Bogota, the capital, with its 6.4 million inhabitants, has an important historical centre, the Candeleria, where you can find museums such as the incredible
In brief +
Colombia offers a kaleidoscope of Latin America: bordered by the Pacific to the west and the Caribbean Sea sprinkled with ideal beaches to the north, the landscapes unravel between the Andes Cordillera and the Amazon Forest. A colonial jewel, Cartagena "the Andalusian" is a vision of beauty. This old city of pirates and smugglers has preserved several colonial buildings. You must not miss the spectacle of the city from its ramparts or relaxing on Bocagrande beach. All this promising tourist potential is unfortunately hampered by the image of a country that is permanently under threat from violence.
+ Caribbean beaches, trekking at the foot of the Andes, an expedition to Amazonia... Colombia offers considerable diversity of scenery.
+ Windsurfers will be delighted at the coast of Cartagena.
+ The charming population.
- The drug traffickers guerrilla forces can make this a dangerous destination in places.
- Arrival in Bogota is often taxing due to the altitude.
In the Cauca valley, it is possible to discover a finta (coffee-growing farm), which is a very interesting visit. In Colombia, salsa and merengue, or cumbia (in the mountains) are musical rhythms that haunt daily life. Follow the dance... Colombia is considered to be dangerous in certain areas; listen to the advice of locals; there is no reason for becoming paranoid.
There is at least one festivity a day in Colombia, and you can easily participate in it, whether in processions, Easter Week, or the Barranquilla carnival. Every occasion is good for singing, getting drunk on sharing a bottle of brandy, and dancing to the sound of salsa, merengue, or cumbia (in the mountains), and many other musical rhythms haunting daily life.
It is difficult to leave out the popular "arroz con pollo", chicken with rice, served with any "sauces". The "locro de choclos" is a soup that is very rich in corn and potatoes. In Cartagena, rice is often seasoned with coconut. "Canastas de coco" is a small cake containing coconut cream flavoured with wine and topped by a meringue. "Tinto", a very black coffee served in a tiny cup, is drunk all the time.
In Bogota, you can find gold jewellery, Indian pottery, and embroidered cloth. The ruana (Colombian poncho) is ideal for the cold nights. Most shops are open from 8.00 AM to 12.00 AM and from 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM.