When To Go
Being so close to the equator, the temperature in Colombia does not fluctuate greatly. The dry season—from December to January and July to August—is best for taking advantage of the great outdoors. Consider timing your trip to coincide with Semana Santa (holy week) in march or April. Though crowds are thick at this time of year, the atmosphere is laid back and lively, promising vibrant processions and festivals. Carnaval de Barranquilla (held in march or April), an infectious and lively celebration held for the four days before Ash Wednesday, is the biggest in the world next to the famous Rio Carnival.
Both Toronto and Vancouver offer daily flights to Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport. While there are some direct flights from Toronto on Air Canada, most American airlines connect to Bogotá via Miami. There is a $28 USD airport departure tax and you’ll pay an extra $19 USD if your stay has exceeded two months. If you’re already in South America and plan on dropping by Colombia for a visit, note that road connections are only available through Venezuela and Ecuador.
Within cities, taxis are a safe, inexpensive and convenient mode of transportation. Between major cities, bus travel is cheap and convenient—but the quality varies. Chartering a taxi for longer distances, though more expensive than taking the bus, is safe and affordable. Also, a handful of domestic airlines offer flights that connect to all major cities, and newer airlines tend to offer promotional discounts for domestic travel. Just remember to confirm your booking 72 hours before your flight.
What to See and Do
Enjoy museums, architecture and people-watching in Bogotá, Colombia’s bustling, and at times overwhelming, capital. Although Medellín and Cali, Colombia’s second- and third-largest cities, have historically played a central role in the Colombian drug trade, they now offer friendly and inviting tourist atmospheres. Cartagena, the old-fashioned beach town and Unesco World Heritage Site, remains one of the most popular destinations in Colombia for its architecture, beaches and party atmosphere. Hire a boat to take you through the Rosario Islands, an archipelago of coral reef islets along the Caribbean Coast, or trek the jungles of the Amazon Basin. Excursions from Amacayu National Park take visitors through lush, tropical jungle where they can encounter some of Colombia’s Nomadic Indian Tribes.
The Chocó Rainforest, stretching along the Pacific Coast of Colombia and Ecuador, is hailed as one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and yet it draws very few tourists. Home to thousands of endemic plant species and hundreds of endemic bird species, the Chocó Rainforest is an important biological treasure that deserves a visit.