Culture & Lifestyle – Daytours4u http://www.daytours4u.com/en Tours, activities and travel tips in South America Wed, 18 Jul 2018 14:50:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 96832869 4 reasons to enjoy tango in Medellín http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/4-reasons-to-enjoy-tango-in-medellin/ Tue, 19 Jun 2018 19:40:50 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=12371 Tango won the heart of Medellín a century ago and to this day, this passion of the Rio de la Plata is still alive in this charming Colombian city. Carlos Gardel well aware of the fascination of this city for tango visited Medellín as well as other Colombian cities in June 1935, this is also [...]

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Tango won the heart of Medellín a century ago and to this day, this passion of the Rio de la Plata is still alive in this charming Colombian city. Carlos Gardel well aware of the fascination of this city for tango visited Medellín as well as other Colombian cities in June 1935, this is also where he died in a plane crash. For this reason and others that we will give you, enjoying tango in Medellín is one of the unmissable activities for any traveller.

The Festival Internacional de Tango in Medellín is one of the reasons you have to enjoy this rhythm in the city / Source


1. 100 years of tango tradition

Medellín’s love for tango is not something new, for those who think that tango in the city started with Carlos Gardel, le danseur Jhonny Blandón, director of the Academy El Candombe assures that the Zorzal Criollo (it’s how Gardel was called) went to Medellín because there already was a tango tradition in the city.

But, how did the tango travelled 4225 miles from the Rio de la Plata to Medellín? Experts say that was possible thanks to the music industry with the records which arrived in Colombia in the early 20th century, these records had on one side Colombian rhythms and on the other side they had tango. These records arrived in the canteens of Medellín and in the surrounding towns, this helped to popularize tango in the region.

Since the start of the 20th century, tango is in the heart of the inhabitants of Medellín


2. Carlos Gardel

On the 24th of June 1935, Carlos Gardel died in Medellín. The plane where he was crashed at the Airport Olaya Herrera, his tragic departure strengthened the relationship of the paisas(inhabitants of Medellín) with tango. The legend of the singer continues to live and there are statues of him and even museums with his name all over the city.

Gardel returned the love of the Colombians for him and his music, in the last musical show he gave, he said: “Before singing my last song, I want to say that I have felt great emotions in Colombia. Thanks for the amability. I found in the smiles of the children, the looks of the women and the kindness of the Colombians a great source of joy (…) This land that welcomed me is so enchanting that I leave feeling like if I was his son, I can’t tell you goodbye, only hasta siempre”.


3. Cultural spaces to live tango

The third reason to enjoy tango in Medellín is that the city possesses many cultural spaces to dance and learn the history of this rhythm in the city. In El Patio del Tango, created in 1958, are musicians and dancers to create a great party. It’s a very intimate show where it’s possible to listen to old school tango songs.

The second famous place of the city is the Museo Casa Gardeliana, founded in 1973, declared Historical and Cultural Heritage of Medellín, it is situated in the Manrique suburb, crossed by the Avenida Gardel (The 45), an area full of tributes to the artist. There, valuable objects related to tango are exhibited and tango lessons are given for children and teenagers.

Two places which also have a tango spirit are the Salón Málaga, a bar-restaurant decorated with old photos and there is music which brings us back to the middle of the 20th century and, the Casa Cultural Homero Manzi, where you can often see live music, social gatherings, and celebrations associated with tango.

Travel tip: Discover in first person the influence of Carlos Gardel in the city with the Medellín Tango Tour.

The Casa Gardeliana is one of the temples of tango in Medellín, a must-see!


4. Festitango Medellín

If you still need more reasons to enjoy tango in Medellín, this one should convince you, especially if you are travelling in Colombia during the month of June. The Festival Internacional de Tango de Medellín (Festitango) has been held for 12 years, close to 80 events are organized for tourists and locals.

This year, it will take place from 18 to 24 June and events will take place in the Teatro Metropolitano, the Teatro Pablo Tobón Uribe and the Plaza Gardel. The tributed of this festival will be the Argentine composer Homero Expósito, to remember the 100 years of his birthday. The principal event of the festival is the Campeonato Mundial de Baile de Tango where more than 350 competitors from different cities will show the talent of the Colombians to dance the 2×4 rhythm.

Among the most importante activites of the festival, there is the World Tango Dance Championship, a real show / Source


Discover this and other interesting aspects of the Colombian culture with Daytours4u. Make your trip to Colombia a unique opportunity to know the tradition of this lovely country especially through his music.

By: Daytours4u’s Content Team

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Gastronomic Guide of Colombia: what and where to eat to experience all the flavors of Colombian cuisine http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/gastronomic-guide-of-colombia/ Tue, 22 May 2018 11:00:36 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=12317 Located in the equatorial zone, this seasonless country harvests a great variety of fruit and vegetable all year long, that are then marinated in different dishes creating an explosion of flavors. As love enters through the eyes, in this Gastronomic Guide of Colombia, we invite you to fall in love, not only with its landscapes, [...]

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Located in the equatorial zone, this seasonless country harvests a great variety of fruit and vegetable all year long, that are then marinated in different dishes creating an explosion of flavors. As love enters through the eyes, in this Gastronomic Guide of Colombia, we invite you to fall in love, not only with its landscapes, but also with delicious dishes that you will surely hear about from locals such as the bandeja paisa, ajiaco, sancocho, and many more.


Colombian Caribbean

The diet of the Colombian Caribbean is characterized by having a lot of green plantain, fish, and fried fast food, such as egg arepas or carimañolas. As for the desserts, you can find sweets on the beach and the famous street of palenqueras being offered in dessert trays with coconut, tamarind, and other typical fruits of the region.

Coconut is one of the main components of Caribbean cuisine, both in dishes and drinks / Photo: Daytours4u

Santa Marta

The Pearl of the Caribbean offers multiple dining experiences, just as varied as the shades of blue of Tayrona National Park and Taganga.

Today, the historical center of Santa Marta is a trendy place for tourists to visit, due to its tranquility and colonial character. In recent years, local gastronomic options have exploded, but just remember to be careful when consuming street food because the water of the coast is not of good quality and your stomach may not be used to it.

 

One recommendation in the historic center of Santa Marta is the Lamart, a seafood restaurant that offers an explosion of flavors; the house specialty dessert is fried ice cream, a very unique dish for those looking for new culinary experiences.

Another is La Primera Restaurante, found a little further outside of the center, it is an establishment strategically located for you to have an excellent view of the bay while enjoying its diverse international dishes.

If you plan on staying in Taganga, you have several options to choose from, such as Bítacora Restaurant, a place with a large culinary variety, or Babaganoush, a restaurant bar whose owner is responsible for providing the best experiences to its guests. Also, before 10 PM every evening, there is a 2×1 cocktail promotion.

Travel tip: To get from the center of Santa Marta to Taganga you just have to take an urban bus or an uber if you want to travel more comfortably.

In addition to enjoying the delights of Taganga, take the opportunity to contemplate its magical sunsets / Photo: Laura García

Cartagena

This magical Caribbean city, famous for its film festivals, literature and classical music which contrasts with wild champeta rhythms, offers its visitors a diverse gastronomy that ranges from street cuisine to elegant restaurants.

If you are curious about the local gastronomy, Cartagena is the ideal place to take a street food tour. This tour is the perfect opportunity to not only get to know the local dishes, but discover how they’re prepared along with their history.

To complement this experience you can walk through the Bazurto market where you’ll find all kinds of food that is typical of the region, along with music and crafts. Despite being well known today among curious tourists, we advise you to visit Bazurto market accompanied by a local due to security risks outside of the main tourist circuit, along with being overwhelmed from contact with locals.

Dining at La Mulata, on the other hand, is a more sophisticated experience without going beyond the typical. This restaurant is located inside the walled city so the atmosphere is much quieter. If you are passionate about the sea breeze, you should go to the Café del Mar, which is a restaurant bar located on the wall. Besides being one of the most famous in the country for its exclusive menu and wonderful views, it also offers an extensive menu of liquors and irresistible foods.


Medellín

These lands are ideal for experiencing tradition and new experiences. The typical diet of this area is based on grains, such as beans and corn, which you will see in every dish of the day in most restaurants, however, in this city you can find anything from molecular cuisine, to typical dishes, and even international cuisine.

