Colonial Cities of Colombia
La Candelaria is the historic neighborhood of Bogota. The city was founded by Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada who was drawn to the area by the myth of El Dorado; his tomb is in Catedral Primada in Bolivar Square.
Other important sights in Bogota include Parque Simon Bolivar, Iglesia de la Candelaria and the Banco de la Republica museum complex which includes the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum. Villa de Leyva is a popular day trip from Bogota and commanding views of the city can be had from the top of Cerro de Monserrate.
Medellin is the home town of Fernando Botero whose world famous works are enduringly popular in South America. 23 sculptures can be seen in Plaza de las Esculturas and other works can be found around the city.
Medellin is referred to as the city of eternal spring on account of the year round mild temperatures. The pleasant climate makes a walk around the landscaped paths of the botanical gardens a refreshing experience.
Other highlights include the Museo de Antioquia, Arvi Park and a climb up Piedra de Penol for dramatic views. Pueblito Paisa is a replica Antioquian traditional village located on Nutibara Hill.
Cartagena de Indias has a long history as a trading port and Spanish fortifications such as the city wall and Castillo San Felipe de Barajas contribute to the city’s unique character which creates a wonderful high point of any Colombia tour.
Old town or downtown is the centre for colonial architecture. The official entrance to the old city is the Puerta del Reloj (Clock Gate). Here visitors can get a carriage ride in Plaza de los Coches (Square of Carriages) or set off on foot to enjoy the colorful balcony houses, numerous squares and the impressive churches.
Bocagrande is an area known for beaches, bars and restaurants. Day trips to the Islas del Rosario and Playa Blanca are popular.
Santa Fe de Antioquia
This small town was founded in the 16th Century and is virtually unchanged since the 1800s. The narrow streets, white washed houses and ornate Antioquian woodwork seen here give visitors the sense of traveling back through time.
Highlights include the Cathedral, the Plaza Mayor fountain and the Iglesia de Santa Barbara. The town has bars, eateries and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
Barichara is idyllically located looking down to the Rio Suarez. The Catedral de la Immaculata Concepcion in Parque Principal is a beautiful eighteenth century building with an imposing exterior. Visit the Cemetery in Capilla de San Juan de Dios for an atmospheric experience. Appreciate both sculpture and fabulous views from Parque par las Artes.
Many hikers on a Colombia tour walk the 9 km trail along Camino Real from Barichara to Guane.
The village of Guane is a popular destination on Colombia tours. The main square has a statue of Guanenta; the last Guane cacique. See tapia pisada houses alongside the familiar hallmarks of colonial architecture and the serene Santa Lucia Church.
Petroglyphs and cave paintings left by the Guane people in the region are sometimes recreated on the walls of establishments in the village demonstrating how the past resonates through to the present day. The Archaeology and Paleontology Museum contains fossils, religious art and other interesting exhibits.