Monthly Archives: July 2013

Plaza Jardin in Antioquia

Top Things To Know About Visiting Envigado

Among the top things to know about visiting Envigado is the fact that it is located in the department of Antioquia, north of El Poblado, Medellin. It is within the territory of the Aburra Valley and has El Retiro, Caldas and Itagui as neighbours. It is currently regarded as the birthplace of the philosopher Fernando Gonzalez and even has a cultural center and museum dedicated to his work and memory. But beyond this point of interest, Envigado is well-known for its paisa traditions and architecture, which is recognized as one of the best standard of living.

Plaza Jardin in Antioquia

Plaza Jardin in Antioquia

If ever you find yourself in town, make sure you drop by Pueblito Paisa, located on top of El Cerro Nutibara. See, apart from providing guests a better understanding of the traditional Antioquian lifestyle, it also offers a great view of the city and a challenging hiking experience. In addition, you should also check out Museo de Antioquia and its collection of contemporary art, which include those made by Fernando Botero, a Columbian artist and one of the most prominent sculptors in the world. Museo Universidad de Antioqiua is a great alternative to the former, with its assortment of visual art, natural science, anthropology and university history displays. Here, you’ll get to see a large number of pre-Columbian ceramic pieces, not to mention engage in a Galileo interactive room, which provides some of the top things to know about visiting Envigado. Now, just make sure you come by during weekdays between 10 AM to 5PM so you’d get to enter both premises.

To complement this experience, drop by the Wishes’ Park (Parque de los Deseos) near the University and check out the newly reconstructed planetarium. Plaza de Cisneros is also a fun highlight for you to explore a few miles away, with its 1920’s architecture, EPM library and line-up of shops. Parque de Berrio is just close by and has all the important financial buildings of the metropolis. And if you want to get acquainted with other top things to know about visiting Envigado, you should set aside time for Parque Periodista, the hang out spot of bohemians and musicians.

Parque Santander and Saint Francis of Assisi Cathedral

Top Reasons To Visit Sucre

The top reasons to visit Sucre can all be found in one notable city – Sincelejo. The Sucre Department is a vast region in Colombia with a very curious pre-colonization history. Interestingly, a huge kingdom known as Zenu once inhabited this region as well as the Cordoba Department and other parts Bolivia and Antioquia. The Zenu people are such an advanced race whose expertise in hydraulics engineering continues to baffle many of the modern academics. However, the Zenu people are among the many victims of Spanish cruelty and Sucre Department is just one of the many areas where such inhumanity occurred. Somewhere around 1775 the city of Sincelejo was reestablished, which according to history; becomes the starting point in the foundation of the Sucre Department in 1966 after decades of appeal from the central government of Colombia.

1. A good place for studying the Zenu people

If studying pre-Colombian history is one of the top reasons to visit Sucre, then there is plenty to know about this department’s ancient inhabitants. The Zenu people are one of the many civilizations that comprised the overall nations living the Mesoamerican (South American natives) world. If the Aztecs are known for their cosmological temples and the Incas for their building of impossible fortresses, the Zenu are known for their advanced knowledge of hydraulics engineering. These waterworks provide excellent irrigation systems in their vast farmlands. Although these people are virtually extinct, their ruins can be found in several archeological sites all over Sucre.

2. Playing around Majagual Plaza

The Majagual Plaza could represent a symbol of resilience for the people of Sucre, particularly in Sicelejo City. This plaza was once devastated by a massive earthquake and was totally ruined. But it never stopped the locals from rebuilding it into a much more spectacular design than before. It incorporated post-modern minimalist design since its reconstruction in late 1980’s. This plaza is an excellent venue for cultural gatherings. It can also be an appropriate place to try out the new skateboard or practice tai chi together with a huge group of enthusiasts.

