Considering a trip to Colombia at the tip of South America? Once known for its drug-fueled violence, Colombia has made peace with its narco past and visitors can safely enjoy its dramatic scenery of rain forests, Andes mountains, coffee plantations, and Colonial cities dripping with Old World charm. Colombia's culture is a potpourri of indigenous, Spanish and African influences and while its traditions are diverse, a warm welcome is the common denominator. Here's our bird's-eye-view of Colombia's cultural attractions, followed by a growing collection of stories and interviews on places to go and people to meet!
Breathtaking beauty abounds in Bogota, from the gorgeous Baroque art of 17th century Church of Santa Clara to the skyline of steeples against the backdrop of verdant mountains, to the spectacular vistas from 10,000 feet atop Montserrat. The hip and vibrant neighborhood of La Candelaria is an al fresco gallery of thought-provoking graffiti murals; Museo Botero offers a collection of works by one of Latin America's most-recognized artists; and the Museo del Oro tells the story of how gold has shaped the history, beliefs and lifestyles of Colombians from pre-Hispanic cultures through today.
Cartagena is a Caribbean colonial city founded in 1543 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The architecture includes cobbled streets and squares, fortified walls, the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, and the La Popa convent. The neighborhood of Getsemani is home to restaurant La Plaza de Macondo, its artfully-decorated walls inspired by Gabriel García Márquez's novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Colombia's northern Caribbean coast reflect the diverse cultures of the region. In Santa Marta, the architectural style reflects the city's colonial history; it is the country's oldest city, founded by Spanish conqueror Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1525 and its cathedral was built in 1766. A half-hour north is Tayrona National Park, the most important ecological reserve in Colombia and home to archaeological site, Pueblito, one of the 200 pre-Colombian cities discovered near Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Amerindians from the Tairona culture are believed to have lived in the area as far back as 4,000 B.C.
Click on the link below for a growing collection of stories and interviews about must-have cultural experiences in Colombia!