Fruit vendors in Cartagena (Shutterstock)
List Words : Team Wanderlust | 25 February 2019

Colombia’s best tours: Incredible culture, landscapes and wildlife

After falling off the travel map for a while, Colombia is back and more welcoming than ever. Discover its extraordinary landscapes and friendly locals... before the hordes arrive

1: Explore every corner of Colombia

Colourful streets of Guatapé (Shutterstock)

Colourful streets of Guatapé (Shutterstock)

Colombia is often described as the whole of Latin America in one country – and you’ll experience it all on this intensive 20-day adventure with Wild Frontiers.

Every day reveals another face of this intriguing country. One day you’ll be soaking up the sun on palm-fringed Caribbean beaches, the next admiring snow-capped Andean mountain peaks. From dry deserts to verdant Amazonian rainforests, Colombia's terrain is truly diverse. 

You’ll also explore the cobbled alleys of the colonial towns and experience the buzz of the cosmopolitan Bogotá. Add the spectacular underground salt cathedral at Zipaquira, the bizarre rock formations of the Tatacoa Desert, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Agustin and you’ll have pretty much seen everything Colombia has to offer.

Trip: Colombia Explorer

Who: Wild Frontiers

When: Nov

How long: 20 days

How much: From £4,270 (exc. flights)

2: Follow Colombia’s legendary coffee trail

Coffee plantation near Manizales (Shutterstock)

Coffee plantation near Manizales (Shutterstock)

Learn all about Colombian coffee and experience a side of the country few people get to see on this heavily-caffeinated tour of Colombia with Intrepid.

Based in the serene highlands of Colombia's famed coffee region, you’ll learn how to roast the perfect blend during a tour of a working coffee plantation, drink coffee in laid back and charming Salento and spend some time getting acquainted with the sophisticated nightlife of Medellin. 

Then, when the roasting is done, you’ll  trade the lush interior for the coastal magic of Cartagena – the perfect end to this exceptional Colombian adventure.

Trip: Cafe Colombia

Who: Intrepid

When: Regular departures throughout the year

How long: 9 days

How much: From £1,314 (exc. flights)

3: Come face-to-face Colombia’s wild side

A squirrel monkey in the Amazonian jungle (Dreamstime)

A squirrel monkey in the Amazonian jungle (Dreamstime)

With a range of terrains and habitats, Colombia’s wildlife is amongst the most diverse in Latin America. You’ll experience it all on this 10-day Colombian wildlife journey with TravelLocal.

Your adventure starts deep in the Amazonian jungle in Leticia where you’ll go on a night safari in Marasha National Park searching for caimans, monkeys and anacondas. Next, a boat tour of Lake Tarapoto, home of the legendary Amazonian pink dolphins, before heading to Nuqui, on Colombia’s remote Pacific Coast. Here you’ll stand-up paddle boarding with humpback whales, and relax on a long empty beach. 

Trip: Wild Colombia

Who: TravelLocal

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 10 days

How much: From £1,650 (exc. flights)

4: Get off the beaten track in San Agustin and the Amazon

Archaeological Park in San Agustin (Shutterstock)

Archaeological Park in San Agustin (Shutterstock)

Take the road less travelled and get underneath the skin of this fascinating country on this 12-day adventure through Colombia’s back roads with Journey Latin America.

You’ll go to places only recently opened to visitors and meet local indigenous communities, keen to share their culture and their history. It’s a journey that will take you to the quirky little town of Villa Vieja on the banks of Rio Magdalena, the star-speckled skies of the Tatacoa desert and deep into the mountains to San Agustín, where fascinating pre-Columbian statues dot the fertile countryside of coffee and cattle farms.

You’ll then fly to Leticia, deep in the Colombian Amazon. As well as looking out for monkeys, parrots and pink dolphins, you will visit local indigenous communities, learning about their lifestyle and the art that shapes their lives.

Trip: Off The Beaten Track Colombia: San Agustin And The Amazon

Who: Journey Latin America

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 12 days

How much: From £2,517 (exc. flights)

5: Dazzle your senses at Medellin’s extraordinary Festival of Flowers

Celebrating Medellin’s Festival of Flowers (Shutterstock)

Celebrating Medellin’s Festival of Flowers (Shutterstock)

Join the locals in Medellin as they celebrate all things floral on this specialist trip to enjoy the city’s annual Festival of Flowers.

Medellin is known as the City of Eternal Spring and every August, it literally blooms. Balconies, terraces, gardens and billboards are covered in a cascade of flowers, with their sweet perfume heavy in the air. The Silleteros Parade is a riot of colour and sound.

The festival is an important cultural celebration for the city. It reaffirms Colombian identity, treating both antioqueños and visitors to a cavalcade of flowers, music and fun. 

Trip: The Festival of Flowers

Who: TravelLocal

When: Aug

How long: 8 days

How much: From £880 (exc. flights)

6: Trek to Colombia’s fabled Lost City

Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) (Shutterstock)

Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) (Shutterstock)

Put on your best Indiana Jones hat and venture deep in to the Colombian countryside on this incredible trek to the lost city of Teyuna with G Adventures.

Also known as Ciudad Perdida, Teyuna sits high in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa and is 650 years older than Machu Picchu. Lost for centuries, it was rediscovered by treasure hunters who found a set of stone steps in the jungle and followed them to the ruins.

Your trek will be a little easier, but just as exciting. You’ll hike through farmlands, deep jungle, and small Kogi communities, before reaching your goal – a lost world of atmospheric stone temples that is only just being opened up to the world.

Trip: Colombia Multisport & Lost City Trek

Who: G Adventures

When: Regular departures throughout the year

How long: 17 days

How much: From £1,784 (exc. international flights)

7: Spot rare birds in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Santa Marta Mountain-tanageras (Shutterstock)

Santa Marta Mountain-tanageras (Shutterstock)

Visit one of the planet’s newest and most exciting birdwatching hotspots on this 15-day adventure in the coastal mountains of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with Audley.

It’s a region rich with rare endemic species, and home to Reserva El Dorado, the flagship reserve of ProAves, Colombia’s main bird conservation group. Staying in traditional hacienda-style accommodation, you’ll have your own expert naturalist guide who’ll happily point out the best places to spot the elusive Santa Marta Antpitta, Santa Marta Parakeet and the Santa Marta Mountain-tanageras.

You’ll finish your journey in Bogota, exploring the diverse landscapes of wetlands and mountains that surround the capital which are home to well over 100 species of birds.

Trip: Birdwatching in Colombia

Who: Audley

When: Flexible departures throughout the year

How long: 15 days

How much: £6,350 (inc. flights)

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