3. How sweet is Jesus’ Sweet Name?

Another best motive among the top reasons to visit Sucre is to join a special holiday in January. The feast of Jesus’ Sweet Name may have an overly extravagant ring to it but this festival may be considered an extension of the fun-filled Christmas and New Year days. One can experience being bedazzled by the splendor of local Colombian ladies in a beauty pageant. Parades are also a joyous sight but if there is one thing that truly takes the cake in the thrills, it is viewing of bullfighting that takes place for several days.

Parque Santander and Saint Francis of Assisi Cathedral

Parque Santander and Saint Francis of Assisi Cathedral

4. A good spiritual experience in St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of Sincelejo as well as all of Sucre Department at large. His cathedral, built around 1853, is the center of important religious festivals such as Easter and other religious holidays.

Chicamocha Canyon in Bucaramanga, Colombia

Top Tourist Attractions In Bucaramanga

The top tourist attractions in Bucaramanga are not as plenty as other Colombian countries. But that does not imply that it is a boring destination. There are still a significant number of things to do and see while in town. And you’re bound to spend a memorable weekend here if you do ever decide on coming by. The best way to tour Bucaramanga is to experience it. And what you need to do is expect less visual stimulation and more of the other senses. But first, we must discuss the landmarks that make this place unique from everywhere else.

Chicamocha Canyon in Bucaramanga, Colombia

Chicamocha Canyon in Bucaramanga, Colombia

When you are in Bucaramanga, you should make sure that you visit Panachi or the Chicamocha national park, which is located just 50 kilometers from the center. It features spectacular landscaping and facilities, perfect for activities such as camping, mountain climbing, bushwalking, fishing, rafting, spelunking and paragliding, to name a few. If you are not that big on adventures, then the aerial tramway, viewing decks, skating rinks, petting zones, and karts circuits should be enough to entertain you. After you’ve spend some time there, then you should head on down to the Museum of Modern Art, which is one of the top tourist attractions in the city of Bucaramanga. It has two showrooms which present a collection of 217 artworks, composed mostly of sculptures. As an alternative, you could also drop by the historical town of San Juan de Giron, which was the first Spanish Settlement in the Santander region.

Once you’ve had your fill of sightseeing, you should then visit famous local restaurants like Desayunadero Tony, Restaurante Mercagan and Restaurante La Puerta del Sol to order any of the dishes that make Colombia a hotspot for delicious cuisines. If your stomach can take on a challenge, you should also search for delicacies that are uniquely served in Bucaramanga. One of which is Fritanga, a traditional dish traditionally made in the city and is composed of steak, sausages, yuca, corn and potatoes that’s deep fried. Cutonas is also another exclusive specialty within this place that’s made up of toasted bodies of leaf-cutter ants.

When you are already satiated, you can then save up your energy for the top tourist attractions in Bucaramanga at night, such as Parque Las Palmas, Calle 52, and Carreras 34 and 35, which are mid/upscale bars and clubs. If these turned out to be crowded during your stay, you could also seek out Babilonia, Con Arte, Saxo and Giron Chill Out.

Torre Sant'Andrea in Santa Catarina

Top Reasons To Visit Salento

It doesn’t seem like it but there are a number of top reasons to visit Salento. Salento is a sleepy little town in Quindío, Colombia. The seemingly boring place is bound to surprise you. It is enriched by culture and has plenty of sights and activities to offer. As a matter of fact, tourists from Armenia and Pereira come in droves during weekends and holidays. Still not convinced? Here’s why Salento should be your next destination.

Torre Sant'Andrea in Santa Catarina

Torre Sant’Andrea in Santa Catarina

1. Eat Trucha. Trucha is a type of fish that lives in abundance in the region. Restaurants normally serve it with rice at different prices, depending on how it was prepared. Restaurants around the main plaza are your best bets for eating Trucha. You can also go fish for one at the farm and cook it yourself. The only drawback of this is that it would turn out to be more expensive than dining at a restaurant.

