Colombia Tours

Why visit? Often associated with Caribbean resorts and coffee making but usually overlooked for its rich history, colonial architecture and mind blowing nature, Colombia can introduce you to one of South America’s roads less travelled. 
 
Generally, Australians start their Colombia tour in Bogotá, the country’s capital. Blessed with one of the most gorgeous settings any city can have, being surrounded by the Andean mountains, Bogotá draws visitors with its cultural vibrancy. Apart from boasting some of the country’s most important historic landmarks such as the Salt Cathedral and Villa de Leyva, the city impresses with its impressive street art and a thriving food and bar scene.
 
Up in the north of the country, Cartagena is a charming seaside city on the Caribbean coast, known for its picturesque ‘old town’ where you can find some of Colombia’s finest examples of historic architecture whilst also being home to stunning resorts along the Caribbean coastline.
 
A bit further up the Caribbean coast, Tayrona National Park ticks all the boxes for the adventurous explorer with its narrow forest trails leading travellers along seemingly untouched nature, palm-shaded coves, coastal lagoons, rainforest and rich biodiversity.
 
For an insight into archaeology, head to San Augustin and Popayan in the south of Colombia where you can explore ancient sites and enjoy the views of charming historic small towns. 
 
How to get there? Being in the north west of South America, it is almost as easy to get to Colombia from Los Angeles as it is from Santiago, Chile. Which route you take is probably more likely to be determined by what you’d like to do en route - Patagonia or Peru, go via Santiago, Mexico or the US, go via LA. QANTAS actually offer a split fare into or out of LA, returning via Santiago – for those who want to do a loop.
 
More information: Below we have shown you just a fraction of the options available for Colombia and multi-country travel. Browse to get an idea of where you want to travel.
 
Still wondering? Contact us: You are definitely better off giving us a call or dropping us a line and letting us do the hard work for you.
 
#Livefortoday and book your Colombia tour with us today. Chimu Adventures is Australia’s leading Latin America and Polar specialist and can put together an itinerary to suit you.
 
Read Reviews (Avg 4.1 ★)
 
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Featured Colombia Trips & Deals

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This 20 day tour highlights Colombia's culture, history & scenery - see bustling cities, traditional towns, majestic mountains & Caribbean beaches.

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A fantastic taster of Colombia's colonial and historic city of Cartagena de Indias, one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

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Find out more about this 6-day tour of the highlights of Colombia, discover Bogota, the artesian centre of Cartagena and relax on Rosario island.

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Explore the beaches, coffee plantations and colonial cities of Colombia on this 9 day tour starting in Bogota.

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Articles On Colombia

Who was Pablo Escobar?

Posted on Fri, 07 Dec 2018

Yet Netflix’s sensational take on the life-story of Pablo Escobar has once again shone a light on this dark yet fascinating chapter in Colombia’s history. Narcos manages (quite superbly we might add) to capture the decades-long love-hate relationship Colombians had with Pablo Escobar, arguably the most famous and enigmatic Colombian who ever lived. Who was Pablo Escobar? One of the …

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Travelling Responsibly in South America

Posted on Thu, 06 Dec 2018

Many factors make South America a respectable beacon of sustainability and responsibility in the tourism sector although considering the environmental and cultural issues the continent still faces, it’s safe to say there is so much more work to be done. The ground work is firm: collectively, South American countries have ascribed vast swaths of wilderness as protected nature reserves, limited …

READ MORE

Peru’s Biggest Secret is Out! The Truth about Trujillo

Posted on Wed, 05 Dec 2018

The birthplace of some of the most significant pre-Inca cultures in South America and certainly the cultural capital of Peru, not to mention a stunning colonial maze and basepoint from which to visit some of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world, Trujillo seems more than ready to take to the centre stage, lights blaring. Could Peru’s biggest secret …

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Is it Worth Visiting Machu Picchu in the Wet Season?

