Colombia - Best Tours & Trips 2019

127 Colombia tours from 54 tour companies. 218 reviews. 4.6/5 avg rating.
A country that has undergone tremendous change over the past few decades, Colombia has become an increasingly popular tourist destination. From idyllic beaches to beautiful cobblestone streets, fun shops and restaurants in Cartagena's old town, to the spectacular views and hiking trails in Medellin, to tasting local coffee in Bogota, there's something for everyone.
All Colombia tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 115 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

Travelers Age

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Discover Colombia

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 243 / day
$ 3,279
From : $ 4,597
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Uncover the historical delights of Colombia's capital city
  • Explore Villa de Leyva's colonial centre
  • Learn all about coffee production on a farm tour in the lush Coffee Zone
  • Walk amid wax palm trees in Cocora Valley
  • Unwind on a Caribbean beach
Visits:
Cartagena, Bogota, Caribbean, Colombia
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Bogota, Cartegena Colombia Walking Tour

Walking Connection
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
9 days
$ 466 / day
$ 4,198
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Explore Bogota
  • Discover Cartagenas' old city
  • Visit Botero Museum
  • Enjoy walks through Coffee Plantation
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, Colombia
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Cafe Colombia

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
9 days
$ 197 / day
$ 1,881
From : $ 2,398
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Bogota is the treasure trove of Colombia's rich history. Explore its museums and galleries at your leisure, then tour its excellent Paloquemao Market
  • Embark on a spectacular guided hike through the Cocora Valley, home to hummingbirds and the world's tallest palm trees
  • Spend a couple of days learning about the world's favourite bean during a stay on a traditional coffee estancia deep in Colombia's coffee country
  • Discover the new face of Medellin, a city offering scenic cable-car rides, world-class cuisine and a pulsating nightlife
  • Explore the cobbled alleys of Cartagena, a World Heritage-listed town that combines Caribbean splendour with irresistable old-world charm
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin , Colombia
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Classic Colombia

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
16 days
$ 170 / day
$ 2,719
From : $ 3,671
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Wander the streets of bogotá
  • Learn how coffee is made in salento
  • Hike to a remote beach in tayrona national park
  • Get to know locals in the small town of taganga
Visits:
Cartagena, Caribbean, Colombia
View Trip

Classic Colombia

14 days
$ 110 / day
$ 1,540
From : $ 2,079
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : N/A
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Zapiquira Salt Cathedral
  • Visit Tatacoa Desert
  • Guided tour of San Agustin Archaeological Park
  • Visit to Taironaka Archaeological Ruins
  • Tayrona National Park (see note above)
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, Colombia
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Caribbean Colombia Express

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 165 / day
$ 1,279
From : $ 1,781
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Relax to the caribbean rhythms on the coast
  • Hike through lush jungle with an indigenous guide
  • Meet the locals and learn about coffee in minca
  • Indulge in fresh seafood and colombian specialties
Visits:
Caribbean, Cartagena, Colombia
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Cycling Colombia

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 277 / day
$ 3,749
From : $ 5,231
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Direct London to Bogota flights with Avianca
  • Acclimatise in Bogota whilst joining the city's residents in their weekly traffic-free day of urban cycling!
  • Ride through lush green landscapes and mountainous terrain in the 'Eje Cafetero' coffee zone
  • No vehicles transfers, just point to point rides
  • Hike in the beautiful Cocora Valley amid wax palms (optional on rest day)
  • Extend your trip to visit Cartagena on the balmy Caribbean coast (Unesco World Heritage Site)
Visits:
Bogota, Colombia
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Discover Colombia

SmarTours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 182 / day
$ 1,999
From : $ 4,997
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit Gold Museum and Fernando Botero Museum (Bogota)
  • See the famous underground salt cathedral (near Bogota)
  • Visit the coffee Hacienda San Alberto and immerse yourself in the world of coffee
  • Enjoy a spectacular drive to Cocora Valley
  • Visit sculpture park of Botero (Medellin)
  • Visit the La Popa Convent and San Felipe Castle (Cartagena)
  • Explore Cartagena’s Walled Old Town
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, Colombia
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Colombia Highlights Tour

Lost World Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 197 / day
$ 1,579
From : $ 2,132
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit the historic and cultural city of Cartagena
  • Visit the famous Gold Museum
  • Enjoy the magic of this beautifully preserved colonial town
  • See significant national monuments
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, San Francisco, Armenia, Colombia
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Coffee, Cali & Cartagena