2. Play Tejo. The national sport is played throughout Colombia and something you can enjoy in this town. Tejo is one of the top reasons to visit in Salento. Participants are required to throw a weight underarm into a wooden packing crate. The weight is usually around 500 g to 1 kg and the crate is filled with clay and elevated at an angle. Embedded on the clay is a metal circle. The goal is to get your weight inside this metal circle. To make tejo more fun, Colombians place gunpowder on the top and bottom of the circle. If you hit the metal with your weight, the gun powder will explode. Extra points are awarded for the bang. You can play the game at the Plantation House in Salento.

3. Celebrate the fiesta. On the first week of January, Salento transforms into a lively place from a sleepy town.

4. Go hiking at Valle de Cocora. The picturesque landscape is one of the most scenic places in Colombia. You can get there by taking a jeep from the Plaza in Salento. The jeep leaves as soon as it is filled so come early and bring food and water with you. Hiking up Valle de Cocora takes several hours but the trail is easy. Just 2.5 hours of hiking and you’ll get to the Acaime ranger post where you can take a break, have a cup of hot tea or chocolate, enjoy the sceneries, and listen to hummingbirds. There are many other things to do and sights to see in Valle de Cocora. No wonder it’s one of the top reasons to visit Salento.

Spectacled Bear in Serrania de los Churumbelos

Top Tourist Attractions In Putumayo

If you want to see some of the most remarkable places in Colombia, then you wouldn’t dare miss the top tourist attractions in Putumayo. The Putumayo department is located in the southwestern corner of the country, with Peru and Ecuador around its border. Its name was derived from two words of the Quechua dialect: the word putuy which means “to spring forth” and mayu which refers to a “gushing river”.

Putumayo was originally inhabited by various Indian tribes in different regions; the Kamentxá in the north west, Cofáns of the south west, Tukano-speaking tribes in the central and southern areas, and Witoto-speaking tribes of the east. Spanish colonization eradicated most of them but some survived and continue to thrive, accounting for Putumayo’s richness in culture. But there is more to Putumayo than just cultural attractions for it also teems with bounties of nature.

1. Ríos Rumiyacu y Mandiyaco

The Rumiyacu River lies south of Mocoa, the capital of Putumayo. It forms a number of water holes where you can take a relaxing swim.

2. Cañon de Mandiyaco

The Mandiyaco Canyon is a 19 km road trip from Mocoa through a paved road. It features nature trails that meander through portions of the canyon and surrounding rivers and forests. Guided tours of the Mandiyaco Canyon are available and last for about 10 minutes. Even travelers inexperienced at hiking will find its trails easy to trek.

Guided tours of Cañon de Mandiyaco go beyond sightseeing. The tour guide will also tell stories of myths, legends, and folklore involving the area. Tourists are allowed to rest, eat, and drink in between. Mandiyaco Canyon is one of the top tourist atractions in Putumayo.

3. Hornoyaco Falls

It is a 60-meter waterfall surrounded by a beautiful landscape with thick vegetation.

Spectacled Bear in Serrania de los Churumbelos

Spectacled Bear in Serrania de los Churumbelos

4. Salto de Churumbelo

Resting on the mountainous region of Churumbelo lies Salto de Churumbelo, one of the top tourist attractions in Putumayo. It is an impressive waterfall more beautiful than Horoyaco Falls. Moreover, Salto de Churumbelo used to be the cradle of an ancient civilization that has gone extinct over the centuries.

Las Lajas Sanctuary in Narino

Top Tourist Attractions In Las Lajas Sanctuary

The top tourist attractions in Las Lajas Sanctuary may be little, considering the size of this attraction, but very memorable.  This iconic church straddling in the gorge between Colombia and Ecuador is one of the famous pilgrimage sites in the country, mainly due to the legend that surrounds the sanctuary.

