Colombia – Daytours4u http://www.daytours4u.com/en Tours, activities and travel tips in South America Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:45:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.8 96832869 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: Descubre todos los detalles en el the official site.

– 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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Start Your Year With a Colombia Carnival Marathon http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/start-your-year-with-colombia-carnival-marathon/ Thu, 28 Dec 2017 12:00:46 +0000 http://daytours4u.com/en/?p=8901 Colombia never ceases to amaze – this long unexplored enchanting country is the home to an array of wonderful places, welcoming locals, and an unrivalled Carnival schedule. Here we take you around the country, offering you a rundown of the country’s biggest and most spectacular summer festivities. Grab you costume, get in the party mood, and [...]

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Colombia never ceases to amaze – this long unexplored enchanting country is the home to an array of wonderful places, welcoming locals, and an unrivalled Carnival schedule. Here we take you around the country, offering you a rundown of the country’s biggest and most spectacular summer festivities. Grab you costume, get in the party mood, and join the fun.


Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (Black and White Carnival)

Parade of the Black and White Carvanal in Pasto, southern Colombia / Source

In Colombia’s south, the most anticipated event on the cultural calendar is undoubtedly the Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (Black and White Carnival). Born from native Andean and Hispanic traditions, this great celebration in San Juan de Pasto runs from 2nd – 7th January every year and it became recognised by UNESCO as an “Intangible Heritage of Humanity” in 2009.

The party itself is utter madness – an explosion of colour and sound. Its initial opening is on 7th December, the traditional Noite das Velas (Night of the Candles), whereupon several pre-Carnival activities light up the city. The main Carnival begins on 2nd January with the Desfile das Colônias (Parade of Colonies), an event that features the residents of Pasto and the surrounding areas parading through the streets in a show of their traditions, legends, myths, and music.

The following day is the Día del Carnavalito (Children’s Carnival). Having originated as a game of children imitating their elders by recreating the costumes and fantasies from Blancos Day, this part of the festival now has a very strong identity of its own and it has grown into a much loved part of the Carnival. Thereafter, the partying and drinking continues into the final days of the festival which are the most significant: Día de los Negros (Day of the Blacks) and Día de los Blancos (Day of the Whites), on the 5th and 6th of January respectively.

The first celebration commemorates the date when African slaves were free to wander the city and exert their flamboyant nature, with revelers doning black cosmetics, painting themselves in black, and wearing elaborate masks. On the next day, people of all ethnicities cover themselves in white talcum as a symbol of equality and integration, and together everybody dances and gyrates to the sounds of traditional Colombian music.  A must visit festival for anybody traveling through Colombia.


Carnaval de Cali Viejo (Old Cali Carnival)

Joining Carnaval de Cali Viejo is a great way to better understand the charm of the city / Source

Santiago de Cali – or simply Cali as it is known – displays spectacular carnival parades year after year. Elaborate floats, salsa dancers, children in costume, and beautiful queens together make these celebrations a truly unique event of colour and music.

This event always begins on 28th December with a parade that revives classic characters, highlights symbols of Cali, and honours other regions and cultures that have left their mark on the city. Joining Carnaval de Cali Viejo is a great way to better understand the grandeur and charm of the city. Our tip: the event starts at 2pm, but be sure to arrive early and grab a good spot to get close to the action.

Book your tours and activities in Cali


Carnaval del Perdón y la Reconciliación (Carnival of Forgiveness and Reconciliation)

Carnaval del Perdón y Reconciliación was declared a Cultural Patrimony of the Nation / Source

On 11th and 12th February, Carnaval del Perdón y la Reconciliación in Valle del Sibundoy (Putumayo) swings into action. Declared a National Cultural Heritage in 2012, the carnival is a sacred event, where the indigenous groups Inga and Kamentsá celebrate the end of the year, and harmony between mankind and agriculture. Both tribes have their own individual parties, but during Carnival they together embrace forgiveness and reconciliation with their loved ones through ‘Clestrinye,’ meaning feast, dance, and joy.

On 11th February, the Kamentsá host a beautiful show wearing their traditional clothing in the presence of Matachín, a masked man who invites all to celebrate with him. The Ingas take centre stage on the following day as everyone makes their way to the church and the main square in costume to dance and sing. Throughout the festival, varying groups from different backgrounds and regions perform for spectators. You can purchase various souvenirs such as native wind instruments, beads, fabrics, masks, necklaces, and other artisanal items. This event is a fusion of the sacred and the profane; a must-do for any local culture enthusiasts.


