Insider’s Guide to Colombia

Surprising in every way, Colombia is warm and welcoming, and the people are truly pleased to see visitors.
June 2024

Surprising in every way, Colombia is warm and welcoming, and the people are truly pleased to see visitors. Having survived decades of conflict, the country today has a newfound spring in its step, a wealth of undiscovered natural and cultural treasures, as well as a bounty of beautiful boutique hotels, and an up-and-coming food scene. As the country’s famous tourism slogan cites, ‘the only risk is wanting to stay’. To help you plan your visit, here are our top hotel, restaurant and bar, and touring tips.


At an elevation of 2,640 metres, Colombia’s capital has a population of eight million and sits against an impressive mountain backdrop. It is a cosmopolitan city with plenty of green spaces, stylish suburbs and edgy bohemian areas. The old town, La Candelaria, is full of colonial buildings, cobbled streets, galleries, street art and outstanding museums.


Humo Negro
Humo Negro is a fine-dining restaurant with a passion for sustainable ingredients in Bogotá. Recently featured in ‘Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023’, diners are invited to share small plates that fuse Latin American, Nordic and Japanese flavours, with a strong focus on cocktail pairings.

Andres Carne de Res
Just outside Bogotá, this eclectic eatery sprawls across seven square kilometres with 11 different dining areas, music, dancing and bars. It has all the spirit of a fiesta and the food offering covers the full gamut of Latin American specialities from grilled steak and ceviche to patacones (crispy fried plantain), arepas and of course pisco sours.


Four Seasons Casa Medina
Exuding a quiet elegance, the Four Seasons Casa Medina is located in Bogotá’s culinary centre Zona G. Designed by a Colombian architect in the 1940s as a collection of private residences, it was converted to a hotel in the 1980s. The historic structure has been declared a national monument and it has the feeling of a grand old Spanish palace complete with hand-carved wooden doors and stone columns.


Gold Museum
One of Bogotá’s must-see attractions, this museum houses a beautifully presented collection of pre-Hispanic gold artefacts retrieved from indigenous tombs spanning Colombia’s long history with over 55,000 individual pieces.


Apache Bar & Lounge
On the rooftop of the sleek and stylish Click Clack Hotel is the chic Apache where a well-heeled crowd gathers to soak up the city views and classic cocktails while the DJ spins a few tunes.

Coffee Country

Colombia is world-renowned for its coffee production and the region to the west of Bogotá known as the 'Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia' was accorded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2011. The two main cities here are Pereira and Armenia, and the surrounding landscapes of mist-covered mountains, farmland and coffee plantations are breathtaking.


Coffee Baptism
After a tour of the San Alberto Estate, finish with the 'Coffee Baptism', which hones the senses by focusing on the flavours, aromas and fragrances of two types of coffee. Guests record the characteristics of each and are challenged to properly identify both before finishing.

Cocora Valley
Walk or horse ride into the beautiful Cocora Valley to see the extraordinary Quindian wax palm, which is Colombia’s national tree. Protected and endangered, the trees grow to a height of 65 metres, between elevations of 2,000 and 3,500 metres and can live to an incredible age of 200 years.


Hacienda Bambusa
Surrounded by the Central Andes Mountains, and the inspiration for Disney’s Encanto, the Haciendo Bambusa is a traditional coffee estate which conserves the old architectural style of the Colombian Coffee Region. The hacienda is built out of bamboo and clay with eight impeccably decorated rooms.


Colombia’s second city, Medellín is a bustling centre of industry and commerce with a pleasant climate giving it the nickname the ‘City of Eternal Spring’. Once one of the most dangerous cities in the world, Medellín has now undergone a massive transformation with local investment turning it into one of the world’s most innovative metropoles, with exciting culinary offerings, a happening art scene and a newfound buzz.


Transformation Tour
Head to Comuna 13, once one of the riskiest areas of the city, and join local artists on a graffiti tour, which gives an excellent insight into the history and daily life of people in the area. It also sheds light on the importance of street art for social communication and identity.


El Cielo
Be prepared for a production when you dine at El Cielo where renowned Michelin Star chef and Medellín local, Juan Manuel Barrientos, combines cooking and neuroscience nd applies it to Colombian cuisine, creating some truly unique dishes.

Situated inside a lovely house in El Poblado neighbourhood this enchanting space is elegant with a cosy but hip vibe. Cuisine is contemporary with local ingredients and flavours delivering creative, modern dishes. Look out for the Korean-style galbi marinated beef tacos and the plantain crusted fish of the day with coconut rice risotto.


Famous for its pastel-coloured, colonial-era architecture, bougainvillea draped balconies, cobbled streets and grand churches, Cartagena in the country’s north is a sunny and vibrant port city on the Caribbean Sea. It also has an impressive colonial fortress, fine food, vibrant handicrafts and access to the azure waters and beaches of the Caribbean.


Las Bovedas
Converted from a series of colonial dungeons, today Las Bovedas is an arcade of shops where you’ll find an excellent selection of Colombian handicrafts. Best buys include hammocks, Panama hats, wooden maracas and handmade mochilas (colourful cotton bags).

Silvia Tcherassi
For glamorous silk tops, chic cocktail dresses, strappy sandals and floaty gowns head to top designer Silvia Tcherassi’s shop near the western wall of the city. Accessorise with her bold jewellery.

St Dom
This Colombian concept store presents a carefully curated collection of quality items for the home and wardrobe. There are designer garments, swimwear, artworks, jewellery and interior design pieces. Be sure to leave room in your suitcase.


San Felipe Fortress
Considered the greatest fortress ever built by the Spaniards in any of their colonies the fortress dominates the Cartagena landscape even today. Take time to wander up the ramparts, explore the tunnels within and hear how the Spanish defended themselves against British attack.

García Márquez walking tour
Visit the haunts of Colombia’s most important writer, Gabriel García Márquez, on a walking tour through the streets of Cartagena’s Old Town. See the house where he spent time in the years immediately preceding his death and El Cora Lounge Bar in the Sofitel Santa Clara which inspired a part of Love in the Time of Cholera. The tour also visits the school of his childhood sweetheart, the house of a good friend, the corridor of candy, the shoeshine boys and his local salsa bar.

Crayfish in the Caribbean
Take a private boat to the stunning Rosario Archipelago National Park, a collection of 27 small coral islands and islets surrounded by a coral reef. Relax under a palm tree on a white sandy beach with a crayfish lunch and while away the afternoon.


Celele Restaurant
This vibrant dining room, recently named in ‘Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023’, serves some of the most innovative Colombian and Caribbean cooking in the world today. Dishes are packed with punchy flavours and executed deftly without pretence.

El Boliche
This petite cevicheria is charmingly simple with just nine tables, a coloured concrete floor and some of the best ceviche in the city.


Casa San Agustin
Refined and relaxed, this boutique hotel is full of character. Comprising three old colonial-era buildings, it houses 30 stylish rooms each beautifully decorated with Spanish antiques, poster ironwork beds, chandeliers, natural fabrics, rich dark woods, local art and artefacts. Some guest rooms have private plunge pools or Jacuzzis and all feature luxurious Frette linens and Ortigia bath amenities.

Contact one of our expert Journey Designers or talk to your travel advisor to learn more and start planning.

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