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Colombia officially the Republic of Colombia is a sovereign state largely situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America. Twice the size of France, and with a diversity of landscapes and cultures that would be hard to find even in countries five times its size, Colombia should by all rights be one of the world's top travel destinations.
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Colombia has something that will please most travelers, from sandy beaches of the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, to the Andes Mountains and the Amazon rainforests. Its heritage reflects the culture of its indigenous peoples as well as the Spanish who began settling here in the early 15th century. A couple of decades or so ago, Colombia was not on the tourist map because it was not a safe place to visit. However, the government is working hard to change that image, making it safer for travelers to enjoy the many features Colombia offers.
Popayan is one of Colombia’s most impressive colonial cities. Located in southwestern Colombia, it is sometimes called the “Ciudad Blanca” (White City) because its buildings are chalk-white. Founded in 1537, its mild climate quickly attracted wealthy Spanish families who built mansions, schools, churches and monasteries. The city is famous for its Maundy Thursday procession as well as its nightlife. The Iglesia de Ermita is the city’s oldest church, built in 1546, while the Iglesia de San Francisco lays claim to being the most beautiful. Popayan’s tranquility and charm make it a good place to chill out.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Medellin was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world, home to Colombia’s infamous cocaine cartel. But when drug lord Pablo Escobar was snuffed out in 1993, Medellin began to bury its troubled past and rebounded tremendously. These days, the increasing number of tourist who come here find an inviting, modern city with one of the country’s best climates. Located in the Andes in the narrow Aburra Valley, the city sports temperatures averaging 24°C/72°F throughout the year, making any time a good time to visit. Medellin is also a very colorful city because of its gorgeous flowers; the city celebrates its flower festival for 12 days every August.
San Andres y Providencia
San Andrés and Providencia Archipelago are two island groups that are located closer to Nicaragua than Colombia in the Caribbean. San Andres is the largest island, and also the capital. Providence Island was initially settled by English Puritans who used slave labor on their plantations and took up privateering. White sand beaches and palm trees are San Andres’ best features. The Caribbean is colored seven shades of blue and is rich marine life, making it a great place to snorkel and dive. Accommodations aren’t as luxurious as other Caribbean islands, and visitors travel around the island on old school buses.
Cartagena is the bustling city where Kathleen Turner’s character Joan Wilder begins her Colombian adventures in Romancing the Stone. Hopefully, travelers will get their visits off to better starts, though the city is just as busy as when it was one of the key Caribbean ports from the 16th to 18th centuries. Fought over by various countries, Cartagena was one of the most heavily fortified cities in South America; these fortifications can still be seen today. Travelers should take time to wander through the colorful old town, with its colonial architecture that includes museums, palaces and churches. “Bocagrande“, a long strip of hotel towers and condos fronting onto the beach, is also very popular with tourists.
Tayrona National Park
Tayrona National Park is a must-see place for travelers who enjoy nature and exploring old ruins. Located on the north Colombia coast, the park offers a variety of ecosystems, from swamps to scrublands to cloud forests. For many travelers, the park’s biggest attraction is its beaches, set in deep bays and shaded with coconut palms. In fact, Tayrona beaches are among Colombia’s most beautiful. The park is also popular with birdwatchers who come to see the Andean condor, a threatened species. The park takes its name from the Tayronas, a native people, who left their mark on a number of archaeological sites, including Pueblito Chairama. Tayrona is a good place to snorkel, hike and see wild animals, including lizards and monkeys, in their native habitat.
Colombia's location near the equator results in a tropical climate with relatively constant climatic conditions throughout the year. However, the climate does vary across the country due to the variation in topography with tropical rainforests, mountains and savanna all found in Colombia.
The best time for the country as a whole is between December and March as it rains the least during these months, especially in the Andean regions. This is Colombia's peak tourist season and prices soar. The rainy season hits the Andes between May to July and October to December when heavy rains can fall on a daily basis though they’re usually followed by bright sunshine. Elsewhere, the Caribbean coast experiences its heaviest rainfall in September and October, and is relatively dry for the rest of the year while the lowlands experience little variation with a tropical climate.
Temperatures remain fairly constant throughout Colombia for much of the year, which makes it a year-round destination. Changes in temperature and rainfall are determined more by region rather than season and it's best to pack for all weather conditions - a sweater is needed along the coast at night and a jacket in the mountains, which includes Bogota, sitting at an altitude of 2,650 metres above sea level.