Another must-see of the local gastronomy and culture is a visit to the market place. Besides being able to learn about the products of the region, the restaurants located there are an excellent option for breakfast while you immerse yourself in the daily life of the locals.

Reserve a Plaza Mercado Tour here

For lunch, enjoy a paisa tray at La Hacienda, a restaurant located in the center of the city, famous for its beans. Or you can have lunch at La Chagra, an Amazonian food restaurant located in the El Poblado area. This type of cuisine is exotic, so we advise you to ask the waiter about any terms you don’t understand. For dinner, Marmoleo offers music, a pleasant atmosphere and a pork rind ceviche that you cannot miss.

As for complementary experiences, we invite you to visit the restaurant El Cielo, where you’ll find molecular cuisine, and a tour of the most striking bars of Medellin, so you can venture into the nightlife and its drinks.

Travel tip: The best thing about the dishes of this city is that you can learn to prepare them easily and most of the ingredients are available in other countries, so if you fall in love with these typical dishes, we invite you to learn how to prepare them with the culinary experience tour in Medellín.

The paisa tray is one of the emblematic dishes of Medellín, do not miss it! / Source

Bogotá

Like any large city, the Colombian capital offers international food, fusion cuisine, and the most typical dishes of the country. If you visit the capital for a few days, we recommend that you start in the La Candeleria neighborhood. This area has a mixture of colors and architecture that will take you back to the colonial past. It is the best option to get closer to the Colombian Andean season, because, due to its large concentration of universities, offices and tourists, its streets are full of restaurants where you can try ajiacos, tamales and arepas.

Reserve a La Candelaria street food tour

Another colonial neighborhood of Bogotá is Usaquén, a town absorbed by the city, where there is a wide variety of bars and restaurants such as Felinos, a small local place where they sell homemade food, and one of the best ajiacos (soup with three types of potatoes with a chicken base) of the city.

For dinner, the famous Andrés Carne de Res restaurant bar is the place to go to experience night life in Bogotá. This establishment is one of the most famous in the country, with its main headquarters in the outskirts of Bogotá, and another headquarters in the Zona Rosa. On weekends it is difficult to find a reservation, so we recommend that you book one night in Andrés Carne de Res so that you can fully enjoy the experience.

During your days in Bogotá, go through the Usaquén neighborhood and try one of the best ajiacos / Photo: Multivac42

Bucaramanga

The capital of Santander region, as with the whole area, has a gastronomic culture based on yuca, with desserts such as the bocadillo veleño made with sweet guava, and snacks like hormigas culonas, which are ants.

One of the best options for enjoying local cuisine is La Puerta del Sol, a restaurant with more than 60 years of experience where you can find dishes such as mute (typical Santanderean soup), and cabrito al horno, among other delights. Our advice is that to enjoy a complete cooking and historical experience to visit the Santandean villages where you’ll discover that many were the epicenter of Spanish settlements and libertarian deeds.

During the time of colonization, Spanish settlements left coffee as a legacy, a crop that later expanded to other parts of the country. If you are in this region, don’t miss the opportunity to visit a coffee plantation and learn a bit of Colombian history.

Try all the desserts of Bucaramanga, especially the bocadillo veleño made with sweet guava / Phto: Daytours4u

Pereira

Being in the largest city of the 3 departments that make up the Coffee Triangle, you will probably decide to spend at least one night there. If so, one of the restaurants that you can’t miss is Latino, a place offering typical Colombian Pacific food based on seafood and fish, which despite not being typical of the region, is an interesting option to learn innovative ways to prepare food. Being in a place that is not very touristy, we recommend that you use transit to visit. Very close to Pereira, you can find other places to eat, while enjoying an incredible view, such as Santa Clara a grill 20 minutes from the city by bus.

Take advantage of your days in the Coffee Region to visit the haciendas of the place, experience the plantations and taste the quality coffee with the coffee experience in Santa Rosa.


We hope that with this guide your appetite has increased and that you are hungry for adventure and encouraged to experience the best of Colombia.

Book your best experiences in Colombia here

By: Laura García Betancur, Colombian journalist and audiovisual communicator from the University of Manizales, Colombia

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Colombia in 5 steps: Move to the beat http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/colombia-in-5-steps-move-beat/ Thu, 26 Apr 2018 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=12263 Colombia is a country of colors, flavors and rhythms marked by diversity. It’s easy to contrast the green of its mountains with the yellow of the sand or the blue of the sea, and when it comes to music something similar happens. Each region has a different type of music, encouraging you to move and [...]

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Colombia is a country of colors, flavors and rhythms marked by diversity. It’s easy to contrast the green of its mountains with the yellow of the sand or the blue of the sea, and when it comes to music something similar happens. Each region has a different type of music, encouraging you to move and which, at times, brings you back to colonial times. In this article we take a tour through the lands of the most popular Colombian rhythms, so that you can get your suitcases, your ears and your dance steps ready.


1. Vallenato, with accordions and legends

This genre, which uses the accordion as one of its main instruments, has its origins in the Colombian Caribbean, where people sat outside their homes to enjoy the afternoon heat, while drinking a beer, listening to vallenatos and effortlessly putting together a parranda*. Little by little this rhythm began acquiring new nuances and caught on in colder regions, like Bogotá. Nowadays it’s very common to listen to Vallenato in a taxi in any Colombian city, throughout the neighborhoods or while walking around the center.

Its fame has grown to the point that every year it’s celebrated in Valledupar at the emblematic Festival of the Vallenata Legend, one of the best festivals and cultural events in Colombia. This year it will be celebrated from April 26 to 30, 2018 and the honoree will be popular singer Carlos Vives. Find all the information for this event at the festival’s official page.

*Parranda: A party with drinking and dancing

Join the Festival of the Vallenata Legend and enjoy each parade and musical presentation

2. Cumbia, “ay mira que en Barranquilla se baila así”

This musical genre is played in many Latin American countries, however, it’s originally from Colombia. African slaves, during the times of colonization, invented percussion instruments to tell stories of romance and flirtation through music around the fire. During this dance, the woman moves her hips slowly, taking short steps while dragging her feet and shaking her wide skirt, while the man makes a circle around her, courting her.

All of Colombia dances cumbia during the month of December, and in the Colombian Caribbean it’s common to hear it throughout the year. So, if you plan to visit Barranquilla you can take the opportunity to listen to this rhythm some more in the Interactive Carnival Room, Elsa Caridi; or you can go a step further and enjoy local folklore on a Barranquilla Party Bus Tour.

In her famous song Hips don’t lie, Shakira, along with others, moves her hips to the rhythm of cumbia:


3. Champeta, Cartagena’s reggaeton

Champeta in Cartagena was originally used as a way to derogatorily refer to the Afro-descendant and marginalized population of the city. However, with the turn of the century, new music labels arrived that modified the language of the songs and relaunched Champeta with young and talented individuals. Soon, this musical rhythm was playing in the elite clubs throughout the city and has since become a large trend.

Currently, Champeta in Cartagena is part of the coastal culture. A 10 minute walk from the walled city, there’s a club called Bazurto Social Club, a place where one of the most representative groups of this genre was born: Bazurto All Star.

If you’d like to complement the cultural experience, you can visit the Bazurto Market in Cartagena where, along with the flavors and the hubbub of its people, you can learn about how Champeta became part of the city.

Explore the entire city with A Grand City Tour through Cartagena


4. Salsa caleña, from Cali with love

With airs of son, jazz, mambo and bolero, salsa is a musical genre born in the Antilles. In Colombia it gained strength during the 60’s and 70’s, to the point that many cities like Cali adopted this genre as their own.

Cali is known as the salsa capital of the world; why you ask? There are more than 90 salsa academies and about 120 establishments to go out to a pachanga*. If you go up to San Antonio to see the city from above, or if you take a walk through the center or enter any store, this rhythm will quickly reach your ears. It is, without a doubt, the sound of the city! So when you visit Cali we suggest that you to get ready to dance with a salsa lesson.

Every year at the Cali Fair, which takes place beginning December 25th, hundreds of music lovers, collectors, dancers and people passionate about salsa, gather around at a pachanga* to celebrate.

*Party or social meeting that almost always involves alcohol

Let yourself be seduced by the salsa caleña. Take some classes and dance like a professional.

