Monthly Archives: February 2013

Santa Marta Cathedral

Top Reasons to Visit Santa Marta

Being the capital city of District of Magdalena, undeniably the top reasons to visit Santa Marta won’t also fail to seize your hearts. Santa Marta isn’t just a place favorable for leisure and breathtaking adventures but overall one of the most-sought-after tourist destinations in Colombia due to its strategic setting linking Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Caribbean Sea.

The Santa Marta Cathedral is principally the most ancient basilica in South America which was created way back in the mid-1600 era by Governor Don Andres Perez to oppose Engineer Don Juan Cayetano’s campaign in commencing a Renaissance-inspired design construction of the church. This church has been a perfect embodiment of the strength Santa Marta exudes after it has withstood numerous assaults from English and French colonizers which took a toll on the lives of its people. Indeed the church has been one of the historical landmarks that Santa Maria takes pride of given its renowned memoirs from war including it as one of the top reasons to visit Santa Marta.

Santa Marta Cathedral

Santa Marta Cathedral

Another noteworthy attraction to see in Santa Marta is Museo de Oro (The Gold Museum). The museum is a stunning manor refurbished in the style of a hacienda known as Casa de la Aduana. The mansion was primarily a Customs House hosting a wide anthology of gold and earthenware from the locals of Kogi. The museum also contains a diorama of “Lost City” which is undeniably fascinating to see of you happen to also visit the renowned city. Recently however, it was reported that Museo de Oro has already transferred to Santa Marta’s Banco de la Republica lying amidst Carrera 1 and the Aduana just on the same area of the Parque Bolivar.

If you want to complete your experience with the top reasons to visit Santa Marta then Taganga is the ideal place to immerse yourself.  Taganga is a fishing rural community with a cove perfectly outlining that of a horseshoe making an exceptionally picturesque view of the sunsets. Originally, it was deemed to be a paradise half a century ago when it was first discovered however because of too much commercialization it has somewhat loss its natural beauty. Additionally, the place has been the principal campsite for a mainstream of tourists who plan to explore Santa Marta’s parks and La Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) because of its accessibility. More often than not, small buses pass the direction of Carerra 1C in Santa Marta which heads to Taganga Village with a travel time of only about 15 minutes.

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Playa Grande, Taganga, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia.

Top Reasons to Visit Magdalena

Many may not be aware of the top reasons to visit Magdalena but there is actually so much to explore in this beautiful department of Columbia. Magdalena is situated on the top portion of Columbia just near the Caribbean Sea with its name inspired by the Magdalena River. Santa Marta is the capital city of Magdalena and is encompassed by La Guajira Department in the northeast portion, Cesar Department on the east, Magdalena River to the west the department of Atlantico on the northwest portion and Bolivar in the southwest. Among all the cities in Magdalena, Santa Marta proves to be the heart of tourism owing to it being the most ancient city in South America and its unparalleled architectural designs. Without a doubt, Magdalena is a must tour in your next vacation spree in Colombia.

Playa Grande, Taganga, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia.

Playa Grande, Taganga, Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia.

A tour to Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) is indeed among the top reasons to visit Magdalena. Ciudad Perdida is a well-known archaeological location in the prehistoric city of Sierra Nevada which is thought to be revealed around the year 1972 when an assemblage of local treasure raiders discovered a ladder of stones mounting towards the mountainside leading them to deserted city which they called “Green Hell”. During the time when genuine jewels were already distributed in the black market, the administration finally decided to open the location to the public on 1975. The site is also recognized to be called as Buritaca while the American locals labelled it as Teyuna.

For those who are enthusiasts of the aquatic wildlife, the Rodadero Sea Aquarium and Museum is the ultimate place for you to visit. Rodadero Sea Aquarium and Museum is an aquatic museum situated in the Inca Inca Cove of the Rodadero beach in Santa Marta, Colombia. It went open for public viewing in the year 1965 and became a component of the National Network of Museums of Colombia and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Traversable chiefly by a motorboat, the aquarium has 13 pools with a direct link towards the Caribbean coast. It has 15 huge aquariums consisting beyond 800 sea creatures comprising of sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, crustaceans, sea turtles, seabirds and fishes, a big portion of it are indigenous to the region.

