Much of colonial Colombia is untouched by time, whole towns preserved in medieval aspic; relics of ancient civilizations include mystical statuary two millennia old; and modern highlights are a brilliant blend of coffee farms and coral islands.
Castles and carnivals, convents, cathedrals, and colonial towns, all come together in Colombia, punctuating a landscape of astonishing biodiversity from plains, plateaus, and pristine coasts to mountain peaks, moorlands, misted cloud forests and tropical rainforest.
Colombia’s capital, Bogotá is a place of culture and contrasts, with pre-Columbian artefacts in the Museo del Oro, and contemporary art by Fernando Botero in the gallery which takes his name; churches, characterful streets and well-kept squares in its colonial heart, and up-market shops and up-tempo entertainment in the encircling metropolitan sprawl of modern towers.
In contrast, Villa de Leyva looks much as it did four hundred years ago. The National Heritage town is a gorgeous glimpse of Colombia’s colonial past, its narrow streets still lined with 16th /17th century monasteries, its huge Plaza Mayor lauded as the largest entirely cobbled space in South America.
A year-round temperate climate has earned Medellin its epithet ‘The City of Eternal Spring’. The modern provincial capital of mountainous Antioquia, the city spreads up the sides of a scenic valley, juxtaposing high-rise towers with colourful cottages, with a Metro Cable climbing to fabulous views.
Nearby Guatapé is a charming small town with a giant rock monolith, and mini-cruises on its massive reservoir; while dug-out canoes take to the lake and mangrove-lined channels at La Boquilla fishing village, close to Cartagena.
Said to be Colombia’s most visited city, Cartagena is the cosmopolitan port for sailings to castaway islands, its beaches along the Bocagrande hemmed by glitzy condo’s; while colourful facades, coral-stone forts, and cathedral towers pepper the walled old town, steeped in Spanish Inquisition history.
Rural landscapes include the Coffee Region, its three districts collectively awarded UNESCO status, its Arabica coffee ranking among the world’s finest. In their luxuriant hills, the plantations attribute this coveted quality to the traditional methods of harvesting and production, all done by hand.
Uniquely different and UNESCO listed, San Agustin archaeological area is a mystical place of sacred sites and ancient sculptures, depicting gods and mythical beasts, and set in splendid scenery; with lavish tombstones in leafy shade at the Forest of Statues, and painted figures in La Pelota Park.
Crossed by the Equator in its southern reaches, Colombia’s climate is generally tropical, with daytime average temperatures hovering around 35°, and nights dropping only to 16°, throughout the year. Variations come not with seasons but with altitude, the higher the region, the cooler the climes; and rainfall is little to none outside the months of May to September.
Jules Verne’s journeys are timed for the best experience of the regions and the most comfortable months for touring.
Cosmopolitan cities, charismatic towns, colourful villages and a rich cultural heritage make-up the patchwork of ancient, colonial, and contemporary Colombia, creating intriguing, eye-opening tours which will appeal to cognoscente and curious traveller alike.
A highlight on the country’s calendar, the exuberant Barranquilla Carnival celebrates a significant Catholic feast day with parades, music and folkloric dance. The festival has UNESCO status on the list of Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage; with its date varying from year to year, as the four-day, ‘moveable feast’ always begins on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday.
With 45 years’ experience and a passion for creating extraordinary adventures, Jules Verne takes you to iconic landmarks and lesser-known sites, with expert tour guides who share their local knowledge, and show you hidden gems. Local highlights on our journeys in Colombia could include a basket-weaving demo, picking Arabica beans and tasting the coffee they create, a street food walk in Cartagena, and experiencing the Barranquilla festival.
Our guided tours to Colombia are ABTA and ATOL protected, and we offer a 100% price guarantee, so you can book with complete confidence.
The Search for El Dorado
A complete turn-around from its turbulent past, Colombia today is known for the warmth of its welcome and the wealth of its culture. From Bogotá to Cartagena, this tour teams contemporary cities with colonial towns, coffee plantations and Caribbean shores