5. Calypso, the islander’s music

The Island Group of San Andrés, Providence and Santa Catalina combine the best of Colombian culture and the Antilles; that’s why its musical mix is ​​fascinating. The musical genre par excellence across this group of islands is that of Calypso. This rhythm, born in Trinidad and Tobago, uses metallic drums, violin, guitar and maracas as its main instruments. It’s usually sung in Creole – the dialect of the island group- and Spanish.

It’s not uncommon to hear Calypso in the rest of Colombia, so if you want to experience this vibrant rhythm, we advise that you visit San Andres and also visit one of the largest coral reefs in the world.

Reserve your tour of San Andrés here


Bonus: Carranga, the countryside’s rhythm

Born in the 1970s, this musical genre from Boyacá is one of the representative rhythms of the Andean region. The way to dance it is in a waltz while enthusiastically moving your hands. Currently, this music is being combined with rock, as done by the Rolling Ruanas, in order to attract more audiences.

The towns surrounding Bogotá commonly to listen to Carranga and, unlike along the Caribbean coast where it’s music often invades the streets, Carranga is a rhythm confined to festivals, festivals and concerts.


Let yourself be carried away by the most popular Colombian rhythms and have fun dancing until dawn. Experience an unforgettable vacation in South America and discover the best travel experiences in Colombia with Colombia4u.

By: Laura García Betancur, journalist and Colombian audiovisual communicator from the University of Manizales, Colombia

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Where to go during Holy Week in Colombia http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/where-to-go-holy-week-colombia/ Tue, 20 Mar 2018 12:00:01 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=12182 Colombia is the sixth country with the most Catholics in the world. While growing up, not everyone practices but religious events such as Holy Week and Easter are usually a good excuse to rest and visit traditional destinations at this time of year. So, if you want to visit Colombia during the week, we suggest [...]

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Colombia is the sixth country with the most Catholics in the world. While growing up, not everyone practices but religious events such as Holy Week and Easter are usually a good excuse to rest and visit traditional destinations at this time of year. So, if you want to visit Colombia during the week, we suggest some of the most traditional places and the most common rituals during this time of reflection, so you can enjoy your stay to the fullest.

In 2018, Holy Week will begin on Sunday, March 25 and will run until Sunday, April 1. In Colombia, unlike other countries, the Monday after Easter is not a holiday.

Meet the classic destinations of Colombia where Holy Week is celebrated / Photo: Daytours4u

Places to visit during Holy Week in Colombia

We suggest five places where this week is a big event!

1. Holy Week in Popayán. It’s cataloged as one of the most appealing destinations to experience the liturgical acts. Popayán is known as ‘the white city’ because in the historic center all of its architectural works are white and when the sun sets over them there is a magical flash. This city was the capital of the Great Colombia before the Independence, because of how it stood out like the cultural and economic epicenter of the area. Its historical route, the devotion of the people and the majesty of its processions have made Popayán known as the Jerusalem of America.

Holy Week is a celebration that begins the preparations months in advance. The sculptures of the procession have been carved by European and Latin American artists, and those in charge of going out in the events with the floats have a tradition that goes back through generations. In 2009, Unesco declared these religious activities as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Travel tip: If you’d like to learn more about the activities that will take place throughout the week, we invite you to consult the official program here.

Popayán is one of the most attractive destinations for living the liturgical acts / Source

2. Holy Week in Mompox. Located north of Colombia, in the county of Bolívar, this town was declared a National Monument in 1959. Its streets are an ode to the colonial era: the main and most tourist access route is the Magdalena River, but you can also get there by land and air. It’s a place that is suspended in time, a scene like those from the film by Francesco Rosi, based on the book by Gabriel García Márquez, Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

Mompox has two major activities during the year: Holy Week and the Jazz Festival; The first is one of the most outstanding in Colombia. The processions look like a dance: two steps to the front and one back, creating an enveloping rhythm for the observer. One of the most emblematic days is on Holy Wednesday, where the locals dress in their best costumes, in the cemetery, a serenade to the deceased.

Travel tip: ethe trip to this charming town consists of taking a bus from the terminal of Cartagena to Magangué (5 hours approximately) then embarking on a slab or a ferry to get to Mompox. Before embarking on the route to Mompox, you can visit Cartagena. Take a guided walk through the walled city, and eat traditional Easter sweets in El Portal de los Dulces or climb the Totumo volcano.

Reserve a tour in Cartagena here

Take advantage of your time in Cartagena during Holy Week and try the typical sweets at El Portal de los Dulces / Photo: Sergejf

3. Holy Week in Santafé de Antioquia. Known as ‘the cradle of the Paisa race’, this town settled in the Colombian northwest was once the capital of Antioquia. With more than four centuries of history, its streets reveal to the tourist not only the roots of the Colombian time but also the customs of yesteryear.

The important week here is represented by Quito art figures- which almost seem real!- making these processions here a different show. Each participant in the procession fulfills a special role, from dressing the statue and carrying it until he is fully aware of it during the pilgrimage. Learn more about the tradition in this link and discover how the local’s faith is expressed.

Travel tip: This town is an hour and a half from Medellin, so you can go and return the same day with a Santa Fe de Antioquia Day Tour. If you want to know more about it, we recommend that you schedule some Easter activities to attend.


4. Holy Week in Jericó. This Antioquian town saw the birth of the first Colombian saint: Mother Laura Montoya, who was canonized in 2013. Thus, Jericó, in addition to its landscapes, shows a whole religious history. The center of the celebration of Holy Week is the parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; from there they begin and end almost all of the ceremonies.


5. Holy Week in Pamplona: belonging to the county of Santander, sharing a border with Venezuela, this district is the center of Santander’s culture. It is a proper city for religious tourism due to its different spaces dedicated to the Catholic faith. In the colonial period, Pamplona was characterized as a mercantile and road corridor, since expeditions departed from it to territories still unknown, hence its nickname ‘the founding city of cities’.

The main event is the children’s holy week, where hundreds of children who have rehearsed in schools participate in processions and other ceremonial acts. Dressed as nuns, and Nazarenes, freighters, among others, they fulfill the roles of the processions and parade through the streets of Pamplona.

Within the framework of this religious celebration there is also the International Choral Music Festival, whose main stage is the Santa Clara Cathedral of Pamplona.

Travel tip: If you’re in Pamplona, we advise you to go out and discover the magic of the most representative towns of Santander, where there is history, culture and gastronomic variety.

Reserve a tour through the villages of Santander here.

Pamplona is a city of its own for religious tourism, do not miss visiting it during Holy Week! / Source

6. Holy Week in Yopal. Its Holy Week, unlike many parts of Colombia, is not characterized by processions or religious events, but rather by complementary activities that occur around the week, such as craft shows, sports activities, religious concerts, theater and activities that facilitate children’s understanding of religious mysteries.

Travel tip: The plains are characterized as an adventurous destination, we advise that you go prepared with comfortable clothes, sunscreen and a great fearless spirit to live this experience.


Myths and customs of Holy Week in Colombia

Precisely because of the religious fervor of Colombians, within this society there are at least three myths and three customs that you will surely hear about from locals during your holidays.

Myths:

– The most passionate expressions of love during Holy Week can bring about as a consequence that you can’t detach yourself from your beloved. It’s a very peculiar myth that, depending on how its seen, can be good or bad.
– Bathing in the river or in the sea during these holy days can make you turn into a fish. This myth is very popular among the people in the north of the country.
– Bathing after 3 o’clock in the afternoon (time of Christ’s death) can make the water turn to blood.

Traditions:

– Don’t eat red meat during the week..
– Don’t go out to parties, for it’s a week of reflection and atonement.
– Some fast on Good Friday.

Come and discover Colombia during these dates and remember to be respectful of the most devout, while enjoying your stay.

Reserve online your tours in Colombia

By: Laura García Betancur, Colombian, journalist and audiovisual communicator from the University of Manizales, Colombia.

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Festivals and cultural events in Colombia http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/festivals-and-cultural-events-in-colombia/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:51:30 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=12045 Colombia is a country without seasons, surrounded by two oceans, which means that all year round the weather is perfect for a beach party or a walk through the snow. This same geographical versatility is reflected in the Colombian popular culture that offers locals and foreigners festivals and cultural events that meet the interests of [...]

