No longer just for daredevils, this extraordinary country has battled decades of turmoil to emerge as South America’s hottest new destination, jammed with unspoilt mountains, coastline and jungle.
The national airline is Avianca (website: www.avianca.com), which flies from Madrid to Bogotá (El Dorado International Airport). American Airlines (website: www.americanairlines.com) and Delta (website: www.delta.com) fly from Miami, New York and Atlanta.
The dry season lasts from December to March, ideal for hiking. It’s also perfect timing to kick up your heels in Barranquilla’s Carnival, second only to Rio in scale, which takes place on the days preceding Ash Wednesday.
Weave your way around more than 500 mysterious pre-Columbian stone statues and tombs in one of South America’s most fascinating archaeological sites, San Agustén.
Be bewitched by the beautiful colonial port of Cartagena, its balconied streets dense with history and scented by bougainvillea, and take trips to local islands, beaches, dive sites, mangrove labyrinths and an unusual mud volcano where visitors can hop into the crater for a massage.
Get sucked into the El Dorado dream: visit Bogotá’s astonishing Gold Museum, housing an extraordinary wealth of glistening pre-Columbian treasures. Also take the cable car to a mountain top overlooking the city at sunset.
Climb snow-caked volcanic peaks in the Colombian Andes. The highest is the jaw-dropping 5,325m (17,500ft) Nevado del Ruiz in Los Nevados National Park (website: www.parquesnacionales.gov.co).
Warm up those hips for some serious salsa dancing. The hot-blooded city of Cali is one of the world’s top destinations for salsa.
Soak up some rays along palm-fringed mainland beaches, or fly out to one of the Caribbean’s most unspoilt tropical island paradises, Providencia, also home to a UNESCO Seaflower Biosphere Reserve.
Give in to your addiction, and savour Colombia’s finest: coffee, that is. The country’s dark stuff is famous the world over for its smooth, rich taste.
Did you know?
Colombia is one of the world’s top three most biodiverse countries, proportional to its area.