What makes Colombia the latest expat retirement hotspot? Here are the top 26 reasons why to visit Colombia! Experience stunning beaches, live in budget-friendly cities, and immerse yourself in nature. Let Colombia be your next travel destination.

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Why visit Colombia

Colombia is a magical country with a colorful culture, stunning landscapes, and friendly people. Yet Colombia remains a misunderstood and underrated destination. ("Wait, Colombia? Isn't that dangerous?")

We're here to dispel those myths and give you the top 26 reasons you must visit Colombia. From walking Cartagena's colorful streets to exploring the Andes coffee fields to diving in the warm Caribbean sea, Colombia has something for everyone.

Whether you're a nature lover, a history buff, or an adventure seeker, Colombia offers an unforgettable experience. So pack your bags and get ready, as this article tempts you with the natural wonder and cultural diversity of this incredible South American country.

6 Quick Tips To Prepare For A Move To Colombia

TIP 1. Understand Colombia's visa policy- A decade of experience living abroad taught me that a country's resident visa and permit situation can make or break a plan to move overseas. Chat with a Colombian visa attorney.

TIP 2. Know your health insurance requirements- Starting July 2022, the government requires all expats living in Colombia to purchase specific medical coverage that includes accidents, illness, hospitalization, disability, repatriation, maternity, and death. 

TIP 3. Save On Moving CostsInternational moves can get expensive. Save hundreds of dollars by getting accredited moving companies to compete for your business. Fill out a quick form, sit back and let our moving partners get you five free moving quotes from trusted and reliable international moving companies.

TIP 4. Set up a Traveling Mailbox- Change all your critical mailing addresses to a traveling mailbox. Don't lose an important tax return, bank statement, credit card, or government document in the mail. Sign up for a virtual mailbox, and you can keep a permanent US mailing address and check your mail via your phone or PC.

TIP 5. Prove your onward ticket- If you only have a tourist visa Colombia requires a mandatory departure ticket. You need a onward travel with a date leaving the country before your visa expires. Save money by using  an onward plane ticket for just $16

TIP 6. Pick up some Spanish Skills- The most common difficulty experienced by expats in Colombia is English being less common than expected. Only 4% of the country speaks English. You can get a free 7-day Spanish language crash course to make your move to Colombia easier.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may get a commission if you purchase something using my link. Please note, there is NO ADDITIONAL COST to you. For more information, please see my disclosure.


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The 26 reasons why you should visit Colombia in 2023

1. Experience the dynamic nightlife in Bogota

friends enjoying the nightlife in Bogota while visiting Colombia

Me having drinks at Andres Carne de Res, 45 minutes outside of the city, in one of Bogota's wildest nightclubs

Colombia's capital is a major cosmopolitan city of over 12,000,000 people. If an energetic nightlife is what you want, Bogota has what you need. From salsa dancing to metal rock bars, Colombia's capital offers nightlife that visitors won't forget. Here are some of the best barrios or areas in Bogota for expats to enjoy the evening fun:

  • Zona Rosa (Zona T)- This famous entertainment district is a must-visit for anyone looking to party in Bogota. On the weekend, tourists and Bogota's socialites come to their favorite neighborhood to drink and dine. With a plethora of fine-dining restaurants serving international cuisine, trendy cocktail bars, and nightclubs, the 'Pink Zone' buzzes with activity until wee late into the night.
  • Chapinero- This trendy neighborhood is surrounded by universities making it popular with the younger crowd. Chapinero offers a variety of food options, dive bars, and late-night cafes. From Afro-Caribbean reggae bars to massive warehouse dance clubs, Chapinero's spirited nightlife has something for everyone.

2. Because Cartagena is one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America

visiting the old walls of Cartagena is one of the reasons why to visit Colombia

This coastal city, located on the Caribbean Sea, boasts a mix of cultural and natural attractions, making Cartagena one of South America's most beautiful cities.

Cartagena's well-preserved historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, transports you back in time. The colonial city's bright and colorful colonial architecture is filled with picture-perfect Instagrammable locations.

Visitors can also explore the cultural quarter of Getsemani, where the city's Caribbean vibe is on full display. Iconic palenqueras weave between Afro-Colombian street music and dance performances. At the same time, foreign tourists indulge in the wide array of Colombian food options, cafes, and bars.