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Colombia is a country without seasons, surrounded by two oceans, which means that all year round the weather is perfect for a beach party or a walk through the snow. This same geographical versatility is reflected in the Colombian popular culture that offers locals and foreigners festivals and cultural events that meet the interests of all travelers. In the calendar of Colombia find out which are the most important cultural events that take place each month in this land of magical realism!

The parties in Colombia begin with the Carnaval de Blancos y Negros / Source

Festivals in January

– Blacks and Whites’ Carnival- Pasto. The celebrations in Colombia kick off with this event, which always begins the first week of January. In 2009 it was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco and it is a festival that has its origins in 1546. With an explosion of rhythms that reflects the traditions of Andean and Pacific ethnic groups, the Blacks and Whites’ Carnival in Pasto is divided into four stages: the inaugural parade, the blacks’ day, the whites’ day and the closing, which occurs on January 7 with the Day of the Cuy (guinea pig).

When: From the December 28 to January 7

Travel tip: Find the official program here.

– Manizales fair – Manizales. For 62 years, the Manizales Fair has combined the traditions from Seville (Spain) with the coffee culture. Fans of bullfighting will find various activities that are ideal for them, because over the years the fair has had bullfighters like ‘El Juli’, Ponce, Roca Rey, Manolo González and Alfredo Jiménez, among others. Bear in mind that 80% of this fair’s events are free, except for those related to bullfighting.

The closing concert has artists of different genres: vallenato, reggaeton, salsa and mainstream music.

When: From January 5 to 14, 2018.

Travel tip: Discover all the details in the Fan Page

– Hay Festival – Cartagena. ‘Hay festival’ is a European initiative that seeks to bring together the literati with music and the arts. In Colombia this event takes place in Cartagena, as the main venue, during the last weeks of January.

Year after year, film critics, musicians, writers and journalists from different parts of the world gather at forums, conferences and workshops for a week to debate, comment and inform about the literary works of the moment, making every corner of the walled city come alive. Due to the convergence of foreign artists, the event is intended for both Spanish and English speakers.

When: From January 24 to February 1st 2018.

Travel tip: For the first time, the best Latin American authors under 40 will meet. As for music, Julieta Venegas, Ana Belén and Andrés Cepeda will be performing. Visit the official Hay Festival website to learn more.

The Bahía Group during the Hay Festival Cartagena 2006 event / Photo by: OAGREDOP

Festivals in February

– Barranquilla Carnival: The Barranquilla Carnival is the Colombian festival par excellence. This event has international recognition and stands out among other important festivals in Latin America.

Beginning in mid-January the city is decorated for carnival along with preview dance events, parades and performance troupes. When February arrives, which is the month of the carnival, the city stops everything in order to receive its visitors with the biggest party of the year, where dancing and popular folklore are an excuse to experience this magnificent city.

It begins with ‘The battle of the flowers’ which is a wonderful parade led by the queen of the carnival and preceded by large floats of flowers, typical music of the region and different typical characters. After the opening, there are more parades, music and parties on each block of Barranquilla, because ‘whoever experiences carnival is the one who enjoys it’. The closing consists of the burial of ‘Joselito Carnaval’, a symbolic funeral to dismiss so many days of celebration.

When: From February 10 to 13 2018.

Travel tip: Read up on the official Carnival program and, if you wish, you can book a tour package for the Carnival of Barranquilla that tickets to the parades, accommodation and transportation. Check here prices and availability.

The colorful Carnival of Barranquilla, internationally recognized / Photo by: Ashley Bayes

Festivals in March

– Ibero-American Theater Festival – Bogotá. The Iberoamericano Festival at Bogota Theatre has become one of the most important events in Latin American, bringing together independent theater companies from all over the world. For a week, in the Colombian capital you can see about 20 different exhibitions from galleries and street art, from various genres such as clown, dance, drama etc.

When: From March 16 to April 1, 2018.

Travel tip: Find the official festival programhere and make the most of your days with the best tours and activities in Bogotá to get to know the city.

Nearly 20 plays can be seen at the Ibero-American Theater Festival / Photo by: Carlos Martínez, Ministerio de Cultura

– Holy Week – Popayán. Colombia is the third most religious country in Latin America, so Holy Week, also known Easter, is a very important holiday for the population in general. If you like to partake in religious tourism and want to discover more about Catholic traditions, in the city of Popayán you will find a complete experience from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday: events, processions and allegories centered around reflection and the Christian faith.

When: From March 25 to 31, 2018.

Travel tip: Consult all the details of Holy Week in Popayán on the official web page.


Festivals in April

– Filbo – Bogotá. Bogotá, declared one of the world’s book capitals by UNESCO in 2007, holds its traditional International Book Fair in April, one of the most important literary events in Colombia. There are records of visits from 550 thousand people in just one edition!

During the tour of the 14 pavilions, you can find not only premieres of literary works premieres, concerts, talks by international lecturers but also the pleasure of uniting literature with activities such as cuisine and art through a variety of demonstrations. It is a good opportunity to get that book you always wanted, but also to learn more about Latin American culture.

When: From April 17 to 2 May 2, 2018.

Travel tip: Visit FILBO’s official web page to find out the details.

– Festival of the Vallenata Legend – Valledupar. Half a century recreating the myths and customs of a land through vallenato music, they uphold the Festival of the Vallenata Legend as one of the most important traditional musical events in Colombia. For 4 days the city of Valledupar is transformed into a single sound emitted by the vallenato accordion.

The event not only exalts the music, it also gives space to storytelling, dance and oral narration, making the visitor completely immersed in the vallenato culture. There are different scenarios, depending on the level of expertise of the participants and age. At the end of the event, the “King of Kings” is crowned, which is the highest award that can be received at the event.

Each year the festival has a different honoree, who is an ambassador of vallenato music, and this year it will be the renowned singer Carlos Vives Don’t miss out!

When: From April 26 to 30, 2018.

Travel tip: Find all the information about this event on the official festival web page.

Coronation of the king of kings 2017: Álvaro López / Photo by: Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata

Festivals in May

– Mono Núñez Festival – Valle del Cauca. In order to exalt and preserve Colombian Andean music, several festivals have been created throughout the country; one of the most important is the Mono Núñez Festival. It takes place in a small town called Geneva in the Valle del Cauca, and for three days all the inns, family homes and hotels are full of musicians from different regions and countries, singing to the frets of guitars, bandolas and tiples, from visitors who participate in the festival.

When: From May 31 to June 3, 2018.

Travel tip: The group in charge of organizing the event is Funmúsica, Funmúsica, find their official web page here.


Festivals in June

– Festitango – Medellín. Tango is not only found in Río de la Plata. Medellín has an important tango tradition, even to the point that Carlos Gardel often came to make presentations in the city until the day of his death.

As one of the tango capitals, Medellín holds a traveling tango festival, where you can find not only great dancers but also wonderful interpretations of this rhythm from Rio de la Plata. During three days the festival moves throughout the city, drawing in both children and adults.

Travel tip: consult the festival’s Facebook page for the exact dates and if you are travelling to the city outside of the month of June, reserve a Tango tour in Medellín online.


Festivals in July

– Colombia Moda – Medellín. One of the most important industries in Medellín is that of textile, which makes it Colombia’s fashion center. Because of this, every year the most outstanding Latin American referents of this industry are found at fashion week: Colombiamoda.

About 13 thousand buyers and more than 500 Latin American brands meet at this event to make connections and mark trends. During the event there are free conferences and workshops to catch up on fashion and the industry.

When: From July 24 to 26, 2018.

Travel tip: Learn all the details in the official Colombiamoda web page and enjoy your vacations in the city of eternal spring with the tours and activities in Medellín.

Colombia Moda is the opportunity to know the trends in the region and the world / Photo by: Martín Mortality

Festivals in August

– Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival) – Medellín. This festival is known for its traditional silleteros parade, in which not only the qualities of the man paisa but also its origins are glorified. The silleteros are agricultural farmers who head out to the festivities with a wooden frame on their backs, decorated with an immense variety of flowers arranged in such a way that each “silleta” tells a different story. The decorating of the silletas is a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation, and characterizes the path to Santa Elena.

During the fair there is also the Festival de la Trova, different events in pubs and family run inns, concerts and a large exhibition of Paisa culture in the North Park.

When: From August 3 to 12.