Lost World Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 438 / day
$ 4,375
From : $ 4,988
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy the lush landscapes, exotic flowers and stunning birds
  • Visit Gold Museum, home of the world’s largest collection of pre-Columbian gold
  • Get to know the cultures and traditions of ancient and existent indigenous tribes
  • Learn about the Spanish colonization, Inquisition era, and pirate sieges 
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, Colombia
View Trip

Colombia Andean Special Tour Package

Lost World Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 215 / day
$ 1,722
From : $ 2,325
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit historical monuments
  • Visit breathtaking cocora valley
  • See the Archaeological remains
  • Cherish the moments at Salto del Mortiño waterfall
Visits:
Bogota, Armenia, Colombia
View Trip

Experience Colombia Tour

Lost World Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
17 days
$ 353 / day
$ 6,000
From : $ 6,840
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Get a spectacular view of the city at the top of the Monserrate Hill
  • Visit stunning landscape and enjoy the diversity of flora and fauna
  • Enjoy spotting most beautiful birds
  • Visit places filled with history and mysteries
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, Colombo, Armenia, Colombia
View Trip

Honeymoon In Colombia

Lost World Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 712 / day
$ 7,833
From : $ 9,635
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy a closed-door visit to Bogota's impressive Gold Museum
  • Cherish the beautiful blend of lush mountains, rich culture and very kind people
  • See the most beautiful valleys in Colombia
  • Learn about the Spanish colonization, Inquisition era, and pirates that sieged the city in the in the 17th century
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, Armenia, Colombia
View Trip

Colombia Intensive Circuit Tour

Lost World Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 165 / day
$ 2,315
From : $ 2,847
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy Bogota city tour
  • Visit a special coffee growing farm and learn about the whole coffee cultivation and production process, from the harvest to the cup
  • Visit San Agustín Archaeological Park
  • Visit Convent of La Popa
  • See Castillo de San Felipe, an immense fort filled with history and mysteries hidden in its stone-walled tunnels.
  • Enjoy the crystal clear waters of Cholon beaches
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin , San José, Colombia
View Trip

Colombian Getaway

9 days
$ 335 / day
$ 3,015
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Visit Plaza de Bolívar, the center of the downtown district of La Candelaria
  • Explore famous museum housing
  • Explore over a hundred species of exotic bird life, marveling at the natural beauty surrounding you
  • Visit imposing Fort San Felipe
Visits:
Bogota, Cartagena, Armenia, Colombia
View Trip
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Top Colombia Experiences and Attractions

Top Colombia Experiences

Walking through the Botanical Gardens in Bogota

Visiting a coffee plantation and learning about the production and distribution

Sipping a local Colombian beer and watching the sunset over the ocean at Cafe del Mar in Cartagena

Seeing ancient stone carvings in San Agustin

Visiting Tayrona National Nature Park

Observing gorgeous flower sculptures and colors in Medellin during the Festival of the Flowers

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Colombia Trip Reviews

218 Colombia Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 140
Great 73
Average 3
Disappointing 2
Terrible 0
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Tour Reviews Write a Review

Always a pleasure to work with their team

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

This is our second trip with Enchanting Travels and our second continent. Always a pleasure to work with their team, friendly and helpful.

Read more
Operator Enchanting Travels

Very nice

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Very nice equipment & was delivered in room & picked up as told when it was ordered.

Read more
Operator Special needs at Sea

Discover Colombia AAK

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

My first group tour & my first time to South America.
A well organised and interesting trip.
Nice group of people from all over the UK and Europe from various backgrounds and age groups.
Very informative site seeing tour with easy walks within national parks, coffee regions and city locations.
Enough time on your own if needed to look around, yet always felt part of the group.
Salento in the coffee region.
One of the most beautiful Village's and location I've travelled to.
Small independent coffee grower tour that shows how a small family business survives in a very competitive global market. Very interesting, educational and enjoyable tour!

Our group leader was fantastic
Always on hand to answer questions or assist you when needed.
Very informative and articulate

Book the trip as soon as you can.................
Don't book a hammock at the end of your trip in the Tayrona national park, people were bitten quite badly by insects. Upgrade to a Cabana instead.

Read more
Operator Exodus Travels

Discover Colombia

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Just returned from this trip in June 2016. It was an amazing tour and it really portrayed the country as it truly is. The people were great and let me say the service at the hotels and everywhere was awesome. The accommodations were excellent. The scenery of the country was unbelievable. Kudos to our Tour Director, Leon as well as the local guides Carlitos (Coffee Triangle/Medellin) and Eusevio (Cartagena) for making this trip so much fun. They are friendly, fun, knowledgeable and their English was great. Our drivers were very experienced and always concerned about safety first which was very good. Our group was very small but we had a great time. Thank you to all for the wonderful vacation. I recommend this trip highly.