Las Fiestas del Mar (The Festival of the Sea) is among the yearly sought-after festivities in Santa Marta which is indeed one of the top reasons to visit Magdalena. The celebration has consistently drawn the attention of many tourists during the midyear holiday phase primarily because of its jetski exhibitions well-thought-out by Santa Marta Esqui. Furthermore, there are dynamic events to look forward to such as parades, beauty pageants, and vibrant shindigs in the city.  Indeed the festival has truly lived up to its famous catchphrase which is “Santa Marta, the magic of having it all.”

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Montoya Station, point of departure for the Barranquilla-Sabanilla Railway.

Top Reasons To Visit Atlantico

If you can’t get enough of the sightseer attractions in Colombia, then all the more should you discover the top reasons to visit Atlantico.  Atlantico is one of Colombia’s departments which lie on its northern area with Canal del Dique to the south, Bolivar Department to its west and the Magdalena Department to its east divided by the Magdalena River. Fundamentally, Barranquilla is Atlántico’s capital city being the heart of its industry and tourism. In 2001, the city was acknowledged as a National Cultural Heritage by Colombia’s Congress for its outstanding folk and customary festival which is the Carnival of Baranquilla. Baranquillas’ popular carnival slogan is “Who lives it, is who enjoys it.”

Baranquillas Carnival is deemed to be Columbia’s most significant traditional merriment and also noted as one of the biggest carnivals in the entire world thus is among the optimum top reasons to visit Atlantico. It has customs practiced still way back from the 19th century. The festival usually takes place on Saturday prior to Ash Wednesday and adorns itself with the “Battle of the Flowers” to ensure that many tourists are drawn collectively along with the city’s residents to shindig and have fun during the four days of vibrant and pulsating celebrations. When the carnival takes place, all the regular activities are temporarily put on hold to give way to the bustling street dances and lively masquerade and musical parades. Barranquilla’s Carnival comprises of the Spanish Paloteo dances, African congo and the aboriginal mico y micas. Furthermore, diverse styles and genres of Colombian songs are also presented. In November 7, 2003, it was proclaimed by UNESCO as one of the “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

Montoya Station, point of departure for the Barranquilla-Sabanilla Railway.

Montoya Station, point of departure for the Barranquilla-Sabanilla Railway.

Another must-visit in Atlantico is Plaza San Nicolas which is situated in Avenida la Paz, Calle 33B of Baranquilla. The plaza is rooted by the Catedral de San Nicolas which is a stunning revamped church. It is not open for touring inside though so you can only take photographs with the cathedral’s facade. Encompassing the church are several marketplaces that are convenient for quick shopping. Fundamentally, the park is a nice spot to visit since it is the heart of the city’s economical and spiritual heritage; it is the place where the first inhabitants of the city became bonded and united spiritually.

If you want to rekindle the kid in you or perhaps if you already have children to entertain, then the Barranquilla Zoo is one of the top reasons to visit Atlantico. In the zoo you can find a diverse variety flora and fauna such as shrubs, trees, rabbits, deers, Central American agouti, foxes, porcupines, turtles, parrots and many more with a lot of areas to take good pictures of.  There are also plenty of areas to buy food too if ever you get hungry along the tour. It also has a special area called the “dark room” where the zoo keeps its rare animals. Moreover the zoo’s staff are also very accommodating in exhibiting and answering many questions from its tourists.

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Valley of the Sinu river

Top Tourist Attractions in Monteria

From the moment the top tourist attractions in Monteria, Colombia was exposed and took over by the Spaniards, the city has gained the epithet of The Pearl of River Sinu to the natives. The city is perhaps one of the most unique cities in the country when it comes to customs and trade and industry ventures. Furthermore, the city’s extraordinary aura is a product combination linking the Spanish inhabitants, African plantation labourers, Zenu Indians and Arab nomads. Such unique mixture resulted to the surfacing of a national emblem, the Vueltiao hat and the native Porro legendary music.