Travel tip: Visit Medellín City Hall’s official web page o learn more about the tradition and reserve a Silleteros and Flowers tour here.


Festivals in September

Colombia to the rhythm of Jazz. In September, different cities and towns in Colombia such as Barranquilla, Manizales and Mompox devote three days to jazz. The largest jazz festival is organized in Bogotá, so if you are thinking of traveling to Colombia this month, we recommend that you stop in the Colombian capital to enjoy the event.

Jazz in the Park – Bogotá. This festival has had, for 20 years, artists on par with Richard Bona or Chucho Valdes. The event takes place at the Country Club, to the north of the city. While you’re at the concert you can eat something, read or just lie on the grass to listen to the invited performers.

When: September 22 and 23, 2018.

Travel tip: If you are interested, you should be aware of this year’s program! So visit Jazz in the Park’s official web page.

Enjoy Jazz at the Park in September at the Country Club of Bogotá / Photo by: Carlos Lema- Idartes

Festivals in October

– “Coffe time” in Quindío! In October International Coffee Day is celebrated. To celebrate it, we invite you to visit Armenia, one of the three cities in the Coffee Region, which is more than a century old. The city festivities take place in mid-October; its theme is in constant homage to the coffee culture, there are parades of the traditional yipao, which are decorated cars with elements of the coffee culture and you can also pick up national souvenirs and international crafts. If you are travelling to Colombia during this month, we recommend that you participate in the festivities.

Travel tip: Take home the essence of the Coffee Axis with the best coffee tours in Armenia, Manizales and Pereira.


Festivals in November

– “Patron Saint Festivals” – San Andrés. The entire group of islands celebrate the festivities of its patron San Andrés. They do it in two very special ways: by celebrating the International Reign of Coco, and the best rhythm of Caribbean music accompanied by the typical dishes of this region.

The event takes place during the last week of November, so we invite you to schedule starting now, in order to enjoy the party and organize your itinerary that includes visits to the other islands, take a walk underwater, party on a cruise, and -Why not? – Do a diving mini-course so you do not miss the beautiful coral reef that surrounds this place.

Reserve tours for a dream island vacation in San Andrés

Celebrate the San Andrés festivities to the rhythm of Caribbean music / Photo by: Sofía Romero

Festivals in December

– The month of the little candles. On December 7 and 8, all of Colombia celebrates Velitas “Little Candles” Day, a Catholic tradition where candles are lit to celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. The celebration varies in every region. In Quimbaya, a town in the Coffee Triangle, they close off their streets to put out handmade lanterns, and there is music and liquor in all the homes; other cities such as Cali and Medellín light their large lanterns in parks and on the banks of rivers. On the Caribbean coast dawns processions usually take place at dawn, after a long night of celebration. With this holiday, Christmas begins.

Travel tip: Be part of this beautiful tradition with the Christmas Lights Tour in Medellín.

– La Feria de Caña – Cali. Cali is known as the world’s salsa capital, so its grand festival, which always begins after Christmas Eve, is permeated by this rhythm. The Cali Fair or Feria de la Caña is made up of cultural and gastronomic events for everyone: from presentations by national and international artists, to the creation of spaces for music lovers and collectors.

Every year, a branch of heaven opens its doors to the best exponents of salsa, to amateurs and, of course, to all visitors who come wanting to learn more about this Caribbean rhythm.

At the commencement of the festival there is a grand parade that evokes the best of salsa, and the salsódromo is also officially opened.

When: From December 25 to 30, 2018.

Travel tip: As an alternating event the city begins its bullfighting season. Visit the Fair’s official web page to get the details and book your tours and activities in Cali online.

If you spend the end of the year in Cali, do not miss its famous Feria de la Caña / Photo by: Claudio Bustos

After signing a Peace Treaty, Colombia reated new routes to promote tourism and open itself to the world as a country with immense biodiversity and multiculturalism. “It’s time to experience Colombia. You will love it!”.

By: Laura García Betancur, Laura García Betancur, Colombian audiovisual journalist and communicator

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8 Ways to Celebrate Christmas & New Years in Colombia Like a Local http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/christmas-like-a-local/ Wed, 06 Dec 2017 12:00:19 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=8753 Spending Christmas in Colombia is unlike anything you’re likely to experience anywhere else in the world. From the food to some interesting and downright wacky traditions, here’s how to make sure you have a blast and spend the festive seasons like a local. 1. Noche de las Velitas Día de las Velitas, one of the [...]

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Spending Christmas in Colombia is unlike anything you’re likely to experience anywhere else in the world. From the food to some interesting and downright wacky traditions, here’s how to make sure you have a blast and spend the festive seasons like a local.


1. Noche de las Velitas

Día de las VelitasDía de las Velitas, one of the most traditional holidays in Colombia, officially marks the beginning of Christmas!

Christmas officially begins in Colombia on the 7th of December with the Noche de las Velitas or the Little Candle Day. Children and families head out into their neighbourhoods and light candles on the footpaths, roads and windowsills of the area. The tradition is said to have begun in the 1800s as a way of celebrating the Virgin Mary.


2. Join in a family novena

navidadFor a full-on family experience in Colombia, gather around the Christmas tree and sing the novena together

There is a real emphasis on family during Christmas in Colombia and that means there are loads of opportunities to get up close and personal with the locals during this time. Perhaps you can even get invited to a novena, which is a catholic tradition when family get together to sing religious songs and prayers. Novena, meaning nine, signifies the nine days of prayer in the lead up to Christmas. Often, people will sit around the Christmas tree and sing about baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Here are the lyrics to one popular song, so you can join in if you find yourself invited to a novena yourself.

Ven, ven ven
Ven a nuestras almas
Jesus ven ven,
ven ven ven a nuestras almas
Jesus ven a nuestras almas
Nooo tardes tanto no tardes tanto
Jesus ven ven, ven, ven.


3. Eat your weight in natilla and buñuelos

bunuelos-colombiaA Christmas feast in Colombia is never complete without the delicious navilla & buñuelos combo! / Source

As much as Christmas in Colombia is about family, it’s also about sharing, cooking and eating food. Some of the most popular Colombian foods to eat around Christmas time are natilla and buñuelos.
Natilla is a wobbly custard-like dessert made from milk, blocks of brown sugar called panela and cinnamon. But natilla isn’t the same without an important accompaniment: buñuelos. These doughy fried cheese balls are irresistible and will surely have you putting on the Christmas pounds in no time. It’s totally worth it, though!


4. Visit Los Alumbrados in Medellín

MedellinWatching the lights placed along the river and La Playa Avenue in Medellín is a must-do! / Source

Spending Christmas in Colombia just wouldn’t be the same without taking in the millions of Christmas lights that have been carefully placed along the river and La Playa Avenue in Medellín. Each year the public-utility company Empresas Publicas de Medellín (EPM) sponsors the light show, but that’s not the only thing worth marvelling over. There’s also a full street dedicated to food to
indulge in, including arepas, chorizo and other fried snacks.


5. Run around the house in your yellow underwear

"Luck" panties | colombia4uMake sure to wear your yellow knickers on NYE for luck in the new year! | AFP PHOTO

Unlike other parts of the world, Christmas in Colombia is basically a month-long holiday that goes from the beginning of December, sometimes even earlier, until well into January, so New Year actually becomes part of the festivities. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, Colombians take part is some interesting traditions, including wearing new yellow underwear and running around the house. Pack some of your favourite yellow knickers and get ready, because apparently it helps to ensure the next year is full of luck, success and happiness.


6. Run around the street with a suitcase

If running around the house in your new yellow underwear sounds interesting, well, it doesn’t stop there. Another tradition includes running around the block with a suitcase, which is said to bring lots of travel opportunities the coming year.


7. Eat 12 grapes

12 Grapes before midnight | colombia4uDon’t forget to eat exactly 12 grapes after midnight for prosperity in the upcoming year!

Another way to bring luck for the New Year is to eat 12 grapes. Some say the grapes signify each of the 12 months to come while others say they represent each of the 12 clock chimes at midnight. Either way, if it means our New Years are going to be lucky, prosperous and happy, it’s worth a shot.