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Operator SmarTours

A really absorbing trip and a great introduction to Colombia and all its variety, providing a real indepth understanding of the country and its history

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

A really absorbing trip and a great introduction to Colombia and all its variety, providing a real in-depth understanding of the country and its history. Our tour leader Marco worked tirelessly to look after the group and ensure any problems were quickly resolved and show us different sides to the country.

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Operator G Adventures

Our tour leader Ana was excellent in

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Our tour leader Ana was excellent in every way and Colombia is a great country to spend time in

Read more
Operator Intrepid Travel

Colombia Tours and Travel Guide

Colombia Attractions & Landmarks Guide

A country that has undergone tremendous change over the past few decades, Colombia has become an increasingly popular tourist destination. From idyllic beaches to beautiful cobblestone streets, fun shops and restaurants in Cartagena's old town, to the spectacular views and hiking trails in Medellin, to tasting local coffee in Bogota, there's something for everyone.

Why Visit Colombia on Guided Tour?

When visiting Colombia, independent exploration is a definite option. On the other hand, finding a guided tour is highly advised in order to get the fullest experience of Colombia. While many guided tours in Colombia need to be booked in advance, it is also possible to arrange them when in the country. However, this is likely to increase travel costs and the chance of certain tours being unavailable when travelers wish to book them.

For the vast majority of Colombia tours, guides will be city locals or Colombian natives. This is important, as they will likely already have contacts that they frequently use when planning activities for the group and will know which attractions travelers tend to frequent. Similarly, Colombia tour guides can offer personal advice on where to best spend time during free days and recommend specific places to stay or eat based on pricing and local reputation.

If travelers to Colombia are worried that their guide will not speak their specific language, it is possible to arrange for one that does. However, this factor depends on the Colombia tour operator, as some may not employ guides fluent in certain languages. Therefore, travelers are urged to verify the guides’ languages with the specific Colombia tour operator as far in advance as possible. As a further precautionary measure, travelers to Colombia can invest in a phrasebook. Not only does this help Colombia tour participants connect with other international travelers, but it also allows them to effectively communicate with their tour guide.

Since Colombia guided tours are usually with groups, depending on the size of the party that travelers are with, they are great opportunities to meet other travelers. This allows for future tours together, the exchange of travel information, and a cultural immersion that may not be found as easily in solo explorations.

By working with guided tours in Colombia, travelers set themselves up with the best chance to fully enjoy all that each city and location has to offer. First-hand knowledge of the country along with the long-time travel experience that comes with a Colombia tour guide are invaluable to travelers, as they minimize costs, travel time, and the possibility of missing out on something important!

What to Expect When Visiting Colombia

When traveling to Colombia for extended periods of time, a budget may be necessary to plan. Tours of Colombia that include hotel rooms, food, and activities are certainly available to book, but there are also many other ways to travel economically.

As the food is relatively inexpensive in Colombia, travelers who are not opposed to cooking for themselves may opt to stay at the many lodgings with kitchens available for use. Places to stay in Colombia also have the option for travelers to pay for breakfast in the morning, should they not choose to eat out for every meal.

On a similar note, tipping is not expected or is very minimal when going to places to eat in Colombia. Depending on location, groceries and meals can be sufficiently purchased even with a minimal budget. Within larger cities that have a high density of citizens and international travelers, the prices of commodities tend to be at their cheapest. The opposite rule applies to cities further away from urban centers, such as those along the Amazon or in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains.

For the most part, it appears that Colombia’s attitude towards travelers is a friendly one. Provided that travelers to Colombia are respectful of the fragile environmental landscapes that they explore, it appears most Colombians are willing to help travelers enjoy their country in the same way that they do. Since tourism is a growing sector of Colombia’s economy, travelers may not experience the same standards of “premium” or “value” accommodations that they are used to. This is especially true when it comes to highly-rated places to stay in Colombia, as there are a number of them, but given their high demand, they may be full if travelers do not book their stays in advance.

Colombia Cities

1. Bogotá

As one of the world’s highest-altitude capitals, Bogotá is an iconic Colombian city that demonstrates a successful integration of green-space within urban architecture. Not only are the colonial roots of the city still present, but also the ways the city has modernized so as to embrace an influx of international travelers.

