Colombia: 10 adventure activities you can do in the South American country
The allure of Colombia is increasing by the day and with the developing peace negotiations, there is no time like the present to visit the country. While any travel to Colombia will be exciting, you can add to the thrill with these top adventure activities.
Direct flights from London to Bogotá with Avianca and a good network of national flights and buses mean that can see a remarkable amount of Colombia’s biodiversity and culture even in just a 2 week break from work – you’ll want to stay for longer though - I should know – I came here for a month and have stayed three!
I put this together for my Evening Standard column but here it is for you too...
1. Hike the Nevados National Park
The volcanic peaks and diverse collection of landscapes make hiking here a test of both your strength and that of the battery of your camera. The wax palms, Páramo ecosystem and snow-capped peaks can be explored on guided multi-day treks, sleeping up in mountain huts. I reached the 4,750m (non-snowy) Paramillo del Quindio, and am looking forward to a future trek to the snow-capped Nevado de Tolima. SalentoTrekking.com
2. Scuba dive off Isla Providencia
The Colombian Caribbean island of Providencia, reached by 3 hour boat or 15 minute flight from San Andres, is a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Day and night dives and PADI courses are the perfect way to see the underwater life, rich with coral and fish, with incredible visibility. Head to Sonny Dive Shop or Felipe Diving in Freshwater bay.
3. Run in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta
With the arrival of the social impact themed marathon and half-marathon event in February, you can now explore the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta on foot, visiting and volunteering in the very communities you fundraise for with Impact Marathon Series. ImpactMarathonSeries.com
4. Dance salsa in Cali
There is no bigger adventure than salsa for the unacquainted. Nerves, adrenalin, sweat and teamwork – get your dancing shoes on and try one of the many salsa classes, or just go straight for the dance floor. Cali style salsa is highly regarded and is the place to go for nightly lessons and salsa evenings. Salsa Pura salsa school in San Antonio and the salsa clubs: Tin Tin Deo and La Topa are worth a visit.
5. Downhill bike in San Gil
San Gil is the adventure hub of Colombia, with mountain biking, canyoning and white water rafting on offer. The downhill biking routes are highly regarded, and with expert guides even those new to the sport can handle the terrain. ColombiaBikeJunkies.com
6. Surf at Playa Los Angeles
33km outside of Santa Marta on the Caribbean Coast, just past Tayrona Park, is a long stretch of beach that caters for intermediate to advanced surfers when the surf’s up. Playa Los Angeles, with hammock and cabin accommodation makes for a great retreat for surfers and non-surfers alike. PlayaLosAngeles.com.co
7. Hike to the Lost City
The trek there and back from the remote Ciudad Perdida is a four or five day trip through the jungle and up to the vast indigenous city ruin dating back from 800AD, 600 years before Macchu Picchu’s founding. Rediscovered in 1972 by tomb raiders, the hike is tough but accessible. In the humid climate, with undulating terrain, you’ll appreciate the refreshing river swims. Expotur-eco.com
8. Paraglide near Medellín
Those with a head for heights can fly above the hills around the city of the eternal spring, Medellín. Flying in tandem over mountain and cityscape you’ll see Colombia from a different viewpoint! ParaglidingMedellin.com
9. Kitesurf in Guajira
With the ideal conditions of shallow sandy bottom water, complete with wind, Cabo de la Vela, is an ideal place to try your hand at kitesurfing. Beautiful beaches and chinchorros (particulary comfy hammocks) await you for your down time in the region of Guajira too. WindsurfingColombia.com
10. Kayak/ stand-up paddle board with whales
Head to Nuquí from July to October and you’re in with a chance of whale watching from the comfort of a kayak or stand-up paddleboard off the Pacific Coast. ElCantil.com/en/hotel-nuqui-colombia
TRAVELLING IN OTHER AREAS OF COLOMBIA?
For the full collection of notes I collected while exploring Colombia, head to Over to you: Tips for Travel in Colombia
(Includes Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park, Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) Trek, Cartagena, Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Isla Providencia, The Coffee Region, La Guajira and great Colombian music, books and festivals to aim for)
Hope you enjoy!! Please do share with anyone you think might find them useful.
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