8. El Año Viejo

Año Viejo doll burning in Colombia | colombia4uIt’s not as scary as it looks like! Colombians burn the past year’s bad energy for new good vibes

After Christmas in Colombia is done and dusted, the locals will often make a life-sized doll to represent the old year called el Año Viejo. Sometimes it can represent a particular person or event, or simply be a symbolic representation of the year that has passed. Just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, families set their dolls on fire to get rid of the old or bad energy from the year passed and prepare for the good in the year to come.

By Sarah Duncan, author of the Colombian-specialized blog Sarepa

Have you spent Christmas in Colombia? Which traditions did you take part in? Let us know all about it in the comments section below.

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10 tourist attractions in Bogotá you cannot miss http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/10-tourist-attractions-in-bogota/ Thu, 10 Aug 2017 18:32:40 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11692 The Colombian Capital is rich with history, culture and adventures. Travellers can find a great variety of places to visit in every corner of the city and at any time. Following you will find 10 tourist attractions in Bogotá that will make your visit to the Colombian capital unforgettable. 1. Monserrate Whether you are a [...]

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The Colombian Capital is rich with history, culture and adventures. Travellers can find a great variety of places to visit in every corner of the city and at any time. Following you will find 10 tourist attractions in Bogotá that will make your visit to the Colombian capital unforgettable.


1. Monserrate

Touris activites in Bogotá

Monserrate is known for offering a beautiful panoramic sight of the capital. Flickr: Leandro Neumann Cluffo

Whether you are a pilgrim or a tourist, going on top of the Monserrate Hill has become one of the most traditional activities of the city. Located in the Eastern Hills at 3.152 metres high, Monserrate is known, amongst other things, for the Sanctuary of Monserrate, wide gardens perfect to have a walk, exclusive restaurants offering typical and international food and a beautiful panoramic sight of the capital. Besides, the cable car service or Funicular offers a comfortable and pleasant ride through the dense and colourful woods of the eastern hills. You can also get to Monserrate through a walking path. Going up the steps will take you approximately 40 minutes; if you feel you are up to the challenge, you should make sure you are well-hydrated and fed so that you do not get dizzy or faint because of the height. Through this walk, you will surely understand better the culture of Bogotá since the Cerro Monserrate belongs to the 10 top tourist attractions in Bogotá.

Time: The Funicular is opened from Tuesday to Friday from 6:30 y 11:45, Saturday from 6:30 to 16 and Sunday from 6:30 and 18:30. The Cable Car operates on Monday from 6:30 to midnight, from Tuesday to Saturday from midday to midnight and on Sunday from 10:30 to 16:30.

Travelling tip: The surroundings of Montserrate can be a little unsafe. You are thinking about going there at night, make sure you go with a local or check with the local authorities. Likewise, if you want to go up the hill through the walking path, do it during the day and make sure you come back before 5 pm to avoid trouble.

Official page of the Monserrate Hill.

Book your Bogotá City Tour online.


2. Gold Museum

Tourist attractions in Bogotá

In the Gold Museum, you will discover the biggest pre-Hispanic silver and goldsmithing collection in the world. Picture: Facebook Museo del Oro

Interesting stories are a part of this museum that offers some of the most important tourist attractions in Bogotá. Inside you will discover the biggest pre-Hispanic silver and goldsmithing collection in the world, which is why it was declared as National Monument. Since its foundation, in December 1939 when the Republican Bank acquired the first piece of this exhibition, the Gold Museum acquired about 34.000 pieces of jewellery and 20.000 lithic, ceramic and textile items as well as precious stones belonging to various cultures that lived in the Colombian territory. There is no doubt that this attraction will make you live a mystical experience in which you will learn a lot about the rich culture and the profound cosmovision of the Pre-Columbian cultures.

Time: From Tuesday to Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm. On Sunday and on holidays from 10 am to 4 pm. Closed on Mondays (even if it is a holiday)

Prices: From Tuesday to Saturday and holidays: $4.000 (Colombian pesos). Entry is free on Sunday.

Official page of the Gold Museum


3. Chorro de Quevedo

Tourist attractions in Bogotá

Every day this plaza is filled with street artists, college students of the area. Flickr: Instituto Distrital de Turismo Bogotá

Formerly known as the Pueblito Rolo, the Chorro de Quevedo Plaza is an outdoors place ideal to relax and have fun. Every day this plaza is filled with street artists, college students of the area and their authentic cobblestones streets and colonial houses make for a welcoming atmosphere if you wish to enjoy a sunny afternoon, buy handicrafts or enjoy the typical Bogotá gastronomy. After having seen this place you will be able to continue your visit to one of the other interest sites of the centre of the Colombian capital such as La Candelaria of the Eje Ambiental.

Need a transfer to or from Bogotá Airport? Book it online!


4. Plaza de Bolivar

Tourist activites in Bogotá

From here you can easily the most emblematic buildings of the capital since the plaza is surrounded by the main institutions of the national government such as the Primatial Cathedral. Flickr: Peter Lievano

This might be the best tourist attractions in Bogotá and the most important place in Colombia. This plaza has been the main scenery of significant historical events in the political, social and cultural aspects. From here you can easily the most emblematic buildings of the capital since the plaza is surrounded by the main institutions of the national government such as the Primatial Cathedral, the Capilla del Sagrario, the National Capitol, the Liévano Building, the seat of the Alcadía Mayor, the 20 July Museum. Without a doubt a place for you to visit!


5. La Carrera Séptima

Tourist activities in Bogotá

During the Septimazo you can enjoy urban art, local gastronomy, learn history and enjoy the different musical expressions. Picture

This one of the most important arteries crossing the city taken by many students and workers travelling north to south and vice versa. This road, unavoidable if you are to move through Bogotá, has also been a historical and cultural site of Bogotá. This is why the local administration has recently created the “Septimazo” (Big 7th): a cultural movement taking place on weekends, that goes through the Colpatria building until the Plaza de Bolívar, where Colombian talent is free to express itself. During the Septimazo you can enjoy urban art, local gastronomy, learn history and enjoy the different musical expressions. You should also pay attention to the eclectic architecture, typical of the city. Without any doubt, Septimazo or not, walking through the Avenida Séptima (Seventh Street) is an interesting activity that will teach you more about the culture and traditions of Bogotá.

Points of interest: The Colpatria Tower, the Republican Bank, the Gold Museum, the National Museum and the Palace of Justice, amongst other things.


6. Simón Bolívar Park

Tourist activites in Bogotá

Amongst its main attractions you will find a beautiful lake of 11 hectares: it has been set up to host aquatic sport events. Flickr: Carlos Felipe Pardo

The big lung of the city is strategically located in the heart of Bogotá and you can enjoy its 113 hectares to breathe the fresh air, have a picnic, relax and take a break from noise and contamination. Amongst its main attractions you will find a beautiful lake of 11 hectares: it has been set up to host aquatic sport events and also offers a boat and rowing service for the tourists. Another attraction of this place is the Salitre Mágico Park, where the little ones will be able to enjoy the mechanical attractions. You can also find the Cici Aquapark, where children of any age will be able to enjoy the climatised swimming pools and their sledges. In the same area, you will find other tourist attractions in Bogotá such as the Children Museum, the Botanic Garden, the Artisans Plaza and even a golf course.


7. Paloquemao Marketplace

Tourist attractions in Bogotá

The market of Paloquemao is one of the main attractions in Bogotá. Picture: Plaza de mercado de Paloquemao

The variety of colours, aromas and flavours of typical marketplaces became an important point of interest of the autochthonous local culture. Paloquemao is no exception, this is why this is one of the unmissable tourist attractions in Bogotá. This is an excellent opportunity if you wish to know the essence of Colombia and taste the best fruits, vegetables and the local gastronomy at an excellent price. Besides, You can find alternative options to have breakfast or lunch inside, since the presentation of the products their usually opens the appetite. The flowers shops are also worth a stop, so many colours usually attracts the attention.

Book your street food tour online.


8. Zona Rosa

Tourist Attractions Bogotá

The buildings and squares are dazzling, making Zona Rosa the perfect place for a stroll! Picture: Casaservice Bogota

Located on the north side of Bogotá, between the Calles 79 and 85 and the Carreras 11 and 15, this is where all the music and flavour of the Bogotá nights is. In this area you will find many options to have dinner, dance and have a few cups. Thanks to its attractive and varied offer of bars, pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants, Zona Rosa is the most exclusive area of the city. In the surroundings you will see green gardens that decorate the streets; the buildings and squares are also dazzling, making Zona Rosa the perfect place for a stroll! In Avenida 85 you will find the best fashion and design stores and three of the most important shopping malls in the city: C.C. El Retiro, C.C. Andino and C.C. Atlantis Plaza. Other points of interest can be found on the “T”, a pedestrian street full of cool bars and restaurants as well as the Bogotá version of Andrés Carne de Res, Andrés D.C., for travellers who do not have the time to go this traditional party outside the city.