Travelers who are looking for the best things to see in Bogotá might want to begin with a trip up Monserrate Mountain, found at the center of the capital. A 3+ hour hike or a 1.5-hour cable-car ride brings travelers to the summit, where the Sanctuary of Monserrate still stands after 400 years along with breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

El Museo del Oro (Gold Museum) is a popular landmark to tour with a guide or in a solo venture, as it has more than 50,000 pieces for visitors to view.

The Museo Botero is another frequented locale for travelers in Bogotá to stop at, as it showcases works of both international and local artists. This museum is also free for travelers and Colombian citizens alike, allowing for a dispersion of art and culture that is not always found in other cities.

For travelers looking to discover Bogotá’s culinary endeavors, the Paloquemao food market is where vendors congregate to showcase their produce, which can also be found in meals at the many restaurant stalls that share the space.  

2. Cartagena

As a port city that has been used for centuries, Cartagena is a Colombian city along the Caribbean coastline. Its historic “Old Town,” a maze of colonial-era walls, fortresses, and tunnels, is both a UNESCO Heritage Site and frequent destination for travelers. At the Palace of Inquisition, travelers to Cartagena can not only view intricate colonial-era architecture but also curious religious items on display from that time period.

In a more modern comparison, the Bocagrande neighborhood consists of skyscrapers and restaurants, which travelers often visit for lodging and to partake in the night-life. Its location being directly on the beach allows solo travelers or groups to relax there without having to plan a tour, as access is free to all. However, should travelers desire adventure beyond the city limits, visiting the islands of Barú and Rosario are only possible with guided tours.

The Isla del Barú is a tranquil island with white-sand beaches far from the congested ones found in the city. In comparison, Isla del Rosario may appeal to active travelers, who can scuba dive along the third largest coral reef in the world.

3. Medellin

While viewed historically as a dangerous city, Medellin has made great strides in providing travelers with both safe and entertaining ways to explore the city. By taking one of the many “free walking tours” that are offered in the plazas and parks, travelers can gain an understanding of the surrounding museums, markets, and landmarks within the city.

Soccer fans, or even just those interested in seeing intense team spirit, can watch a Categoría Primera A football game at the Atanasio Girardot Stadium. Travelers interested in art can tour the Museo de Antioquia, which has both international and Colombian exhibits.

The Cementerio Museo de San Pedro, while more macabre, is just as educational for international travelers in Medellin. As the final resting place for many of Colombia’s important historical figures, visitors have the opportunity to learn about the country’s past and those who helped shape it.

For adventurous travelers looking for art in a more informal manner, it can be found on the buildings in Comuna 13. While previously known as one of the most dangerous parts of Medellin, Comuna 13 now boasts local organizations that sponsor neighborhood outreach and countless street art installations. Guided tours to the neighborhood can be arranged, but solo ventures are also possible with local knowledge of the specific areas to see.

The Capital, Bogotá

Bogotá is Colombia’s capital, and a classic stop for Colombia tours. With many cultural and historical sites, museums, art galleries, cafes (for some famous Colombian coffee), and restaurants, you’ll get a real sense for what makes Colombia a unique and special country.

Some main attractions in Bogotá that you shouldn’t miss include:

1. The Gold Museum - Colombia has a long history when it comes to this most precious commodity. The Gold Museum was founded in 1939 as a way to preserve pre-Hispanic gold works. Gold is not the only material featured - the museum also houses artifacts and pieces made from semi-precious stones, textiles, rock, and pottery. It’s an essential stop on any Bogotá visit.

2. Take a cycling tour - Bogotá is a very walkable and cycle-able city, with boardwalks and parks. Cycling is a very popular way to take in the sights and sounds. There are many day tour options, or if you’re on a multi-day tour through Colombia, an afternoon of cycling in Bogotá is a commonly offered activity on the itinerary.

3. Take in the views from Monseratte Mountain - Don’t worry. If you’re not in the mood to take a several hour hike (ill-advised for safety reasons), the gorgeous panoramic views from the top of Monseratte are easy to get to by cable car. At the top be sure to give yourself enough time for plenty of pictures, and to observe the ‘El Señor Caido’ statue.

Traveling in the Colombian countryside

Traveling through the Colombian countryside provides travelers with the opportunity to come face to face with the vibrant native plants and animals that call the country home. With landscapes that range from the inviting Caribbean coast to the snow-capped Andes Mountains which are preceded by Los Llanos grasslands, travel in Colombia can cross many geographical boundaries.

Colombia’s immense swath of the Amazon Rainforest is about a third of the country and nearly impossible to pass through. Travelers in Colombia can arrange for guided tours through the Amazon that access the rainforest and its river, but solo or group travel is highly inadvisable without first-hand knowledge of the paths and specific times to venture out.