According to local lore, an Amerindian Woman took refuge in the gorge where the sanctuary now stands with her mute daughter during a strong storm.  When the woman looked up, she saw the image of the Virgin Mary.  Right then and there, her daughter began talking and her disability was completely healed.

Shortly after, a blind man began collecting donations to build a chapel in the area.  When he got back to Las Lajas, his blindness was cured.

These local legends have inspired the townspeople to fund the construction of the Las Lajas Sanctuary from 1916 to 1949.

While Las Lajas Sanctuary is a popular pilgrimage site in Colombia, it is often overlooked by tourists visiting Colombia.  But these tourists are missing a lot.  Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Las Lajas Sanctuary:

Las Lajas Sanctuary in Narino

Las Lajas Sanctuary in Narino

The church’s architecture.  Las Lajas Sanctuary’s magnificent architecture may seem like it was built in the 18th century.  Its breathtaking façade is ornate and highly detailed, it probably looked like a displaced European basilica in the middle of a Colombian gorge.  But that’s the beauty of the Las Lajas Sanctuary.  Its uniqueness both in its architecture and location make it something worth visiting while you’re in the area.

The view below.  If you’ve seen one too many basilicas in your lifetime, Las Lajas Sanctuary may not be any different from any of them.  But take a few steps back for the door and look down.  The picturesque view of the Guaitara river canyon can be dizzying, but it makes the entire Las Lajas Sanctuary look like a hidden medieval European castle.

Its history.  What make the top tourist attractions in Las Lajas Sanctuary all the more interesting is its history and the local lore surrounding the mystic gorge the sanctuary is located in.

That makes it a mystery why the Las Lajas Sanctuary is often overlooked by tourist in a great hurry to go to Ecuador.


Top Reasons To Visit Villavicencio

Astounding mountain scenery and some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan areas of Colombia are some of the top reasons to visit Villavicencio.  Located 2-4 hours away from Bogota, Villavicencio (or Villavo as locas fondly call it) is the gateway to the Los Llanos plains.  It’s also the capital of the Meta department.

And while Villavicencio is virtually devoid of 5-star hotels for a comfortable stay, the top reasons to visit Villavicencio will suffice to compensate on this lack of accommodations:


Los Llanos.  A visit to this vast tropical grassland plain is one of the top reasons to visit Villavicencio.  Situated at the east of Andes in Colombia and Venezuela, these flooded grasslands are rich in flora and fauna.  As a matter of fact, the Los Llanos plains is home to more than 1000 species of Colombian wildlife, including the Venezuelan spectacled cayman, and a wide variety of birds such as herons, storks, egrets and spoonbills.

Peace, quiet and nature.  But Los Llanos is not the only attraction in Villavicencio.  There’s the Parque de los Fundadores, with its wide and green open spaces, and the Bioparque Los Ocarros, a zoo 3 km. from the city which exhibits Colombian wildlife including crocodiles.

Food.  While Villavicencio is no place to look for gourmet finds and a glass of wine, the food here is certainly a must-try.  One of the most popular ways food is prepared in Villavicencio is through roasting or cooking food around an open-fire, similar to barbecues.

One of the best places to go for a roasted meat fest is the Asadero El Amarradero del Mico, which is located 2 km. northeast of the city, on the road to Restrepo.

Nightlife.  For something as peaceful and rustic as Villavicencio, you’d be surprised that it has one of the most exciting nightlife in Colombia.  Los Capachos, one of the biggest night clubs in Colombia rests in the heart of this quaint little town.  Checking out this night club is the most perfect way to cap your visit to Villavicencio.


Taganga in Magdalena, Colombia

Top Tourist Attractions In Magdalena

There are a lot of top tourist attractions in Magdalena, Colombia in which tourists can take pleasure in. Magdalena is located on the Northern coast of Colombia. Since it is located near the sea, its climate is mostly in hot and humid temperature. Magdalena has only two seasons: The rainy season which happens every month of April to November and the dry season which occurs in between December to March. Magdalena being a department on the North Coast has many beautiful beaches and sceneries to spend a vacation to.

