10 of The Most Beautiful Places in Colombia (and what to do when you get there)

by | Aug 10, 2018

Colombia is one of the most diverse countries and best holiday destinations on Earth and we want to tell you about the most beautiful places in Colombia.

Split into 5 geographical regions, each area offers its own unique dose of natural beauty; from rugged mountain ranges, lush tropical jungles to exotic pristine beaches.

There really is no place on earth quite like it.

The different regions of Colombia all have their own qualities and thriving natural habitats, each boasting an impressive array of wildlife and natural beauty spots.

So whether you enjoy lazing around in paradise, hiking breathtaking mountain ranges or exploring ancient waterfalls, there’s an absolute abundance to experience in Colombia, so remember to check our definitive guide to Colombia Travel

If you’re looking to find out more about this stunning country then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together our top 10 most beautiful places in Colombia, focusing especially on those areas of natural beauty.

Here’s a quick rundown of the places we’ll be covering.

The beautiful Cocora Valley in Colombia

What Are The Most Beautiful Places in Colombia?

1. Medellin Hike the Andes

2. Guatape –  An explosion of colour

3. Santander – Stunning natural beauty

4. Chicamocha National Park (Panachi) – Jaw dropping panoramic views

5. Cali – Salsa by the Pacific

6. Sierra de La Macarena – River of seven colors (Caño Cristales)

7. Tayrona National Park – Caribbean paradise

8. Cartagena – Tropical Island-hopping

9. Barranquilla – Chilled city and nature combined

10. Amazonas – Wildlife in abundance

Breathtaking Parque Tayrona in Colombia

1. Medellin

We begin our list in the Andean region of Colombia, which – as the name suggests – is Colombia’s mountainous region. Probably the most visited region of Colombia it is home to many cities including its capital, Bogota, Bucaramanga and Medellin.

As a busy and bustling city there is plenty to do in Medellin. It’s located in a deep valley of the Andes Mountains which makes it a stunning spot for awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Known as ‘The City of Eternal Spring’ for its pleasant year round conditions, the climate also ensures that the lush surrounding vegetation is always in a condition of bloom and beauty.

If you’re a bit of an adventurer then you’re going to love hiking through the Andes. And there are plenty of trips/tours available that can take you on local hiking trails across the Andes.

You can spend hours – or days – simply exploring and meandering through the Colombian jungle while passing many rustic villages en route, and the vast scenery and breathtaking views are out of this world.

Beautiful sunset over Medellin

2. Guatape

Not far from Medellin (around 1.5 hours on the bus) is Guatape in Antioquia.

This town is an explosion of colour and is regarded by many to be the most colourful pueblo in Colombia.

Back in the 70s the neighbouring town of Peñol was deliberately flooded to make way for a hydroelectric dam – the Peñol / Guatape reservoir -which now doubles as a tourist site for locals and foreigners alike due to its splendidly picturesque formation.

Guatape reservoir in Colombia

Although not technically a ‘natural’ beauty, the many climbable vantage points provide jaw-dropping panoramic views.

Even the sign into Guatape boast of the ‘Best views in the world’.

Go climb La Piedra del Peñol – all of the 765 steps – where you’ll experience the most amazing views over the reservoir.

Afterwards you can then head down to the town of Guatape itself and wander through its colorful streets. Or if you prefer something more active you can make for the reservoir to enjoy a spot of kayaking or zip-lining.

La Piedra del Penol

3. Santander

With stunning natural scenery Santander is one of Colombia’s most popular tourist destinations.

With an array of options to enjoy the vast and beautiful surroundings there is enough to do to keep you entertained for a week – especially if you’re into adventure activities.

Rock climb one of the 200 different climbing routes that take you up and over the coffee plantations for exceptional views.

San Gil is the adventure capital for adrenaline junkies where you can white water raft, bungee jump, go canyoning, rappelling, mountain biking and zip-lining. And the best bit? It all takes places in the most idyllic location packed with natural splendor.

For a more relaxing time in Santander head to the amazing red river of Las Gachas on the outskirts of Guadalupe.

Here the water is so clear that the bright red rocks beneath it give the river its red appearance, while the deep holes eroded into the river bed have formed perfect individual jacuzzis. Enjoy the cool flowing water underneath the hot sunshine. Bliss.

The Caves of Florian are also a great place to soak up the surrounding views.

Florian, nicknamed the “the town of open windows” is home to a giant cave with a waterfall streaming from the open mouth of the cave. Go here for a vantage point and admire the stunning views of the town and mountain ranges.

Mountain biking in beautiful Santander

4. Chicamocha National Park

About 54 kilometers south of Bucaramanga (the capital of Santander) is Chicamocha National Park (Panachi).

Located along a massive canyon the park is highly popular, partly due to the amount of fun and adventurous activities available, but ultimately people flock there for the spectacular views.

For those interested in this location there are a number of great viewing decks to enjoy the views from, including a 360 panoramic deck.

There are plenty of trails waiting to be explored and a cable car if you don’t feel like trekking – which happens to be one of the longest of its type in the world.

To top it off why not try the paragliding, kayaking or rafting to get up close and personal with nature and its local inhabitants.

The mountains, our favourite place in Colombia

5. Cali

Located in Colombia’s Pacific region Cali is the salsa capital of the world and is an upbeat, culturally rich and beautifully rhythmic city.

As you walk around Cali along the riverbanks and under the shade of the trees, visitors can enjoy the architecture of the churches and museums, visit sugarcanes farms and generally enjoy the vast mountain landscapes.

