In this post, we will talk about the best nature experiences in Colombia.
Exploring the Biodiverse Chocó
In this biodiversity hotspot on the Colombian Pacific coast, you will find many options for an nature experience in Colombia.
Due to the rainfall, the tropical conditions and its isolation from the Amazon basin, the Biogeographic Chocó has an outstanding diversity of fauna and flora, as well as a high level of endemism.
It is amazing to see groups of humpback whales migrating to the warm waters of the Pacific to mate and raise their calves.
This is also a season of turtle and bird migration, so the coasts seem to come alive. Bird watching, scuba diving, snorkelling and hiking are other nature tourism activities you can do in the wonderful Chocó.
Getting lost in the Caribbean
The Caribbean region of Colombia boasts nature, colors and joy. The white sanded beaches of the Caribbean, that merge into tropical lush forests with exotic birds and variety of other animals.
Getting lost in this landscape is one of the best nature tourism experiences you can have in Colombia.
Visit the Tayrona and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Natural Parks to explore the biodiverse forests and mangroves, and the highest coastal mountain in the world, of course.
One of the best sights you can enjoy is the Lost City (or Teyuna), an ancient indigenous civilization built around 650 AD that is currently considered the greatest archaeological finding in Colombia.
You can reach Lost City after a trekking of minimum 4 days, along a trail of over 20 km and a climb of 120 steps made of stone. It is among the best trekking trails in Colombia.
As for Minca, it is a hidden village full of peace, with natural attractions such as waterfalls and rivers, and it is a great birdwatching spot.
The most northern tip of Colombia, and South America, La Guajira, is a one of its kind place. Visit the golden dunes and paradisaical beaches in Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas, the highlands of the Macuira National Natural Park and the Flamingo heaven at Los Flamencos Sanctuary.
During all your days in La Guajira, you interact with the Wayuu indigenous community, which is a rewarding experience.
Adventure in Santander
If you like extreme sports, Santander is the place for you. Adventurous travelers come to this department located in the center of Colombia, north of Bogota, to enjoy paragliding, rafting, hiking, bungee jumping, buggies, rock climbing and more.
San Gil is the capital of extreme sports, in Barichara you can go hike the royal road of Lengerke and in the Chicamocha Park, you can take the zip line to cross the Chicamocha Canyon while admiring the stunning natural landscape.
Learn more about the Chicamocha Canyon in our entry The Chicamocha Canyon, the 1st Largest Canyon in Colombia.
Climbing Paramos in the Andes
You cannot say you had an nature tourism experience in Colombia if you did not hike to a paramo. Colombia is one of the 6 countries in the world with the paramo (moorland) ecosystems!
Paramos are considered water factories, since rivers that supply water and energy to nearby towns originate there.
Colombian moorlands hold 98% of the world’s flora endemic to this ecosystem and the country is home to the world’s largest one, Páramo de Sumapaz. Because of this, many are protected as national parks or flora and fauna sanctuaries.
If you are planning to visit, take into account the low temperatures, the humidity and the high altitudes -moorlands are above 2600 m (8530 ft) ASL.
Is close to Bogota, to the south, so it is perfect for a day trip. The Muisca indigenous people deemed this place a sacred spot and it boasts wildlife, including deer, tapirs, coatis, golden eagles and the typical moorland plant: frailejones. Don’t miss its several lagoons, the Verjon bats cave and the Buenos Aires viewpoint.
This is an important natural reserve for the center of the country, as it provides around 80% of the capital and nearby municipalities water supply. There are 6 hiking trails and 3 viewpoints for you to discover the life hidden in the Andean forests and moorlands.
It is possible to see condors, eagles, the unique Spectacled bear and deer. Chingaza also has a lagoon system of about 20 lagoons, including Laguna de Siecha. Prefer hiring local guides and remember to file a request at least 15 days before your trip to the park.
This páramo is known as ‘Colombia’s most beautiful paramo’. It is located in Boyacá and remains well-preserved, since it is not visited as much as the other moorlands.
Ocetá has a dazzling variety of flora, including silver, yellow and white frailejones, yellow senecios, violet lupins and tons of liquens and moss. It is also a place to see the national bird of Colombia, the Andean condor.
The Stone City, a rocky zone with alleys enclosed by 15-meter high stone walls is the number one attraction.
Puracé is the only active volcano of the Coconucos volcanic range, in the department of Cauca. It is a National Natural Park and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
In this mountain, 4 main rivers in Colombia have its source (the Magdalena, Cauca, Patía and Japurá), and you can also enjoy almost 30 clear lagoons and sulfur hot springs.
You can hike along several trails and probably spot the Andean condor -Puracé is actually a privileged spot to see them. Also, this is an ancient indigenous territory.
It is a sanctuary for flora and fauna in Boyacá, near Villa de Leyva. Like many territories in Colombia, Iguaque is sacred for an indigenous community, the Muiscas.
According to their mythology, the Iguaque Lagoon was the cradle of humanity, as the goddess Bachue emerged from it to populate the earth. Its glacier lagoons provide water for nearby towns and the local wildlife.
Having a real nature tourism experience means to connect with nature truly and here, you will be able to cleanse your soul and purify your spirit surrounded by nature.
Visit our entry Discover the Natural Attractions of Villa de Leyva, Colombia to find more about Iguaque and Villa de Leyva natural attractions.
Bike Tourism in Quindío
A new nature tourism project in Colombia was launched at Vitrina Turística Anato 2020: a bike tour through the Central Andes range between south of Quindio and north of Valle del Cauca.
At least 200 km (124 mi) can be cycled by tourists interested in nature, community and adventure tourism. The road includes the municipalities of Calarca, Buenavista, Pijao, Cordoba, Genova (Quindio), and Sevilla and Caicedonia (Valle).
The idea, funded by the local and the Suiss government, the municipalities and the Chambers of Commerce, aims to diversify the tourist corridor of the Coffee Cultural Landscape.
In this way, tourists can enjoy different activities such as hiking, jeep Willys rides, wildlife observation, adventure, cultural and historical experiences, and even yoga.
Of course these are not the only nature tourism experiences in Colombia. There are plenty more destinations for nature tourism in the country, each of the 6 natural regions boast amazing settings for tourists to travel consciously and connect with the environment. Experiences such as exploring the great Amazon basin or traveling the Eastern Plains cannot be set aside.
About the author.
Ana María Parra
Modern Languages professional with emphasis on business translation. Interested in cultural adaptation of written and audiovisual content. Passionate about knowing new cultures and languages, tourism and sustainable living.