Posted on Tue, 04 Dec 2018

Sure, Peru’s revered archaeological site is spellbinding…but is it really worth visiting Machu Picchu in the west season, or are you just wasting your precious time and money? This is one of the most often-asked questions we field here in the Chimu Adventures office and it’s a fair one at that. Whilst some visitors can choose the time of year …

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The Importance of Monitoring Ice Flows in Antarctica

Posted on Sun, 18 Nov 2018

The Antarctic ice flow is among the most pivotal determiners of the health of our planet and scientists monitor it to better understand the behaviour of ocean currents, climatic patterns and the effect of global warming. Read more to discover what ice flows can tell us. What’s the difference between an ice floe…and ice flow? Ice floes are chunks of …

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Best Things To Do in South and Central America – DECEMBER Guide

Posted on Thu, 15 Nov 2018

High-season hits Latin America like a thunderbolt in December and although you may think this is totally the wrong time of year to travel here, let us tell you: there are quite a few reasons December is so popular among visitors. And nope, it doesn’t all have to do with it coinciding with yearly international vacation times. December is the …

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Why Is It Important to Travel?

Posted on Tue, 13 Nov 2018

On the surface, travel is an excellent way to recharge our batteries and bust out of our routine. When we travel, we finally feel like there’s a reason we work so hard and save so fiercely. Seeing new places, visiting world-renowned attractions and soaking up the spectacle of startling new landscapes can rejuvenate the soul. Yet travel goes far and …

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Latin America – Lonely Planet Names Panama & Belize Top Travel Spots for 2019!

Posted on Thu, 08 Nov 2018

The way we see it, the yearly Best in Travel announcement by Lonely Planet isn’t so much a prediction but more of a synthesised summary of growing trends. At Chimu Adventures, we can certainly attest to both Panama and Belize enjoying a swift rise in Latin American ranks in the last 12 months, as has been the case for the …

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Colombia & The FARC – An Unlikely Environmental Conundrum

Posted on Tue, 30 Oct 2018

The 2016 peace deal between the Colombian Government and the FARC has come at an unexpectedly highly cost – the country’s incredibly biodiverse wilderness is being threatened by encroaching modernism. So what’s being done to protect this unspoiled natural paradise? The much-awaited peace deal between the government and major rebel fraction of Colombia is having an unanticipated side-effect on the …

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Top 10 Destinations in South America for the over-55s

Posted on Fri, 26 Oct 2018

Whether you’re planning your first ever visit to South America or if you’ve left many a footprint on the well-trodden Gringo Trail in years gone by, you’ll find the best destinations for the over-55s a wonderful way to discover the continent anew. The most important historic sites, most revered cultural hubs and most celebrated natural treasures the continent has to …

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Colombia Reviews

All Chimu Adventures' clients are given the opportunity to review their trip once they return home. These reviews are administered by a third party and as such are unfiltered by Chimu Adventures.