Carnaval de Riosucio Caldas ou del Diablo (Riosucio Carnival of the Devil)

Carnaval de Riosucio Caldas attracts tourists from around the world / Source

Like many of the others, Carnaval de Riosucio Caldas ou del Diablo is an Intangible Heritage of Colombia and it most certainly lives up to its title, attracting tourists and party animals from around the world.

In the past, Riosucio was comprised of two rival communities (Nuestra Señora de la Montaña and Quiebralom Mining Real) located on either side of the city. Tired of incessant competition, the priests (José Ramón Bueno and Jose Bonifacio Bonafont) told the people that they must make peace, and if they did not fulfill this order, the devil would punish them personally. In celebration of this union, these joyous and jubilant festivities were created, and in 1915, the devil figure was adopted as the image of the festival and it remains central to the celebrations today.

The main events include: Alegre despertar del Carnaval (Joyful Awakening of Carnival), an opening procession that signals the start of the carnival; Gran Entrada de Colonias (Grand Entry of the Colonies); Grandioso Desfile de Cuadrillas de Mayores (Great Parade of Old Crews), and the festivities come to a close with Entierro del Calabazo, Quema de su Majestad el Diablo, Fin de la Fiesta (Calabazo Burial, Burning Her Majesty the Devil, the End of the Celebration), where a paper-mâché devil purpose built for the carnival is burnt, signifying the official end of the festival.


Carnaval de Barranquilla (Barranquilla Carnival)

Carnaval de Barranquilla is a colourful affair / Source

Barranquilla Carnival – simply the most important folkloric and cultural festival in Colombia. Each year, more than one million people including tourists from around the world descend upon Barranquilla for this wondrous occasion. The event has Spanish origins and it has today retained the spirit of renewal and change that was prevalent in the European celebration of the time. In Barranquilla, the festival began as a holiday for African slaves during the colonial era, and they would mark the occasion by taking to the streets with their handmade instruments and decorative costumes, and perform dances and songs from their homelands.

This carnival displays an array of cultural and folkloric elements from the Colombian Caribbean coast, alongside traditional music and local dance. Over the years, Barranquilla Carnival has become renowned for its elaborate floats, ostentatious costumes, and fancy masks, the most popular of which are the bull, the tiger, and the bear. At once satirical and contemporary – always referencing current events – the costumes are an emblem of the collective joy and jubilation.

From 15th January through 9th February, Barranquilla will be a party city in carnival mode, with a range of events and activities. Highlights include the Lectura del Bando (Reading) on 16th January, Fiestas de Comparsas ( Festival of Carnival Troupes) on 23rd January, and Fiesta de Danzas y Cumbias (Festival of Dances and Cumbia) on 24th January. The major celebrations start on 6th February with the Batalla de Flores (Battle of Flowers) and the streets will be packed for four days of vibrant, extravagant, and seemingly endless partying.

Book online the Barranquilla Carnival Parades Package

mAre you going to a Colombia Carnival? We can enrich your South American experiences.

Book your Colombian tours and activities here

By Thalles Santos | Translated by Simon Hall

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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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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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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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5 places to visit near Bogota you cannot miss http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/5-places-to-visit-near-bogota/ Thu, 04 May 2017 16:12:42 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11471 Bogota is full of fascinating tourist sites and visitors from all around the world, yearning to discover the charm of the South American cities, keep falling in love with the Colombian capital. But the beauty of Bogota goes beyond the limits of the Capital District and a few kilometers away from this huge city you will [...]

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Bogota is full of fascinating tourist sites and visitors from all around the world, yearning to discover the charm of the South American cities, keep falling in love with the Colombian capital. But the beauty of Bogota goes beyond the limits of the Capital District and a few kilometers away from this huge city you will find some truly enchanting landscapes. Complete your travel itinerary to Colombia with those 5 places to visit near Bogota that, without a doubt, you cannot miss.

1. La Chorrera

One of the best options to enjoy a very different trip full of adrenaline without going very far from Bogota is the Hike to La Chorrera Waterfall, the largest waterfall of Colombia. You will cross flower-filled fields and see beautiful turkey hens and impressive falcons. Only 45 minutes away from the Colombian capital, in Choachí (Cundinamarca) you will find this dazzling natural reserve: a symbolic place for the locals.

