The wild northern Guajira peninsula is one of the most underdeveloped – and stunningly pristine – parts of Colombia. Tourism is still relatively new in most parts of La Guajira, and visiting requires a certain amount of patience and willingness to try unusual forms of transportation. If you can make it work, though, you’ll be rewarded with a totally unique experience in the northernmost part of South America, where the desert meets the Caribbean and indigenous culture is the law of the land.
It’s summer right now in Colombia, but seasoned residents know that we only have a few more weeks, at best, before the regular rainy schedule returns to the high Andes. With the rain, though, comes the perfect excuse to find the warmest corner of a cozy lunch spot and fill your belly with one of these hearty dishes.
Photogenic Cartagena is practically a mandatory stop for first-time visitors to Colombia, yet many people never venture beyond the walls that once marked the limits of the old city, except perhaps to explore the beaches on Isla Barú or the Rosario Islands. Though there’s enough to do in the walled section to fill a weekend, the city itself doesn’t end there, and it’s worth exploring other areas as well, or at least knowing what they’re called. Here’s a handy neighborhood guide to get oriented in Colombia’s biggest coastal tourist destination.
Photo: Ivan David Gomez Arce
December is a big deal in Colombia, and not only because of the Christmas season or because everyone is on vacation. The end of the year also brings the Feria de Cali, a multi-day salsa extravaganza (salsastravaganza?) that packs the streets of this southwestern city with parades and dancers of all levels. People practice for months to show off their best moves, so prepare to be blown away by some of the country’s most talented dancers and a city that really knows how to party.
Photo: N i c o l a
Colombians love their pastries and baked goods, but not all croissants are born equal. From the famous pan de chocolate of German-style Brot to the fresh-baked baguette at sunny Masa, some of the capital’s pastry shops and bakeries simply rise above the rest.
By Carlos Serrano, in Magazine
Photos by: Alvaro Delgado
With a cool, new vibe that has earned it the nickname “JetSetManí,” this neighborhood represents the best and most cosmopolitan aspects of the city where Gabriel García Márquez wrote some of his most memorable stories.
Photo: Laura Cahnspeyer
Blessed with two very different coasts bordering two different oceans, Colombia is a surfer’s paradise. From the white coastline of the Caribbean to the more intense, dark-sand beaches of the Pacific coast, there are beaches for all levels of surfers, from newbies to those who grew up in the water.
Though Colombia may be best-known for its tasty beverages and unparalleled rumba, one of the country’s biggest strengths is its natural beauty. With Caribbean islands, tropical beaches, dense rainforest, soaring snowcapped peaks, rumbling volcanoes and sprawling plains – to name just a few of the country’s many ecosystems – Colombia has no shortage of natural wealth. Don’t miss the chance to see these wonders firsthand – enter now for the chance to win a two-week G Adventures trip to Colombia, complete with a personal wildlife excursion guided by a local Wildlife Conservation Society naturalist!
Photo: nicole tarazona
One of the joys of walking down the street just about anywhere in Colombia – or really, anywhere in Latin America – is the street food. If you get hungry rounding a corner, there’s sure to be a vendor waiting just across the street to satisfy your hunger pangs.
Colombia is famously a nation of distinct regions – and perhaps even more famously a nation of strong musical tradition. Every part of the country has given rise to or adopted its own distinct musical style, from cumbia on the Caribbean coast to the piping Andean melodies in the southwest. But perhaps no place takes its musical birthright as seriously as the northern city of Valledupar, the proclaimed cradle of the folk style known as vallenato.
If you go to Valledupar looking for something other than vallenato, you may run out of activities fairly quickly, but there’s a certain charm to taking a long lunch – and then maybe a nap to avoid the brutal midday heat – and relaxing in the central plaza with a cup of icy pineapple juice.