9. Usaquén

What used to be just the population living outside Bogotá after the colonial time has now become a true tourist activity in Bogotá: an important local handicrafts market that kept is authentic colonial past but also offers the modernity of the north of Bogotá. On Sunday, people usually go to Usaquén to have a walk, buy some lovely local handicrafts and enjoy the cultural and festive atmosphere that treats locals and tourists alike. You can access it easily from the Commercial Centre Hacienda Santa Bárbara – an important ranch belonging to a Spanish landlord during the colonial time. Usaquén is a traditional attraction for people living in the north of the city where the modern and the colonial worlds collide, become a beautiful place ideal if you wish to relax, take a walk, eat and do some shopping.


10. La Chorrera

Tourist attractions in Bogotá

La Chorrera is the biggest waterfall of Colombia and the sixth of Latin America. Flickr: Diana Rodríguez Piña

The perfect plan for adventurers and the most exciting tourist attractions in Bogotá. 45 minutes from Bogotá you will find the biggest waterfall of Colombia and the sixth of Latin America. Located in Choachí, Cundinamarca, this natural reserve is spectacular if you wish to live a fun day of sports: a sloping narrow path full of wet and lush vegetation will take you to La Chorrera, 2.450 metres high. The walk to La Chorrera does not require any physical condition, only the will to walk in a path in the Colombian mountains and to enjoy the fresh air offered by the Western hills that surround Bogotá.

. . .

Sightseeing Bogota during your flight transit in Colombia is a top rated experience. See this and more attractions with a Bogota layover tour and get the most out of your waiting time between flights

Book your tours in Bogotá here.

Por: Julio Maya, Colombian journalist specialised in culture and sports. Writer in Spanish for Daytours4u.

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Colombia’s Coffee Triangle: Tips, Tours and Things to do http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/colombias-coffee-triangle/ Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:00:11 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11236 The Colombian coffee region is also known as the Coffee Triangle. In this beautiful countryside zone, one can quietly enjoy nature and one of the best coffees in the world. After all, there is a reason why Colombia is the second biggest coffee producer in the world – after Brazil. This region is so important [...]

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The Colombian coffee region is also known as the Coffee Triangle. In this beautiful countryside zone, one can quietly enjoy nature and one of the best coffees in the world. After all, there is a reason why Colombia is the second biggest coffee producer in the world – after Brazil.

This region is so important they call it the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia. Culture, landscapes and tradition are combined in this amazing Colombian region. It was also included in Unesco World Heritage List.

Colombia Coffee Triangle / Colombia4uColombia’s Coffee Triqangle is full of amazing natural landscapes / Picture: Lucila Runnacles – Viagem Cult

A trip to Colombia can only be considered completed after you have visited the Coffee Triangle in the center of the western Colombian Andes. Three departments (states) are part of this region: Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío. The three main cities of this area are their capitals: respectively Manizales, Pereira and Armenia. They are three of the 62 cities of the Coffee Triangle, where they produce and export coffee throughout the world.

Travelling tip: Explore the coffee capital with amazing city tours.

What to do at the Coffee Triangle

In this article we will tell you all you need to know about the Coffee Triangle so that you can make a unique trip while you will taste coffee, enjoy your own coffee beans selection, ride a bicycle and stroll for a while. Then, to conclude your day you can go to one of the coffee farm or enjoy thermal waters. Since this region is highly touristic, infrastructures are very good. There are more than 300 establishments and hotels that receive tourists with open arms to share the coffee culture with them.

For kids, the main attraction is the theme park known as the National Coffee Park. They can have fun in the roller-coasters or ride a trolley – while learning about coffee too. This park is in Montenegro, a city in Quindío state at only 15 driving minutes from the city of Armenia.

Have fun with your family in the National Coffee Park

El Quindío is one of the most touristic of the Coffee Triangle. Make sure you visit Salento, one of the most beautiful city with its colourful colonial houses. Here you can find at least 5 things to do in this little and lovely city, considered as one of the prettiest of the region. At 30 kilometers from there is the beautiful Cocora Valley, where you will be able to breathe fresh and natural air and be amazed by its countless 60 meters high palm trees.

Rent a bike in Salento and learn more about the coffee culture

Colombia Coffee Triangle / Colombia4uRent a bike and get to know this magical place / Picture: Lucila Runnacles

For those who want to be immersed in the coffee culture, how would you feel about spending a few hours in a “hacienda” to learn about coffee roasting and to prepare your own cup of coffee? For this kind of trip, there are two popular options: Recuca: Coffee Culture Tour and Hacienda Venecia Interactive Coffee Tour. If you already live in a farmhouse, take into account that, in general, these establishments offer their own coffee tours.

If you prefer sport and adventure, the Coffee Triangle is the perfect place to ride a bike or to take long walks in the wild, ride a horse or even get into a hot-air balloon.

In Armenia, one of the most important events of the year is the Yapo Festival, during the Cuyabras Festivals in October. There are dozens of jeeps, better known as Willys, decorated with furniture and flowers that pass by the streets. Those vehicles transport the coffee of the region and are one of the icons of the Colombian coffee culture. The Willys are also used to transport tourists in the area.

When asking for a cup of coffee in Colombia, you have probably heard the word “tinto”. This is how they call black coffee. Connoisseurs say the coffee is well-prepared when you do not need any sugar; but if you prefer it sweet, try the “panela”, a Colombian brown sugar..

Make a coffee tour through Colombia to taste one of the best coffees in the world.

How to get there

By plane, the Coffee Triangle is one hour away from Bogota, the capital. There are flights from Medellín and Cali too. There are three airports in the coffee routes: Edén in Armenia, La Nubia Airport in Manizales and Matecaña in Pereira.

Colombia Coffee Triangle / Colombia4uHigh palm trees are protagonists of the Cocora valley. / Picture: Lucila Runnacles – Viagem Cult

Distances

Bogotá – Pereira – 322 km
Medellín – Armenia – 267 km
Cali – Manizales – 258 km

Take into account that in this region, the roads are mountainous which can make the trip longer than expected. For instance, from Medellín to Armenia you need almost 6 hours.

How to move through the Coffee Triangle

Since there are a lot of cities and places to know in the Coffee Triangle, one of the best ways to travel it is to contact a travel agency for a tour or to rent a car. In general, travel agencies include transportation from any location within the touristic circuit of Quindío, Risaralda and Caldas. Read the complete guide to getting around Colombia.

Climate

It depends on the region you visit. Temperatures can vary a little, but generally it is around 24°C during the day and it can go down to 8°C during the night. So you can bring a coat. The three departments (states) are between 1,500 and 2,100 meters below sea level. Do not forget to bring comfortable clothes and shoes, as well as sunscreen and bug spray.

Ideal for:

The Coffee Triangle is the perfect place if you want to enjoy Eco Tours and sport. For families with children, adults of any age and tourists who like a little adventure, the Coffee Triangle is the place to go.

Tip Daytours4u

The main coffee harvest in Quindío is done between March and May. This is the perfect moment to visit the region and go to a coffee farmhouse to participate in the process. Between October and Dicembre you can go and see the “mitaca”, the second harvest.

 

By: Lucila Runnacles,
journalist and author of the blog Viagem Cult
Translation: Grégory Noël

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4 tips to understand Colombian culture http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/tips-to-understand-colombian-culture/ Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:00:40 +0000 http://www.colombia4u.com/blog/en/?p=105 Colombian travel tips that will help ensure smooth conversations, transactions, and stellar experiences that will linger for a lifetime.

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Like most cultures from warm regions around the world, the Colombian culture puts sensations before ideas, people before work, and joy before melancholic inclinations. Perhaps Silvio, the Swiss owner of Hostal Capurgana, summed it up best when he said: “In Colombia, you will never know anyone to die of heart disease due to stress. In Switzerland and the West, life many times has the opposite ending.”

