Colonial church in downtown Monteria at Cordoba, Colombia

Top Reasons To Visit Cordoba

When people encounter the top reasons to visit Córdoba, they immediately think of Spain. But there’s also a department in Colombia that goes by the same name. Although not as popular as its Spanish counterpart, the department of Colombia makes a decent travel destination despite increasing paramilitary presence and problems with drug trafficking. Córdoba is located north of the country on its Caribbean region. It has the Caribbean Sea to the north with the departments of Sucre, Bolivar, and Antioquia around its borders.

Colonial church in downtown Monteria at Cordoba, Colombia

Colonial church in downtown Monteria at Cordoba, Colombia

Reason #1: Visit Montería and experience the Colombian culture first-hand.

Montería is the capital city of Córdoba. It lies 31 miles from the Caribbean Sea along the Sinú River. As capital, not only is it the economic center of Córdoba but also the heart of its culture. It boasts the most unique cultural heritage among all cities in the region due to the combined influences of indigenous Zenú Indians, descendants of Africans and Spanish colonials, and Arab immigrants.

The sombrero vueltiao or vueltiado originates from this city, specifically the Zenú inhabitants. It evolved into becoming a national symbol for Colombia even though it mostly represents the country’s Caribbean region. The hat is made of caña flecha, a kind of cane that is cultivated in Colombia. It is traditionally worn by vallenato artists and cumbia dancers. Furthermore, Montería is the origin of porro. Porro is a folkloric style of music and dance that became popular in Colombia between the 1940s and 1970s. Since then it has evolved into different variations and types.

The Colombian culture that drives Montería city is one of the top reasons to visit Córdoba.

Reason #2: Escape into rural Colombia.

Córdoba offers a rural Colombian experience right outside Montería. Villages like Berástegui, Cereté, Ciénaga de Oro, Moñitos, Planeta Rica, and San Pelayo are home to haciendas where you can either relax or embark on adventures. Sports fishing, horseback riding, nature sightseeing, and trekking are just some of the activities you can do in rural areas of the department. And they are included in the top reasons to visit Córdoba.

Reason #3: Córdoba is a kid-friendly destination.

Córdoba may be a land filled with culture and recreation but the Colombian department also has child-friendly attractions. One such example is the Los Caimanes Zoo Park located between Buenavista and Planeta Rica. The zoo features animal shows that will surely entertain the little ones. It also has accommodations and a restaurant within the premises for easy accessibility of their facilities.

Panorama view of Yopal, from La Iguana Natural Park (Parque Natural La Iguana)

Top Tourist Attractions In Yopal

The following is a list of the top tourist attractions in Yopal. Yopal is the capital of Casanare, Colombia. It rests on the foothills of Cordillera Oriental, along River Cravo Sur. Its name was derived from the Indian word yopo which means “heart” but a species of timber trees with the same name also happen to flourish in the region. In fact, there is a whole forest of yopo trees in the city. The first inhabitant of Yopal was Elijah Seeded who built a house in 1915 on what is now the city centre. Within years, a town was formed and Yopal eventually became a municipality. Today, the city is best known for its natural hotspots.

Panorama view of Yopal, from La Iguana Natural Park (Parque Natural La Iguana)

Panorama view of Yopal, from La Iguana Natural Park (Parque Natural La Iguana)

1. La Guatoca

It is a natural swimming pool located north of Yopal, about 20 miles away via the nose. The trip usually takes around 30 minutes after which you will be greeted by crystal clear waters formed by a narrow creek. La Guatoca is surrounded by thick vegetation and makes a wonderful place to relax.

There is a small shop located nearby where you can buy foods and drinks as well as see framed pictures of the few people who have perished here. You can also learn more about the folklore surrounding La Guatoca in this shop. Stories tell of a guardian that helps keep the balance of nature in surrounding areas.

2. Quebrada La Niata

Situated 15 km north of the city, Quebrada La Niata is one of the top tourist attractions in Yopal. It can be accessed via the Marginal Jungle Highway. The nature spot is frequented because of its crystalline creeks which form pristine water wells ideal for swimming. Beaches have been set up around some of these water pools.

