The Caribbean Coast – Daytours4u http://www.daytours4u.com/en Tours, activities and travel tips in South America Fri, 21 Sep 2018 11:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 96832869 6 things you should know before travelling to San Andres http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/things-know-travelling-to-san-andres/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 19:30:05 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=12448 Blue ocean, heat, sun, beach, coconut water, are most likely the images that come to mind when you think of San Andrés. This beautiful Caribbean island, small in size but big in cultural and natural wealth, has traditionally been generous with the tourists who visit every year to see its sea of ​​7 colors, enjoy [...]

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Blue ocean, heat, sun, beach, coconut water, are most likely the images that come to mind when you think of San Andrés. This beautiful Caribbean island, small in size but big in cultural and natural wealth, has traditionally been generous with the tourists who visit every year to see its sea of ​​7 colors, enjoy its paradisiacal beaches and venture out to explore the other two archipelagos that accompany it: Providencia and Santa Catalina.

Of course, when travelling to a Caribbean Island like San Andres, it’s worth taking into account a series of recommendations that can make your stay more pleasant, so here we have gathered the advice of our local experts so that your experience in San Andres is unbeatable.

Take into account the recommendations of our experts and enjoy every second of your vacation in San Andres Island / Photo: Daytours4u


1. An entrance fee must be paid to the Island

This fee costs approximately USD $ 25 to date (08/2018) and is paid to the Carrier during the check-in. The receipt must be presented at the entrance to the Island together with the passport or identity document for Mercosur citizens. This document must also be presented when leaving the island, otherwise they will have to pay a fine. The collection of this tax is used to improve the tourist infrastructure of the Island.


2. Everything is more expensive than on the mainland

The cost of transporting basic consumer products is the main reason why everything is more expensive than in the continent. There are products that aren’t produced on the island such as lettuce, for example, and others such as fish, which despite being a typical food of the region, is more expensive than in other coastal cities of Colombia because in 2012 , during the litigation over the sovereignty of the territory against Nicaragua, Colombia “lost” within the cession or return of territorial sea, 75 thousand kilometers of sea among which were important fishing banks.


3. The restaurants close at 10pm

Like in all of Colombia, dinner time is between 7pm and 8pm. If you fell asleep after a day at the beach, you’re likely to miss out on dinner. Most restaurants close their kitchens after 10 pm and you’ll only find fast food joints open.


4. All the raizales are Sanandresanos but not all the Sanandresanos are Raizales

The term Sanandresano refers to someone born in San Andrés, regardless of their ancestral origin. Many Sanandresanos are mestizos from the continent (the interior of Colombia), while the Raizal is an ethnic group defined as the original indigenous town of San Andrés, with origins from the mixture between British who settled on the abandoned islands and the Spaniards and Africans who were brought to work on their plantations.

Take advantage of your visit to the island of San Andrés and get to know the interesting culture of the raizales / Photo: Daytours4u


5. In San Andrés they speak Spanish, English and Criollo Sanandresano (Creole)

it’s very common to hear how Colombian Spanish mixes harmoniously in street conversations with the language of the Raizales, the Creole, or Criollo. This language is a mixture of English, Spanish and African that not only has its own phonetics but also a grammatical structure different from English.


6. Ideal for shopping lovers

Souvenirs, perfumes, liquors, electronics and other products are the order of the day in San Andrés. The Island is a territory free of taxes, therefore imported products can cost as much as 26% less than they cost in mainland Colombia (almost 10% of the import tax and 16% of VAT), you just have to have note that most of the stores accept cash only and that the change of the dollar does not favor the buyer, therefore the recommendation is to bring Colombian pesos.


The best recommendation, as with every destination, is to get outside of the resort, bond with the locals, experience the local cuisine and, above all, enjoy its natural beauties always taking care of and respecting the environment so that many generations to follow can appreciate its charm. The natural environment of San Andrés and the friendliness of the islander will undoubtedly make you fall in love.

