Colombia is absolutely gorgeous! My pictures are not doing it justice.
If I made a short list of the places I have been that exceeded all expectations, Colombia would be on it, and maybe at the top.
From the graffiti covered walls of Comuna 13 in Medellin, to climbing the Stone of Guatape, the Sanctuary of Las Lajas built on a ravine cliff, and the countryside that kept reminding me of a tropical version of New Zealand...there is so much beauty here! 2 weeks is certainly not enough time to explore Colombia. Driving through it from Cartagena to Ipiales was certainly an adventure.
Mountains and water
Port city on the Caribbean coast in the north. It has a wonderful walled old city, and beautiful beaches.
During the driving trip through the Americas, this is the arrival location when shipping your car past the Darien Gap, so I spent a few days here retrieving my car.
The downside of Cartagena is that it is very hot and humid. The upside is that doesn't really matter if you are hanging out by the water.
Be sure to visit the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, and walk the walls around the old city. And, just wander the colorful streets and plazas.
My favorite city in South America!
Imagine a city as green as Seattle, but with the weather of Honolulu.
That is Medellin...Maybe even better.
Great neighborhoods, wonderful food, amazing people.
And access to more day trips than you could possibly do.
It is one reason I think Colombia should no longer be overlooked as a vacation destination.
A great vacation idea would be to enjoy Cartagena and Medellin in 1 trip. During my trip, I drove from Cartagena to Medellin, but for a vacation, that is unlikely as it is a 13 hour drive. and probably longer if there are issues. However, you could take the 1 hour flight on Viva Air often for less than $50.
While in Medellin, take the metro cable to Parque Arvi, visit Comuna 13, Plaza Botero, and the Botanical gardens.
Favorite Places in Medellin
colorful neighborhood in the hills of western Medellin. Known for tis graffiti art all around. The hills are so steep, the neighborhood has an escalator.
a replica of a traditional Colombian village in Antioquia. Plus, it gets you up above the city for great views.
El Castillo Museum
Museum in the Southeast of the city with beautiful gardens and views and permanent exhibitions of objects in porcelain and glass, stained glass, antiques, paintings, and sculptures.
Museum of Antioquia
Art Museum on Plaza Botero with numerous outdoor sculptures.
Cable-car station Santo Domingo
There is nore than 1 cable car in Medellin, but this one is my favorite, heading up into beautiful country.
along the Caribbean, you don't have to deal with the crowds in Cartagena or Santa Marta to enjoy the beaches and water. I made a short stop in Tolu, and it was great to have a beach to myself. Plus, the prices are fantastic.
However, this will involve driving for a few hours. Make sure you drive during the day, not at night!
Day trip from Medellin to enjoy the beautiful lakes, a gorgeous old village, and of course El Penon of Guatape.
Parroquia Nuestra Señora Del Carmen Guatape
cute church right on the Los Zócalos Plaza. Srrounded by colorful buildings all around.
El Peñón de Guatapé
600 steps up to this towering rock in the plain giving incredible views of the lakes around Guatape.
In far southern Colombia, about 20 minute drive form the border of Ecuador, this beautiful church was built into a canyon creating a singularly unique view.
The location is the reported location of an appearance of the apparition of Mary and the building of a shrine in the middle of the 18th century.
The current church was built in the 1940's and is a very popular pilgrimage for Colombians and Ecuadorians.
Driving through Colombia
Colombia was one of the most beautiful places in the world to drive, and also one of the most challenging. Traffic was difficult. The one lane highways through the hills, stuck behind slow trucks and with miles and miles of no passing zones, you juts need to take your chances and go for it.
Bridges that don't seem capable of holding your car, highways under construction causing hours of delays, fog that will roll in and eliminate visibility, and side roads through the jungle where your tires will absolutely take a beating.
Quite the adventure!