The Andes is located in the centre of the country and offers a diversity of natural landscapes. From snow-capped mountains and plateaus to valleys and canyons. In the Andes you will also find the cities of Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Bucaramanga. In addition to these large cities, you will also find colorful and colonial villages such as Salento and Villa de Leyva. Also discover unique national parks such as Chingaza National Park and Los Nevados National Park.
Bogotá is the capital of Colombia. The city has more than 7 million inhabitants and is located in the Andes Mountains at an altitude of 2,600 meters. This makes Bogotá one of the highest capital cities in the world. The city did not have a good image in the past, but there is little of that nowadays. Bogotá is in fact developing into one of the most vibrant and cultural capitals of Latin America. The historic centre of La Candelaria is formed by the narrow streets, beautiful buildings, museums, street art and restaurants. For spectacular views of the city, take a train or funicular up Cerro Monserrate. In all our trips through Colombia, Bogotá is often the starting point of the trip.
Villa de Leyva
Just a four-hour drive from Bogotá, you will find the colonial village of Villa de Leyva. Characteristic of the village are the white houses, cobbled streets, atmospheric squares and ancient churches. Experience the local life at Plaza Mayor, Colombia’s largest square. In the background you can see the mountains and the white church. The area surrounding Villa de Leyva is also worth exploring. For example, you will find a vineyard, an astronomical observatory and a house built of clay.
Tip! During your trip through Colombia, combine the route from Bogotá to Villa de Leyva with a stop at the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. Unique because there are only three salt cathedrals worldwide.
Chingaza National Park
The Chingaza National Park is located between 2,600 and 3,200 meters above sea level. The páramo of Chingaza is also called the sponge of the Andes. The ecosystem consists of plateaus with lakes, grassland, valleys, shrubs, cloud forest and forests. The páramo is characterized by the many big monks. These plants are only found in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Spot the widest variety of bird species in the area among the mossy branches and bromeliads. It is one of the most impressive areas of a trip through Colombia.
Picturesque Barichara is one of the best-preserved colonial villages in Colombia. It almost looks as if time stood still here. Walk past the cathedrals, churches, white houses and enjoy beautiful views along the way. The sandstone cathedral Capilla de Jesús towers and turns orange at sunset. From Barichara it is also recommended to walk to the picturesque village of Guane.
Tip! Explore the village in a colorful tuk-tuk.
San Gil & Surroundings
San Gil is also known as the outdoor paradise of Colombia. The environment of San Gil consists of mountains, waterfalls, caves and rivers. The area is ideal for adventure activities such as paragliding, rafting, abseiling and mountain biking. It is also recommended to take the cable car over the Chicamocha Canyon. San Gil is one of the most adventurous destinations.
A unique natural phenomenon in Colombia is the Tatacoa desert. Officially it is not a desert but a tropical dry forest, because on average about 1,000 millimeters of rain falls annually. The area consists of red rock formations and cacti. It is also one of the hottest places in the country; the temperature can rise to 40 degrees during the day.
If you like history and archaeology, you should not miss San Agustín in your trip through Colombia. San Agustín is a village in the south of Colombia and is known for the archaeological park of the same name. For thousands of years, two indigenous tribes lived in the valleys of the Magdalena and Cauca rivers.
The high mountain ranges and rivers separated these tribes, but they came together to trade, pray and bury the dead. As a result, more than 500 sculptures have now been found in the region. The park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to discovering its history, the area is also known for its coffee plantations, waterfalls and horseback riding.
Medellín is one of the most impressive cities in Colombia. Not so long ago, Medellín had a bad image due to the activities of the drug lord Pablo Escobar, but nowadays the city is visited by many travellers. The ‘city of eternal spring’ has a lot to offer. First, discover the impressive history and historic centre. Enjoy the view over the city from the funicular. Spend the night in a trendy neighbourhood with restaurants and bars.
During your trip through Colombia, also visit the Comuna 13 neighbourhood with a guide. This used to be the most dangerous neighbourhood in Medellín with gangs, drug cartels and guerrillas. Today it is a peaceful neighbourhood with colorful murals. A local guide will tell you all about Medellín’s turbulent history and transformation.
From Medellín you can easily travel to the village of Guatapé and the giant rock El Peñón de Guatapé. The village of Guatapé consists of colorful houses, restaurants and squares. Let yourself be driven around by tuk-tuk and discover this photogenic village. Close to the village is the huge rock El Peñón de Guatapé. The rock is more than 2,000 meters high. Climb the 740 steps and enjoy a magnificent view of the lake and islands from the top.
Tip! Many travellers only visit Guatapé for one day. Unico Travel recommends staying at least one night. Then you will be one of the first on the rock the next day.
Unique overnight stays
Unico Travel works together with small-scale accommodations in unique places. Stay overnight in a boutique hotel in the city of Medellín or in a colorful cabaña in Guatapé. It is also recommended to start the journey in a small-scale guest house near the busy city of Bogotá and to spend the night in a colonial hotel in Barichara.