The island despite being small, (just 26 kilometers), has many magical hidden places that are worth discovering; you can see them here with the activities and tours available on the island all year.

By: Daytours4u Content Team

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Guide to the best beaches in Cartagena http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/best-beaches-in-cartagena/ Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:55:32 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11758 Cartagena is colonial and charming but to find the charm of its paradisiacal beaches you must venture outside the city. In this guide to the best beaches in Cartagena you will find information on where to go, the location and characteristics of each beach so that you can choose the best place to spend your [...]

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Cartagena is colonial and charming but to find the charm of its paradisiacal beaches you must venture outside the city. In this guide to the best beaches in Cartagena you will find information on where to go, the location and characteristics of each beach so that you can choose the best place to spend your vacations.

Rosario Islands:

Cartagena Beach Guide

An example of the private islands you can spot from the boat from Cartagena. Photo source: Colombia4u

It is the first place that comes to mind when travelling to Cartagena. To access this archipelago of islands you must take a boat trip of approximately 45 minutes from the pier La Bodeguita in front of the walled city. This archipelago is composed of 27 islands and surrounding it are marine reefs, mangroves and numerous species of algae and local fauna that are part of the Natural National Park Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo. For its diversity and variety this archipelago offers different islands and beaches to visit, down below we name the most well known:

Isla Grande:

As its name indicates, it’s the biggest island within the archipelago. There you will find the most hotels and it is the only island it is the only one that has a native population. To get to Isla Grande you have to take one of the boats that leave from Puerto Magangué. It is a trip of almost 1 hour by sea, but it’s worth the tour. It expands over more than 200 hectares and has several white sand beaches and warm water to enjoy the whole day or spend the night.

Guide to the best beaches in Cartagena

Gente de Mar resort in Isla Grande. A beautiful place to spend a relaxing day at the beach. Photo source: Colombia4u

On Isla Grande there is a population of islanders who live modestly on what tourism leaves them. The Island is safe, you can bike or walk its natural trails and discover the three ecosystems exclusive to the islands: coastal and inland lagoons, mangroves and dry tropical forests. The island is also ideal for watersports such as snorkeling and kayaking and is characterized by its tranquility. For travelers curious about the local culture, you can experience the typical activities from the region such as cockfights, domino matches or nights of dancing in the communal areas of the residents.

Isla Grande Cartagena

Cockfights are very typical activity among Isla Grande inhabitants. Photo Source: Eddy Milfort

Isla grande has several beaches, the majority belong to resort hotels, the most well known are:

  • Resort Cocoliso: It’s one of the most popular islands among the locals but its popularity has made it lose privacy and tranquility. The hotel offers a trip to the Oceanarium in San Martin de Pajarales, where you can enjoy a dolphin show.
  • Hotel San Pedro de Majagua: It has two beaches and a restaurant. It’s a resort with all the amenities to sleep or spend the day.
  • Gente de Mar: It’s the resort with one of the most beautiful, quietest beaches and with the best service in Isla Grande. To spend the day they offer a boat ride from Cartagena, with buffet lunch, towel service and lounge chairs. During the day you can snorkel, kayak, or walk around the island. Reserve here a day in the Islands of Rosario in the Gente de Mar resort.
  • Playa Libre: It’s the only public beach in Isla Grande. It can be accessed by walking from any of the resorts. There you will find the Eco-hotel Playa Libre.

 

Barú:

It’s actually a peninsula. Baru can be accessed by two ways: In boat from La Bodeguita port (approximately a 25 minute trip) or by land, crossing the Canal del Dique bridge. Most tourists do the day tour, but if you like to be in touch with nature and have the time to get away from the city, your best option is to spend a night there, to be able to enjoy the nature and an environment away from the noise, other tourists, and the copious amounts of incessant street vendors. In Barú there is also the Aviario Nacional “National Aviary”, where you can see almost 200 species of birds. This place operates daily from 9am to 5pm and the adult ticket costs COP $ 35,000 and for children COP $ 30,000.

