3 great reasons to visit Colombia

Colombia has recently sprung onto to the tourist circuit, surprising, delighting and surpassing the expectations of all who visit there. The country has a wealth of natural beauty, including lengthy Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, jungle, rainforests, mountain ranges and many other unique awe-inspiring ecosystems that are home to a plethora of endemic wildlife. The central Andean region, where the majority of the population reside has a wonderful year round spring climate and a lush verdant landscape to match.

Despite the lack of international tourists over the years, the people of Colombia have exquisite tastes that have seen rise to many exceptional boutique and luxury hotels that now cater for the more discerning overseas traveller. Already very popular with North American tourists, after being voted one of the top destinations to visit in 2010 by The New York Times, Colombia is now gathering pace with European tourists and here are 3 reason why:

1. The fabulously colourful colonial city of Cartagena. Once the most important settlement in South America and now a listed UNESCO World Heritage site, Cartagena is undoubtedly the jewel in Colombia’s crown, and considered by most to be the finest example of colonial architecture in all Latin America. The buildings of the old town have retained their impressive and original features but have been carefully converted to host a spectacular array of quality restaurants, cocktail bars and boutique hotels. Cartagena is enchanting and full of mystery, where the beauty of the old world is combined with the warmth of the Caribbean.

2. The natural paradise of Tayrona National Park. Dense green jungle cascades down to isolated sandy Caribbean beaches. Giant rocks and palm trees frame the scene and add to the feeling of totally privacy and solitude in this amazing Jurassic Park style landscape. With abundant wildlife and nature not to mention a display of flora that would overwhelm even the keenest of botanists, Tayrona is a unique destination. The visit is topped off with a stay in the luxurious Ecohabs. This collection of Tayrona Indian style huts is hidden amongst the trees, dotted along the coastal hillside with wonderful views. They are fully equipped for the comfort of their visitors but without loosing the ecological feeling so as to perfectly compliment their surroundings.

3. The Coffee Triangle. Colombian coffee is the best in the world and the area where it is grown has some of the finest scenery imaginable. This unique landscape is the heart of Colombia and what really defines it as a country. The delightfully comfortable warm springtime climate that occurs year round makes it ideal for light strolls exploring the coffee fincas (farms) that encompass the region. Humming birds, orchids and the impressive and now protected Wax Palm trees are abundant and can be enjoyed from the comfort of a balcony or around a swimming pool in the grounds of a traditional hacienda. Here you will be served fresh coffee and fruit juices harvested from the land around you and can relax in absolute tranquillity.

Colombia will not fail to please your senses, cater to your needs and surpass your expectations. The country has an incredible infrastructure and is still a relative secret. Everything can be enjoyed in comfort and ease, without being surrounded by hoards of other tourists. In short, Colombia is an ideal destination for the more discerning and intrepid traveller looking for an original experience.

Richard Thacker is Owner of The Colombia Travel Experts.

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