The waterfall is 590 metres high and is the sixth largest of Latin America. It is located in the middle of a cloud forest where colourful butterflies, rabbits and birds live. Its waters flow into the Meta river, the largest of the Colombian Orinoquia region. In La Chorrera you can hike in the middle of the woods – you must be accompanied by an experienced guide though – but this is also the ideal place to do rappel, cavalcades and camping. Definitely one of the places to visit near Bogota!

Places to visit near Bogota La Chorrera / Colombia4u

For trekking lovers, la Chorrera is an incredible and authentic visit you cannot miss if you wish to discover its dazzling Andean landscapes / Source


2. Zipaquirá

The main attraction of this Colombian town is the spectacular Salt Cathedral, considered as one of the principal religious attractions of South America. Apart from having a great religious influence, this is a true architectural jewel and has a truly impressive construction. Zipaquirá is 25 kilometers away from Bogota and is one of the most important salt exploitation centre of Colombia.

When visitors enter the Cathedral, the first thing they will see will be salt and marble sculptures with very peculiar visual effects. The experienced guide will then explain the historical details of the construction of this blinding place and the salt mines are also available for visit. You should also go to the Gonzalez Forero Plaza in Zipaquirá: almost 300 years old buildings and colonial mansions surround this square. The Casa Museo Quevedo Zornoza, where are being kept the remains of the Quevedo Family, recognised cultores of the Colombian art since the War of Independence.

Places to visit near Bogota Salt Cathedral Zipaquira / Colombia4u

One of the places to visit near Bogota is the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá. However, the city of Zipaquirá itself is worth a visit / Picture by Daytours4u


3. Villa de Leyva

Among the places to visit near Bogota is the Villa de Leyva. This trip will be like going back to the remote past of Colombia since you will find there objects and constructions of the muiscas, an important indigenous people who has been living in the Colombian nation since the sixth century. Important colonial constructions will tell you the story of this city considered a national monument.

A day tour in Villa de Leyva will be more than enough to discover the most important points of interest of the town, such as the Archeological Park “El Infiernito”, the Astronomical Observatory of Zaquenzipá, where the muiscas calculated the appropriate time to harvest the fields. This is also the ideal occasion to buy souvenirs, especially handcraft memories made out of ceramic and to walk through its beautiful streets as you taste the local gastronomy. If you visit the town on a Saturday, do not forget to visit the Mercado Campesino of Villa de Leyva. It offers a lot of handicrafts, typical food and fruits and vegetables to buy and taste.

Places to visit near Bogota Villa de Leyva / Colombia4u

The market of Villa de Leyva is one of the attractions you cannot miss / Picture by Daytours4u


4. Guatavita

60 kilometres to the Northwest of Bogota is Guatavita. This is a touristic Colombian town, famous for its lovely Laguna Dorada, or Lake Guatavita, located in the neighbouring town of Sesquilé. Just as Villa de Leyva, Guatavita is a natural space sacred for the Muisca civilisation and this is where the El Dorado legend originates from.

This legend says that when a cacique (indigenous leader) was chosen, he should go to the Lagoon, pure of thought, place dusty gold on his skin and then immerse himself in the lagoon in order to gain wisdom. The community then made its offering; they threw gold and other jewels in the water. It is said that when the colonists learned this story, they tried to empty the lagoon to find the gems.

Travelling tip: Listen to the details of the El Dorado legend from the mouth of the locals with the Guatavita Golden Lake Tour: you will also taste the delicious national Colombian gastronomy in the dazzling Oriental Colombian Cordillera mountains.

Video from sarepa.com:


5. La Calera

La Calera is 18 kilometers away from Bogota and is an excellent option if you wish to escape the bustle of the capital and enjoy charming valleys and lovely hills. Among the places to visit near Bogota, you can go to the mirador, the Capilla Colonial, the San Rafael dam and the Chingaza National Park in la Calera, ideal to walk through amazing landscapes of the Colombian moor. If you do not have enough time to visit everything, make a choice between the Suasie Path and the Siecha Lagoons Path; they are the quickest visits but the most impressive.

During your visit to La Calera, enjoy the typical Colombian gastronomy in restaurants such as El Molina and El Tambor, where the specialty are the famous parrilladas (barbecues). To finish, do not forget to bring home wool fabric made by the local craftsmen and if you have a car with enough space, you can even take with you wicker or wooden furniture, with gorgeous designs, typical of this region.