Taganga in Magdalena, Colombia

Taganga in Magdalena, Colombia

One of the highly regarded top tourist attractions in Magdalena is the Tayrona National Park. In this park, tourist will see various beaches, reefs, mangroves and ruins of the Tayrona Indians. This tourist attraction needs about an hour or two hike for the visitors. Along the hike, tourist can have a glimpse of various plants and animals, trees and vegetation which are surrounded with birds and butterflies. In Magdalena, tourists will truly enjoy the nature and its wildlife. As tourists reach the beach, they will utterly be stunned with it as it is clear blue. The beach has also huge boulders wherein you can climb to truly see the beauty of the horizon. Tourists can even stay for a night in hammocks on the boulders. There are also restaurants in the park where you will enjoy the sumptuous treats of Magdalena. Tayrona Park is beyond doubt a fine-looking spot for beaches and jungles.

If you want to see various ruins and if you love to trek, then the Lost City is one the suitable tourist attractions in Magdalena Colombia that is for you find out. On the way to this attraction, along with seeing various ruins and the scenic jungle, you need to do some trek. You will see lush palms and trees, colorful parrots and butterflies. In the jungle, you will find rivers in which you are allowed to dip and relax into in the middle of your trek. Since this is a four-day trek, camping is a necessity which you would truly enjoy with family and friends. You can sleep on hammocks as you enjoy the sound of nature, the sound of the jungle. In the lost city you will absolutely enjoy not only the beautiful scenery but also the experience that goes along with it.

For nature lovers you can visit Sierra Nevada wherein you can see top species of birds and beautiful mountains. You can also enjoy outdoor activities along with this scenic adventure. As you track on the mountains, you can ride on mountain bikes to enjoy the ride as you go downhill. You will also find beautiful waterfalls and go canyoning, wherein you will jump down the falls. This is truly a top attraction in Magdalena Colombia. If you want to go snorkeling and enjoy swimming on the beach and at the same time enjoy delicious seafood cuisines, you should visit Rodadero. This is a peaceful and attractive spot for tourists indeed – wonderful beach coupled with splendid food and brilliant activities.

Finally, for tourists to have a feel of Magdalena, you should visit the well-preserved museum at Quinta de San Pedro de Alejandrino. You will learn the history of Colombia in this excursion, including the fact that this is the place where Simon Bolivar; a leader who liberated South America, resided and died. You will truly be amazed with the history as well as the spectacular artifacts and exhibits.

Make sure to visit Magdalena when you drop by Colombia and be stunned by its amazing beaches, people and culture. Magdalena Colombia is surely a wise vacation choice.

Satellite view of Punta Gallinas and Guajira Peninsula

Top Reasons To Visit Punta Gallinas

The top reasons to visit Punta Gallinas might not be a hard list to fill in one’s travel notebook if deserts would give a bad impression for a holiday site. But Punta Gallinas might prove desert-haters wrong once they finally arrived at the area. One may say that not all paradises are made of thick foliage that fosters a plethora of overgrown plant life. The Punta Gallinas might be one of the most unique topographies of Colombia since this country is known for its greenery. This region’s uniqueness alone could captivate many offbeat travellers who come for a unique vacation experience. This headland location might have earned a comical moniker that meant “Cape Chicken” in Spanish, but outdoor adventures in this dry region is no chicken feed. Tourists planning to stay in Punta Gallinas should up their physical condition.

Satellite view of Punta Gallinas and Guajira Peninsula

Satellite view of Punta Gallinas and Guajira Peninsula

1. Rough exhilarating 4-wheel drag race

Perhaps one of the strangest causes among the top reasons to visit Punta Gallinas is to find out how true is the ferocious reputation of the terrain. Since Punta Gallinas is greatly deprived of a proper infrastructure, the entire vast land area is accessible only via a rugged 4-wheel drive. This vehicle is built to imitate the durability of the army land rover, but one may be alarmed to find out that in the middle of the journey its wheels can even break down. Adventurous travellers will be totally thrilled to consider this an adrenaline-packed journey.

