Recently, Colombia has become one of the most relevant tourist destinations. This is due to different factors such as its culture, wonderful Colombian places, landscapes, music, and language. That is right! – Many foreigners use this country as a reference to learn Spanish due to the characteristics of Colombian Spanish and, at the same time, take advantage of all of the above to make this learning process an unforgettable Colombian cultural and Spanish immersion.
Colombia has a fruitful geographical position since tourists have a wide range of possibilities at their disposal. Colombian places go from paradisiacal beaches to leafy mountains or ocher deserts, Colombia will be an unforgettable trip. Of course, you should learn Spanish before you go on any adventure, so you will be able to put into practice everything you learn in your Spanish lessons.
Based on the above, we have selected a list of not-so-common tourist places in Colombia that for sure you will fall in love with.
Colombian Places: Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva is a quiet and extraordinary place, having majestic colonial architecture. In this tourist destination, you can walk through its streets to enjoy landscapes that evoke the time of its foundation. One of the great attractions is Plaza Mayor, which is surrounded by old colonial buildings. This square is one of the largest in all of Latin America. It is 14,000 m2 and is a paved space with a water fountain and is limited by the church of Nuestra Señora del Rosario, one of the oldest in the country.
In addition, near Villa de Leyva you can find other worthwhile tourist attractions. For example, Pozos Azules. They are artificial wells that have this color because of the salts and minerals in the soil. This place is located 3 km from Villa de Leyva. You can go by car, on horseback, bicycle or on foot.
Try to Speak in Spanish with its habitants who will be more than happy to offer you a great Colombian cultural experience.
San Andrés Island
In case you love paradisiacal beaches, a tropical climate, and seafood, San Andrés is an excellent destination. This wonderful place is located about 750 kilometers north of the Colombian mainland. San Andrés Island not only includes the islands and their keys, but also an extension of 300.000 kilometers of the Caribbean Sea. Temperatures in San Andrés range between 26 and 29°C throughout the year, so whether it’s winter or summer, the average weather is 27°C.
These Colombian islands are a place that brings together many influences from the English, Spanish, pirates, and corsairs mixed with the Afro people, which results in a culture of great wealth. This vast cultural mix has generated diversity in different aspects such as food, music, and traditions, among others. This is why San Andrés is an excellent opportunity to test what you learned in your Spanish classes with the Caribbean Spanish expressions and accents.
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San Andrés will give you the chance to enjoy crystal clear waters that have been awarded internationally for their great appeal. You can even snorkel from the shore thanks to its transparency. If you are in San Andrés, travel to a nearby island called Johnny Cay. This small island has an unforgettable sea that is commonly called the Sea of 7 Colors.
But not all attractions are in the sea. In San Andrés, you also have the opportunity to visit the Botanical Garden, an 8-hectare space in the center of the island where you can enjoy extensive vegetation that has been present since the age of the dinosaurs.
Colombian Places: Parque Tayrona
Perhaps you have heard before, Colombia not only has great geographical diversity but also cultural diversity. Colombians are people who come from different ethnic origins. For example, indigenous groups coexist in this country and these, in turn, have sacred areas due to the immeasurable beauty of these places. What relationship does this have with Tayrona Park? Well, this park is a sacred place for the indigenous people who have inhabited here for a long time.
As you can imagine, Parque Tayrona is an incredible and paradisiacal place. It is located in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the Colombian Caribbean – it is part of the city of Santa Marta. This park has 15,000 hectares, of which 3,000 are marine areas.
This place is ideal for those who look for the contemplation of beautiful landscapes and pleasant rest. Parque Tayrona offers its tourists magnificent beaches and relaxing environments of a deep blue sea. For those who are interested in more exciting activities, hiking, snorkeling, and autonomous diving can be excellent options. This is a perfect place to meet new people and practice your Spanish with locals.
Some additional recommendations for your stay in this park are:
- Carry enough water with you to stay hydrated.
- Put on a good amount of sunscreen so you don’t regret your exposure to the sun.
- Carry your trash with you until you find a suitable place to get rid of it.
- Listen to the recommendations of the park staff so that you are always safe.
- Take some Spanish lessons before you visit as it can be really useful to know important phrases.
El Parque Tayrona is not the only sacred place of great archaeological importance in Colombia. Actually, there are a considerable number of places like this in the country. Ciudad Perdida is one of these.
However, getting to this place is not an easy task as you cannot just take a plane or a bus to arrive there. Quite the contrary. Getting to Ciudad Perdida is an unforgettable adventure for any of its visitors. It is necessary to take a walk with groups guided by expert people who know the place very well in order to access the majestic city. Some treks take 4-5 days total (round trip). For this reason, taking Spanish classes is quite useful to ensure that your experience is more enjoyable.
This city was built around the year 700, it is the main urban center of the ancient Tayrona civilization. Currently, it is one of the most important archaeological sites for the investigation of this culture. Therefore, you will not only enjoy ancient and beautiful landscapes during your tour, but you will also be able to contemplate a place full of history and mysticism.
Colombian Places: San Agustín
If you like archaeological sites, San Agustín is the ideal destination for you. San Agustín is known as the archaeological capital of the department of Huila. It is located 326 km from Neiva, its capital. To get to San Agustín from Neiva, the duration takes approximately 50 minutes by car.
As for accommodation, near San Agustín you can find hotels and country houses to make your visit unforgettable. In addition, the traditional Huila food is an attraction or tourist that you cannot miss.
If you go there, you can visit the San Agustín Archaeological Park. This park was founded in 1935 and is currently the largest necropolis in the world. This area has large set of religious monuments and statues carved in stone. These archaeological remains of an indigenous sculptor and artist represent what was once the Augustinian culture. These sculptures are tributes to the funerary rites of the ancient inhabitants of the region, who had strong beliefs in life after death and worshiped different gods.
Practice your Spanish skills with Colombian people while you get familiar with some Colombian history to get in touch with the extensive diversity of Colombian culture.
Desierto de la Tatacoa
As we have continuously mentioned in this text, Colombia is a wonderful country full of diversity and beautiful landscapes. The landscape of the Desierto de la Tatacoa desert is as extreme as it is photogenic. It is located in the department of Huila, 40 kilometers from the city of Neiva. In this desert, the cacti adorn the ochre colors surrounding the environment. Considering that this desert is located in Huila, we recommend you include San Agustín in the same trip.
In case you are wondering what kind of activities you can do there apart from hiking and admiring the landscape beauty, here we explain to you some activities you will enjoy there.
Colombian Places: Stargazing at the Observatorio de la Tatacoa
Thanks to the clear sky that covers the desert, the Observatorio de la Tatacoa will be able to give you an unparalleled view of the stars in the sky.
The paleontological museum
This is a must-see for those interested in history. This desert has the area with the highest concentration of primate fossils on the continent. It was also home to thousands of species of plants and animals in prehistory. It is the ideal space to practice your Spanish and learn much more about Colombia and its immense history.
Whatever destination you choose to visit, Colombia will surprise you and make you fall in love with it. Each place has a unique magic and beauty that will completely make your experience an unforgettable moment. Remember that if you take Spanish classes beforehand, you will be able to take advantage of every single destination, as you will be able to get a Colombian cultural experience and meet wonderful people who will do everything possible to be at your service.