Guided tours through the Amazon typically rely on boats and footpaths to reach their destinations, a factor which leads to limited accessibility for certain travelers in Colombia. If travelers are looking to access the various towns along the Caribbean coast, these same aforementioned methods of travel are the only ones currently available.

However, for travelers with a larger budget and a desire to explore Colombian cities, air travel is an efficient option. Flights between Bogotá, Cartagena, Cali, and Medellin happen multiple times per day and do not always have to be booked in advance. If booking online, travelers looking for flights in Colombia should consider using a private browsing tab when booking.

This avoids the international charges which many online airfare companies tack on for international travelers and can make a significant difference in pricing. For those traveling on a budget in Colombia, buses are available so long as travelers do not mind the lengthy travel times.

Roadways through the more remote, mountainous regions of Colombia are notoriously long and windy. Even still, as a relatively inexpensive way to get between the major cities of Colombia, the roadway system in cities is of fair quality and worth utilizing should travelers find it necessary.

Coffee tours in Colombia

Colombia, known for its sprawling landscapes and fertile land, is the third largest producer of coffee in the world. Therefore, regardless of a traveler’s affinity for coffee, taking one of the many coffee tours in Colombia is highly recommended. Quindío, the region where the coffee bean flourishes, is split by the Andes Mountains and dotted with plantations near the fields.

As an activity offered by many guided tours in Colombia, understanding the process of sustainable coffee production is important both internationally and locally. Therefore, travelers who engage in one of these excursions will be able to tour detailed museums and witness the step-by-step process that goes into providing the coffee Colombia is so well-known for. Of course, international travelers will also be able to taste the many different roasts and flavors that each plantation is known for their reinvention of.

Some of the more famous coffee plantations that travelers come across on coffee tours in Colombia include:

  • Café San AlbertoSituated along the picturesque slopes that overlook the flatlands of the Quindío coffee region, participants in the Café San Alberto coffee tour are able to enjoy their caffeine while basking in the panoramic views afforded from the altitude.
  • La VictoriaFor a more historical perspective, La Victoria coffee plantation tours delve into the history of coffee, the antique machinery it uses being a living testament. Founded in 1892, the plantation is self-sustaining and harnesses the power of nearby Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain rivers to power its machines. While less about the coffee plant itself, this tour affords travelers a unique glimpse into the past (along with samples)
  • Parque Nacional de CafeIn a fun twist on typical coffee tours in Colombia, travelers may want to visit Parque Nacional de Cafe, a theme park based around the bean. Boasting a coffee museum along with 27 rides in the theme park, this activity is a great option for travelers in groups or ones who want adrenaline to go along with their caffeine.

Typical Accommodation Style in Colombia

Depending on the remoteness of a location, accommodations in Colombia range from campsites to luxurious hotel rooms. Within major cities of Bogotá, Medellin, or Cartagena, travelers have access to 4-star hotels from chains such as the Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham, and Hyatt Regency. Of course, international travelers can opt to stay in hotels owned by local Colombian companies, many of which boast the same standards of cleanliness, entertainment, and spa availability.

When looking for accommodations in Colombia of this economic caliber, booking in advance is very useful for saving money and ensuring that space is available at specific locations. Certain hotels may offer discounted guided tours or suggestions on how to spend time in a city, which is invaluable information for travelers looking to make the most of their stay in Colombia.

Similarly, booking ahead with hotels in Colombia enables travelers to plan other excursions or guided tours within the surrounding area, as they have a definite place to stay at night. Choosing to stay at hotels in Colombia is also useful when it comes to dining since many offer food all day and provide free breakfast for those looking to eat before early tours or activities.

For travelers looking for frugal ways to stay in Colombia, the length of stay is an important consideration. Hostels are ways to maintain a flexible schedule, as they do not usually require booking ahead of time and are prolific in cities.

Similarly, while hostels in Colombia are cheap to rent alone, traveling in a group and being willing to share the price of a room significantly lowers individual costs. Depending on the hostel, breakfast and/or other meals are sometimes provided, also helping to limit overall travel costs.

Food in Colombia

Colombian cuisine may not exactly be something to write home about - unless you really hunt around. Another fantastic reason to visit on a tour! In Cartagena you’ll find a lot of European restaurants, particularly in Old Town - and while the food is delicious, you feel that you could be in any European city.

Elsewhere in Colombia you’ll find many rice and bean based dishes, with Spanish and Mexican influences, as well as some more eclectic offerings with Arab and African influences. Colombian food tends to be heavy and many popular dishes include meat - most commonly chicken - like much of traditional South American cuisine.

