Travel to Colombia and you’re sure to come back talking of the country’s stupendous beauty.
It’s the only South American nation with access to both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, contains sectors of both the Amazon and Andes, and is said to pack in higher levels of biodiversity per square kilometre than any other country. Add into the mix its stately Spanish architecture, a temperate year-round climate and the infectious local exuberance for living life, and you have a country that despite its previous hardships is a place that’s unrivalled.
Though it’s hard to choose, here are five of Colombia’s most beautiful places:
Known as the ‘Jewel of the Caribbean’, Cartagena is almost too beautiful for words. Quiet cobblestone laneways weave between pastel-painted dwellings, bougainvillea flows across ornate balcony alcoves and the ocean sparkles just beyond the fortress walls. The whole thing feels rather like wandering through a romantic film-set, so exercise extreme caution on evening strolls with a partner – you may feel compelled to propose!
4. Caribbean beaches
Just north of Santa Marta and you’ll hit the cute-as-can-be fishing village of Taganga. Keep going, and you will come to Tayrona National Park: an outlandishly gorgeous tract of dense tropical rainforest, hidden coves, golden sands and turquoise waters. In fact, any of the beaches along Colombia’s northern coast are pretty damn special.
3. La Zona Cafeteria
Coffee production is also big business in Colombia and the verdant hill country in which the crop is produced is exceptionally scenic. Manizales, Salento and Armenia are the principal hubs. And aside from being picturesque towns in their own rights, the surrounding rolling hills and gullies, coated in lush greenery year-round, make for a very attractive backdrop.
2. Villa de Leyva
As cliché as it may sound, the colonial white-washed beauty of Villa de Leyva really does make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. With a lush green backdrop and not a modern building in sight, this small town is deserving as one of Colombia’s finest – and prettiest – small towns.
A city to rival Cartagena with its colonial architecture and inherent beauty, Popayan has the added bonus of having a lively university, festive café culture and a delectable culinary scene.
Do you have any other favourite places you’d put on the must-see list in Colombia?
Feature image c/o Christian Wolters, Flickr