Valley of the Sinu river

Valley of the Sinu river

Monteria’s tactical site alongside the Sinu River paved the flourishing of the middle society way of life that benefits the inhabitants of the city whose source of income solely relies on cotton agriculture and cattle farming. Several of the cattle ranches within the area endorse the esteem of the local cattle commerce through yearly merry making and exhibits of farms animals during June making it as one of the top tourist attractions in Monteria.

During the current setting, Monteria takes pleasure in a metropolitan restoration steer which resulted to the construction of the First Avenue Park next to the banks of Sinu River.  Travelers visiting the town can now lavish on the quaint pavements along the extent of the park which directs to multi-coloured hues of panoramic botanical gardens with a wide array of styles, serene pathways, revitalizing cycling lanes and fascinating bistros. The First Avenue Park is free of access for the whole day without closing time and is highlighted during the evening with vibrantly-coloured street lights that boosts the park’s tropical ambience. An additional top tourist attraction in Monteria to look forward to is the Simon Bolivar Park which functions as a ecosystem reserve for wild monkeys and sloths.

For those who just can’t get enough of the top tourist attractions in Monteria, the city is also an ideal leap point for tourists who would love to explore the innate marvels of the adjoining regions. A matchless mode of transportation for citizens and travelers alike is materialized in a ship structure that is known locally as Planchones. This ferry-type transportation chiefly comprises of rafts made of wood with a route going towards the Sinu River using only the manual cables for pulling. A tour on these local ferries is a cool and suitable means to unwind in the resorts within the areas such as the Playa Blanca. A short sail on the Sinu River also exposes the natural beauty of Bethlehem Island which is famed for its sundry bird species.

Beyond doubt, a meaningful visit to one of the top tourist attractions in Monteria, Colombia can become one of the most unforgettable vacation getaways for everyone who has experienced the journey of unveiling the pristine splendour of a city that lies in a haven by the river.

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Cucuta

Top Tourist Attractions In Cucuta

The top tourist attractions in Cucuta, Colombia are mostly history related, given its role in the first European excursions. In search of the famed El Dorado, Spanish inquisitors took over many of the settlements surrounding Magdalena River and established them as colonies – Cucuta being one of them. And because of its landlocked geography, there are not that many water-related destinations to look forward to. But that does not make the place any less interesting. Just to note, to the east, the metropolis is bordered by Venezuela and Puerto Santander, while to the north, there is Tibu. On the west, the cities of El Zulia and San Cayetano can be found. And at the south, there’s Villa del Rosario, Los Patios, and Bochalema.

Cucuta

Cucuta

If it is your first time to visit Cucuta, then you should see to it that you check out the monument of the Battle of Cucuta as this would give you a greater appreciation of the town’s transformation. Standing on a small hill, overlooking the city is a symbol of the people’s victory against colonization which contributed to them winning over the independence of Colombia from the Spanish. Under the leadership of Simon Bolivar, 400 hundred men marched to Venezuela and fought off 800 Spanish soldiers from the Cucuta settlement along the way, thereby securing more support for the movement.

Next, you should head on to Santander Park, which was the site that previously played host to the principal events and public affairs of locals. In the center of the park stands a bronze statue of the General Santander, who was an honorary political and military leader in Colombia. In front of the park is another one of the top tourist attractions in Cucuta, the Cathedral of San Jose, which is one of the more well-known remnants of colonial architecture in the place. Other worthwhile destinations are Colon Park, constructed in honor of Christopher Columbus and Simon Boliver Park, named after the famous icon of freedom.

As a final stopover among the top tourist attractions in Cucuta, you should swing by and spend an afternoon in Unicentro, the city’s most important commercial center. It is located at the intersection of Bogota Avenue Canal and Avenida Libertadores and can easily be accessed by public transportation. It is a young landmark, just launched last 2007. But it draws quite a crowd given its international facilities. Other popular shopping destinations are Ventura Plaza, the largest in Cucuta, and Vivero, which has become a prominent trade store in all of Colombia.

