From the world's best coffee to unique places and magnificent views, Colombia has it all. Find out which things to check out on your trip to Colombia.
If you’re thinking about visiting South America, Colombia should definitely be on your list. The most memorable trips include exploring the best cities, eating delicious local food, spending time in nature and, of course, partying like a local!
But if, while planning your trip, you ask yourself "what is Colombia most famous for”, read on — because here’s all you need to know!
FAMOUS COLOMBIAN CITIES
Colombian cities are full of colour, life and rich history.
Bogota: A city of contrasts
A wonderful combination of the old and the new is what Bogota, Colombia is famous for. Modern skyscrapers and old churches from the colonial era create the country’s capital panorama with a backdrop of the breathtaking Andes Mountains.
Bogota, Capital of Colombia
Medellin: A striking metropolis
You know how we all love those two weeks in a year when it’s "not too hot and not too cold"? Well, you'll get that all year round in Medellin. This modern beauty is situated in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains, which influences its pleasant climate, earning it the nickname "the City of Eternal Spring".
Cali: The salsa capital
If you ask yourself what is Colombia known for, salsa comes to mind (not the sauce, the dance!). This energetic rhythm is ingrained in Cali’s culture, so make sure to enjoy yourself in one of salsa street parties. Also, make sure to take the time to admire the city's architecture and visit the banks of the Cali river.
Cartagena: A place with an old town charm
The city is known as the queen of the Caribbean Coast. Its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and may remind you of a typical European town — there are cobblestone alleys, massive churches, green plazas and cute balconies covered with plants.
You should also visit:
COLOMBIA'S AMAZING FOOD AND DRINKS
Before we get to amazing Colombian food, let’s talk about drinks! You probably already know what drink is Colombia famous for: her majesty, coffee.
Colombian coffee, the best in the world
Colombian coffee is considered to be the best in the world, but have you ever wondered why? Well, coffee is a pretty sensitive crop which needs exactly the right conditions to thrive. Weather in Colombia, South America, with never-below-zero temperatures and just enough rainfall, is perfect for growing happy coffee crops. Moreover, each Colombian coffee bean is picked by hand (yes, you’ve read that correctly).
After a tasty morning cup of a 100% arabica, it’s time to decide what to have for lunch! You may not be used to Colombian food, as it’s not (yet) mainstream, but you'll surely find favourites among a vast variety of flavours.
If you don’t think pineapples on a pizza are scary, maybe you’re ready for hormigas culonas! Fried ants are a traditional delicacy dating from pre-Colombian times and are considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Fried ants - Hormigas Culonas
If you’re thinking of something more classic, let your taste buds have a go at:
- Arepas - a flatbread which is typically combined with butter or cheese
- Empanadas - stuffed pastries often filled with meat, rice and coriander
- Sancocho - Colombian stew
- Arroz con pollo - or simply rice with chicken
- Bandeja Paisa - the workman’s platter, Colombia’s national dish
- Bunuelos - ball-shaped fritters eaten as a snack
- Patacones - a type of a banana pancake
- Tamales - cooked corn dough filled with meat and vegetables
COLOMBIA'S UNIQUE LANDSCAPES AND MAGNIFICENT MOUNTAINS
What is the most famous thing in Colombia? Actually, it’s not a thing at all — it’s nature! Explore peachy deserts, green forests, sandy beaches and impressive mountain tops.
The Andes is the longest mountain range on the Earth, formed 50 million years ago. Its terrain is known for diversity — there are grasslands and dense forests, as well as lakes and snow-covered peaks.
One of Colombia’s most attractive natural landscapes is Tatacoa Desert, located in a highly eroded area crossed by dry canyons. Join a tour group from the town of Neiva and feast your eyes on Tatacoa's breathtaking shades of yellow, orange and brown.
Sandy Costeno Beach is the perfect stopping point before proceeding with your Colombian adventure. Book your stay at one of the nearby beach huts and spend a couple of days swinging in a hammock and drinking cocktails.
Tayrona National Park
Situated on the Caribbean Coast, this park is perfect for anybody who enjoys nature and wildlife. You'll start your day walking the trails inside a lush tropical park and end it with a swim on a beach surrounded by greenery.
Other Colombian nature attractions include:
- Hacienda La Aurora - prepare yourself for capybaras, jaguars, anacondas and giant anteaters
- Los Flamencos - come here to see a vast population of pink American flamingos
- Malpelo Island - this is your place if you’re an expert diver and want to swim with sharks
LEARN ABOUT COLOMBIA’S RICH CULTURE AND HISTORY
Among the most famous Colombians you can find a respected writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as well as a notorious drug dealer Pablo Escobar. To learn more about the country's intricate history, spend an afternoon in one of Colombian museums.
The Gold Museum (Museo del Oro, Bogota)
The museum contains the world's largest collection of prehispanic goldwork and was named one of the best museums in the world. Visit it and gaze at more than 34,000 gold pieces, many of which were used in sacred rituals of indigenous people.
The Botero Museum (Bogota)
It's named after Fernando Botero, the famous Colombian artist who donated many pieces to the museum (some his and some by artists like Picasso and Monet). The museum is situated in La Candelaria, Bogota's neighbourhood known for brightly coloured colonial buildings.
Also, check out:
- National Museum of Colombia (Bogota)
- The Inquisition Museum (Cartagena)
- Museum of Antioquia (Medellin)
- Museum of the Caribbean (Barranquilla)
- Naval Museum (Cartagena)
In the last few years, Colombia's street art is taking some of the fancy museums’ spotlight. Today, famous landmarks in Colombia include graffiti by prominent artists like Guache, DJ LU, Lik Mi and PerroGraff. The best part: you can admire the art by simply walking the streets of Bogota and Medellin.
COLOMBIA IS AMAZING FOR PARTY AND ADVENTURE
Dancing, joy and tradition is the essence of what is Colombia famous for. This is showcased through countless festivals and carnivals. Almost every town has its own festivities, some honouring the town’s saint, some celebrating coffee (which we totally support).
Barranquilla is the second largest festival in the world, right after the carnival in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. It lasts for four magnificent days in spring with colourful troupes and dance groups prancing with their creative costumes. No wonder UNESCO declared it one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
The other way to have fun in Colombia? Play sports, of course!
Barranquilla Carnival Parade
Tejo: Colombian national sport
Colombians like to spice things up, so no wonder they spiced up their national sport, too! You could call tejo a more lively version of bowling — just replace bowling cones with tejos (steel discs) and add a metal ring rigged with gunpowder, ready to explode when touched. Get used to the noise, grab yourself a cold cerveza and enjoy!
If you’re looking to burn more calories, here are some extreme sports you can try:
- Rafting - check out San Gil, known as Colombia’s Extreme Sports Capital, and try white-water rafting
- Paragliding - another popular extreme sport in Colombia practiced in many parts of the country
- Scuba diving - Colombia is the only South American country with both Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, so scuba diving is very popular. Check out Taganga to find a class suited for your skill level
And there you have it — all of the answers for anybody wondering what is Colombia most famous for! Visit beautiful Colombia and enjoy diverse ecology and culture influenced by centuries of history.
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P.S. If you like this guide check out our guide for Havana, Cuba. We are sure you will love it.