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Tours in Colombia


With the expansion of the tourist industry in Colombia, the number of organized travel options continues to grow. Various types of tours are available, encompassing many of Colombia’s historical and natural delights. Whether it is hiking through the Andes, being guided through one of Colombia’s principal cities, visiting ancient landmarks or taking a boat trip down the Amazon, the opportunities available are extensive. Although low demand previously restricted tours to either being short-duration or solely in Spanish, the development of the industry is constantly opening new horizons.


Pre-Arranged Tours

The combined expansion of both Colombia’s tourist market and Internet-based excursion companies has led to the growth of organized packages throughout parts of the country. The options of packages available vary in duration, from one week inside Colombia, to six months throughout various South America countries. Understandably, considering the higher price of the packages, these tours entail most costs including accommodation and transportation although they are rarely fully inclusive and you should inquire about hidden costs beforehand. Not best for those searching for a relaxing break, these types of tours usually encompass a host of activities and visits to multiple locations. As well as general tours, more specific adventure travel trips and nature-orientated visits can be found. Although without as many guarantees, it is often cheaper and can be more liberating to organize trips once inside Colombia.


Amazon Tours

The vast expanse of the Amazon jungle provides an ideal location for various day and multi-day guided tours. Most tours leave from Leticia in the southeastern pinnacle of Colombia and generally include trips along parts of the Amazon River and some of its multiple tributaries. Often an excellent way to see the extensive elements of jungle life, Amazon tours not only enable you to see incredible varieties of flora and fauna but also provide an insight into indigenous lifestyles. English-speaking guides are available at numerous organizations and some tours include visits to the Parque Nacional Amacayacu or stays in jungle lodges.


Andes Tours

Colombia is intersected by the presence of the overwhelming Andes. Split into three ranges, the Occidental, Central and Oriental, Colombia’s Andean mountains are a host of volcanoes, glacial formations and impressive lakes. They provide perfect terrain for mountain biking, trekking and both rock and ice climbing. Parque Nacional Natural El Cocuy encompasses snow-peaked mountains and vast lakes, a perfect landscape for trekking. The mountains also offer less energetic aspirations, like birdwatching. Various tour guides operate in the regions. Whether it be sports and physical challenges or a more relaxed enjoyment of natural delights that appeals to you, it is likely that there will be an Andean tour to fit your interests.


Special Ruins/Landmark Tours

Guided tours to special landmarks are easy to book and usually depart from Bogotá. If, for example, you are planning to visit the Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá—one of the seven wonders of Colombia—and are also interested in the enchanted lagoon of Guativita nearby, the best way to learn the history and maximize your time is probably to let a tour guide lead and arrange transportation. From Bogotá you can also take a day tour to Villa de Leyva, one of the oldest towns in Colombia, or a multi-day excursion for the famous archeological park San Agustín, a large UNESCO site that contains much history and many myths. For a more complex tour, like going around Zona Cafetera, air transportation and extra time is necessary.


City Tours

Most of Colombia’s principal cities have organized city tours. While some bus tours are available, seeing a city by foot is often the best way to get around and take in the location’s atmosphere. It is best to visit the local tourist office to discover what type of tours a city has on offer. In Bogotá for example, walking tours offer enchanting strolls around the delights of La Candelaria and Plaza de Bolívar. In Cartagena, you can opt to explore the city in a horse-drawn carriage.



Although still an important means of transport across some parts of Colombia, the life of the chiva has taken a new meaning in many Colombian cities. Rides on chivas have become a popular means of nightlife entertainment. Often organized by travel agents, night-time chiva tours can include numerous stops at a city’s top party spots, various samples of aguardiente (sugar cane alcohol) and great live music. If the party lifestyle is one you enjoy, a trip on a chiva will provide guaranteed fun.


National Park Concessionaires

Most of Colombia’s national parks with an eco-touristic focus are operated in coordination with local communities. The hotels, guides and other infrastructure of four of them, though, are managed by the national travel agency Aviatur ( / It is the official concessionaire for Tayrona, Gorgona, Amacayacu and Nevados national parks. Aviatur also offers special tours on river houseboats and catamaran in other parts of Colombia.



Numerous other organized trips are available throughout Colombia. With some of the world’s top sites for scuba diving, many companies are organizing tours to see Colombia’s underwater delights, incredible coral reefs and maritime wildlife. Organized excursions to parts of Colombia’s coastline can also include whale-watching, eco-lodge stays, surfing and relaxation on beautiful beaches. Tours are also organized through Colombia’s famous coffee region and can stretch from two days to one week in duration.


Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Colombia: When to Go, Pacific Coast Highlights, Tips for Budget Travelers, Highlights, Safety, Health in Colombia, Safety, When to Go, Before You Go to Colombia and Safety.

27 Sep 2011

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