Cali & Southwest Colombia
Out of the way and with a reputation for security problems, southwest Colombia is often overlooked by travelers, but this fascinating region warrants an appearance on all itineraries. It's an authentic land of contrasts: Andean and African, modern and pre-Columbian.
Boyacá, Santander & Norte de Santander
Boyacá, Santander and Norte de Santander together form one of the first areas settled by Spanish conquistadores and its calling as Colombia's heartland cannot be understated. It's here that the seeds of revolution were sowed, culminating in the victory at Puente de Boyacá that ultimately led to Colombia's independence.
Cartagena & Around
The capital of the Bolívar department, Cartagena has a raw beauty and historical significance. It's also a major port and the gateway to offshore destinations such as the northern section of Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) Corales del Rosario y San Bernardo and sleepy down-shore towns like Mompox.
The north-central department of Santander is a patchwork of steep craggy mountains, deep canyons, plummeting waterfalls, raging rivers, unexplored caves and a temperate, dry climate. Mix them together and it's easy to see why Santander has become a favorite destination for outdoor lovers.
Cauca & Huila
These two departments are home to Popayán, one of Colombia's most charming colonial cities, plus two of the country's most important archaeological sites – San Agustín and Tierradentro. Here you'll also find the peculiar Desierto de la Tatacoa, a striking anomaly near Neiva, halfway between Bogotá and San Agustín.
San Andrés & Providencia
The archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia is geographically located near to Nicaragua, historically tied to England and politically part of Colombia. While these pristine islands may lack an untainted pedigree, their diverse history and picture-postcard setting make them Colombia's most interesting paradise.