I recently spent a total of 6 weeks finding the best places to visit in Colombia. I travelled from the border of Ecuador north & all the way along the Caribbean coast. There is so much beauty and diversity in this country! But, out of all of the places I went there a few that are worth a special mention. This blog is your guide to the most picturesque places to visit in Colombia!
The Top 6 Places To Visit in Colombia
Of all the places to visit in Colombia we struggled to pick just 6 of our favorites to share with you, those being:
Las Lajas Sanctuary
Las Lajas is a beautiful Cathedral in the south of Colombia. It often gets missed by tourists due to its remote location, which is a shame as it is simply breathtaking. This cathedral looks like it that should be a famous church in Europe, but no, its in Colombia!
Visiting the church is completely free and there are some great walking trails around the church that lead to viewpoints which make for perfect photo opportunities. Las Lajas is best accessed from the small city of Ipiales which is right beside the border with Ecuador! If you are travelling by land between Ecuador and Colombia then a small detour to Las Lajas is well worth it! Las Lajas is definitely one of the best places to visit in Colombia!
If you have done any research about places to visit in Colombia then Guatape would likely already be familiar to you. This small town is only a few hours outside of Medellin and is famous for the colorful buildings and cobble-stone streets. Everywhere you walk in this town you will see colors of the rainbow. It is gorgeous and photographs easily.
But it isn’t just the town that is picturesque. It’s a huge rock just outside of town called El Penon that makes for a perfect photo opportunity! First of all, this rock sits in the middle of nowhere and jets out of the ground 220m into the air! It looks quite odd, but is oddly beautiful. Also, you can climb the rock and get views of the surrounding valleys and lakes from the top!
One things is for sure, if you are going to Guatape, don’t forget your camera! You might even want to brush up on how to take better travel photos!
Culture and the Caribbean, what more could you ask for! Cartagena is colorful, historic and right on the sea. There are endless opportunities for that perfect picture! Catagena’s Caribbean vibe & awesome architecture make it one of the top places to visit in Colombia!
One of the best ways to explore the city is to join a free walking tour. A walking tour of Cartagena will showcase some of the most colorful areas as well as the sea wall which offers incredible views overlooking the ocean for sunset!
San Andres Island
San Andres Island is a remote island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. Although it officially belongs to Colombia, is actually closer to Nicaragua.
The remoteness makes many places on San Andres isolated and untouched. We drove around the 26 km ringroad several times while we were there and couldn’t believe the coastline. White sand, blue oceans, palm trees, and isolate islands are just some of the things you will see!
Unfortunately the only way to get to San Andres Island is by a flight. However, from Cartagena flights can be booked for under $100 USD return and it is only just over an hour long! Although it is a bit of effort to get there, San Andres Island is probably one of the picturesque places I have been to, ever.
No visit to Colombia would be complete without at least a couple of nights in Medellin! Medellin is a city that was once so dangerous the locals felt unsafe to walk around, and now it is a city rich in culture and history. The people of Medellin are working very hard to make this city modern, safe, and to shed its reputation that has hung around for so long thanks to the famous Pablo Escobar.
Walking around Medellin you will see famous artwork, like the statues by world-renowned artist Botero, beautiful parks, scenic lookouts, run down alleys covered in graffiti, and pristine upper class areas complete with fairy lights! I spent 10 days exploring Medellin and it wasn’t even close to enough. Medellin is somewhere I could easily move to – I loved it just that much!
Valle de Cocora
For those who are really interested in exploring Colombia then a journey to south valleys is a must! The small town of Salento is famous for producing some of the world’s highest quality coffee but what you wouldn’t expect is that this coffee is grown in such a pretty area. Green rolling hills surround Salento.
One place in particular, the Valle de Cocora just outside of Salento is perfect for photography. Here, the green rolling hills are also covered with the famous wax palm trees. These trees tower high into the air like nature’s skyscrapers. It is such an unusual setting that you almost need to take a picture to believe it!
The Take Away
The truth is that Colombia is a stunning country almost anywhere you look. In fact, even simply busing from place to place was enjoyable and scenic. From the countryside and mountains to the beaches, it really has something for everyone and it’s the perfect place to get “snap-happy” with your camera gear!