Places to visit near Bogota La Calera / Colombia4u

La Caler is a beautiful town surrounded by valleys and lovely hills. If you come from Bogota, you wil be able to witness a marvelous sight of the north of the city / Source: Flicker


Extra Tip: Andrés Carne de Res, one of the places to visit near Bogota

“Entering this Pagan Paradise will open your eyes and your mind to a new world of possibilities where enjoyment and happiness are the unique immediate goal. Give your palate and your eyes the best there is, because here we cook and feed you the best of the best of the earth.”

With this affirmation are you received in the Andrés Carne de Res restaurant. This is much more than just a place to eat, it offers a culinary and cultural experience to all its visitors.

No trip around Bogota can be considered complete if you have not spent a night in Andrés Carne de Res – among the World’s 50 Best of Latin America, a listing with the main restaurants of the region: definitely one of the places to visit near Bogota if you like the Colombia gastronomy. This is a symbol of the night life of Bogota, ideal to have a drink, eat or dance with your friends or family. This place has about 2,000 seats – on weekends the restaurant is full – five kitchens and two dance floors.

Places to visit near Bogota André Carne de Res / Colombia4u

The Night in Andrés Carne de Res is a culinary and cultural experience / Source: Andrés Carne de Res

. . .

Extend your travel itinerary and include this fascinating places to visit near Bogota. They offer you the perfect combination of exuberant landscapes, precolonial legends, architectural emblematic works and flavor. Do not be afraid to try new things, to experiment, to enjoy every second of your journey to this beautiful and exuberant country.

Book tours and activities in Colombia

By: Keilma Roja, Venezuelan journalist, specialised in culture and actuality. Writer in Spanish for Daytours4u. Translated to English by Grégory Noël

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How to visit Tayrona Park: tips and activities http://www.daytours4u.com/en/daytours4u/how-to-visit-the-tayrona-park/ Wed, 12 Apr 2017 10:00:51 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11326 Nature at its best and the crystal clear seas just for you.This is one of Colombia’s most beautiful parks and one of the most visited attractions in the country.  If you like to take stroll along the beach, admire amazing landscapes, bathe in the sea and escape from big cities, you simply must visit the [...]

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Nature at its best and the crystal clear seas just for you.This is one of Colombia’s most beautiful parks and one of the most visited attractions in the country.  If you like to take stroll along the beach, admire amazing landscapes, bathe in the sea and escape from big cities, you simply must visit the Tayrona Park.

Tayrona Park is located next to the Caribbean Sea and the mountain range, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. This park is a nature reserve and Unesco World Heritage Natural Site with 15 thousand of its hectares environmentally protected.

If you do not have a lot of time, you can simply spend a few hours in this paradise and return happy, but to really take advantage of its beauty you should spend a few days here. To fully enjoy this unforgettable and wonderful natural experience, you should at least spend one night in the reserve during your visit of Tayrona Park.

Enjoy beautiful beaches during your visit of Tayrona Park / Source: Parque Tayrona Official Page

How to visit the Tayrona with a guided tour:

Tour to Cañaveral and Arrecifes in Tayrona – this option is for those who want a one-day visit. The tour begins early and will take you to Cabo San Juan where a beautiful beach will be waiting for you. The walk can last between an hour and a half and two hours, depending on your walking speed, and altogether is a one day round trip.

Neguanje and Crystal Beach Tour in Tayrona – This tour is perfect if you want to enjoy the beach just for one day or if you are travelling with kids or older people and you cannot walk long distances. At the beginning of your visit of Tayrona Park, a boat will be waiting for the visitors and take you to Crystal Beach.

Pueblito Chayrama in Tayrona Park – this option is for those who prefer a cultural visit and want to learn a little about the indigenous local culture. You will walk through indredible vegetation and be able to visit and get to know the indigenous community still living in Tayrona.

Lost City – If you like like long walks amidst untouched nature, we recommend the trek to La Ciudad Perdida (the Lost City). During this 5-day long trip, you will immerse yourself by walk through and sleeping outside amongst the nature and the sights are so amazing that this it will be worth every second.
For more information about this tour, such as prices or availability, contact the Customer Service of Colombia4u.

Visit of Tayrona Park / Colombia4u

Enjoy pure nature in this beautiful reserve that is Tayrona Park / Source: Lucila Runnacles


What to eat in Tayrona Park:

Inside the park there are restaurants that serve simple food – but with all the flavour of the local gastronomy. During your visit of Tayrona Park, you will find prices are a little high, but they are not extortionate. You can also buy drinks. However, if you want to stay for more than one day you should bring provisions such as water and food.