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cartagena, Bogota, Villa de Leyva My husband and I loved the towns we visited in Colombia. Everything ran smoothly, all the transfers and tours. Cartegena was super lively and interesting, we could walk everywhere in the old town and felt safe. Would recommend asking for a quiet room in the back of your hotel as Cartegena parties late. Our guide, George, who collected us from the airport and then was our tour guide for Bogota and Villa de Leyva and everywhere inbetween was fantastic, very knowledgeable and just really easy to get along with. Villa de Leyva was beautiful. The salt Cathedral was just amazing, so much more than what we were expecting.
Date published: 2017-06-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Cool Colombia We found the Colombians to be very hospitable hosts and the standard of accommodation and guides was also very good. We didn't get to explore as much as we would have liked due to timing, but we really impressed with Cartagena. A wonderful city, teeming with history! Food was very good and guides excellent. We also enjoyed the hotels we stayed at in Bogota and Cartagena. Luis was a good guide also in Cartagena. Would recommend.
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! Colombia is more than we expected. Chimu offered an incredible journey through the country and we were simply wowed at every turn. Big thanks to Clare in the Sydney office for putting this together for us. It was a dream.
Date published: 2015-12-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Colombian Love! Colombia, incredible destination and loved our time in the country. Cartagena was an absolute highlight and not to be missed. Warm, friendly locals, spectacular scenery and wonderful food.. I will be back!
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible Colombia! Loved every minute of this spectacular country. Coffee Triangle and our guide were the highlight! Cartagena was also incredible, loved exploring the city and dinner on top the city walls is a must. Would love to go back!
Date published: 2016-05-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good trip, but not entirely without problems A short stay in Bogota as planned was sufficient. There are more exciting cities in South America. Cartagena was an attractive city with the 1/2 day guided tour showing us the many sights. However the accommodation at the hotel Don Pedro de Heredia was not satisfactory. After refusing a smallish room with a double bed, we were given a large room with twin beds which we had requested when booking this trip. It was on the 4th floor. The only problem was that the lift of the hotel did not work at all during the 4 days we spent there - it's not nice to have to walk up in the tropical heat of Cartagena. This hotel can be given 3 *** at best. Our next stop was the Tyrona National Park. After a longish drive from Cartagena, we arrived at the entrance to the park, to find out that we had to walk 7 1/2 km to the lodge through the jungle, 4 km of which was up and down over many steps. I am 78 years old and had no problems but my wife who has 2 replacement knees had very serious problems reaching the lodge. Our itinerary never mentioned anything about the remoteness of the lodge. Our guides to and from the lodge were very helpful. Overall, I have to say that this Colombia trip was not the highlilght of our South America trip and I will not use Chimu again.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Worst organised trip I have ever been onn Worst organised trip I have ever been which is rather unfortunate as Colombia is a beautiful country. My advice would be choose another travel agency to help plan your trip
Date published: 2015-06-03
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Country Information

When to go to Colombia
  • Colombia was named in honour of Christopher Columbus, following the Italian version of his name (Cristoforo Colombo). Columbus never actually set foot on the current Colombian territory, but visited Panama on his fourth voyage, part of Colombia until 1903.
  • Colombia was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 – the others were Ecuador & Venezuela.
  • Colombia’s population is now close to 50 million.
  • Colombia controls the land access between Central and South America.
  • Colombia is twice the size of France and slightly less than twice the size of Texas.
  • Bogota is the 3rd highest capital city in the world.
  • Colombia is part of the Ring of Fire, a region of the world subject to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
  • Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, behind Brazil which has an area approximately 7 times that of Colombia.
  • Colombia is the only country in South America with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
  • The lowland areas of the Llanos savanna and the Amazon rainforest comprise over half Colombia’s territory but contain less than 3% of the population.
  • Colombia is the largest source of Latin American refugees in Latin America.
  • The national symbol is the Andean condor.
  • Colombia is the third largest oil producer in South America.
  • Bogota was declared World Book Capital by UNESCO.
Weather in Colombia

Colombia was originally inhabited by many major indigenous cultures such as the Tayrona, Muisca and Quimbaya. The area that is now Colombia was colonised by the Spanish after their arrival in 1499, and the social structures of the areas were radically altered by colonisation. The Spanish brought war and disease, resulting in the indigenous populations shrinking dramatically in size. They also brought European settlers and African slaves.

The country gained independence from Spain in 1819. It was one of five countries liberated by Simón Bolívar, along with Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia.

Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama formed the first Republic of Colombia, but by 1830 "Gran Colombia’’ had collapsed with Ecuador and Venezuela declaring their independence from Colombia. Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada, with the new Republic of Colombia being declared in 1886. Panama declared independence in 1903.

Following independence, the history of Colombia was marked by several civil wars. These conflicts, together with problematic social issues, early state repression against rural communities and world polarisation caused by the Cold War, culminated in a communist insurgent campaign by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN to overthrow the Colombian Government. The years of the conflict were marked by heavy fighting between the communist guerrillas, the Colombian state and military, right-wing paramilitaries and several drug cartels giving the country a terrible reputation.