Like most countries, Colombian food and drink is very regional, with certain areas having access to different ingredients and utilizing different cooking techniques.

Some Colombian foods you absolutely must try:

1. Ajiaco - A heavy, potato based dish, Ajiaco is a favorite soup around the country, but perhaps most popular in Bogota. Soups are very popular in Colombia, an odd choice perhaps for a country with a temperate climate that rarely fluctuates. Soups in Colombia are almost always served with avocado, are chock full of seasonal ingredients and flavorful broths.

2. Empanadas - This classic South American treat is the perfect street food snack to munch on while taking in the sights. Every country seems to have their own spin. In Colombia you’ll find their fried with potato and beef filling - sometimes sweet versions are also found in bakeries!

3. Lechona Tolimense - Many Colombian dishes are quite substantial - designed to feed big groups, and Lechona Tolimense is no exception! Hailing from to Tolima region near Bogota, this dish is comprised of a stuffed pork, that then cooks for ten to twelve hours. Often made for special occasions.

4. Arepas - A delicious side dish, served with almost every meal - or as a stand alone market food, Arepas are fried or baked dough usually filled or topped with some cheesy goodness. You can also have it with condensed milk for a slightly sweeter rendition.

Colombia Lost City Trekking

There are a choice few well known “lost cities” in the world - top places on travelers bucket lists: Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Tikal in Guatemala, and smattering of others. These places are incredible and well worth discovering.

However because of their popularity, they are also often crowded and, let’s face it, accessible - so even though you are visiting an archaeological treasure surrounded by jungle it doesn’t feel remote.

If you’re after a Lost City experience that harkens back to what the above sites may have felt like to the first explorers and travelers, Colombia has just the place: “Ciudad Perdida”. Literally translated as “Lost City” this hidden archaeological site has just begun to be visited by tourists.

The city pre-dates Machu Picchu by roughly 600 years, and though it may not be quite as picturesque, the experience of getting there, the incredible stillness of the surrounding jungle, and the ancient history surrounding the city ruins will push any thought of Machu Picchu splendor out of your mind.

The trek is intense - expect a lot of off roading, a lot of mud, a lot of water, and high humidity. But for an adventure that few tourists are attempting - though they will within the next 20 years, go now and see it without the crowds.

Top Destinations in Colombia for Nature Lovers

As a country renowned for its vast rainforests, access to the Amazon River, and inviting beaches, Colombia offers many ways for travelers to interact with its biodiversity. Depending on what level of activity travelers are interested in, tours in Colombia range from rowing in a transparent kayak, hiking with a group, or exploring trails via horseback, all of which provide a rewarding travel experience.

Although Bogotá is the nation’s capital city, it has no shortage of eco-travel options for visitors. As a central location for many travelers to Colombia, there are a number of tours that leave on single or multi-day excursions from the city which can be booked in advance.

From the city itself, many travelers use a cable car to ascend the famous Monserrate Mountain (and see the 400-year old sanctuary that crowns it). Otherwise, the 3+ hour hike along switchback trails is also available for travelers in Colombia should they not wish to hire a horse. Similarly, Lake Guatavitá is a picturesque travel destination for those staying in the capital, as it is possible to visit (weather permitting) within one day.

By arranging for a ride an hour south of the capital, travelers to Colombia can visit Chicaque Park. Public transportation is available to enter this cloud-forest reserve, which is home to miles of hiking trails, a 98-foot zip-line, and a rich variety of birds. Travelers may also see sloths in the trees along the trails or larger animals should they choose to ascend a platform that rests on a 200-year-old tree. Visitors looking to be frugal may camp out, but the option to stay in unique tree-houses are available as well.

For those wishing to escape the city altogether, tours are available in El Chocó, along Colombia’s Pacific coast. As a mixture of rainforest and shoreline, the area provides the perfect opportunity for travelers to spot whales or see some of Colombia’s countless species of birds. The time between June and October is considered the best for whale-watching, while February-July is when the famous Leatherback sea-turtles appear to lay their eggs on the shore. Poison arrow frogs are abundant along the hiking trails of these Colombian jungle tours and the more fortunate travelers may even spot a jaguar.

Along the Amazon River, travelers to Colombia may choose to stay in Leticia, a town with many of the same amenities, restaurants, and entertainment as are found in less rural locations. However, the opportunity to see lemurs, birds, and Pink River dolphins up-close are unique to these types of jungle-cities and provide amazingly personal experiences with the surrounding wildlife.

