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Colombia Vacation: On the Trail of Coffee and Gold

Planning a Colombia vacation? Ingrid Vultorius, our Head of South America, shares why she believes Colombia sparkles!

5 min
Colombia Vacation - Cartagena de Indias
Author: Ingrid

The vibrant streets, the friendly people and the cheerful vibe are things that you will notice immediately on your Colombia vacation. Discover Colombia, one of the most colorful countries in South America!

Community Connections on your Colombia Vacation

Right from the moment I exited the plane, I fell in love with the culture of Colombia! There haven’t been many visitors over the last few decades, which in a way contributes to the very authentic experience you will find, especially for tourists in Colombia. Even the most visited and renovated city of Cartagena has a local flair, and there are few foreign stores or fast food chains.

Colombia is a very safe and quiet country, with easy roads to connect destinations.

The people of Colombia are naturally friendly. I would even say they are the friendliest people in all of South America! As an Argentinean, I was surprised to find a strong culture of tango in Colombia, which converges around Medellin.

Colombians are ashamed of their drug history and wish to turn the page. When you visit Colombia today, you would never know that there was an issue in the distant past. Colombia tourism initiatives have really aided the reconciliation of communities. Today, it’s a very safe and quiet country, with easy roads to connect destinations.

The government recognize the importance of indigenous communities. Every month each year, the most visited Tayrona National Park, is closed for a whole month to allow spiritual and ecological healing by the local indigenous people!

Enchanting Travels Colombia Tours tayroa beach
Unwind in the midst of the serene Tayrona National Park

Street Sparkle on your Colombia Vacation

You can see Colombian emeralds being traded in the street, even though they are very expensive. That’s because the quality of an emerald is best seen in natural daylight. Once you see the emerald you like, you go to the jeweler’s office and close the deal!

Fast Fruits of Colombia

I love all the fruits of the country, which create deliciously fresh juices. The avocados are amazing, as are the chuchuva, which are found growing wild in San Agustin, guanábana cocoa fruit, mangostines, sapote and plantains. I also highly recommend that you feast on fish with coconut rice in Cartagena, or enjoy a cheese arepa on a street corner in Villa de Leyva, or a hamburger at El Corral, Colombia’s own answer to fast food.

Artistic Taste

Bogota Colombia
Plaza Bolívar in Bogota

Experience Andrés Carne de Res on the outskirts of Bogota, one of the world’s best restaurants, serving up unique South American cuisine with a theatrical and carnival flair!

A cup of Nature: Coffee on Your Colombia Vacation

Whether you are a nature lover or simply appreciate a fresh cup of coffee in the morning – you have to head to the Coffee Region, located in the northeast of Colombia. I simply adore this region for its incredible views. The name is actually a red herring – as the region is also home to cocoa, plantain and many fruit plantations and is actually considered Colombia’s botanical garden. It’s also a bird lover’s paradise!

Cocora Valley is a particularly awesome area with its waxed palm trees. Experience a delicious caffeine-induced journey on your own private Colombian coffee tour! You can learn about everything from the geography and soil quality to the planting, harvesting and processing during a plantation visit in Colombia.

The Legend of El Dorado

The history of gold in Colombia has literally shaped the country. Have you heard the legend of El Dorado? When the Spanish conquerors of the 1600s first came to Colombia they couldn’t believe the prevalence of such valuable artifacts. When reports came from captured natives that El Dorado was the source, the Spanish went on a series of gold seeking expeditions and heard of Lake Guatavita. Even after months of draining the lake, only a small amount of gold had been recovered. Treasure was never found. Today, the area is protected by the Colombian government, and you can visit Lake Guatavita on your way from Bogota to the beautiful colonial town of Villa de Levya.

Guatavita, Bogota / Colombia - September 27. 2017: Lagoon of Gua
Lake Guatavita

You can visit Lake Guatavita on your way from Bogota to the beautiful colonial town of Villa de Levya.

Discover Museo del Oro, the Gold Museum in Bogota, showcasing the world’s largest collection of gold artifacts! This includes pre-Colombia gold, including a famous golden raft that represents the ceremonies conducted by the native people on Lake Guatavita.

Ports and Pirates

In the colonial era, Colombia gold was mined and minted before being sent to Europe from the port city of Santa Marta. Many pirate attacks forced the traders to move to Cartagena, which had more natural protection from the raids, and is the reason why the city has such a huge fort and walls!

Must-visit Colombia

Colombia beautifully weaves nature and hiking with history and culture:

  • Experience the colorful colonial and eclectic walled streets of Cartagena on your Colombia vacation
  • Glimpse into the local houses of San Agustin with their beautiful gardens brimming with flowers, which are as enchanting as the reputed archaeological sites!
  • Compare the oceans and beach with the rainforest and mountains on a full day visit to Tayrona National Park
  • Venture to Botero Museum with its wonderful art and architecture!

Did you know? Colombia’s flag colors are symbolic!

  • Yellow: sovereignty, justice, gold
  • Blue: loyalty, vigilance, seas
  • Red: valor, blood spilled

Favorite Hotel in Colombia: Hacienda Bambusa

Hacienda Bambusa - Exterior
Experience rustic luxury at the Hacienda Bambusa.
Hacienda Bambusa - Room
Stay in charming rooms at the Haciendda Bambusa.

An authentic vacation in Colombia must include a stay at the incredibly charming Hacienda Bambusa. Be prepared for bumpy roads, but what you will find on arrival is a rustic luxury experience with the most outstanding views – perhaps this is why there are no glass windows! There are always little surprises and treats! My walk with a naturalist through a cocoa plantation and a giant bamboo forest was particularly special!

Best time to go on a Colombia Vacation

  • The Caribbean Coast is hot and humid all year around and is best during early December.
  • Bogota is best enjoyed from December to March and July to August, but it can rain at any time so be sure to pack your waterproofs!
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Cartagena buildings, Colombia, South America

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Posted In:  Colombia South America Coffee in Colombia Colombian emeralds Colombian Gold El Dorado