Colombia sits in an enviable position with indescribably beautiful coastline of both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This country which has seen many years of conflict due to its location is back on the tourist map. The many and varied highlights include its extraordinary and fascinating history dating back to Spanish conquistadors and far before them, ruins & relics that have inspired the likes of Indiana Jones movies, the Amazon jungle and of course the Zona Cafetera where the famous Colombia coffee bean is grown.
Bogota, the countrys capital city and what was regarded as a no go is now back in business. The citys incredible museums, graceful cathedrals and architecture surely must be top of the list and its nightlife is well known to be off the charts. You could spend many days in Bogota, and one place to spend some time will be La Candelaria where there are many cafes, parks and points of interest.
• Coffee Triangle
• Islands off the Caribbean coast such as Rosario, San Andres
• Tayrona National Park
Generally speaking the best time to go is in the dry seasons December to March, or in July and August. This also happens to be the time when many colourful local festivals are happening. Colour, culture and colonial history abound!
On hearing I was travelling to Colombia the most common response was Why there?, but even I was unprepared for the musicality, colour and excitement of Cartegena where I found myself based for much of the time. The Old City is surrounded by 400 year old stone walls that stretch for more than 3 kilometres. Charming, medieval streets crowded with Spanish colonial buildings pack the interior while bright flower boxes, cool church naves and the caress of a Caribbean sea breeze make walking in the city a delight, despite the heat. Must-sees include:
the imposing Castillo de San Filipe, an impressive fort overlooking the city with its labyrinth of underground tunnels, the Museum of Modern Art and the Gold Museum. But do take time to explore on foot, be lead by the music wafting from wonderful cafes and bars to while away the hours as a never-ending procession of characters passes you by. Oh, and I experienced the most incredible thunderstorm of my life here late one night; the sky split apart by lightening and rolls of thunder that set the windows vibrating and car alarms wailing for three streets. So dramatic and breathtaking I stood in awe of the Power of Nature as it passed overhead. You really must visit Colombia – it will burst apart your pre-conceptions and leave you wanting more. Kate
Currency Colombian Peso (COP)
Weather Colombia has a variety of climates according to the altitude, ranging from areas below 1000m (3000 ft) average temperatures of 25°C to 30°C (76°- 82° F). Area include: Cartagena, Santa Marta, San Andres, Neiva, Girardot, Leticia, Mompox. Temperate areas in the coffee growing region between 1000-2300m. Cooler areas including Bogota and Zipaquira which are between 2300-3500m have average temperatures of 8°C to 17°C (46°-62° F).
Health* Currently, there are no compulsory health requirements for visitors to Colombia. Modern medical facilities and well-skilled medical practitioners are available in the cities, however, facilities outside the main centres may be limited. However, Colombia is a country that is indicated on the world Yellow Fever infected areas as having “some” areas within that risk. Therefore, if you are travelling to other countries from Colombia it may be a requirement of other countries that you have a Yellow Fever vaccination, depending on where in Colombia you are travelling. You must seek advice from your Travel Health specialist or GP.
Visas* There is no visa required for NZ passport holders, for a stay of up to 90 days for tourism.
Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.