When it's time to relax, Cartagena's dazzling beaches are the perfect place to soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters. And If you don't mind some occasional choppy waters, Isla de Baru is a 45-minute speedboat ride from Cartagena and is considered one of the country's most beautiful beaches.

3. To Visit the Colombian Amazon

visiting the Colombian Amazon by boat

Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime? Look no further than the Colombian Amazon in the southeast of the country. The vast diversity of wildlife and plant species in this area contributes to Colombia being the most biodiverse country in the world. Here are some of the top highlights of the Colombian Amazon:

  • Leticia- This is the largest city in the Colombian Amazon and a great home base to start your adventure. From here, you can take a boat down the Amazon River or visit the nearby Tarapoto Lake. Leticia is also great for learning about the indigenous cultures that call this region home.
  • Puerto Nariño- This small town on the banks of the Amazon River is a must-visit for anyone interested in ecotourism. Beautiful forests surround it making it an ideal destination to spot an array of wildlife including monkeys, sloths, and pink dolphins that live near the Amazonian waters.
  • Monkey Island- Located near Leticia, this island is home to several species of monkeys. Unlike the more aggressive monkeys in SE Asia, these monkeys (mostly squirrel monkeys) are playful and don't steal. You can watch them swing from tree to tree and they crawl all over you if offer bananas. It's an excellent place for animal lovers and families with children.

4. To take Colombian Spanish classes

If you're looking for reasons why to visit Colombia, add learning Spanish to your list. In addition to affordable language schools, the neutral Colombia accent is internationally recognized as the "most pure form of Spanish."

Additionally,

  1. Colombia has the second-highest number of native Spanish speakers in the world, just behind Mexico. Since most locals don't speak English, you will be surrounded by native speakers forcing you to ramp up your language skills.
  2. Colombian accents are very clear. The Colombian accent is considered one of the easiest to understand for Spanish learners. You'll be able to understand the language without getting confused by regional variations or slang.
  3. The rhythm and slowness of Colombian speakers also make it easier for students to pick up the language. Spanish is a very fast-paced language, but Colombian Spanish tends to be spoken more slowly and clearly than in other Spanish-speaking countries, which can help you catch on to the language more quickly.

5. Cheap Medical Tourism And Quality Healthcare

a doctor seeing patient about a tooth while she is visiting Colombia

Even though Colombia has a higher-ranked healthcare system than the United States, the cost of medical procedures in Colombia is a fraction of the cost in the US. It's no wonder many Americans consider Colombia a haven for medical tourism. At Colombia's best private hospitals, the prices of standard medical procedures are 60% less than in the United States.

Americans will find that the cost of heart surgery, LASIK, stem cell treatments, fertility treatments, and more are, on average, 50% to 60% less than in the United States.

 INSIDER TIP : Healthcare Coverage Abroad- Most health insurance will not cover you for any injuries sustained outside your home country. To get protection while living abroad, there are two options:

  • Travel Health Insurance- This will cover you for unexpected medical issues while overseas. However, the coverage requires you maintain insurance in the United States or your respective home country. I pay roughly $50 per month for complete coverage with no deductible.
  • Expat Medical Insurance- If you retire abroad, expat health insurance is a more complete option. Expat Medical Insurance is the "normal" insurance you are familiar with to from home. Coverage is built for people who live in a country versus traveling. While more expensive than Travel Medical Insurance, premiums are still cheaper than the US. 

6. Visit the beautiful beaches of Colombia

Colombia's stunning beaches are a top reason to visit this breathtaking country. With coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Colombia offers a unique mix of crystal-clear waters, sugar-soft sand, and lush greenery. Some of the most-loved and best beaches include:

  • Just a 45-minute boat ride from Cartagena lies the idyllic Playa Blanca. Located on Baru island, it is known for its clear turquoise waters and pristine white sands, providing an ideal escape from Cartagena's hustle and bustle. Lounge in a hammock, sip on a refreshing coconut drink, and let the serene beauty of Playa Blanca captivate your senses.
  • The remote Guachalito Beach sits on the wild Pacific coast of Colombia. Guachalito features strikingly dark, almost black sand that stretches along the Caribbean coast. It is surrounded by the lush greenery of the virgin jungle teeming with thousands of wild creatures, coconut palms, and some waterfalls. As an added bonus, visit between June and October to spots migrating humpback whales near the coast.
  • Located 5 km NW of Santa Marta, Taganga is a popular beach destination for backpackers and budget scuba divers looking to explore the impressive reefs below the waves of the Caribbean coast. This sandy beach is less idyllic than other tourist destinations on the list but is better known for its excellent seafood restaurants and cheap beach bars.