3. La Iguana Natural Park

The park spans for 268 acres across the Casanare from the La Cabuya bridge to the Matepantano Canal. You can access it by going down the stone staircase on River Estado and crossing the bamboo bridge. La Iguana National Park features well-marked nature trails that meander through forests as well as recreational facilities. For ecotourists, this is one of the top tourist attractions in Yopal.

Lake Tota, the largest lake in Colombia

Top Things To Know About Lake Tota

Before you embark on your journey to this famous Boyaca destination, it’s important that you are acquainted with the top things to know about Lake Tota.  This lake is a tributary to the Upia River, which in turn flows to the Orinoco River basin.

Lake Tota, the largest lake in Colombia

Lake Tota, the largest lake in Colombia

Lake Tota is surrounded by quaint towns and villages, such as Aquitana, Tota, Iza and Cuitiva.

Here are some of the top things to know about Lake Tota, aside from those mentioned above.

Lake Monster.  One of the most interesting top things to know about Lake Tota is that it is home to the mythical Lake Tota Monster.   According to local accounts, the monster is described as resembling a giant black snake, similar to the monstrous snake battled by the mythical hero of the Muisca culture.

Whether the legend holds water or not (pun not intended), it still adds to the charm of Lake Tota, making it an interesting destination in the Boyaca department

Land for Farming.  The word “Tota” actually means “Land for Farming” in the indigenous dialect.  Its rich soils are perfect for growing one of the Boyaca department’s largest agricultural economy, onions.  90% of the onions consumed by Colombia come from the rich, farm lands around Lake Tota.

Playa Blanca.  Pictures of this cove are often mistaken for that of a seaside beach.  But who can blame them?   Lake Tota’s cove is lined with fine white sands, similar to those you can see in other famous beaches around the world.

Playa Blanca is a great place to spend with your family and friends, where you can enjoy water sports and activities such as sailing, or simply soaking up some sun and bathing in their clear blue waters.

Iza.  Lake Tota’s close proximity to Iza allows you to enjoy the wonders this town has to offer.  After a tiring day of travelling to Lake Tota’s Playa Cove, or after getting your fill of butter garlic or grilled trout, heading out to Iza’s thermal springs is a perfect way to cap the day.

Sunset over Cartagena Harbor

Top Tourist Attractions In La Boquilla

The top tourist attractions in La Boquilla are underrated compared to other attractions in Cartagena, but they’re still worth checking out.  This quaint fishing village may be poverty stricken, but the people are friendly and will gladly help out a tourist make his way to some of the interesting spots in town.

Sunset over Cartagena Harbor

Sunset over Cartagena Harbor

Here are some of the top tourist attractions in La Boquilla:

Beach.  In La Boquilla, there’s a long stretch of fine, warm sands and clear waters which attract a great deal of visitors from Cartagena and around the world.  It’s a great place to swim, catch some snooze and relaxation under the sun, or enjoy water sports and activities.

Compared to the other beaches in Cartagena, La Boquilla’s beach is long and can accommodate thousands of people, even during peak season.  So whether you’re going to La Boquilla during the peak season or off season, you are guaranteed a wide space for you to spread your picnic blanket to enjoy a day at the beach.

There are also restaurants, and thatched roof bars where you can enjoy a delectable meal of seafood, or a bottle of beer while you watch the sky turn crimson and purple during sunset.

Swamp.  Right at the eastern tip of the town lies dugout canoes lining up the shore of the swamp in the other side, one of the top tourist attractions in La Boquilla.  For a small fee, a local can take you on a tour through the labyrinthine mangrove swamp, where you end up in a beautiful lake with some of the rarest birds you’ll ever see in your whole life.  An added bonus is observing the local fishermen throw their nets into the waters of the lake to catch fish for their livelihood.

Golf Courses.  You’d be surprised to know that there are nearby golf courses in La Boquilla.  Just ask a local how to get there.  They’d be happy to give you the directions, or even take you there.