Best beaches in Cartagena: Isla Baru

Isla Barú – Islas del Rosario – Cartagena. Photo Source: Camilo_Marino

Playa Blanca “White beach” in Barú:

A day in Playa Blanca is one of the most traditional outings that Cartagena has to offer. The one-day excursion leaves at 9 am from La Bodeguita pier and returns at 3pm in order to avoid high tide. It can also be accessed independently by ground transportation and you are able to return at the hour you wish.

Reserve here the one day excursion to Playa Blanca on Barú Island.

Baru is a favorite destination among backpackers, hammocks or tents can be rented for sleeping and provide just the essentials needed to enjoy the natural surroundings.  However, there is also lodging with all the amenities such as Hotel Playa Manglares en Isla Barú.  

Other beaches in Barú Island are: Punta Iguana, Puerto Naito, Playa Blanca, La Playita de Cholón, Playita de los Muertos, Playa Bono.

Isla del Pirata:

Located 50 minutes from the port of Cartagena and is ideal for visitors who are searching for tranquility. This island is protected by a barrier reef and offers accommodation, and is also recommended for snorkelling and diving.

Isla Múcura:

Located in the archipelago of San Bernardo, this colorful and warm island is found just over an hour by boat from Cartagena. Visitors can enjoy activities such as scuba diving, swimming, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, cycling, bird watching and are able to see native vegetation such as the mangroves. It is known for the Hotel Punta Faroand for its paradisiacal almost desert-like beaches where you can enjoy the exuberance of the caribbean with total tranquility. Hostal Isla Múcura is also located on the island, offering ecotourism accommodation with bedrooms and a more relaxed environment for backpacker tourists.

Isla Múcura – Rosario Islands – Cartagena. Photo Source: Hotel Punta Faro

BEACHES IN THE CITY OF CARTAGENA

The beaches within the city of Cartagena are less exotic, generally full of tourists, and their dark sand because of the absence of corals makes them less attractive, but they are an alternative to escape the heat during the day and because they are preferred by the local travelers, they offer a very authentic cultural experience.

Bocagrande Beach

Bocagrande Beach in Cartagena. Photo Source: Elias Rovielo

Playa de Bocagrande:

It is the most well-known beach in Cartagena, because of its location in a strategic place for tourism, on the peninsula south of the historic center. Surrounding it you can find the best seafood and a wide range of hotels for those who prefer to stay in a more modern environment outside the walled city.

Playa Castillogrande:

Located between Bocagrande and Laguito, it is one of the most touristic beaches in the city. Its beaches are extensive and there are restaurants offering a great gastronomic opportunity where you can enjoy traditional lobster.

Playa El Laguito:

Located in the neighborhood that shares the same name next to Bocagrande, in a very popular tourist sector of Cartagena where residents and tourists mix. Its wide and quiet beaches are ideal for families with children. Here you can also enjoy the local cuisine. It is also popular among lovers of various water sports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing.

Playa La Boquilla:

It can be accessed by car in a 20 minute trip from the historic center of Cartagena. This beach is located in a small fishing village that bears the same name. It a tradition among the Carthaginians to go on weekends to have lunch at the local fishermen’s restaurants and spend the afternoon at its beaches. You can also enjoy canoeing through the mangroves with a local organization that supports development in tourism. Book here a mangrove canoe tour in Cartagena

It can be accessed by car in a 20 minute trip from the historic center of Cartagena. This beach is located in a small fishing village that bears the same name. It a tradition among the Carthaginians to go on weekends to have lunch at the local fishermen’s restaurants and spend the afternoon at its beaches. You can also enjoy canoeing through the mangroves with a local organization that supports development in tourism.

Cartagena Beach Guide

La Boquilla is fisher’s town near Cartagena with wide beaches and local restaurants to eat the best fresh fish. Photo Source: Colombia4u

It can be accessed by car in a 20 minute trip from the historic center of Cartagena. This beach is located in a small fishing village that bears the same name. It a tradition among the Carthaginians to go on weekends to have lunch at the local fishermen’s restaurants and spend the afternoon at its beaches. You can also enjoy canoeing through the mangroves with a local organization that supports development in tourism.

