Bordering the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Colombia is one of the fastest growing of South America's countries economically, with a very high literacy rate of over 90%. It's also emerging as one of the next "must visit" destinations, and we've been booking clients on trips to Colombia.
The country in northern South America is emerging from its seedy recent history with drug cartels and crime. Bogota, the capital, is experiencing new hotels and a thriving restaurant and night life scene, especially in the Zona Rosa area. Sights of interest in Bogota include the Gold Museum, with the world’s greatest collection of pre-Hispanic gold works, and the Botero Museum featuring the works of the country's most famous artist. A visit to Monserrate, a church perched high above and overlooking the city is accessible by cable car. A must visit is the 25-acre underground cathedral in Zipaquira, not far from the capital, and built in a salt mine. Here the Stations of the Cross, along with other carvings, are hewn from the salt and eerily illuminated.
Visitors to Pereira will be in the heart of Colombia's famous coffee-growing region, where you can learn about coffee as well as learn a trick or two on how to froth your cappuccino.
Cartagena has long been a popular port-of-call for cruise ships, with its narrow streets, plazas and colorful handicraft stores of Las Bóvedas. You also can't miss visiting the imposing and impregnable fortress of San Felipe.
If you travel north worth a visit is Taironaka, a nature reserve where traces of the Tayrona civilization from 600 BC. are still in evidence. On a boat trip along the Don Diego River you can explore the ancient terraces, some still in farm use by the indigenous Kogi people.
Finally, the old fishing village of La Boquilla, once a slave colony, is a charming village near Cartagena, with tranquil beaches, marshlands and mangroves, best explored on a dugout canoe.