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Beachfront in Riohacha, Colombia

Top Reasons To Visit Riohacha

The top reasons to visit Riohacha are something tourists are considering extensively. Truth can be told that this is the part of Colombia which does not attract that much attention from the media. For better or worse it does not reach the attention of many people abroad. However, there are some veteran travelers who have visited Riohacha more than once and can attest some good points about the place being a conventional choice for tourism. One can safely say that this region is still trying to gain some visibility in the world media. The good reasons for visiting Riohacha are the following:

1. Learning to treasure water as a precious resource

This may not be one of the top reasons to visit Riohacha for many conventional travelers who are after comfort and luxury. However this is a valuable lesson not always taught in college in a very intrinsic way. With many people from high end cities taking for granted the easily accessible supply of water, meticulous tourists can often receive an advisory from the tourism department that water shortages are rampant. However, some tourists learn of it the hard way. At the very least when one returns home he or she could feel a sense of gratitude for a blessed environment, or feel admiration for the locals in Riohacha who have adapted well to the basic difficulties of semi-desert coastal terrain.

Beachfront in Riohacha, Colombia

Beachfront in Riohacha, Colombia

2. Strolling the length of quiet beaches

Riohacha’s most crowded civilization lies at the coastal areas and its highways stretched throughout the extensive length of the Caribbean seashore. Quiet beaches are just the perfect remedy for jaded tourists whose souls are battered by the loudness and hyperactivity of the oppressive concrete jungle. Riohacha’s beaches are relatively less crowded compared to other celebrated resorts in Colombia. Finding solace will allow a person to gain emotional equilibrium. Thus one can begin seeking livelier entertainment smoothly after a fulfilling retrospective stroll.

3. The easiest route to Cabo de La Vela and back

For many people who are experienced in roaming around Colombia, one of their top reasons for visiting Riohacha is simply because it is the gateway to Cabo de La Vela – a livelier and much more prestigious tourist hub that has already reached the enthusiastic ears of free-spirited foreigners. Riohacha is the nearest neighboring city of this more commercialized destination. However, knowing the infamous crime rate of Cabo de La Vela, Riohacha may prove to be a refuge for those who simply had enough of the wild party.

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Chinchiná, Caldas

Top Reasons To Visit Caldas

The top reasons to visit Caldas are not difficult to enumerate, as contrary as it may seem for outsiders who have a relatively familiar perspective of what Colombia is. Internal conflict between the government and the local terrorist groups (specifically the FARC) may have reached the attention of global news media and international watchers, but in this very vast territory some areas truly deserve to be vindicated by these kinds of stereotypes. Caldas is among the regions in Colombia that truly captured the hearts of a number of conventional tourists, especially its famous city of Manizales. There are indeed excellent reasons to visit one of the famous territories of the “Coffee Axis of Colombia”.

Chinchiná, Caldas

Chinchiná, Caldas

1. The City of Open Doors sounds very positive

Manizales, the capital city of Caldas, carries the title of “City of Open Doors”. With over 450 thousand inhabitants, tourists are in no exception to this open invitation. Every outsider is encouraged to experience the colorful sights and sounds of this city. The honking of vehicles, musty smell of traffic and the feel of the heat in the crowded streets are nothing like the dreary frantic realities of the concrete jungle that city people try to temporarily escape from. January, the noisiest month of the year, will put some fiery energy into the gray lives of jaded tourists. The bullfighting festival proves to be the highlight of January’s revelry.

2. Appreciating horses to a whole new level

March is another month in the calendar to mark for tourists who plan to visit the region of Caldas. For tourists with an exceptional degree of fascination with horses, one of the top reasons to visit Caldas is the annual Equine Exposition Fair. From mustang to appaloosas, the Equine Exposition Fair every March shall bedazzle horse lovers around the world with their extensive list of equestrian delegates.