Colombia has the top notch accommodation on offer for travellers. Eco-hostels, charming hotels, guesthouses and bungalows make the accommodation options as varied as Colombia itself.
Colombia has a long list of luxury accommodations that take advantage of its picturesque shores. The country fully entered the all-inclusive scene, with few but outstanding all-inclusive resorts in some of the country's most attractive locations.
COLOMBIA’S constant climate and different altitudes makes it the ideal place to grow fresh fruits, vegetables and other produce all year round. This fresh produce is used to make Colombia’s delicious traditional dishes, which have been influenced by the country’s indigenous communities, Latin American cuisines, Spanish cuisines and African flavors. Colombia’s city and small-town restaurants often serve meals made with recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Colombian cuisine includes the cooking traditions and practices of Colombia's Caribbean shoreline, Pacific coast, mountains, and ranchlands. Colombian cuisine varies regionally and is influenced by the indigenous Chibcha, Spanish, and African cuisine. Colombia is also one of the world's largest consumers of fruit juices.
Check few things before visiting Colombia to make sure your trip is a success!
Visa and Passport
Check if ,you just might not need a tourist visa to enter Colombia. For example, while passport holders of countries like USA, European Union and Canada, among others, don't require visa to enter; holders of United States Visa or Schengen Visa (except transit visa), from China, India, Thailand and Vietnam are also granted visa-free access. It is best to visit Migracion Colombia or call their customer support number and check the current status for your country. They are also prompt to reply to emails.
It would be best if you have an international card with no transaction fee. A Citibank card works best - they give great exchange rate at ATMs, which are commonly available in major cities and if you have a card, you don't have to bear the additional fee. But even with the fee, in case you don't have a Citibank card, you still get a better deal using a card for payment or withdrawing from an ATM.
Healthcare in Colombia is reasonably good, especially in cities where getting modern medical treatment fairly fast poses little problem. In rural areas, however, don’t rely on finding any medical care. Arrive prepared with any medicines that might be needed and a first-aid kit, and plan for unforeseen emergencies. Health centres in most towns should be able to treat minor ailments and costs are usually very low. However, treatment is paid for at the time it is administered so it is important to have access to cash. Ask for a receipt if you intend to claim on your health insurance and be prepared to pay upfront if an ambulance is required. Medical staff in towns or rural areas may not speak English, so it may pay to look up some useful Spanish phrases beforehand, such as the names of allergies to medicines or words about pregnancy, etc. Take out health insurance before your visit to Colombia, and if you intend to trek or hike – a policy should cover every eventuality, including being evacuated for more advanced hospital care.
Although conflicting stories abound about safety in Colombia, the issue of travelling without incident here remains an important consideration. Those planning to criss-cross the country should do plenty of thorough research – whilst remaining mindful that Colombia thrives on urban myth and is prone to circulating safety information that is out of date. This country remains a place where there is danger, although the present security situation is much improved. Today, it offers the safest travel conditions for many decades and visitors who apply common sense should expect an incident-free stay. Take safety warnings extremely seriously and stay away from regions that are totally out of bounds. Red Zones under the control of warring factions are found in the south of the country, while some city slum areas are highly dangerous no-go areas where violence is rife.
It is important to remember that the culture of Colombia is very diverse, and as such customs and appropriate behavior will vary depending on whereabouts you are.
Chilean culture tends to be more openly affectionate than what you might be used to. During Colombians and greeting one another, a hug, a kiss on the cheek, or an enthusiastic pat on the back are all common things. This is especially true among close friends and relatives.
Clothing in Colombia is conservative and formal. A person is often placed within a social hierarchy based on how they dress, so presenting yourself appropriately is important. Avoid wearing any revealing clothing, such as sleeveless tops, short skirts/shorts, or low-cut tops.
We the leisure team brings a wide range of customized Colombia tour to offer you a perfect hassle-free vacation. The plans are tailored keeping in mind your requirements and benefits. Whatever might be your choice; an adventurous vacation, a luxury vacation, a family vacation or a romantic one, we are ready with the perfect plan for you. We value your safety as well as respect your privacy, and the tour experts plan your tour accordingly, either a packaged group tour or an independent tour. In all cases we ensure a hassle-free experience with magnificent accommodations, authentic local guides, and unimaginable excursions. So whether you wish to relax in a beach while enjoying a glass of wine or immerse yourself in the wildlife, write to Leisure and we will bring you perfect tour from the top tour experts.
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