Reserve here your canoe trip through the mangroves of La Boquilla

Tips to enjoy the beaches in Cartagena:

  • Apply sunscreen every 2 hours, use hat and sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Be sure to rent an umbrella on the beach to be further protected from the sun.
  • Drink plenty of water and don’t drink from the tap. Sometimes the prepared drinks made in the informal shops on the beaches or the ice used to keep the drinks cool are not made with bottled water.
  • The freshest food, especially at the beaches, is always the seafood which comes fresh directly from the place.
  • To spend the day on the Islands of Rosario it’s recommended to bring extra clothes and/or shoes to change into because sometimes water from the waves splashes into the boat.
  • Ignore street vendors. They live on the tourism but their behavior can be abusive and grotesque. Don’t be fooled. Nothing is free with them, not the oyster sample, nor the massage sample, they are skillful and in the end they can pass you a big bill for any “sample” of their product.
  • Cartagena is a relaxed city but the locals are conservative. It is not a good idea to walk around without a shirt or revealing clothing in public places or zones of the city that are not the beach.

In short, the main activity of Cartagena is its beautiful beaches, however the charm of the walled city, its vibrant nightlife and the warmth of its inhabitants, offer an unforgettable experience for tourists of all ages.

Discover Cartagena, its beaches and its history. Reserve this and other experiences with Colombia4u!

Written by: Daytours4u Team

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How to Plan Your Trip to Cartagena http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/how-to-plan-your-trip-to-cartagena/ Tue, 24 Jan 2017 09:00:04 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=10910 From the best sights to see to which neighbourhoods to stay in – discover everything you need to know for your trip to Cartagena.

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Picture this scene: you’re in the Caribbean watching the sun set directly into the sea over the horizon, in your hands is a refreshing lulo juice, and in the background you can hear some dulcet tones speaking sweet Spanish. Where do you think you might be? Yes, you’re in Cartagena de Indias; a beautiful walled city of wondrous charms nestled on Colombia’s spectacular coast. Follow these handy tips and you could be enjoying the holiday of a lifetime in this magical destination.

How to Plan Your Trip to CartagenaWhen crossing the Puerta del Reloj (Clock Gate) you will find Plaza de los Coches / Photo by Lucila Runnacles, Viagem Cult

WHEN TO GO

To make the most of your visit to any destination, it is first good to understand when the perfect time to travel there is. Discovering a place during hurricane season, for example, would not be the brightest of moves. That’s why we’re here to tell you the best months to explore Cartagena.

The heat is always constant in this city, and the climate is tropical and humid. Average temperatures fall around 27°C, but the sensation often feels much higher. The only thing to keep in mind when planning your trip is the rainy season, which runs from May through December. The wettest month is October, and the dry period runs from December to April, so this makes for the ideal time to visit the city.

A final thing to consider is that, generally, Cartagena welcomes local tourists aplenty in December, January, and July. Throughout these three months, the prices of accommodation and other services tend to be greater than usual.

WHERE TO STAY

Most of the small hotels and apartments can be found within the walled city. There, you can find everything from simple accommodation options to the fanciest hotels. For those of you who want to get away from the historical centre, take a look in Getsemaní – this neighbourhood is very close to the walls, a few blocks from Parque Centenario, and near San Felipe castle. It is a region that was not previously a tourist hotspot, but it is now a favourite location for boutique hotels. Getsemaní is a truly authentic and colourful place, and the hotels that have set up there tend to have more affordable rates.

The area of Bocagrande is a favourite spot for Colombians, with its modern buildings and wonderful shops; this is a place recommended for visitors who enjoy the luxury and large hotels of international chains.