3. Let’s join the International Coffee Competition!

Caldas is not considered one of the “Coffee Axis of Colombia” for nothing. Writers, secretaries, accountants, web designers, teachers and many more clerical professionals can be caffeine junkies and tourists at the same time. From coffee tasting festivities to international coffee beauty pageants, Caldas is home to Colombia’s proverbial International Coffee Competition.

4. The University of Caldas: an academic’s Mecca

One of the top reasons to visit Caldas also appeals to the very astute and scholarly pursuits, aside from the hedonistic interests catered by loud festivals. Within the University of Caldas campus rests the Museum of Natural History. This institution contains one of the best collections of butterflies in South America enough to excite the naturalists for an entire day. Aside from natural science, history also has a place in the Anthropological museum housing over 3,500 pieces of Pre-Colombian works of art made by the famous Quimbaya people. Technology-wise, the Botanical Gardens pride itself with eye-candy greenhouse complexes, an arboretum and a meteorological station to fascinate contemporary botanists and herbalists.

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Houses and sidewalk platforms in Leticia, Colombia.

Top Tourist Attractions in Leticia

The top tourist attractions in Leticia are unquestionably the perfect getaway to explore Amazon’s woodland and rich wildlife reserves. Being the capital of Amazonas and the biggest city in Colombia lying on Peru and Brazil’s boundary, Leticia is truly a great vacation spot to be spellbound by the delight of the natural beauty of the tropical rainforests encompassing the city.

Houses and sidewalk platforms in Leticia, Colombia.

Houses and sidewalk platforms in Leticia, Colombia.

Ethnographic Museum and Library of the Republic Bank is one of the top tourist attractions in Leticia that is a must see. It contains a lot of attention-grabbing materials and knowledge on the various ethnic and aboriginal assemblages that has settled in the region of Colombia. Situated near the heart of the city, a stopover to this top tourist attraction in Leticia is a great chance to trace the links of the sociological heritage of the Amazonian area in Colombia. If fortunate, your trip can be facilitated by a few of the members of the tribal groups that still reside in the area like that of Ticunas o Huitotos. Furthermore, it is highly recommended to visit the museum before you explore the forests to have a better comprehension of the diversity of customs and be equipped with the right knowledge about the things to carefully take note of upon arriving in the native community.

After an interesting tour with the Ethnographic Museum, a visit to the Serpentarium is also a good option to find out about the wonderful and sometimes gigantic and venomous snakes of the forests of Amazon. Also, just near the core of Leticia, the Vivarium Amazonas is a perfect spot for those who are enthusiasts of snakes and a whole lot more of fauna. To find the route towards it, just take a bus ride that heads to Tarapaca and stopover at the kilometre 11. From there you will discover the Tanimboca Reserve which exhibits a minute anthology of live frogs, snakes, lizards and piranhas with the purpose of preserving the endangered ecosystems.

For a more up-close look of the top tourist attractions in Leticia, a tour to Mundo Amazonico Ecological Park would somehow complete your bucket list of the Amazon. This park offers tourists a lot of prevalent flora within the region along with its educational instruction about the therapeutic effects of such plants to many sicknesses. Lying only 15 minutes away from Leticia’s focal point with a tour that usually consumes about three hours of your time, the botanical park is a perfect place to be in awe and be inspired by the beauty of these Amazonian plants. Apart from the educational tour, there are also other activities to delve into such as farming, camping, bird-watching, and food-tasting of some the Amazon’s native delicacies.

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Center Bucaramanga, Santander park and building the Triad.

Top Tourist Attractions in Santander

A planned visit to Colombia would be more gratifying if you come to explore the top tourist attractions in Santander. Santander, whose capital city is Bucaramanga, is a subdivision of Colombia which got its name from one of the primary states of Colombia’s United States. It can be found on the northern core of the country, to the east of Magdalena River, bounded to the south and southeast by Boyoca, to the north by Cesar Department and to the west by Bolivar and Antioquia Departments.

Center Bucaramanga, Santander park and building the Triad.