Chinchina town square, Caldas Colombia

Top Reasons To Visit Chinchina

The top reasons to visit Chinchina are few and far in between. However, there is no denying that the little it has to offer as far as tourism go are rich and beautiful; probably the most appealing in all of Colombia. As a municipality in the Caldas department, it’s very easy to form conclusions of what a guest could look forward to during her visit. But then again, as with any destination, there is more to Chinchina than meets the eye so it would be best to keep an open mind about it. For instance, it is known as Colombia’s coffee heart, having the land cultivated as plantations in the 1800’s. Today, it serves as home to the Buendia coffee factory and Cenicafe, one of the oldest and most prominent coffee research center and produce in all of the nation.

Chinchina town square, Caldas Colombia

Chinchina town square, Caldas Colombia

In addition to that, another one of the top reasons to visit Chinchina is  Colina del Sol, a coffee finca that’s set on top of a hill. Apart from the peaceful surroundings, this point of interest also offers a spectacular scenery of town as well as a great workout. Of course, it’s not unusual for it to be close to the public knowing that it is a private property. But there are means for you to set up a tour appointment with the owner. Local hotels usually have the managements number.

To give you more adrenalin pumping action, you could also head on out to Nevado del Ruiz, or Kumanday, and climb up to the caldera of this volcano, located at the border of Caldas and Tolima. It is just 129 kilometers from Bogota. So it’s a pretty convenient pit stop before you move on to other places. Sure, it might be quite dangerous to explore its surroundings given the unpredictability of this highlight. But considering that it is well monitored by folks at the Los Nevados National Park, to which it is a part of along with other top reasons to  visit Chinchina, it makes sense for you to take your chance and develop a better appreciation of the environment as well as the wildlife it harbors.

Concatedral de San Nicolás el Magno

Top Tourist Attractions In Rionegro

Don’t hesitate to discover the top tourist attractions in Rionegro when you find yourself with idle time in Colombia. Sure, it may not be as popular as other cities like Cartagena and Bogota but it still can satisfy your craving for fun and adventure. This town belongs to the region of Antioquia, on the eastern portion, and it is named about the Negro River, which is its most prominent landmark. It is also known as the Cradle of democracy as it became a primary setting for Colombia’s federal rebellion. And as a fun fact, it is also where the country’s 1863 constitution was penned.

Concatedral de San Nicolás el Magno

Concatedral de San Nicolás el Magno

Now, it should be noted that the municipality the city is located in the central mountain range of the Andes. As such, people can expect the top tourist attractions in Rionegro to involve a lot of outdoor highlights. There are boat tours held on Rio Negro if you’re interested to spend a relaxing day exploring its banks. And you could also involve yourself in swimming and kayaking if you wish. Of course, hiking and climbing is also an option in the area, if you are natural adventure junkie. And you could also rent yourself a horse so you could go horseback riding through trails.

If that does not float your boat, you could just stick to the city and visit popular architectural masterpieces like the Cathedral of St. Nicholas the Great or the Church of San Antonio de Pereira. The first point of interest is actually one of the most popular religious infrastructures in town, sporting a neoclassical design, and influenced by multiple architects in different time frames. In addition to those mentioned, it’s also worthwhile to check out the Church of San Francisco, the Church of Jesus of Nazareth and the Church of Our Lady of Chiquinguira so you’d have a complete orientation to Rionegra’s religious landscape.

To expound your list of top tourist attractions in Rionegro, you could also visit the different parks in the city, namely, Main La Libertad, Tutucan, Bears Comfama Rio Negro, and Parque San Antonio de Pereira. This should enable you to develop an appreciation for local flora without having to get down and dirty. The perfect complement to this would be a tour of historically relevant places like Casa de la Meastranza, the Historical Archives of Rio Negro and the Palace of Culture Ricardo Rendon as they would complete your immersion in local heritage. And you can end it all with a shopping spree at St. Nicholas Shopping Center.

 

Tunja, Capital of the Department of Boyacá

Top Reasons To Visit Boyacá

One of the top reasons to visit Boyacá is that it features many facets of Colombia. Its central location means that it shares the natural bounties of surrounding regions. It has lush forests, beautiful lagoons, highlands, snow-capped mountains, and teeming wildlife. But this is just one reason to visit Boyacá as there are many others.

