let you taste local craft beers.
They have evolved over the centuries and your visit to a Huitaca brewery is your chance to taste the beers of a few regions.
Your next stop is a trendy Bogota bar which makes its own beer so you can see the whole process of making beer.
The last place you visit is one that has a wide selection of beers; sample as many as you are capable of trying, though you will need to pay.
Recommended tour: Bogota: Craft Beer Tour with Tasting
20- Eat The Best Street Food
“La Plaza Cervantes – Camellón de Los Mártires” is the starting point for a walking tour with a local guide, sampling a range of street food in Cartagena.
You may have as many as 9 different dishes during the tour so make sure you are hungry before you start.
You can expect typical sweets, fried and salty dishes as well as local drinks.
It is unlikely you would find many of the vendors on your own so local knowledge is important.
Recommended tour: Cartagena: Shared Street Food Tour
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