How to Plan Your Trip to CartagenaBocagrande is an open-air shopping area full of hotels and restaurants / Photo by Lucila Runnacles, Viagem Cult

WHAT TO DO

Cartagena is a unique attraction in itself; a city replete with fabulous sightseeing activities. One thing that you must-do here is wander atop the ancient walls at dusk, for watching the sunset here is a gift for the eyes and for your cameras. The walls and fortifications that remain standing were originally built to protect against pirates as the Spanish crown kept a large part of its wealth here – today they are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a premier attraction.

A gentle stroll down the quaint cobblestoned streets lined by vibrant colonial houses is something else that cannot be missed, while it is also worth checking out the Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara – once home to a former convent now a place selling all kinds of artisanal souvenirs and local handicrafts.

Outside the walled city, San Felipe Castle is the top sight to see. This impressive centuries-old military fortress is perched on the Hill of San Lázaro and inside you can explore a network of tunnels and secret passageways. The best time to go is in the morning when the temperatures are a touch lower and there are fewer people.

The best beaches to be found in the region are a little way from the city. The crystalline seas and the golden-white sands that everyone imagines when the Caribbean comes to mind are found on the Archipelago del Rosario. Together they fall in the Corales del Rosario National Park.

In the mornings, from Muelle de la Bodeguita (Bodeguita Port), you can catch excursions to these islands. The trip lasts anything between one, and two and a half hours, depending on the type of boat and the island you want to visit. In the National Park, visitors can snorkel and go diving in the pristine coral reefs or simply enjoy a relaxing day in the sun.

Travel Tip: Book a Grand City Tour or an Old City Walking Tour to uncover the history and culture of the city in one full-day of sightseeing.

How to Plan Your Trip to CartagenaOn your trip to Cartagena be sure to visit San Felipe Castle / Photo by Lucila Runnacles, Viagem Cult

WHAT TO PACK

Due to the warm weather all year round, you need only pack – as essentials – light clothing, a bikini or swimsuit, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and some comfortable walking shoes.

SECURITY

Colombia, in general, is a fairly safe country, especially in tourist cities, but always be vigilant of pickpockets in the urban centres and in crowded places. At airports also, be aware that police or immigration officers may want to search your suitcase or enquire as to how much money you are bringing into the country. It happened to me when I arrived – I was taken to a small room to count the money I had with me. It appears strange at first, but it is totally normal procedure, so relax if it happens to you.

When ordering a taxi, it is worth asking before you get in the approximate cost of the service, because it is common for drivers to charge extra, or take you on a longer route, if you are a foreigner. As a gauge, a trip from the Getsemaní neighborhood to Bocagrande costs around USD$2. Having a rough idea of the price in advance will prevent you from being charged over the standard rate.

How to Plan Your Trip to CartagenaTake a tranquil walk through the quaint cobblestoned streets / Image Source

CURIOSITIES

Yes, there is another place called Cartagena – it is in Spain, in the province of Murcia. The Colombian city got its name when the Spaniards arrived between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th centuries.

The famous Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez used to spend several months a year in this city. Cartagena was a source of inspiration and made an appearance in several of his novels and it is commonplace to meet people who knew him and waiters who served him during his long stopovers.

DAYTOURS4U TIP

Most Mercosur member countries or associates do not need a visa to visit Colombia – the identity document of their countries is good enough. A Colombia tourist visa is not required for citizens of the United States of America or the United Kingdom for a stay up to 90 days.

By: Lucila Runnacles, journalist and author of Viagem Cult blog

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A Celebration of Cartagena’s Independence http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/celebration-cartagenas-independence/ Wed, 09 Nov 2016 14:07:57 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=10615 Parades, concerts, and beauty Queens - discover how Cartagena celebrates it’s Independence Day and find out how you can make the most of the festivities.

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Parades, concerts, and a whole lot of revelry is what can be expected in Cartagena from the 9th through the 13th November as they celebrate their Day of Independence. On 11th November 1811, after 10 years of struggle, Cartagena de Indias became only the second South American city to become independent from Spain, marking a milestone in the region. It was until that point the most important port on the continent through which traversed the riches of the Spanish Crown.

