A beautiful country filled with remnants of its Spanish colonial past, Colombia is a virtually untouched land of colonial villages, streets lined in cobblestones, and all the mysteries the Amazon River has to offer. Let Solar Tours guide you to this land almost frozen in time, and discover the possibilities of Colombia!
Colombia is a hidden gem of a country, at twice the size of France and a wide diversity of cultures and climates, it’s a wonder that Colombia is as untouched by modern civilization as it is. Whether you’re looking for hot, dry deserts, warm, steamy rainforests, or cold, crisp mountains, you’ll find it in Colombia. Many Incan and Spanish ruins are still standing today, and can be seen in places like Bogotá and Cartagena. Medellin, on the other hand, is where the locals play, well known for its shopping, nightlife, and metropolitan atmosphere.
Originally built around 1932, the current Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá was reconstructed in 1995 after the old one was found too dangerous for visitors. The entire cathedral has been carved out of salt deposits, and the original cathedral was created for the miners to ask for the blessings of Our Lady of Rosary, the patron saint of miners. The cathedral is a functioning church with 14 small chapels and can receive up to 3,000 parishioners on a Sunday, but because it has no bishop, it does not have an official status in the Catholic Church. Kneeling platforms have been carved into the halite in each chapel, and statuary depicts different Biblical scenes and figures. The interior is lit up in a beautiful array of colorful lights, giving a contemporary feel to this sacred space.
Declared a national monument in 1954, Villa de Leyva is a village truly preserved in its glory days. You can still meander along cobblestone roads in between whitewashed buildings and take in the beautiful architecture. In Villa de Leyva, there is a statue of Jesus named “sagrado corazón” that can be found by following the path in a nearby forest. If you’re interested in religious art, the best museum to see it in the country, Museo del Carmen, is located in the village. The museum is housed in the convent of the same name and featured rare paintings, altarpieces, and other religious artifacts from as far back as the 16th century. It’s best to visit the village during the week when out of town visitors aren’t swarming in and the crowds are thinner.
Santa Marta is conveniently located near many historical sites and fabulous restaurants. If you’re adventurous, you can try the octopus at Ouzo, which is simmered for 2 hours in a garlic-flavored broth, and then placed on hot coals to sear and seal in the flavor. Nearby is the hacienda where Simón Bolívar, the leader of the Latin American Wars of Independence, spent the last days of his life, the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino. On the property is also the Museo Bolivariano, an art museum featuring work donated by Latin American artists from the countries liberated by Bolívar, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Also in Santa Marta is another museum, the Museo del Oro (or the Gold Museum), which is inside a colonial mansion and features pottery, gold, and indigenous artifacts of the Kogi and Arhuaco people.
If you’re looking for natural remedies for your ailments, then look no further than Volcán de Lodo El Totumo, near Cartegena. This “volcano” doesn’t spew forth lava and ash, but rather lukewarm mud, which is said to contain minerals optimal for healing. The local legend says that the volcano used to spew fire, but a priest, believing the fire a work of the Devil, sprinkled holy water on it and turned it into mud. Visitors can bathe in the mud, and then wash off in the nearby lagoon, for a fee.
A town that thrives on the coffee industry, Salento brings in tourists for its quiet streets, authentic architecture, and its local craft stalls. Founded in 1850, Salento is one of the oldest towns in the Quindío region. The artists’ stalls are located in Calle Real, and also features local restaurants next to the stalls. Another local favorite is the Alto de la Cruz, a cross stationed at the top of a hill. At the top of this hill you can see the Cocora Valley, and even further in the distance the snow-capped peaks of distant mountains and volcanoes.
The Valle de Cocora (or Cocora Valley) is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Colombia, a country that is already exceptionally stunning! The valley is covered in wax palms, the largest palm in the world and Colombia’s national tree. A trail takes you on a loop around the valley, with a stop in Acaime for hot chocolate and to watch the local wildlife. You can stop here in the village for the night, or you can backtrack and take the trail to Finca La Montaña. This trail is strenuous but affords amazing views of the breathtaking valley, and the option to take a guided tour on horse is available.
Our best Colombian Sampler! Bogota, a modern and vibrant city full of cultural, artistic, intellectual, and social life; and Cartagena, a Caribbean Jewel of unique romantic atmosphere and well-preserved colonial architectural treasures enclosed in its legendary fortified city walls.
This package will introduce you to three of Colombia’s most important cites. Fly to Bogota, a modern and vibrant city full of cultural, artistic, intellectual and social life. Continue to Colombia’s second most important city; Medellin, the City of the eternal Spring, known by its cultural encounters, the warmth of its people, and the amazing views that are accompanied by clear blue skies and beautiful sunsets. Finish this trip in Cartagena, a Caribbean Jewel of unique romantic atmosphere and well-preserved colonial architectural treasures enclosed in its legendary fortified city walls.
Fly to Bogota, a modern and vibrant city full of cultural, artistic, intellectual, and social life. Then, visit Pereira, where the world’s best coffee is grown, which has also become a favorite tourism destination offering a variety of quality coffee haciendas, parks, horseback riding, bird watching, and other outdoor adventure activities.
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