2. Serenity in the sand dunes

After crossing a considerable mileage throughout La Guajira Department’s hostile terrain, one may be pleased to know that the rough rides often end at the smooth expanse of the desert dunes. The landscape is a breath taking sight, seemingly an imitation of a caramel-coloured zebra pattern sprawled throughout the entire coastal area of Punta Gallinas. An aerial view might prove to be even twice more magnificent. Travellers ought to avoid missing the chance to take some panoramic photographs worthy of a polished wooden frame.

3. Can you handle the sea kayaking?

Farther from the velvety dunes of the western dry coast is the sea shore. One of the top reasons to visit Punta Gallinas is the kind of thrill that the steep beaches can offer its adventurous tourists. It is here that most locals haul a very marvellous catch. It is not surprising for audacious tourists to imitate the hard way the natives catch fish – braving the gargantuan gales. Some may call it madness, while other will call it another wild ride. These waters are so fierce that visitor foresight is advised.

4. Meeting the Wayuu desert people

The Wayuu people are unique natives in Colombia strewn all over the entire country. Many of them lived in Punta Gallinas. One thing that fascinates visitors about them is that they can be role models of human resilience in the wild. Adventurous travellers who wished to optimize their sense of resourcefulness could learn a lot from these robust locals.

San Agustin Archeological Park in Huila

Top Tourist Attractions In San Agustin

Famous for its prehistoric monoliths and archaeological spots, the top tourist attractions in San Agustin will never fall short of your expectations. San Agustin is a little settlement nestled in southern Colombia’s department of Huila, with a distance of around 230 kilometres from the department’s capital city Neiva. After San Agustin’s archaeological sites were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, tourists were drawn towards visiting the place in turn boosting its tourism.

San Agustin Archeological Park in Huila

San Agustin Archeological Park in Huila

Unquestionably, San Agustin Archaeological Park is among the top tourist attractions in San Agustin being the only site in the globe housing 500 impressive structures of rocks engraved to utmost intricacy based on the renowned legends of its Indian carvers. Majority of the structures are deemed to be an inclusion in the memorial services of the primeval locals of the region that connects reality with the paranormal realm. Each of the rock statues and graves signify an epic character resembling that of the multi-faceted schemes of customs impressed and commemorated in the stone statues. Among the other sightseer attractions to look forward seeing in the park include the four mesitas which exhibit most of the stone monuments in the area and the Bosque de las Estatuas which display 39 statues in the open field surrounded by fine-looking plant life.

Among the archaeological displays, La Fuente de Lavapatas is probably considered as the grandest of all the carved figures in the top tourist attractions in San Agustin. The fountain is composed of a compound web of puddles and channels engraved in the substratum of the watercourse. Furthermore the encompassing carvings which are a stunning blend of images like that of lizards, snakes and a whole lot more of animal species with varied facades and contours greatly signifies the strong sense of artistry among its makers.

The jeepney tour is also considered as one of the top tourist attractions in San Agustin owing to its unique adventure-filled trip along the picturesque sights of the region. Among the famous tourist spots included in the trip are the El Estrecho of the Magdalena River where you get to have a glimpse of the scenic setting of the river; the Village of Obando as well as the Salto de los Bordones and Alto de las Piedras.

Another outdoor activity included in the top tourist attractions in San Agustin is the wild water rafting in Magdalena River. The water adventure usually takes about two to four hours in the water depending on the package choice and the level of difficulty. In addition to that, Magdalena rafting also features tours in French, English and Spanish languages thus the barrier in communication won’t be a problem to many tourists who would like to indulge into this activity. Aside from water rafting, waterfall rappelling at Los Tres Chorros can also be booked.