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Overview

A decade ago, Colombia was considered off-limits to everyone but war tourists, mercenaries and emerald smugglers. Now it's the hottest new travel destination in South America, a destination for eco-tourists, beach combers, thrill seekers and party-goers. Despite its climb out of oblivion, Colombia is by no means spoiled and much of the country is refreshingly non-touristy. The surprisingly cosmopolitan capital Bogotá is packed with museums, theaters and fine restaurants. Cali is the place to go for all night rumbas and rocking salsatecas while Cartagena is famed for its romantic seaside setting and gorgeous architecture. Even ...

A decade ago, Colombia was considered off-limits to everyone but war tourists, mercenaries and emerald smugglers. Now it's the hottest new travel destination in South America, a destination for eco-tourists, beach combers, thrill seekers and party-goers. Despite its climb out of oblivion, Colombia is by no means spoiled and much of the country is refreshingly non-touristy. The surprisingly cosmopolitan capital Bogotá is packed with museums, theaters and fine restaurants. Cali is the place to go for all night rumbas and rocking salsatecas while Cartagena is famed for its romantic seaside setting and gorgeous architecture. Even Medellín, former home of Pablo Escobar and the most dangerous drug cartel on the planet, has cleaned up its act and moved forward with a burgeoning arts scene and vibrant student population. On back roads across the country there are quaint colonial towns where time seems to have stopped a century ago. What's perhaps most surprising about the place, given its reputation for violence, is the kind and courteous nature of the Colombian people. It's hard not to fall under the spell of their genuine hospitality.

Michael Kohn
About the Expert

Michael Kohn is the author of Lonely Planet guides to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

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Michael Kohn for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Colombian Peso
  • Research: Wikitravel | Colombia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight