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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Ajiaco soup is typically served with table cream, capers and avocado all mixed in just before eating.

Favorite Colombian Foods To Enjoy When Visiting

Favorite Colombian foods to enjoy when visiting will surprise you with their variety from Caribbean shoreline to Andean mountain traditions.  And what better way is there to start this experience than by learning more about what makes Colombian cuisine special. Like the country’s attractions itself, Colombia’s cuisine is highly influenced by its heritage and geographical characteristics. And with every bite you will recognize its history under Spanish colonization as well as indigenous Caribbean roots, with minor African, Arab and Asian influences because of trade. And considering the fact that all of all their supplies come fresh from the Pacific coast, Andean mountains and the ranchlands that are spread across the nation, you’d have a pretty eclectic and certainly delectable menu to choose from.

Ajiaco soup is typically served with table cream, capers and avocado all mixed in just before eating.

Ajiaco soup is typically served with table cream, capers and avocado all mixed in just before eating.

One of the most famous fares that come from Colombia is that of the Ajiaco, which would be their version of a potato soup. The recipes usually differ depending on the region. But you can always count on it to use ingredients like chicken, corn, various types of native potatoes, and guasca – an aromatic herb endemic to America that ensures the dish’ distinct flavor. Sometimes, this may also be served with cream, capers and avocado.

The Sanchocho, meanwhile, is a traditional Latin American cuisine, which is basically the local’s own interpretation of the Spanish dish known as Cocido. In Colombia, this is prepared with many kinds of meat, including ox tail, chicken and gallina, with potatoes, plantains, tomatoes, scallion, cilantro and corn, depending on what ingredients are available within the region.

Another one of the potential favorite foods you might pick out of Colombia is the tamales, which is traditional Mesoamerican dish made out of corn-based dough, steamed in a leaf wrapper. Sometimes, they are filled with fruits, vegetables, chilies, cheeses and meat, depending on what the preferences of the person preparing it are. But in Colombia, they are usually filled with chicken, whole corn kernels as well as carrot slices, served for breakfast with hot chocolate.

Finally, there’s Fritanga, which is another one of the favorite Colombian foods to enjoy when visiting that is distinct to the region. It is made of meats, fried plantains, yellow potatoes and chicharrones with aji sauce. Servings are usually plentiful so it is encouraged to be shared with friends. It’d be perfectly paired with Bollos or Garullas or even alternated with Picada, if you want more variety.

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Artwork by Fernando Botero at the Botero Museum in Bogotá, Colombia.

Top Reasons To Visit Colombian Art

One of the top reasons to visit Colombian art is that it encompasses 3,500 years of transformation, from indigenous to colonial and then modern, which makes the list of its local and international accomplishments too long to dwell on specifically. Nevertheless, if you are interested in the prowess of Colombians when it comes to this particular craft, then a short feature on its most world renowned artists and artworks should do. And this will start off by discussing the contributions of Fernando Botero, a world-renowned Colombian figurative artist.

Poporo Quimbaya and pestle. Phytomorphic (fruit-shaped) lime container, gold, 300 BCE - 1000 CE.

Poporo Quimbaya and pestle. Phytomorphic (fruit-shaped) lime container, gold, 300 BCE – 1000 CE.

Botero’s outputs are spread all across Colombia, from sculptures to paintings. And they commonly depict men and women engaged in daily life as well as historical events and characters, art milestones, still life and natural elements. But what set his work apart are the disproportions he infuses to each of them and the character, humor, irony, ingenuity and criticisms he details them with. Such a technique is now regarded as Boterismo and it is practiced by many aspiring art students. It is important that you get to know Botero because we is a well-revered and palpable figure in the country. Bogota in fact has a Museum that is solely dedicated to his genius.

Another famous Colombian artist worth mentioning is Alejandro Obregon. He is a painter, muralist, engraver and sculptor by trade. And he is among the artists who were credited with the artistic renewal of the Colombian art scene back in the 1950s, which is another top reason to visit Colombian art. His work, Cattle Drowning in the Magdalena River was recognized during the Gulf Caribbean Competition in the US back in 1956, and was awarded first prize. But what’s interesting to note is that he was competing with other popular and talented Colombian painters as well (like Enrique Garu, Eduardo Villamizar and Edgar Negret) which included Botero.

Artwork by Fernando Botero at the Botero Museum in Bogotá, Colombia.

Artwork by Fernando Botero at the Botero Museum in Bogotá, Colombia.

Now, if you’ve researched about Colombia tourist attractions, you would know by now that canvas displays are not all of what the Colombian art movement has to offer. Sculptures, after all, are among the top tourist attractions of this nation. And in every town, there is always a piece of stone, wood or metal carving to see. But much of Colombia’s prowess in this art form has been demonstrated by its ancestors long ago, with beautiful relic finds in multiple local archeological sites. And although modern sculptures do steal the scene, there is much more to appreciate about the traditional Colombian artworks like the Tulico-Tamaco gold figure, the Muisca raft, El Infiernito and the line-up of zoomorphic sculptures found in San Augustin.

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Arrecifes beach in the Tayrona National Park in Santa Marta, Colombia

Top Reasons To Visit Colombian Beaches

The top reasons to visit Colombian beaches are because they are some of the best beaches in the world. And most of them have been featured repeatedly in print and television. This comes as no surprise given the quality experience they provide to those looking for rest and relaxation as well as adventure. But given how expansive Colombia shoreline actually is, you might find narrowing down the choices to be a bit confusing. Take note, on the Caribbean side, the Colombian coast is about 1,600 kilometers long. And facing the Pacific Ocean, there’s 1,300 kilometers of shoreline to factor in. That’s about 300 beaches to suit any kind of preference. In order to help you out, here are some of the best beach destinations in the country you should check out.

Arrecifes beach in the Tayrona National Park in Santa Marta, Colombia

Arrecifes beach in the Tayrona National Park in Santa Marta, Colombia

If you are headed off to Cartagena, then you should definitely check out Rosario Island, Baru Island or the beach at Isla San Bernardo. These just require 45 to 90 minutes travel from the main city of Cartagena and they offer clear, crystal waters and fine, sandy shorelines for the enjoyment of singles, couples and families, with a line-up of amenities that should complete the vacation experience. Cartagena in itself is a Caribbean beach resort city. So whether or not you seek the given attractions out, you’d still find yourself a stunning piece of paradise to lounge on.

If you are spending some time in San Andres, you better take advantage of its placid seas and its extensive coral barriers by visiting Bahia Sardina or San Luis Beach. Both are easy to access from downtown San Andres and are top reasons to visit Colombian beaches. They are among the few isolated Colombian beaches, so you can always expect to feel like a resort owner when you arrive. It’s not as commercialized as that of Cartagena so you’d still be able to appreciate being close to nature. But it’s not that secluded that you’d feel worried about not having your needs met.

San Andres Island, Colombia

San Andres Island, Colombia

Now, if you are off to Santa Marta, you’ll certainly have an exciting time since it has one of the loveliest bays in America. El Rodadero is just five minutes from the historical center and offers a great view of the sea with the mountains as backdrop. The sea is clean and calm, so swimmers do not have to worry about any dangers. The temperature is also tropical so it’d be perfect a little water sports or sun bathing. Aside from the aforementioned, other worthwhile Colombian beaches to visit within this region are those in Tayrona National Park, such as Neguanje and Canaveral.

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Puerto de Barranquilla

Top Tourist Attractions In Barranquilla

You could expect the top tourist attractions in Barranquilla to include beaches as it is the largest industrial city and port in the Colombian Carribean region. But those who have gone to this place can all agree that there’s more to the area than meets the eye. Barranquilla was established as a town back in 1813 although it had been in existence since 1629. When World War I and II came, it became a refuge for Europeans, who immigrated to the place and industrialized it. By the 1940’s, it then became the largest city in the country and the most modern in all of South America. And this paved the way for tourism, which the metropolis has made quite some accomplishments in.

Puerto de Barranquilla

Puerto de Barranquilla

As mentioned earlier, among the top tourist attractions in Barranquilla are its beautiful shorelines. But contrary to the usual expectation, these tourist spots are not actually found within the city itself. In spite of being close to the ocean, its geography does not permit Barranquilla to host beach tourist destinations. However, neighboring towns like that of Puerto Colombia hosts a lot of unspoiled, uncrowded beach fronts. And the best part of it is its just 15 kilometers away. Other prestigious nearby beaches include Puerto Velero, Cano Dulce, Santa Veronica and Sabanilla.

Within the city, you will find a lot of impressive colonial, neoclassical and art deco architecture, to name a few. And among the most visited is the Historic Center of Barranquilla, an area which reflects the commercial, cultural and political landscape of 17th and 18th century Colombia. Here, people will get to see Paseo de Bolivar, Plaza de San Nicolas, the Church of San Jose, and multiple samples of the city’s historical landmarks.

Another one of the top tourist attractions in Barranquilla that attracts a diverse demographic is the local zoo, which houses an eclectic collection of colorful native and foreign animals, with an emphasis on Colombian fauna and the protection of the country’s endangered species. It has about 140 types of creatures in its care in all categories, from mammals to fishes, birds, amphibians, reptiles and primates. But its most popular lure is that of the Flamingos (locally known as Flamencos), which are often seen as pink because of their healthy state.

Barranquilla Cathedral

Barranquilla Cathedral

As a final entry to this list of the top reasons to visit Barranquilla, you should definitely consider visiting the Barranquilla Country Club and Caujaral, which ranks among the best golf courses in Colombia, and perhaps play a few rounds. The currency exchange rate is pretty advantageous if you come from the U.S. or Europe. So you do not have to feel conscious about the expenses. If you do not play golf, then you’d certainly enjoy the view and amenities present. These particular hotspots were designed by the well-respected Northrop and Joe Lee and provide guests a topical golfing landscape, surrounded by exotic plants and animals.

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