Today, though, Cartageneros and tourists will come together to enjoy five days of non-stop festivities. It is the hope of the Mayor of Cartagena and the Governor of Bolívar that these holidays will be declared an Intangible Heritage of the Nation, turning it into one of the most significant events on the Colombian calendar.

cartagena-2Local and tourists will enjoy 5 days of revelry in the Walled City / Photo by Daytours4u

SCHEDULE

Wednesday, 9th November. Desfile de Fantasía (Fantasy Parade). Taking place in Plaza de la Aduana, this spectacle honours Colombian writer and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez; the father of magical realism.

Thursday, 10th November: Desfile en Vestido de Baño (Swimwear Parade). Held in Las Tenazas, this procession features the Queen of Independence contestants and closes with a concert in which both local and national artists will perform.

Friday, 11th November: Batalla de Flores (Battle of Flowers) is a show that represents the historical and cultural value of Cartagena. 10 public spaces from around the various neighbourhoods of the city have been selected to host “El Remate de la Independencia”: a celebration of popular Colombian music.

Saturday, 12th November: Parade of the candidates for the Queen of Independence by the Cuerpos de Agua: a collection of lagoons, canyons, and marshes of the region. Parades in these places are meant to reflect the environmental commitment and social responsibility of the candidates. The day will culminate with the Desfile de la Diversidad Sexual (Parade of Sexual Diversity)

Sunday, 13th November: Cabildo de Getsemaní, a traditional parade of disguises that alludes to the independence from the neighbourhood where the liberation of Cartagena was born. The parade will finish in the Chiquinquirá softball stadium with the coronation of the new Queen of Independence.

TIPS

If you are visiting Cartagena during these holidays, be prepared to walk down streets full of people in constant celebration and be sure to dodge the food stalls and the street sellers offering souvenirs.

Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and light clothing. The weather in Cartagena is humid, so the heat can sometimes be really intense.

Stay close to the tourist areas. Public transport can be complicated and taxis do not have a meter so the calculation of the rates is not regulated. In the event that you need to take a taxi, call one who works with a well-known company or use such apps as Tappsi, Easy Taxi, or Uber.

The area of Getsemaní next to the Walled City is a great place for some walking, but keep your wits about you and take basic security precautions.

We also recommend that you watch out for any propositions that may seem strange to you – there are isolated people who use the party atmosphere as an opportunity to pickpocket. For more information about travelling safely in Colombia, check out this article.

If you want to make the most of the Independence party, take advantage of the Colombia4u discounts on tours and other activities in the city.

By: Daytours4u Content Team

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Top 10 Things to Do in Santa Marta http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/10-things-to-do-in-santa-marta/ Thu, 03 Nov 2016 09:00:47 +0000 http://www.colombia4u.com/blog/en/?p=176 From scuba diving in Taganga to partying in El Rodadero and trekking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains; we bring you the top things to do in Santa Marta.

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Visit Santa Marta, one of the most popular cities on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. While the city itself doesn’t have as many places of interest as nearby Cartagena, Santa Marta is a hub for eco-tourism due to its spectacular natural surroundings. To help you plan your travels in Colombia, here are our top picks for the 10 best things to do in Santa Marta.

9601846223_223e056855_k-2The unspoilt beauty of Tayrona Park makes it the region’s top attraction / Image Source

1. Visit Tayrona National Park

Tayrona National Park (Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona) is undoubtedly Santa Marta’s biggest attraction. This protected region encompasses the biodiversity of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, pristine beaches, rainforests and archaeological remains of ancient human settlements. Visit Tayrona Park with a tour, or camp in the park and spend time trekking and exploring the beaches and forests.

2. Try Scuba Diving in Taganga

Taganga, a small fishing village a few minutes from Santa Marta and on the border with Tayrona National Park, is a popular scuba diving spot. This is one of the cheapest places in the world to get a scuba diving certification, whether you’re a beginner or advanced. Most open water diving courses will take you to Tayrona National Park, which has a great diversity of marine life.