Reason #1: Boyacá is the gateway to Colombia

Buses travel between cities throughout the country. With Boyacá at its middle, the region serves as a gateway to neighboring departments including Santander, Arauca, Casanare, Meta, Cundinimarca, Antioquia, and Caldas. It makes a great starting point for traveling to these places but can also be used as a route for traveling across several borders.

Reason #2: See what “The Land of Freedom”is like

The state played an important role in the liberation of Colombia from colonialists. It had been the site of many battles in the pursuit of freedoom. Colombians, most notably locals of Boyacá take pride in this fact which is why there is a stong sense of nationalism throughout the region. Today’s people are no militia however. Most Boyacá families live in peace and cultivate farmlands; just as what they have been doing in the past hundred years. People are very friendly too and this is one of the top reasons to visit Bocayá. They are warm and hospitable even though they seem reserved.

Tunja, Capital of the Department of Boyacá

Tunja, Capital of the Department of Boyacá

“The Land of Freedom” is thus dominated by an atmosphere of rurality but this isn’t always the case. Unviersity cities like Tunja does liven up the sleepy state. In the backdrop, Boyacá is blessed by nature’s bounties and home to breathtaking sceneries. It also has a historical undertone evidenced by attractions like the Boyacá Bridge National Monument, the exact site where Spanish suffered from defeat in the hands of Simon Bolivar and his troop; winning Colombia its independence.

Reason #3: Marvel at natural wonders

The highlands of Boyacá hold some of the most interesting attractions in the country. One of which is the Oceta Highlands which is green most of the year. Stone City,  a group of natural outcroppings located on the highlands, is one of the top reasons to visit Boyacá. Other notable sites in the region include the Cocuy Mountain Range which has some lagoons, 23 peaks, as well as a multitude of flaura and fauna ranging from rare to common species. A must-see is Tota Lagoon which has a unique ecosystem.

Puerto Nariño, Amazonas State, Colombia

Top Tourist Attractions In Puerto Nariño

The top tourist attractions in Puerto Nariño are worth a look or two. The second largest Colombian Amazonian settlement after Leticia strongly promotes environmental preservation. For starters, motorized vehicles are not allowed on the streets and grounds of the settlement. As a result, Puerto Nariño is blessed with a diverse flora and fauna and lush vegetation.

Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Puerto Nariño:

The streets of Puerto Nariño. The village itself is a sight to behold. The pathways that lead around Puerto Nariño are lined with flowers and plants, and almost all houses are painted brightly, with well-tended gardens. The peace, tranquillity and the fresh air you breathe in Puerto Nariño is an experience you should never miss when you’re in town. And you learn a thing or two, too, about preserving nature from the locals of Puerto Nariño.

Puerto Nariño, Amazonas State, Colombia

Puerto Nariño, Amazonas State, Colombia

Lago de Tarapoto. If you want to catch a glimpse of the Amazonian pink dolphins, go to Lago de Tarapato, one of the top tourist attractions in Puerto Nariño. You may either watch from the shores of the lake, or you can ride on a peque peque or motorized boat.
If you find Lago de Tarapoto a bit crowded, you can go to Lago San Juan del Soco, a smaller lake with better chances for you to see a pink dolphin and other aquatic animals.

San Martin de Amacayacu. Meet and mingle with the Tikuna tribe and learn more about their customs in San Martin de Amacayacu. The Tikunas will gladly share about their customs and traditions with you. In addition, the settlement also has a viewing tower where you can marvel at the panoramic view of Amazonian jungle.

Fundacion Natutuma. Learn more about the marine life in the waters of the Amazon in the Fundacion Natutuma. The visitor centre is located by the river and has life sized replicas of various fish and reptiles found in the rivers of Amazon. It has various educational programs and videos aimed at teaching locals and visitors alike about the Amazonian ecosystem and how to preserve it for the future generations.