7. Experience Colombia's coffee culture and sample some of the world's best coffee

Colombian coffee's reputation is known worldwide, and the birthplace of Colombia's coffee bean is a triangle connecting the cities of Manizales, Pereira, and Armenia. This region, known as the Coffee Triangle, boasts lush valleys, miles of working coffee plantations, and charming wooden haciendas. UNESCO considers the entire area a World Heritage Site. Highlights of the Coffee Triangle:

  • Termales de Santa Rosa-: One of several natural hot springs in the coffee region. These thermal (termales in Spanish) springs are known for their therapeutic properties and are wellness tourism destinations. What separates the Santa Rosa hot springs from others is the gorgeous waterfall cascading down a forested cliff face that makes for a stunning backdrop.
  • Parque Del Café- Step into a world of wonder at this coffee-themed amusement park. Discover the history of coffee cultivation as you explore the coffee farms, learn the significance of the simple coffee bean's impact on Colombia's rich cultural heritage, then cap the tour with a warm tasting of the country's famous dark and toasty brew at the park's coffee shop.
  • The quaint capital cities of Manizales, Pereira, and Armenia are some of the best places to live in Colombia. These cities are popular with expats wanting to move to Colombia for picturesque views, slower pace, and small-city charm, vastly different from Colombia's more congested cities.

8. Explore the many national parks and reserves in Colombia

the multi colored Cano Cristales is one of the top reasons why to visit Colombia

Exploring Colombia's national parks and reserves provides an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature, witness breathtaking landscapes, and experience the country's rich biodiversity. Each park offers a different adventure, from coastal wonders to mountainous realms, inviting you to discover the untamed beauty that makes Colombia a true natural paradise.

  • Serranía de la Macarena National Natural Park- Discover the mesmerizing colors of the Caño Cristales, also known as the "River of Five Colors." Starting in July, a unique biological phenomenon causes vividly colored aquatic plants to create a river kaleidoscope of red, green, yellow, and blue hues.
    While created in 1971, this park has only recently been accessible to foreign tourists, as years of fighting between government forces, paramilitary groups, and drug cartels kept the area closed off.
  • Tayrona National Natural Park- Located along the northern Caribbean coast, Tayrona is one of South America's best national parks. This nature reserve is a tropical paradise with dense jungles and ample wildlife safeguarding some of the country's most pristine beaches and archaeological ruins pre-dating Machu Picchu.
  • Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo National Natural Park-  Located in the Caribbean region, this massive 1,200 square kilometers 40 island archipelago is an underwater heaven for diving and snorkeling. Observe the ample wildlife living among the lively-hued coral reefs and mangroves, including 62 coral species, 153 decapod crustaceans, 244 mollusk species, 153 echinoderms, 199 sponges, 513 fish species, and loggerhead, green, and critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles.

9. You don't need a visa (if you are from the US, UK, or 105 other countries)

Did you know that US citizens don't even need a tourist visa to enter Colombia? What better reason to come to Colombia? Americans can simply grab their passport and go!

Citizens of 107 countries, including the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom, do not need a visa to enter Colombia for short-term stays of less than 90 days. And if you fall in love with this beautiful country and want to stay longer, you can extend your stay for up to 180 days.

With visa-free entry, you can explore all the adventures Colombia offers, from living in vibrant cities like Medellín or Bogota to the stunning natural beauty of Tayrona National Park.

 INSIDER TIP : Long-Term Colombian Visas- Colombia even makes it easy for foreigners to live permanently in Colombia. There are visas for retirement, investment, marriage, or for studying Spanish. 