That’s not to say things don’t get done here in Colombia. The country has one of Latin America’s fastest growing economies, is rich in natural resource exportation, and is more forward-thinking today than ever-producing most of its electricity, around 70%, from renewable energy sources. Below is a compilation of travel tips to consider when travelling to Colombia that will help ensure smooth conversations and transactions, and stellar experiences that will linger for a lifetime.

smile2Take your time to get to know these warm and smiling people / Photo by Brannon Gerling

Take your time to understand individuals within their cultural ethos

Colombians are as diverse as their wildlife; the country boasts more plant and animal varieties per unit than any other country in the world. But when dealing with locals, you can generally expect abundant help, not mechanical precision. Try to learn from their flexible natures.

The generic Colombian disposition is warm and humane. It always helps to smile when meeting someone for the first time, greeting him or her according to the day’s time, maybe quickly asking them how they are, and then proceeding with inquiries. Patience is key when traveling in Colombia, or anywhere, and rushing in new places isn’t very practical, nor pleasant, especially when you’re on vacation.

Colombians seek daily fun and happiness. If you take your time to experience a moment with them, their doors will open up to you and your travel experiences will become much richer and more memorable.

crafts2Take a walk in Medellin’s market and enjoy the interaction with locals / Photo by Brannon Gerling

When asking for directions or market prices, ask twice

Colombians want to reward each other and don’t like saying no to anything. This includes offering good directions when they’re not entirely confident. So to be sure of your intended direction, ask at least two different people to confirm the proper way. Your Spanish might need some help from your old high school days, anyway.

It’s the same with market shopping. Traditional markets are as old as civil society itself; functionally, not much has changed for thousands of years. Like much of the items sold in traditional markets, prices are often determined organically. Thus, in order to learn the lowest prices possible, ask different sellers the price of the single item you are seeking to buy. Then try bargaining for it while closing in on a deal. Be light and have fun when bargaining: merchants are just trying to make a living, and respect can only help preserve your budget.

metromedellin2Don’t hesitate to speak Spanish with the locals – they will appreciate the initiative / Photo by Brannon Gerling

Try to speak the native Spanish tongue

Famous Colombian novelist and Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez once wrote: “No es cierto que la gente deje de perseguir sus sueños porque envejece, que envejecen porque dejan de perseguir sus sueños.” It means: It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.

Colombian’s employ a beautiful Spanish that includes many thoughtful and poetic expressions. They are very proud of their Spanish heritage, which explodes into bouquets of song, poetry, and dance at all times of the day and night. Although many Colombians are educationally advanced, English is something foreign to many Colombians. It’s thus best speaking Spanish first wherever you go, and perhaps picking up a pocket-sized Spanish language book to help you through simple yet important conversations. If that doesn’t work, ask around for English speakers.

market2Discover all the specialties of Colombia’s culture / Photo by Brannon Gerling

When in doubt, do what Colombians do

This means relaxing around the wonderful colonial squares, taking siestas after almuerzo (lunch), finding late night live music and dancing until your feet hurt.

But it also means eating how Colombians eat and going at a slower, more expressive pace. Colombians usually don’t fuss over breakfast but head to the bakeries for coffee and breads stuffed with fruit jams. Lunch is the pocket saver, where many restaurants offer set menus where you’ll receive soup, homemade flavored waters, and a choice of meat that compliments your plate of salad, plantains, rice, and beans.

Skipping siesta takes you right into happy hour, where you can find two-for-one drinks in major cities, like Medellin and Cali. But if you opt out of siesta, know that you’ll be waiting until 11:00pm or so for the nightlife to pick up, later for the discos. You can recharge in the ubiquitous parks and squares, buying cheap refreshments if you’re still full from lunch when dinner comes around.

For further information, tours and activities in Colombia, check out our website Colombia4u!

By: Brannon Gerling, contributing writer for Colombia4u

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Essential Guide to Barranquilla Carnival http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/essential-guide-to-barranquilla-carnival/ Wed, 03 Feb 2016 08:00:56 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=9070 Want to experience one of the great masterpieces of humanity? Come to Colombia and join the Barranquilla Carnival celebrations.

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All the preparations have been finalised and the most anticipated cultural event of the year in Colombia – Barranquilla Carnival – is set to kick off. It is a party out of the ordinary: full of colour, joy, and fantasy in which the indigenous Caribbean cultural traditions and charisma of Barranquilla are showcased through an extravagant array of parades, competitions, and concerts. Together they generate a unique festive atmosphere, where people take to the streets and party to the sound of flutes, drums, and accordions.

Barranquilla CarnivalBarranquilla Carnival is a unique work of humanity / Image Source

If your plan is to travel to Colombia during carnival season, do not miss this simply extraordinary event, recognised by UNESCO as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” for its deep ethnic roots, technical and aesthetic qualities, and also the cultural expressions of the various communities living in the Colombian Caribbean and the Lower Magdalena River region. It is an area full of mysteries, legends, myth, and dances that collectively define Colombia.

The Barranquilla Carnival motto tells us that “Quien lo vive es quien lo goza”, translated into English as “Who lives it, is who enjoys it”. This essential guide offers insider tips and advice so that you can learn which activities are not to be missed during your visit to the birthplace of magical realism.

Barranquilla CarnivalThe Carnival is always awash with colour / Image Source

Where and When is Barranquilla Carnival Celebrated

Barranquilla Carnival is celebrated every year in the city of Barranquilla, the largest port city in Colombia located at the mouth of the Magdalena River. This charming coastal paradise is accessible by air – through national airline carriers – and by buses that operate from all the country’s major cities. A flight takes anything between 45 and 90 minutes depending on your point of departure, while a bus journey can be anything from 13 to 22 hours long from Medellin and Cali respectively.

The Carnival officially runs for 4 days, and every year these days correspond to the Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday that precede Ash Wednesday (the day that marks the beginning of Lent and fasting). During this long weekend, spectators have the opportunity to enjoy a whole host of activities that include parades, dances, festivals, competitions, plays, and concerts. These events pay homage to the diversity and creativity of the people who call this region home.

The festivities begin early on Saturday and end the day before Ash Wednesday. People gather on the main streets of the city and indulge in some chaotic revelry. The main events and cultural activities are listed below.

Barranquilla CarnivalThe streets are filled with love during Barranquilla Carnival / Image Source

The Main Activities at Barranquilla Carnival

The Battle of Flowers (Carnival Saturday – begins at 12pm). The Battle of Flowers is the inaugural parade of Barranquilla Carnival and it is perhaps the most well-known due to the attention it garners from the media, and understandably so. Throughout the procession, which is led by the Carnival Queen, viewers are treated to a show of spectacular floats and flamboyant dancing from popular artistic groups in the region – a true display of fantasy and beauty that should not be missed. For tickets, click here.

Great Traditional Parade (Carnival Sunday – begins at 1pm). Every year, this dazzling parade take place along Via 40 (Street 40) and it is undoubtedly one of the most representative expressions of Barranquilla Carnival. Over 160 troupes come and entertain the crowds with an astonishing blend of Spanish and African styled music, as they compete against each in various categories to be crowned champions.

Burial of Joselito Carnaval (Carnival Monday – begins 4pm). A fun and delightful way to close the ceremonies is the mock funeral of crowd favourite carnival character Joselito Carnaval. Locals dress up as this party-loving character, who dies each year and rises the following year once again to enjoy the festivities.

Night Parties. After the parades, concerts, and competitions during the day, the celebrations are taken to different neighbourhoods across the city. The most popular parties feature renowned DJ’s who select the finest classic and tropical dance hits that keep both Colombians and tourists alike jiving all night long.

Dances and Fiestas. One of the most exclusive parties at Barranquilla Carnival is the Grand Fiesta at the Dann Carlton Hotel. It is arguably the most famous event at this time of year due to the numerous musicians and artists of international stardom that have performed there.

. . .

Now that you have an idea of what Barranquilla Carnival is all about, it just needs you to join in this epic celebration and enjoy 4 days in one of the liveliest and most delirious parties in Colombia. Go to our website and buy the Colombia4u Carnival Parades Package which includes tickets and transfers to all the main events.

If you would like to learn more about the cultural heritage of Barranquilla Carnival, follow the link and read our pocket guide.

By David Luna / Translated by Simon Hall

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