Rosario Islands, Colombia

Top Tourist Attractions In Rosario Islands

The top tourist attractions in Rosario Islands or Islas del Rosario are scattered across its 30 islands and the waters around them. Together they form an archipelago which belongs to one of the 46 Natural National Parks of Colombia. The park encompasses 120,000 hectares of waters with depths of up to 50 ft. It covers several coral reefs including those west from Barú Island, Maravilla Islands, Mucura, Nuestra Señora del Rosario, Rosario, San Bernardo, and Tesoro. In addition to the extensive coral reefs that it protects, the national park was also designated to protect associated ecosystems like mangroves, sea grass, and the marine life that inhabits.

Rosario Islands, Colombia

Rosario Islands, Colombia

1. Playa Blanca

It is a gorgeous white-sand beach that belongs to the Rosario Islands. It is a famous tourist spot in the archipelago, best known for its snorkeling opportunities. Underneath the gentle waves are magnificent corals home to fishes and other tropical marine life. The explosion of colors underwater will blow you away. It is one of the many places in the world where you can admire the beauty of nature in its raw form. After your magical underwater exploration, you can spend the rest of your day swimming and relaxing on the fine white sandy shores of Playa Blanca.

2. Natural Aquarium

Young and old alike will enjoy their visit at the Natural Aquarium, one of the top tourist attractions in Rosario Islands. Here you can watch dolphin shows as they jump 5 feet into the air from deep waters. In addition to the dolphin show, guests get the chance to feed giant turtles with their own hands! Other demonstrations and information concerning marine life in the Rosario Islands are also provided to tourists.

3. Island of Barú

The island is a short day trip from Playa Blanca and pretty much part of the Rosario Archipelago. While not fully developed, it has come a long way and is now one of the top tourist attractions in Rosario Islands. It also offers swimming and snorkeling opportunities as well as breathtaking views of the coast. It can be accessed by a quick motorboat ride from Cartagena’s main harbor and the rest of Rosario Islands.

Channel-billed Toucan

Top Tourist Attractions In Minca

The top tourist attractions in Minca are very few. There are only three of them, to be exact, since it is a rather small village. Minca is located in Santa Marta, a port and major tourist destination in the Department of Magdalena, Colombia. It overlooks the city from a height of 650 meters. It can be reached via a colectivo but not before taking a 45-minute ride from Estacion de Minca across a bumpy dirt road. While it has relatively little to offer, Minca is a magical place that will dazzle you with its panoramic views of the sea and Santa Marta. The journey up the peaceful town may be tiring but it guarantees a rewarding experience for those who decide to venture it.

Channel-billed Toucan

Channel-billed Toucan

1. Casa Loma Hostal

Accommodations for both luxury and budget travelers are available at Casa Loma Hostal. It is further up from Minca, perching on a steep hill. It provides even better views than the village itself due to its location. Travelers can choose from hamocks, the dormitory, and private rooms for their stay. Prices range from 12,000 to 80,000 each night. You can also set camp around the Tayrona ceremonial stone circle which is even higher up than the hostal. While it generally has a backpacker atmosphere, Casa Loma Hostel serves amazing food and chilled beers while playing good music in the background.

2. Luz’s Restaurant

The restaurant is run by a friendly Colombian couple. Since locals often frequent it, it is considered part of the top tourist attractions in Minca. The restaurant has no sign but it is the orange-painted building right across Iglesia. It has a menu plastered on the wall, something that you can’t miss. For just 11,000 pesos you can eat a hearty meal consisting of beef, chicken, or pork paired with fries and a delicious salad covered with jugo. This is a great price for Colombian standards.

3. Oscar’s Place

The ecological farm is the last among the top tourist attractions in Minca, Santa Marta. Like the Casa Loma Hostel, it is perched on a ridge with breathtaking vistas. Amenities include a pool along the ridge and open-air sleeping quarters that are nonetheless luxurious. These accommodations are surrounded by fruit trees and flowers. Apart from these open-air rooms, there are also hammocks, dorm rooms, and private rooms available for guests. The lack of publicity means that Oscar’s Place is unknown to most tourists. There aren’t even signs available that lead to it.

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