10. Experience the vibrant art scene in Medellin, Colombia

Medellin's creativity and artistry flourish amidst a backdrop of resilience and transformation. Once synonymous with a turbulent past, the "City of Eternal Spring" has reinvented itself as a thriving cultural hub that draws foreign retirees and expats from around the world. Must-see attractions that embody Medellin's artistic spirit include:

  • Botero Plaza- Larger-than-life sculptures by the renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero fill this square in Medellin's Centro. The plump figures and exaggerated forms that characterize Botero's work come to life in this free open-air plaza in the middle of the city.
  • Museum of Modern Art (MAMM)- Delve into the contemporary art scene at the MAMM, where local and international artists showcase their thought-provoking works. Avant-garde exhibitions are housed in MAMM's cutting-edge modern buildings designed with towering concrete blocks and rusted steel.
  • Street Art in Comuna 13- Explore the colorful streets of Comuna 13. Once labeled the "most dangerous neighborhood in the world," this troubled barrio has undergone a remarkable renaissance. Witness the power of art as multicolored murals and graffiti adorning the walls narrate the area's journey toward peace and community empowerment.

11. Feed the manta rays on the tropical island of San Andrés

San Andres Island, nestled in the Caribbean, is an island paradise renowned for its dazzling beaches, crystal-clear waters, and brightly-colored coral reefs. This destination is a dream come true for aquatic adventure fans, as few water experiences beat feeding manta rays in Cayo Acuario.

This unique encounter with these gentle creatures begins with a picturesque boat ride till you reach Cayo Acuario. After wading through the Caribbean waters, equipped with your snorkeling gear, you can observe the manta rays gracefully gliding by in their natural habitat.

With their playful nature and curiosity, feeding and interacting with manta rays up close is a thrill. Rest assured, experienced guides supervise this experience to ensure your safety and the comfort of the rays.

12. To salsa dance the night away in Cali, Colombia

Cali, Colombia, is known as the "Salsa Capital of the World" for good reason. The rhythm and energy of salsa permeate every corner of the city. From taxis to supermarkets, the infectious beats are inescapable. Whether you're a seasoned dancer or a newbie looking to learn, Cali offers an unmatched salsa scene. Here's here you can go to groove:

  • Best Schools for Salsa Dancing- La Academia de Baile Sabor Manicero- This dance school offers group classes for all skill levels and attracts hordes of students each day. Classes are taught in Spanish, but foreigners can still follow along by copying what the instructors do. Note: There is another salsa school called Manicero nearby, so be sure to pay attention to the address.
  • Best Salsa Clubs to Practice Your Moves- La Topa Tolondra: A popular club for all ages, La Topa offers different styles of salsa music throughout the week. Join the crowd and dance the night away, with cover charges ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 Colombian pesos.

 INSIDER TIP : No Salsa Partner, No Problem- In Cali, salsa clubs are casual, social spaces where everyone dances with each other so that you can join in even without a partner. Weeknights are ideal for practicing your newly acquired skills, while weekends are bustling with a mix of locals and visitors.

13. Visit the many interesting museums in Colombia

Colombia is a must-visit destination for art and history enthusiasts. The country is home to some fascinating museums showcasing ancient relics, pre-Columbian art, colonial history, and contemporary works of art. All major cities will have something interesting, but the country's top museums are:

  • Botero Museum, Medellín- This museum is dedicated to the works of Fernando Botero, Colombia's most famous artist. Botero is known for his signature style of exaggerated figures, and the museum showcases over 100 of his paintings, sculptures, and drawings. The museum is located in a beautiful colonial-style building in the heart of the city.
  • Gold Museum, Bogotá- National Geographic ranked this exciting museum as one of the top historical museums in the world. Home to the world's most extensive collection of pre-Columbian gold artifacts, with over 55,000 pieces on display previously belonging to indigenous populations from 500 years ago.
  • National Museum, Bogotá- This museum is housed in a beautiful 19th-century building that was once a prison. Today, it features exhibits on Colombia's history, from pre-Columbian times to the present day. Visitors can see artifacts from indigenous tribes, colonial-era art, and furniture and learn about Colombia's independence and political history. The museum also features rotating exhibits on contemporary art and culture.

14. Hike through the many mountains and valleys of Colombia

A 4-day hike to the top of the Nevado del Tolima is not for the inexperienced

Colombia is a hiker's paradise, with diverse and gorgeous landscapes. From the towering peaks of the Andean region to the lush green valleys and palm trees, Colombia's hiking trails offer a unique opportunity to explore the country's diverse landscapes and natural beauty. Tayrona, Cocora Valley and Ciudad Perdida (Lost City ) hikes are covered separately. But there are several other areas for hiking enthusiasts to explore:

  • Nevado del Tolima summit- A challenging four-day trek at high altitude. Topping 5,221 meters, the altitude combined with a steep glacier make this climb a grind suitable only for experienced mountaineers.  
  • Puracé National Park- Another UNESCO site, this volcanic park houses a 5-hour trek to summit the ruggedly beautiful Puracé volcano. The hike is also the only place where Andean condors can be seen in the wild. Indigenous guides are required.
  • Fin del Mundo trek- The Fin del Mundo, or End of the World trek is a chance to immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Amazon jungle. The hike is not too long and the reward is crystal-clear pools and a thunderous 70-meter-high waterfall surrounded by rainforests, birds, and colorful butterflies.