3. Catch some sun at Playa Blanca

Take a relaxing day trip out to Playa Blanca – a beautiful beach only accessible by boat. A tour to Playa Blanca also includes a stop at the Rodadero Aquarium where you can learn more about the marine wildlife on the Colombian coast.

013_playa_blanca_2_from_the_boat-2Clear blue skies meet turquoise tinted seas at Playa Blanca / Image Source

4. Grab dinner and a drink at Parque de los Novios

This central plaza in the city centre is close to Santa Marta’s historical monuments. Around the plaza, you can find many restaurants, bars and clubs. By day, it is a good place for lunch after exploring the old city centre, and by night this is a great spot to eat, get a drink and do some people watching.

5. Party in El Rodadero

The suburb of El Rodadero is not just known for its laid-back beach, popular with locals, but also for its nightlife. The beach comes alive at night, with live music, vendors and parties right on the beach. There are also a number of bars and nightclubs.

6. Eat Street Food in Santa Marta

Santa Marta has plenty of delicious street food. Whether you’re on a budget or just want to sample the local cuisine, be sure to indulge in ceviche, lobster and fresh fish on the beach, tropical fruit and juices, arroz con coco (coconut rice) and fried plantain. Avenida Bastidas is a good place to pick up dinner from a street stall or a restaurant.

2Indulge in a tropical fruit drink beachside / Image Source

7. Bird Watching at El Dorado

El Dorado Reserve is a bird watcher’s paradise. It is part of a project to conserve the ecosystem and a number of threatened bird species. The reserve has accommodation and offers guided tours.

8. Minca in the Sierra Nevada

Located above Santa Marta in the Sierra Nevada mountains is the little town of Minca. Here you can find La Victoria organic coffee farm, great hikes, waterfalls to swim in, and beautiful views. Go for the day, or spend more time here in one of the picturesque hostels.

9. Visit Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino

Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino is a quinta or hacienda which is famous for being the place where Simón Bolívar died. Today, the beautiful estate is a museum and a historical landmark.

4026045623_9cb283439f_bThe stunning Ciudad Perdida / Image Source

10. Trek into the jungle to find The Lost City

Ciudad Perdida, or the Lost City is a site of ancient ruins, dating back further than Machu Picchu. Located deep in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Santa Marta, the only way to reach the ruins is with a 5-day trek through the jungle. There are only four operators who run these treks. It is not possible to go without an operator.

. . .

Don’t leave this breathtaking natural paradise, off your Colombia itinerary. Book your tours in Santa Marta with Colombia4u today. 

By: Daytours4u Content Team

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7 Must-See Landmarks in Colombia http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/must-see-landmarks/ Wed, 25 Feb 2015 10:00:58 +0000 http://www.colombia4u.com/blog/en/?p=71 Colombia is a wonderfully diverse country, in terms of its nature and rich cultural heritage and history. This means that there are many stunning places to visit. From cool and modern Bogotá to the cobblestone streets of Cartagena, and from the Caribbean coast to the Amazon jungle, Colombia has plenty to offer, whatever you’re interested [...]

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Colombia is a wonderfully diverse country, in terms of its nature and rich cultural heritage and history. This means that there are many stunning places to visit. From cool and modern Bogotá to the cobblestone streets of Cartagena, and from the Caribbean coast to the Amazon jungle, Colombia has plenty to offer, whatever you’re interested in. It can be difficult to narrow down where to go, so we’ve listed 7 of the most spectacular landmarks in Colombia to help you plan your vacation.

1. Monserrate, Bogotá

One of the defining features of Bogotá is Monserrate mountain rising up over the city, 3,512 metres above sea level. At the top is a church, making it a very popular pilgrim destination. There are also restaurants and cafés to allow visitors to spend time at the top, absorbing the incredible panoramic views over the entire city. It is especially pretty over the Christmas period due to the lights and decorations. Travellers have the option of taking a funicular or a cable car to the top, walking or going as part of a city tour.