Colombia Amazon Tours

Colombia posses the northwest corner of South America and the Amazon, and this portion of jungle makes up nearly ⅓ of the country. With the Amazon forming such a large physical and cultural part of the country, it makes sense that any trip to Colombia should include at least a taste of the world’s largest rainforest.

Here are some of the best towns to visit in the Colombian Amazon:

Leticia.

Leticia can be found at Colombia’s most southern point, and is the most developed and well known of the country’s Amazonian town. Residents of this town still live a relatively traditional lifestyle, and primarily depend on agriculture and tourism to make a living. Another interesting component of Leticia is that it is one of the main aquarium fish trading posts in the world -- hundreds of Amazonian species are raised or captured in this town, and then shipped to Bogota, where they are distributed worldwide.

If you are going on an eco-tour, or plan to immerse yourself in the local community by experiencing traditional jungle life with one of the remote indigenous tribes of Colombia, Leticia will likely be your home base.

Mitu.

This town is located in Vaupes, a region of Amazonia that is one of the premiere birding destinations in the world. The town is incredibly isolated and definitely far off of the beaten path -- tourist infrastructure was never built due to the fact that the town used to be a base for the FARC (An anti-government guerilla movement).

Many Colombians consider this to be “real jungle,” unlike even Leticia. There are very few tourists in this region, and and because of the lack of development for tourism it is highly recommended you take a guided tour of the region. One major highlight include the Cerros de Mavecure (Mavecure Hills), which are an incredible destination for hiking, and a great place to go camping overnight.

Puerto Nariño.

This small town is only 75km away from much more known Leticia, and is known for its dark, nutrient-rich waters and abundant wildlife. One its main attractions is the church by the town’s own Santander Park, where parrots flock to each night to sleep. By paying a small donation, the nearby church will allow you to climb its steeple and watch both sunset, and the parrots as they come home.

Puerto Nariño is also a great place to learn more about Colombia’s indigenous communities. 95% of the town’s population is indigenous, and the entire town practices a more customary way of life -- there isn’t even a single car in the town!

Guaviare.

Like the town Mitu, Guaviare is another very off-the-grid travel location, and this is because of the town’s history with political conflict. However, things are safe for the mindful traveler, and Guaviare boasts dozens of fascinating sights and wonders. For those interested in nature and wildlife, Guaviare is one of the few locations on earth that experiences a healthy red algae bloom in its rivers and lakes. This turns the water a startling pink for half of the year, and is an incredible sight to behold.

Even if you look just in the surroundings of the town, you are sure to find a wide range of flora and fauna. Peering into the water, you may see pink dolphins and caiman, and quick glance into the tree tops will reveal monkeys, toucans, and parrots... life is everywhere in Guaviare.

If you are interested in a historical tour of Colombia, or, rather, a prehistorical tour, Guaviare is also home to several caves filled with beautiful, 10,000-year-old cave drawings.

Top Colombia Travel Companies

Things to Know Before You Go

Common Colombia Tour Toutes

The longer guided tour routes of Colombia often depend on which city travelers arrive in. Similarly, travelers’ length of stays in Colombia heavily impact how much of the country may be seen during a tour. This is because travel times are significant between cities, especially if travelers along Colombia tour routes are looking to visit the Caribbean coast, the Andes, and/or Los Llanos.

While it is possible to arrive in one Colombian city and leave from another, this usually complicates flights and can lead to travel delays. There are internal flights between cities that may be booked, but this requires advance planning. Travelers in Colombia who are not interested in frequent travel may consider limiting themselves to one area of the country or visit fewer stops than are offered on common Colombia tour routes.

If travelers to Colombia are beginning their stay in Bogotá, they can choose to either head north to San Gil or west to Armenia or another part of the Coffee Region. The first option provides an opportunity to engage in adventure-tourism, such as rappelling, paragliding, or climbing.

On the other hand, Armenia provides travelers to Colombia with the opportunity to see coffee plantations and witness first-hand their cultivation techniques with the option to purchase sustainably-grown coffee beans. Cali is another major city nearby that travelers often stop at, given the relaxed nature of it which serves as a break during travel.

After choosing to stop in or skip Salento, travelers come to the limits of Medellin. Once a stigmatized city of crime, it is now a haven for art and music which travelers are encouraged to engage with. From there, Cartagena is the next typical stop, as travelers are finally given the opportunity to visit the Pacific Ocean.

The options to visit nearby islands or scuba dive along the world’s third largest coral reef are available for travelers here at this point along their Colombia tour route. This attitude of relaxation is continued with a visit to Tayrona National Park, at the feet of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains and along the Caribbean coast.