15. Colombia's warm and welcoming people will make you feel right at home.

The warmth and kindness of the Colombian people are truly one of the country's greatest assets. From the cosmopolitan cities of Bogota and Medellin to the remote villages of the Sierra Nevada, you'll find locals who are eager to welcome visitors with open arms.

Living in the Laureles neighborhood in Medellin, I had daily encounters with paisas (what locals from Medellin are called) who would go out of their way to help me navigate the streets, recommend the best local restaurants, and even invite me into their home for a New Year's Eve party with plenty of drinks and delicious food.

16. The festivals are off-the-charts fun

Colombia's festivals are a brilliant tapestry of color, music, and cultural heritage that ignite the nation's spirit. Be swept away by an explosion of joy, cultural pride, and contagious energy, and immerse yourself in celebrating the essence of Colombia. Barranquilla Carnival gets its own section, but here is a sampling of other extraordinary festivities:

  • Blacks and Whites' Carnival (January)- One of Colombia's oldest festivals, with a bit of a racist past. The festival started during colonial slavery times. The Spanish Masters would paint their faces black and celebrate with the slaves once a year. The next day the slaves would paint themselves white.
  • Manizales Fair (January)- Step into the heart of Colombia's coffee region and indulge in a celebration inspired by Seville's April Fair. Experience the thrill of bullfighting, revel in concerts and exhibitions, and applaud the beauty women in the international Coffee Pageant in Manizales.
  • Cali Fair (December)- Prepare to dance to the rhythm of salsa during one of the most lively year-end celebrations. The Feria de Cali brings together renowned salseros from around the world, electrifying concerts, and captivating street carnival parades that will make your heart beat to the pulsating music.

17. Colombia has some of the cheapest scuba diving in the world

Diving into the underwater wonders of Colombia is not only a mesmerizing experience but also an affordable one, making affordable scuba diving a top reason why you should visit this tropical paradise. I've already talked about diving in Tayrona and Corals Of The Rosary and Saint Bernard Islands National Parks, other top spots to explore under the waves:

  • A trip to Malpelo Island is a must for the more adventurous divers. This remote Pacific gem is a UNESCO World Heritage site known as the "Shark Diving Capital of the World." This hidden gem protects over 200 hammerhead sharks and 1,000 silky sharks. In the Hammerhead Triangle, you'll witness schools of sharks numbering in the hundreds, making for an exhilarating and unforgettable diving experience.
  • Gorgona Island teems with marine life to explore. Divers can encounter whale sharks (July to September), giant mantas (May to July), white-tip reef sharks, eagle rays, turtles, moray eels, dolphins, and even humpback whales during their mating and calving season.

18. See the many beautiful villages and towns in Colombia

For a taste of authentic Colombian life, skip the congested cities and head to the small towns and villages scattered throughout the country. These charming locales, with cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, and busy central squares, provide a glimpse into the country's past. Here are three of the top towns to add to your Colombia itinerary:

  1. Barichara- Dubbed by many as the "Prettiest Town in Colombia," this immaculately preserved 15th-century town is a photographer's dream, with stunning colonial architecture, whitewashed buildings, picturesque streets, and local artisans showcasing their traditional crafts. Check out the sunsets from the town's El Mirador for spectacular views of Santander and the Suárez River Canyon.
  2. Villa de Leyva- This town is known have the largest town square (Plaza Mayor) in Colombia. The 150,000 square foot beautiful central square is surrounded by colonial buildings and paved with cobblestones. Stroll through the charming streets, visit the local market, and explore desert Pozos Azules (blue pools) just a mile outside of town.
  3. Guatapé is an enchanting town with beautiful streets adorned with colorful houses and captivating artwork. Just 75 km outside of Medellin, Guatape is one of Colombia's most visited small towns. Come for the charming town, indulge in water sports, hiking, biking, and horseback riding at the nearby reservoir. But the star of Guatape is the the breathtaking 220 meter monolith, El Peñón de Guatapé (Piedra del Peñol). Scale the 708 steps to get panoramic views of the reservoir surrounding areas.