Center Bucaramanga, Santander park and building the Triad.

Playa de Belen is minute yet a picturesque village to visit in the north of Santander. It is a nice place to experience serenity, comfort and adventure at the same time. Each of the houses in Playa de Belen is colored white emanating a grand colonial charisma. What chiefly catches the attention of many to this township is just to wander around, chill out and savor the laidback way of life in this place. In spite of being the ‘Peoples’ Heritage’, Playa de Belen is one of the safest places to visit in Colombia so it is truly a perfect escape to reflect and experience the customs and traditions of the place with complete peace of mind.

Parque Natural Los Estoraques is one of the must-see top tourist attractions in Santander. It is one of Colombia’s smallest yet well-preserved parks which boast of its sky-scraping crag-like rocks that are so majestic and pleasing to the eyes. The sought-after park is just 200 metres from Playa de Belen thus making it accessible for a lot of travelers. What’s more is that trekking into the mountain scopes in close proximity is not too challenging thus anyone can do the climb and be rewarded by the marvelous panoramic sights of Santander.

If you’re the type who has the passion for extreme adventure then San Gil, being one of the top tourist attractions in Santander, is a must discover for you. It offers a lot of outdoor activities to choose from ranging from hiking, caving, kayaking and its most sought-after sport which is water rafting. Among all activities rafting is thought of as the most memorable one. The adventure usually takes about two and half hours of intense adrenaline escapade yet is assured to be free from harm with the company of rafting specialists. Be prepared for an ultimate ride in South America as you also bear witness to the captivating view of the mountains encompassing you during your rough ride.

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Vitória Régia, in Amazonas River.

Top Tourist Attractions in Amazonas

Having one of the biggest tropical rainforests and one of the most bountiful rivers in the world is just among the top tourist attractions in Amazonas, Colombia. Amazonas doesn’t just serve as an oasis to a lot of flora and fauna but is also a phenomenal region for the indigenous people who settle in the area and to the vast magnitude of the river which breathes life to the entire ecological system.

Vitória Régia, in Amazonas River.

Vitória Régia, in Amazonas River.

In the department of Colombia, Amazonas’ capital city which is Leticia has served as a point of entry that directs to the enthralling places in the tropical forests of Amazonas, making it as a chief target location for a lot of tourists who wishes to explore the beautiful jungles. Take for example the trail to Tarapaca, a Huitoto Indian settlement which heads to the Tanimboca reserve, a portion of which is a 45 meter elevated stage created in the midst of the trees.

In Tanimboca tourists have the privilege to mount trees as towering as 35 metres and can even glide 80 metres from one tree to another through the stunning forest canopy. River rides are also made available to travellers with guides that could take you to beautiful places you never thought you could see, some are even prohibited to those who have not been yet to the depths of the forest thus making your vacation adventure truly worthwhile.

Another option to explore among the top tourist attractions in Amazonas is the Isla de Los Micos (Monkey Island). Motor boats are accessible from the docks in Leticia to set towards the 450 hectares of Monkey Island which nestles mainly a wide anthology of apes, birds and mammals. It is also feasible to ride a boat to Peruvian settlements of Santa Rosa and Bellavista to get to this well-known Monkey reserve. Alongside the journey you can also come across the Yabari River which has captivating views for wildlife enthusiasts such as black caimans, pink dolphins and the famed Victoria Regia flower lilies.

During your vacation spree set up, don’t forget to drop by in San Martin which is also one of the top tourist attractions in Amazonas. From there, tourists can engage in wood engraving, weaving and basketry activities where the crafts are actually originally created.

Puerto Nariño is another municipality option to visit in Amazonas where travelers can devour on its Amazonian culinary which is mostly made out of gamitana, pirarucu and tucunare fish. What’s more is that its main dishes are usually served along with luscious cakes that are meticulously baked out of cassava flour. Within Puerto Nariño, tours can also be facilitated towards the Tarapoto Lakes where you can go for a dip and witness gray and pink dolphins swim along with you.

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