Before finally bringing their tour route of Colombia to an end, travelers can decide to stop at the town of Santa Marta. While small, the city is a well-known starting point for the 4-6 day journey into the surrounding mountains to “La ciudad perdida” (The Lost City). At the end of a long trip along a busy tour route, it may be difficult to find the motivation to complete such a trek, but the end result of witnessing the historic ruins is well worth it.

Who Will Enjoy Traveling in Colombia?

Since Colombia is well-known for both its urban centers and diverse landscapes, it appeals to travelers of all ages. For those looking to enjoy luxury travel experiences in Colombia, each major city offers its own variety of highly-rated hotels.

With a rise in infrastructure and tourism, Colombia has made serious efforts to cater to those looking to stay in comfort within their cities. To facilitate this process, specific hotels can be booked through Colombia tour companies, as many include pick-up and drop-offs from airports and activities.

For those seeking adventure and those who want to relax, Colombia is only as busy as those who visit wish it to be. Depending on how active travelers to Colombia are, there are different ways to explore the country.

In the major cities especially, travelers in Colombia will likely see umbrellas or signs that read “Free Walking Tours,” which are provided by locals who expect a tip at the end of their trip. There are also relaxed ways to spend the day on guided tours of Colombian museums.

Centering around art, history, and even gold, the museums are open to the public (some have the entrance fee included with guided tours) every day except for national holidays and Mondays. For those with families, there is a children’s museum in Bogotá that features hundreds of exhibits and an actual (non-functional) Boeing 720 airplane that can be examined.

Unfortunately, travelers in Colombia looking to experience winery tours will have a difficult time, as there are only a handful of merited ones. However, this does not mean that there are not multiple culinary tours in Colombia. For the “foodie” in any traveler, the city of Bogotá is widely regarded as the culinary (and national) capital of Colombia.

The Paloquemao food market, located centrally in the city, is a huge collection of food stalls filled with local and traditional recipes for travelers to taste. Chocolate tasting classes are also available by tour in most major cities, as Colombia is a producer of the bean and an avid fan of it in traditional drinks.

For thrill-seeking travelers looking to push their limits, paragliding in Mesa de Ruitoque is available, usually year-round given the area’s temperate conditions. This activity can be done in a group tour, but the actual flight itself must be solo. At 17,000 feet, the snowy peaks of El Cocuy are available for exploration.

Considered to be a haven for rock climbers for both its views and remoteness, the mountain range has miles of unexplored territory that travelers in Colombia can traverse with guided tours. On the other hand, travelers yearning for warm, sandy beaches on the Pacific Ocean can visit Malpelo Island.

Not only is the island beautiful (and hard to get to), but the surrounding water is home to hundreds of hammerhead sharks that swim in schools together. Adventurous travelers may scuba dive with them, making for great photos and unforgettable memories.

Is Colombia safe?

On account of a stigma that has permeated from news articles and popular TV portrayals of Colombia’s past, the country has made many strides to ensure that it is safe for international travelers.

As of 2016, Colombia has been at peace from internal turmoil and is quickly becoming the site of a blossoming art and music scene. The progress it has made in providing a safe environment for travelers is reflected in Pope Francis’ journey to Bogotá, Colombia in 2017. In order to further solidify this reinvention of their image, the country has focused on developing a tourism sector that is especially for families traveling in Colombia.

As of 2014, the estate of the famed (now deceased) drug-lord, Pablo Escobar, was reconstructed into a safari theme park. Complete with a water park and zoo, Hacienda Napoles is available for families in Colombia to visit for around $15 per person. On another note, while bottled water is still available, travelers on a budget will be glad to know that the tap water is safe to drink in Colombia’s major cities.

From a point of travel, Uber is prolific throughout Colombia, which is a safe alternative to walking or bussing between locations. Similarly, Airbnb’s have also become an option for lodging for travelers in Colombia who want to ensure they have a safe place to stay. With the successful development of ecological and commercial tourism in Colombia, there is something for all travelers to enjoy besides personal safety.

Much like any other country, there are certain sections of rural roads or villages to be avoided, most of which are not ones travelers are likely to be in. Especially in cities, it is important to be vigilant at night. While many places to lodge may host a night-life of their own, travelers in Colombia may opt to head further into cities.

It is recommended to explore the popular areas of Colombia that are well-known as ones for travelers, as this limits unforeseen circumstances. As a rule of thumb, watching all drinks and not leaving items unattended prevents druggings and thefts. Colombia tour guides are often great resources for verifying which parts of cities are to be avoided and which are the most fun for travelers to explore.

All Colombia tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.6 for all Colombia trips.

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