19. The colorful Carnaval de Barranquilla, the largest Carnaval celebration outside of Brazil

Barranquilla is the ultimate Carnival celebration outside of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Barranquilla Carnival immerses visitors in a whirlwind of exuberant dances, captivating music, and rich cultural expressions. The carnival showcases a repertoire of dances and musical performances rooted local traditions.

Masqueraded dancers, actors, singers, and instrumentalists take to the streets, delighting crowds with theatrical displays inspired by historical and current events. The festivities officially last four days in February, but the pre-Carnival season, beginning in mid-January, sets the stage with a burst of Carnival-themed decorations and lively music throughout the city.

20. The cost of living in Colombia is affordable

Colombia's affordable prices are among the top reasons it should be on every traveler's list. It's easy to find comfortable and budget-friendly accommodations. Renting furnished studio apartments in upper-middle-class expat neighborhoods in larger cities start at $300 monthly. You'll also save money not owning a car. Public transportation options like the Medellin metro only cost 2880 COP / ~0.65 cents USD per ride.

Real estate inflation in Colombia, especially in larger cities like Medellin, has been rampant, as digital nomads and retired expats flock to the city. But even with the current exchange rate of $1 USD to ~4,500 Colombian pesos, moving to Colombia from the US would slash your living expenses by 70% or more

21. Explore The Underground Salt Cathedral

I've seen all kinds of crazy cathedrals and churches, including a church made entirely of bone in Czechia, but an underground cathedral carved from a salt mine was a first. Located in the town of Zipaquira, just 48 kilometers from Bogotá, Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral is an architectural marvel. This masterpiece, built 180 meters underground in the world's largest deposit of rock salt, is dubbed the First Wonder of Colombia.

The cathedral, each Station of the Cross, and the three naves representing key moments in Jesus' life were all hand carved by miners by extracting 250,000 tons of rock salt.

22. Colombia just introduced a digital nomad hotspot

Colombia's introduction of a digital nomad visa in 2023 has opened up exciting possibilities for remote workers looking to experience the country's vibrant culture and natural beauty. With this 2-year visa, digital nomads can legally work and stay in Colombia for up to 6 months per calendar year.

The digital nomad visa, officially known as the "Visa V Nómadas Digitales" requirements include a Passport, a valid visa, a Foreign contract, a Motivational Letter, Bank Statements, Proof of Health Insurance, and a Passport photo.

23. Colombia has ancient ruins older than Machu Picchu

Peru's Machu Picchu gets most of the press and the crowds, but the Ciudad Perdida, also known as the "Lost City," found in 800 AD, is actually 650 years older. Getting to the archeological sites is an adventure; you'll need a licensed guide and embark on a grueling multi-day trek deep through the lush Colombian jungles of to reach the the Lost City of the ancient Tayrona civilization.

The ruins are a site to behold, with terraces, staircases, and stone structures revealing the ancient civilization that once thrived there. You'll walk the same stone paths once used by indigenous communities and discover their intricate system of canals for rainwater transportation and terraces for soil preservation.

24. For pictures of the Cocora Valley's iconic towering palm trees

Hiking through gorgeous Cocora Valley walk amidst the towering wax palms, reaching over 200 feet tall. These giant palms stand tall and proud, creating an awe-inspiring background when juxtaposed against the lush green hills of the Cocora Valley. This backdrop makes Cocora Valley one of Colombia's most iconic and picturesque destinations.

But the adventure doesn't end there. Explore the charming small towns of Jardin and Jerico, nestled amidst the rolling hills, offering beautiful hiking trails and breathtaking viewpoints. Take leisurely strolls through these picturesque towns, marveling at the brightly painted houses and bustling marketplaces that exude a unique charm.

25. Colombian futbol is world-class

Futbol is not just a sport in Colombia; it's a way of life. From the professional leagues to the street games, futbol is everywhere. The passion and energy of the fans are infectious, and on gameday you can feel it in the air. The stadiums are packed with fans singing and chanting, creating an electric atmosphere you won't find anywhere else. Even if you're not a die-hard futbol fan, experiencing a match in Colombia is an experience you won't forget.