Admire the breathtaking views of the capital city from atop Monserrate

Admire the breathtaking views of the capital city from atop Monserrate / source

2. Botero Plaza, Medellín

The City of Eternal Spring is also the city of endless artworks. One of its most photographed features in Medellín is the Plaza de Las Esculturas, also known as Botero Plaza. This beautiful space lies in front of the Museum of Antioquia and the Uribe Palace. Its name comes from the 23 statues by the celebrated Colombian artist Fernando Botero adorning the plaza. The iconic statues, such as “The Hand,” “Eve,” and “Maternity” are out in the open, free for all to enjoy. You can also learn more about them on a Fernando Botero Walking Tour.

Fernando Botero’s iconic statues are a big part of Medellín’s identity

Fernando Botero’s iconic statues are a big part of Medellín’s identity / source

3. Castillo San Felipe, Cartagena

Cartagena’s busy Caribbean port was once filled with many envoys of slaves and treasures, making it the most looted port in the New World, and forcing the Spanish to build a castle and fort to protect it. The result: Castillo San Felipe, the strongest fortress of all their colonies. Home to many battles, including a loss to a French privateer, and an impressive defence against an English Admiral with his army of 23,000, this impeccably preserved castle is striking to visit with its maze of tunnels and great views of Cartagena.

Visit Cartagena’s imposing Castillo San Felipe for a glimpse back in time.

Visit Cartagena’s imposing Castillo San Felipe for a glimpse back in time. / source

4. Mompox, River Magdalena

Officially named Santa Cruz de Mompox, and also known as Mompós, this beautiful little town on an island on the Magdalena River looks like something straight out of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. No surprise really, given that he spent his childhood navigating up and down this river. Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it takes a fair amount of determination to get to, involving boats, ferries and buses. The most direct route to get here is from Santa Marta, although Cartagena also offers a number of options. The trip is worth it to see this colonial town where time seems to stand still.

Travel back in time to Mompox, in the heart of the Magdalena River.

Travel back in time to Mompox, in the heart of the Magdalena River. / source

5. The Lost City – Tayrona National Park

Deep in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada, are the ruins of Ciudad Perdida. The Lost City was thought to have been founded in 800AD, an entire 650 years earlier than Machu Picchu, by the Tayrona people. Unconnected to the El Dorado legend, whose mysteries are to connected to Guatavita Lake near the capital city, the Lost City holds other charms. With limited numbers allowed in, and a tough 5-day trek from Santa Marta, you won’t find the crowds of Machu Picchu. Instead, prepare for a rewarding jungle hike surrounded by pristine nature and ancient ruins.

The Lost City takes some effort to get to, but is definitely worth it.

The Lost City takes some effort to get to, but is definitely worth it. / source

6. Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, Bogotá

One’s of country’s biggest tourist attractions, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira is in an incredible engineering feat. Initially built by miners of the salt mines as a sanctuary before work, it was later extended, with a capacity of around 8,000. After structural concerns, a new cathedral was built and opened in 1995. It’s an incredible sight, an underground labyrinth, illuminated by colourful lights. You can visit it from Bogotá on a tour to Zipaquira and Guatavita Lake.

This cathedral outside Bogotá is one of a kind

This cathedral outside Bogotá is one of a kind / source

7. Coffee Triangle

The concentrated coffee-growing region of Colombia, known in Spanish as the Eje Cafetero, is an incredibly lush and scenic area, with its many green hills and valleys, and tall waxy palms. It’s hard to pick just one spot here, since the small area invites you to explore its many secrets. Two unmissable spots, though, are the town of Salento and the nearby Cocora Valley. A visit to the Coffee Triangle is a must during your vacation in Colombia.

Cocora Valley, with its waxy palms, is one of the Coffee Triangle’s many natural attractions

Cocora Valley, with its waxy palms, is one of the Coffee Triangle’s many natural attractions / source

Colombia has plenty of other top attractions!
For more ideas on where to go and what to do in Colombia, visit
Colombia4u.com.

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