Colombia is a spicy mixture of Andean, Caribbean and Amazonian culture, a country with chic resorts and a whole bunch of natural attractions. The capital of Bogota, beachfront Cartagena, national parks and volcanic islands – all about Colombia: tours, photos and prices. See citypopulationreview.com for weather information.
As you know, bad fame is many times more tenacious than good. Colombia in the mass consciousness now first of all evokes associations with the “Colombian white”, and only then (and even then not everyone) remembers that there seems to be a whole bunch of natural attractions, ancient and still poorly studied Indian cities, as well as chic coastal resorts. But those who have already visited Colombia remember something completely different. About Cartagena with its colonial facades and small courtyards, about eclectic and contrasting Bogotá, about the fashionable beach resort of Santa Marta. And, of course, about the Andes with their endless opportunities for ecotourism.
The capital is Bogotá. In addition, having arrived in this country, you should definitely visit at least the most interesting of its many national parks. All the details about the cities and resorts of Colombia are on the page “Subtleties of tourism”.
Colombia is like the moon, which always turns to the beholder with only one side. But she also has another side. Anyone who wants to see her will not be disappointed. On the contrary, he will be captivated by the beauty and originality of this Andean, Caribbean and Amazonian country…
There are hotels of different levels in the country, for almost every taste. It is best to choose from hotels that are members of the official Colombian Hotel Association (COTELCO, which uses a certification system similar to European “stars”). As a rule, hotels have two rates for accommodation: “European” (from May to November) and “American” (from December to April, higher by 25-30%).
The mains voltage is 110 V, 60 Hz. Sockets are usually American type with two pins, large hotels also have sockets for 220 or 240 V.
Banks and exchange offices in Colombia
The country’s monetary unit is the Colombian peso (COP), in 1 peso there are 100 centavos. Current exchange rate: 1 COP = 0.01 RUB (1 USD = 3879.54 COP, 1 EUR = 4081.28 COP).
You can exchange currency at numerous exchange offices, at the airport, banks, hotels, shops and transport agencies. Most places charge a fee, typically 4% of the transaction amount. The exchange rate in hotels usually differs slightly from the bank one, and in exchange offices, as a rule, it coincides with it. In many places they accept USD for payment, but it is more profitable to pay with local money. When exchanging, be sure to have your passport with you!
Banks in Bogota are usually open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. In other cities of the country – from Monday to Thursday from 8:00 to 11:30 and from 14:00 to 16:00, on Fridays – from 8:00 to 16:30.
Credit cards of the main payment systems are accepted in the capital and major tourist centers, in the provinces “credit cards” are practically useless. Traveler checks can be cashed at the branches of the capital’s Banco de la Republica (usually a photocopy of the passport is required), it is difficult to use traveler’s checks outside of Bogotá. It is recommended to take checks in USD with you.
Tipping in bars and restaurants is usually 10-15%, depending on the level and location of the institution. In most hotels, the service charge is already included in the bill.
Shopping and stores
Colombia occupies a leading position in Latin America in terms of gold and silver mining. In addition, this country is the world’s largest exporter of emeralds. Accordingly, “for a long memory” from Colombia, you can bring items made of gold and silver with emeralds.
In addition, original Colombian souvenirs are very interesting – symbols of the ancient Tumaco, Nariño and Maya tribes, as well as various ritual masks, folk musical instruments, and clay things. High-quality textile products and fragrant Colombian coffee are also brought from the country.
Cuisine and restaurants in Colombia
The national cuisine of Colombia still preserves the culinary traditions of the peoples who lived here even before the foot of the man who gave the country its current name set foot on the continent. Of course, they are “mixed” with the delights of European settlers and immigrants from the Asian continent. As in most neighboring countries, legumes and maize (corn), rice, potatoes are widely used here, as well as many vegetables and spices, often used in the most unimaginable combinations with meat and seafood.
Worth trying: “ahiko” (soup with chicken, potatoes and vegetables, popular in Bogota), “arepa” maize pancakes, “arros con coco” (rice cooked in coconut oil, a delicacy on the coast), “bandeja paisa » (a dish of ground beef, sausages, legumes, rice, bananas and avocados), casuela de mariscos stewed seafood.
Hot chocolate is considered a traditional drink in the country. Rum, beer, cane vodka “agaurdiente” and “refresco” – various fruit waters are also common.
- Is it expensive to eat in a cafe in Colombia
Entertainment and attractions in Colombia
The visiting card of the Caribbean coast is the vast plains, often swampy and overgrown with woodlands, as well as the ancient volcanic laccolith of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (5794 m). There, on the coast, are the most fashionable beach resorts – Santa Marta and Cartagena, as well as the “resort islands” of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina.
The Andes mountain system in Colombia is divided into three parallel mountain ranges of the Cordillera, forming an extremely diverse natural environment. There are snow-capped mountain peaks, and green valleys, and dense forests, and alpine steppes. Another treasure of the Andes is a great many monuments of ancient Indian civilizations, many of which are still very poorly studied.
The colonial city of Gatavita (50 km from Bogota) is famous for its ancient ritual center and the sacred lake of the Muisca Indians. Bucaramanga is both one of the most historic and one of the most modern cities in Colombia. Because of its large number of parks and picturesque surroundings, it is often referred to as La Ciudad Bonita, “Pretty City”.
In the mountainous regions of Colombia, some villages, cut off from the “mainland” by rivers or cliffs, are connected to it only by a system of steel cables. Both adults and children who need to get to school ride on them.
Popayán is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved colonial cities in Colombia, founded in the late 16th century. Many churches have been preserved there: Iglesia de San Francisco, Iglesia de Santo Domingo, the church and convent of San Agustin, Iglesia de La Ermita and others, as well as several interesting museums: the Museum of Colonial Art, Museum of Religious Art, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the Poet Guillermo Valencia, Museum of Natural History.
Cali is the third largest city in Colombia, located in the southwestern part of the Western Cordillera chain, at an altitude of 995 meters above sea level. Its attractions are the Church of Iglesia de La Merced (the oldest in Cali), the Church of Iglesia de San Antonio, the Plaza de Toros de Canaberalejo (the venue for traditional bullfights), as well as numerous museums. In the vicinity of the city you can see the Monumento de las Tres Crusas, one of the most beautiful colonial houses of the country, the Casas Gordas hacienda, the Farallones de Cali National Park and the Reserba Natural Hato Biejo Reserve, as well as numerous old haciendas sugar barons, which now open small museums.
Leticia is the main tourist center in the eastern regions of Colombia. This is a small town on the banks of the Amazon, not far from the border with Brazil and Peru. The main local attraction is Isla de los Micos, Monkey Island, where more than a thousand of these restless animals live freely.
Look for a complete list of attractions in Colombia on our page.