Colombian National Team: Colombians are passionate about their national futbol team. Their home stadium is the Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez in Barranquilla.

Watching a home match with locals is an experience that should not be missed. The team is world-class, with six FIFA World Cup appearances, including a quarter-final loss I watched in Brazil in 2014 (photo credit).

Colombian Futbol Rivalries: Colombia's futbol culture is deeply rooted in passionate rivalries, and one of the fiercest rivalries in the country is between Atlético Nacional and Independiente Medellín, two of Medellín's biggest futbol clubs.

The rivalry between these teams is intense, stirring up strong emotions among fans. Known as the "Clásico Paisa," their matches are filled with excitement, energy, and a sense of local pride. The Clásico Paisa is not just about the game; it's an entire event that engulfs the city.

Key Takeaways: Why You Should Visit Colombia

Colombia is a captivating destination that caters to every traveler's desires. From the vibrant Barranquilla Carnival to the historical Museo de Oro in Bogota, the charming walled city of Cartagena, and the transformed Medellin Comuna 13, Colombia offers a diverse range of experiences.

Digital nomads will find a welcoming community of like-minded people in Medellin, while nature enthusiasts can explore the natural wonders and diversity of wildlife in the Amazon. Beach lovers can indulge in the beauty of the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. With one of the world's largest carnivals and affordable prices, Colombia is an ideal destination for party-goers and budget travelers alike.

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FAQs: Visiting Colombia

What is Colombia best known for?

Colombia used to be infamous for cocaine cartels and Pablo Escobar. However, the last 20 years have seen Colombia transform its reputation in the world. Colombia is better known for retirement hotspots like Medellin and the beautiful landscapes of the Amazon, Andean region, and Coffee Triangle.

Despite its past reputation, Colombia is now a safe and welcoming destination that offers something for everyone, whether interested in art, the food scene, nature, or beaches.

When is the best time to visit Colombia?

Colombia is so ecologically diverse; the best time to visit depends on what you want to do and where you want to go. December-March is the dry season throughout most of the country. Medellin has near year-round spring temperatures, while the average temperature in Cartegna is 80f / low 30c and sticky hot all year.

Peak tourist season is June to August when local schools are on summer break. Festivals also play a big part of life in Colombia. Carnival season starts in February, while the Salsa festival Feria de Cali is in December.

For a beautiful and rare experience, the best season for travel to Colombia's less-visited Pacific coast is between July and November, when you can spot migrating humpback whales from land.

What are the most popular festivals in Colombia?

Colombia has at least 6 different ways to say party (Farra, Foforro, Rumba, Rumbón, Parranda, Pachanga). Colombian culture loves celebrating, with nearly 16 national holidays and countless local festivals. Some of the most popular festivals include:

Pasto: Blacks and Whites Carnival in January

Barranquilla: Carnaval de Barranquilla in February, one of the largest carnivals in the world

Medellín: Feria de las Flores (flower festival) in August,

Cali: Feria de Calí in December or the Festival Mundial de Salsa (World Salsa Festival) in September

What kind of visa do I need in Colombia?

Citizens from the USA, UK, Canada, and 99 other countries do not need a visa to enter Colombia for tourist or business visits of 90 days or less. All you will need is a valid passport to get visa-free on arrival. 6-month visa extensions allow you to stay up to 180 days in a calendar year.

However, if you plan to stay longer than 180 days or want to work in Colombia, you'll need to apply for a visa. The types of visas available depend on the purpose of your visit, such as for work, marriage, or investment. The requirements for each Colombian visa type vary. xxx

Additionally, you must complete an online form on the Migracion Colombia website before entering or exiting Colombia. Entry and exit conditions can change on short notice, so checking with the nearest embassy or consulate for the latest details is essential.

Is Colombia safe to visit?

Colombia has come a long way regarding safety. However, concerns have increased since the pandemic shut down the economy and increased poverty and desperation levels. Crime rates and statistics are underreported, so I urge caution. Avoid overt displays of wealth, like jewelry or a new cell phone.

While Colombia is no longer considered a dangerous country, you still want to avoid the bad neighborhoods found in every major city. Try not to stand out as a tourist, and be aware of scams and theft.

About the author

Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last five years to over 40 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, Huffington Post, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, CW Network, Dr. Wealth, and others. [view press...]

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