Yes it’s true that for many years Colombia was a very dangerous place, but over the last decade, tourism has increased over 120% and it’s no wonder why.
Colombia is a magical place with warm and welcoming people, amazing nature and best of all it’s still a relatively tourist free place. There is also a massive push towards ecotourism in Colombia.
Undiscovered destinations for ecotourism in Colombia
We have personally traveled to (which was sometimes no easy task!) and hand-picked these ecotourism destinations in Colombia. Enjoy!
Literally “Avocado Bay” this gem of a destination is truly where the jungle meets the sea. Set amidst palm trees and lush tropical forest, Bahia Aguacate offers amazing ocean views with craggy rock outcroppings against a backdrop of dazzling blue waters and bluer skies.
Bahia Aguacate is a breathtaking hour walk from Capurgana, a small fishing village that boasts of a hopping nightlife on the weekends.
A short boat ride away from Capurgana is La Miel, Panama, the first successful European settlement on the mainland of the Americas, 1510. From there, take a 30 minute hike across to border back into Colombia, to the picturesque beach town of Sapzurro. This corner of the continent is reachable only by plane or speedboat, so this spot has retained its rugged beauty.
If you are looking to feel the sun, swim in crystal blue waters, and hear only the sounds of the waves and the ocean breeze, Bahia Aguacate is the destination for you!
Cabo de la Vela
Welcome to the “Wild West” of Colombia. Home of the Wayuu people, Cabo de la Vela is truly a unique and wonderful place to visit. This is where the desert meets the sea.
Spend your days hiking to wild and unique beaches. Spend your evenings lounging under the star filled skies in a chinchorro (a large, comfortable hammock with a built-in cover, made by local Wayuu women). Eat fresh, daily caught lobster and fish. Greet the goats, iguanas, lizards and crabs as you explore the beaches “Ojo de Agua,” “Pilon de Azucar” and rocky cliffs overlooking the expansive Caribbean Ocean at the northern edge of the South American continent.
Cabo de la Vela is a destination well worth the journey when looking to experience ecotourism in Colombia.
Mesa de Los Santos
Located in the State or “Departamento” of Santander, about an hour south of Bucaramanga, Mesa de los Santos, “The Plateau of the Saints,” was once home to the Guane and is rich in history, culture and beauty.
The Mesa butts up against the Chicamocha Canyon, the largest canyon in Colombia. Hiking along the Mesa is like a journey back in time. Pre-Colombian petroglyphs, caves for spelunking and amazing views. One can almost imagine how it would feel to live here among the multicolored sand and rocks, stunning blue skies and yawning canyons as the Guane once did. Rock climb at perhaps one of the world’s best sites – La Mojarra – enjoy the sweetest pineapple you’ve ever had or just experience some of the most amazing topography in Colombia.
Whatever you brings you, you must visit Mesa de Los Santos!
A deserted beach, the deltas of two large and beautiful rivers surging with wildlife, a one of a kind mountain range, reflecting the morning sun. In Palomino, you will find all of this and more!
A sleepy town northeast of Santa Marta, is where you can go for peace and relaxation. Plan a day trip to hike part way up the Sierra Nevada and float down the lazy Palomino River always to the Caribbean Ocean. Enjoy night time walks along the beach where the sand “sparkles” with static electricity at every step! Or just enjoy solitude and sunshine on the beach.
If you are looking to “get away from it all” Palomino is the perfect place to refresh your body and soul!
Barichara is by far one of the most charming small towns or “pueblos” in Colombia.
Located in the Santander region, Barichara’s white washed buildings with traditional rock “zocalos”, or baseboards, steps one back in time. Men in traditional garb linger on park benches while children wander home from school, savoring afternoon ice cream.
Barichara, originally named “Barachalá” by the native Guane, meaning “a good place to rest” – an appropriate description of this lovely town.
Don’t miss the “Camino Real Guane,” a path from Barichara to the very small pueblo of Guane. In this case, the journey is the destination, as the views are incredible and the stone pathway is filled with age old fossils. Barichara is also home to the “Hormigas Culonas” or Big Booty Ants, a delicacy of the region. These ants are farmed locally and eaten pan-fried, as snacks, on steak, in a delicious sauce or just about any way.
If you are looking to experience a small, colonial eco-friendly Colombian pueblo with lots of character, don’t miss Barichara!
Termales Santa Rosa del Cabal
Colombia’s unique geography gifts it with many thermal springs and this one is above and beyond the best one in Colombia.
Termales Santa Rosa del Cabal are actually two sites: one more private with a hotel, and another one that is for day users. Both source all of their water from thermal springs up high in the mountains where the water temperature is at a scorching 190 F/88 C degrees. The hot cascade then merges with an ice-cold waterfall, and is then routed to the baths.
At the hotel site, there are private baths that accommodate up to four people, and an outdoor shower for those staying in the original part of the hotel. The hottest section of the main pool is adjacent to the waterfall at 100 F/37 C degrees. Pools further from the waterfall are progressively cooler.
Next to the “coolest” pool is an ice-cold waterfall, a lovely place to cool off and increase circulation after languishing in the warmth of the thermals.
With a full service food section, plenty of space to move around, and numerous pools of healing thermal water, Termales Santa Rosa del Cabal is a perfect way to add relaxation to your Colombia trip.