If you want to eat something unique or more elaborate food, buy it before you enter the park because the products available inside Tayrona are simple and there is not much choice.

Something you must take into account: there is no ATM in the park. So make sure you bring enough cash before you enter Tayrona Park!

Where to sleep: Accommodation

The park has a range of accommodation to suit every taste and budget, and will accomodate for those who just want one night’s getaway, or you want to stay for a longer period.The cheapest way to spend the night is to rent a simple hamac or spend the night in a tent (with a mat).

However, if you want to enjoy all the luxury of five star accommodation, you can spend the night in an ecohab. An ecoham is a four-bed house equipped with private bathrooms, sofas and breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. These houses are situated in the midst of park’s the vast vegetation and offer a five star service. Besides you will be able to go to the spa and receive massages or enjoy a jacuzzi.

Visit of Tayrona Park / Colombia4u

The sea can be treacherous, don’t enter when you see this sign ! Source: Lucila Runnacles


Important information to visit the Tayrona Park

You can enter and exit the park between 8am and 5pm. Before entering, all visitors must watch a little presentation about the protection of the environment and the preservation rules in Tayrona Park.

Do not swim in the sea if the “forbidden” sign is up. Various people have lost their lives as a consequence of the rough seas. The sea often appears to be calm, but it can be more tricky than it seems.

At the end of your visit of Tayrona Park, take your rubbish with you. This way, you can help conserve the park’s flora and fauna.

How to get there
The National Park of Tayrona is on the Colombia’s Atlantic Coast, 34 km away from Santa Marta. If you buy a tour in Tayrona through a tourist agency, the transport is included from Santa Marta.

Distance to Tayrona from:

Tatanga – 18 km – 45 minutes
Santa Marta – 34 km – 40 minutes
Cartagena – 234 km – 4 hours

When to go
If possible, you should avoid the rainy season, which takes place from May to June and in September or November too. The high season usually normally falls between December and January.

The average temperature in Tayrona is 28°C. The days are rather hot and humid.

What to bring
Sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, walking shoes, a swimsuit, first aid kid.

Visit of Tayrona Park / Colombia4u

In the mountains live 4 indigenous communities: the mountains are sacred to them / Source


Daytours4u tip: There are 4 indigenous communities who live in the mountains: koguis, arhuacos, wiwa and kankuamos. According to their beleifs,  Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the origin and the center of the world. You can find both snow and sea by these mystical mountains. This strategic position makes the mountains sacred to them. Therefore, it is essential that visitors respect the resources and nature around them.

By: Lucila Runnacles, journalist and author of Viagem Cult blog / Translated by: Grégory Noël

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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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Colombia wins award for promoting LGBT tourism http://www.daytours4u.com/en/colombia4u/colombia-wins-award-for-promoting-lgbt-tourism/ Tue, 07 Feb 2017 14:59:45 +0000 http://www.daytours4u.com/en/?p=11108 Policies to promote LGBT tourism in Colombia were recognised in Madrid by Diversity Consulting International and Fitur Gay. Learn more here.

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ProColombia, a government organisation in charge of promoting tourism in Colombia, has received an award from Diversity Consulting International and the Gay International Tourism Fair (Fitur Gay) for its achievements in developing tourism for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.

LGBT tourismColombia is an emerging travel destination for the LGBT community

“For us, it is recognition of the work carried out by numerous businessmen and women to satisfy, with excellence, the existing demand in this segment of tourism, and the way that Colombian society is travelling in favour of equality of rights” said Felipe Jaramillo, the President of ProColombia, at Fitur Gay, which took place between January 18th and January 22nd in Madrid, Spain. This accolade indeed acknowledges the efforts that Colombia has made in terms of equality, particularly in its legislation

Fitur Gay is backed by a host of major global institutions, including the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, while Diversity Consulting International is a consultancy firm that provides advice and services to companies that intend to venture into the LGBT market.

Tourism in Colombia is set to strengthen considerably through this recognition and indeed other awards it has received recently, the most notable of which came at the 2016 World Travel Awards where Medellín was voted South America’s Leading City Break Destination.

For these and the most obvious reasons – the country’s charm, beautiful landscapes, warm people, and exquisite gastronomy – Colombia continues to thrive as a top destination on the itineraries of travellers around South America. Those people should check out Colombia4u, our brand website home to a catalogue of tours and unique adventures that can turn your trip into a really special experience.

By: Daytours4u Content 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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