In Cali there are many sites of great environmental importance to enjoy including Los Farallones de Cali National Nature Park in the Western Cordillera.  Here you can really experience the natural diversity of the Andes Mountains and Pacific slopes.

The park protects four natural eco-systems where animals and vegetation thrive.

Birds in particular do very well here and it’s estimated that over 700 different species exist including endemic species such as the solitary eagle and Andean cock-of-the-rock.

In addition, the park is also home to the spectacled bear, small bats, anteaters, chickens, parrots, monkeys, squirrels and sloths.

Amazing!

Cali in Colombia
wandering the streets of zipaquira, cundinamarca, colombia

6. Sierra de La Macarena National Park – Caño Cristales

Sierra de La Macarena National Park is located in Orinoco region of Colombia on the east cost. Orinoco is the lesser-trodden region of vast plains full of hidden natural beauties.

The ideal time to visit the Sierra de La Macarena National Natural Park is between July and November, when it’s dryer and you can fly there directly from Bogota.

The park, which has an area of 630,000 hectares, is home to one of nature’s most breathtaking spectacles—Caño Cristales – which is referred to as the ‘River of Seven Colours’, thanks to its marine plants known as macarenias.

It’s no wonder that this river has been described as the ‘River that ran away from paradise’.

If you love bio diversity then this amazing eco-tourist destination is for you.

Cano crystales, quite possibly the most beautiful place in Colombia

7. Tayrona National Park

If beaching is more your thing then head to Colombia’s Caribbean region.

Here you can expect an abundance of beaches with soft white sand, a year round tropical climate, coconut trees, and crystal clear turquoise waters.

It really is paradise.

Parque Tayrona is a protected area where the thick rainforest meets the coastal lagoons and hidden in its rainforests are the remains of the ancient Tayrona civilisation.

The park was established in 1964 to protect the biodiversity and archaeological findings and is now a place of huge cultural significance for Colombia .

Spend the day exploring, sunbathing or strolling along Tayrona’s impeccable beaches.

There are over 108 different mammals in Tayrona so expect to see a lot of wildlife.

You’ll also find a 3-hour jungle hike, which passes through ‘Pueblito’ – the Kogi indigenous village, still inhabited to this very day.

It’s absolutely breathtaking!

Stunningly beautiful Parque Tayrona

8. Cartagena

Cartagena is a charming historic town with fantastically quaint colonial architecture and bags of Colombian heritage.

Although this blog is more focused on natural beauty we just couldn’t help ourselves.

Cartagena has so much to offer with gorgeous cobbled streets brimming with colourful buildings, an energetic ambiance, and is filled with many pleasant plazas where you can simply pass hours watching life go by.

Cartagena, the most beautiful city in Colombia

It is also located on the Caribbean coast and perfectly positioned to catch a boat to explore the nearby Rosario islands which are an archipelago of (relatively) untouched, sun-drenched, picture postcard islands.

Spend the day there snorkelling, swimming and relaxing in the sunshine.

The picturesque Rosario Islands near Cartagena

9. Barranquilla

Back in the 19th Century Barranquilla became known as the Golden Gate of Colombia, as the main entrance for travellers and imports.

Surrounded by beautiful coast line and places of natural beauty, Barranquilla is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

From Barranquilla you can visit the Salamanca Island Nature Reserve in the jurisdiction of the towns of Pueblo Viejo and Sitio Nuevo (Magdalena).

Over 199 different species of bird have been recorded here making it a prime location for avid bird-spotting. Although don’t worry if you’re not a pro, it’s so beautiful and so magnificent that even bird novices can appreciate its devine natural beauty.

A trip to Bocas De Ceniza is also well worthwhile.

Here the waters of the Magdalena River meet the Caribbean Sea creating a fascinating two toned effect in what appears to be a single body of water.

It’s a really special space to watch the sun setting.

The beautiful streets of Barranquilla

10. Amazonas

Stretching across Brazil, Peru and Colombia the Amazon river, at 4225 miles long, is the longest river in the world.

Expect shed loads of wildlife, 100s of species of reptile and giant trees like you’ve never seen before.

This place is outstanding.

In the Amazon nature thrives. You can spot pink dolphins putting on a show, birds, monkeys, deer, anteaters and pumas.

And the Amazon is the go-to place for bird watchers with over 600 different species to spot.

Amacayacu National Park, also known as the River of Hammocks, is great place for exploring the Amazon. Take a kayak and leisurely float through the jungle whilst looking out for dolphins and other more exotic creatures.

For more information about where to stay in this region then check out this site.

Awesome nature in the Amazon Colombia
wandering the streets of zipaquira, cundinamarca, colombia

Finishing Up

Colombia really does have it all.

If you’re the type of person that hates staying in the same hotel during your vacation and instead prefers travelling around and exploring a country then Colombia is the place for you.

In Colombia you can enjoy everything from relaxing exotic beaches to outstanding mountainous, panoramic views.

If you’re looking for a destination with an array of natural beauty then Colombia is it!

If you only have a short amount of time but want to pack in as much as possible then be sure to check our trips for 1 week or two weeks in Colombia.

We plan everything, take you to the most beautiful places, take you away from the busy tourist areas and you travel with like-minded people.

Find out how we take the hassle out of planning your trip to Colombia.

If you want to know more about the adventure activities in Colombia then stay tuned.

Want to see an OWR trip in action? Then check out this blog from a recent trip: An Immersive 2 Weeks in Colombia with Other Way Round.