In 2012 the government and the FARC began peace talks aimed at bringing the 50 year old Civil War to an end. Colombia is currently in a process of recovery, and is finally becoming the tourist destination that it deserves to be.

Colombia Culture & Customs

The geography of Colombia is characterized by its six main natural regions that each present their own unique characteristics - the high Andes mountain range region, the Pacific coastal region, the Caribbean coastal region, the Llanos (lowland plains), the Amazon Rainforest and the insular area, comprising islands in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Colombia is bordered to the northwest by Panama, to the east by Venezuela and Brazil and to the south by Ecuador and Peru. It is the only South American country with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

Galeras, at an elevation of 4,276m is one of Colombia’s most active volcanoes. It erupted in 2009 and 2010.

The highest point in Colombia is Pico Cristobal Colon at 5,775m, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The mountain is part of the world’s highest coastal range.

Colombia’s natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds and hydro-power.

Colombia History

Colombia is ethnically diverse with a diverse cultural heritage. The population is comprised of the descendants of the original native inhabitants, Spanish colonists, Africans originally brought to the country as slaves as well as 20th-century immigrants from the Middle East and Europe. Very strong regional identities are also as a result of Colombia's varied geography and the imposing landscape of the country. The majority of the urban centres are located in the highlands of the Andes mountains, but Colombia also encompasses Amazon rainforest, tropical grassland and both Caribbean and Pacific coastlines.

Spanish is the first language of Colombia and is spoken by over 99% of the population. Other languages include 2 Creole languages, 65 Amerindian languages and the Romani language. In San Andres, Providential and Santa Catalina Islands, English is also stated as an official language.

Colombia’s predominant religion is Roman Catholic accounting for about 70% of the population.

Colombia’s music is an amalgamation of sounds and rhythms, drawing on Indigenous, European and African influences, resulting in a dynamic musical mix.

Colombia’s cuisine is also varied, being influenced by the cultural traditions of the various ethnic groups as well as by the country’s diverse flora and fauna. Colombian dishes and ingredients vary widely by region. Common ingredients include rice, maize and tubers such as cassava. Popular dishes include patacones (fried green plantains), empanadas, tamales and papas criollas al horno (roasted Andean potatoes).

Colombia Geography

The Colombian economy has been growing at an average rate of 4% in the past few years, but as the country depends heavily on mining and energy exports, it is vulnerable to a fall in commodity prices.

Colombia is the fourth largest exporter of coal in the world and Latin America’s fourth largest oil producer. The country is rich in natural resources, its main exports including mineral fuels, oil, precious stones, forest products, coffee, cereals, cotton and sugars. Colombia is an important global source of emeralds and 70% of the USA’s imported cut flowers are Colombian.

Colombia’s main trading partners are the United States, India, China, the European Union and some Latin American countries. It is a founding member of the Pacific Alliance.

Colombia has an unemployment rate close of 8.5%, one of Latin America’s highest. The country’s most significant challenges include inequality, poverty, drug-trafficking as well as its infrastructure.

Tourism & Sustainability

Colombia is a presidential representative democratic republic. Government is divided into three branches – executive, legislative and judicial. There are 32 departments and 1 capital district. The President of Colombia is the head of the executive branch and serves as both the head of state and head of government. The president is elected by popular vote for four-year terms, limited to a maximum of two terms.

Universal suffrage is granted to those 18 years of age.

Colombia Food & Drinks
  • Laura of Saint Catherine of Siena – Roman Catholic Saint
  • Gabriel García Márquez - Author
  • Simon Brand – Film Director
  • Manuel Marulanda Vélez (nickname Tirofijo meaning Surefire) - Guerilla (Leader of FARC)
  • Sofía Margarita Vergara Vergara - Actress & Model
  • Shakira - Singer
  • Radamel Falcao García Zárate, Víctor Hugo Aristizábal Posada - Soccer Players
  • Mariana Pajón Londoño - Olympic Cyclist
  • Edward Niño Hernández – Guinness Book of Records for shortest living man
  • Fernando Botero – Master Painter

Frequently Asked Questions

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