The Luxury of Colombia: Natural and Cultural Diversity

Sleeping in ecohotels in front of the beach, enjoying spa services among the mountains, or just camping with glamour surrounded by natural forests or deserts. In Colombia, the experiences that nature offers have been adjusted to the comfort and exigencies of luxury tourism.

This is why many media and world wild touristic guides present Colombia as a must to visit, highlighting its touristic quality, and the wealth of its culture and nature.

In Colombia, Everything is about Nature

In Colombia, we have 98 different ecosystems spread across five regions: the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Andean mountains, the Amazon, and the Orinoco River basin. All of this makes Colombia one of the 17 countries considered to be megadiverse.

Besides that, Colombia is an emergent destination with a huge potential for luxury tourism in nature and culture products focused on gastronomic experiences, music, bird watching, trekking, safaris, adventure among many other activities.

Western Striolated-Puffbird, Nystalus obamai. Fin del Mundo, Putumayo, Colombia.

Luxury Travel in Nature

Colombia’s Private Trips and Safaris

In the country it is possible to take private helicopter expeditions to remote destinations such as Ciudad Perdida on the Caribbean coast; fly over the Serranía de Chiribiquete National Natural Park in the Guaviare; take an aero Safari over the Eastern Plains; or visit the San Agustín Archaeological Park, on the Colombian Massif.

Aerosafari in Colombia

It is also possible to make private trips in 4×4 vehicles for bird watching all over the country; take a private boat with all the comforts to practice sport fishing in the Amazon, in the Pacific, and in the Caribbean; take a private boat for whale watching in Bahia Solano, or Amazon Pink Dolphin watching in San Jose del Guaviare. The possibilities are endless, even safaris you can make by plane, by boat or on a horse.

Fishing in Puerto Carreño © FishIn Colombia
Undulated Savanna – Mururito Nature Reserve
Mururito Nature Reserve

Colombia’s Gastronomic Assets

As for the food, you won’t have to worry. Colombia’s gastronomic assets are very relevant. The climatic conditions of the five regions of Colombia make it possible to find a great variety of fruits and vegetables you can enjoy.

Mix of Fruits: papaya, passion fruit and pineapple, Hacienda La Sierra, Fredonia, Antioquia.
Oro Molido dessert, Hacienda La Sierra, Fredonia, Antioquia.

There are also products such as coffee, cocoa, rum, and many desserts, juices and typical dishes in each region. Some examples include lulada and champus in Valle del Cauca; agua de panela with cheese in Bogota and the Cundiboyacense highlands; bocadillo, a sweet made from guava, among many others.

Coffee Taste Experience at Hacienda La Sierra, Fredonia, Antioquia.
Rum Taste at Hacienda La Sierra, Fredonia, Antioquia.

During your travels, you can schedule tasting experiences or gastronomic tours. However, if the exotic is not your thing, you can also order your own food, and furthermore, if you are vegetarian or vegan there is nothing to worry about.

Local Products

Among the gastronomic experiences that show the richness of the country are visits to market places such as Paloquemao in Bogota, Bazurto in Cartagena and Silvia in Cauca, or visits to coffee plantations in the Coffee Cultural Landscape or cocoa farms in Santander. These activities can also be done in the company of local chefs and cooks.

Cartagena

Luxury Restaurants and Chefs in Latin America

It is important to highlight that there are also high-level restaurants and internationally recognized chefs who have worked to exalt Colombian cuisine such as Leonor Espinosa, Juan Manuel Barrientos, Harry Sasson, Álvaro Clavijo, Alejandro Gutiérrez, brothers Jorge and Mark Rausch, among many others, which made it to the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in the World and at the Latin American level.

In addition, the 50 Best organization chose Colombia as the venue for 2018 and 2019 for its Latin American awards ceremony.

Leo Restaurant – The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 ©Leo Restaurant

High-Quality Accommodation

There is plenty of accommodation offers such as five stars hotels, glamping, villas, farms, and private homes that have all the services a luxury traveler deserves and demands.

Glamping

In glamping experiences, we have a very good offer. For example, Niddo in Suesca, or La Villa Suiza in Neusa and Guatavita; Bosko in Guatape; Corocora Camp in the Eastern Plains; Bethel in the Tatacoa Desert, and many others in destinations such as the Coffee Triangle, Tayrona, Barichara, or Villa de Leyva.

Niddo – Suesca
Corocora Camp, Casanare, Colombia

These experiences are very well known, because the contact with nature is unique, in addition to the fact you can see starry skies from the inside of your rooms since these are built with glass ceilings.

Hotels

Among hotel offer, there are hotels oriented to quality services such as Four Seasons Casa Medina and W (Marriott), both in Bogota; Casa San Agustin and Sofitel Legend Santa Clara (Accor), located in Cartagena or, Las Islas, located in Baru, 45 minutes from Cartagena. These hotels are part of the Virtuoso portfolio, another of the world’s important luxury tourism networks.

Hotel Las Islas
Aurum Spa, Casa San Agustin Hotel, Cartagena, Colombia

Ecolodges and Private Houses

Among the eco-hotel offers, there are famous places with high-quality service such as El Dorado and Casa Oropendola, both in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; Casa del Presidente in Barichara; El Almejal and El Cantil, located in Bahia Solano or, La Manigua Lodge, located in La Macarena, very near to the rainbow river. These hotels are growing as important luxury tourism destinations in Colombia.

La Manigua Lodge© website
Casa Oropendola, Minca

Coffee Farms

Yes! You can stay at a real coffee farm, and still enjoy high-quality luxury accommodation. The best destinations are Hacienda Venecia in Caldas, at the heart of the Coffee Triangle, and Hacienda La Sierra in Fredonia, Antioquia.

Hacienda La Sierra, Coffee Farm, Fredonia, Antioquia, Colombia

The Quality of the Colombian People

Friendly and welcoming, this is how many travelers describe Colombians in their testimonies. The people of Colombia really make a difference during a trip.

Birds in colombia
Birds in colombia

One of our greatest qualities is our Hospitality. The Colombian is always ready to receive people, and not only offers his home but also attends you with pleasure and the best care, even better than if you were in a hotel. Generally, their generosity goes beyond that.

We like to show the beauty of our country, and thus change the collective imagination and stigmas about Colombia, around the world.
Also, Colombians are hard-working, creative, and supportive.

Miguel Portura, one of the best birding guides in Vaupes.

Sustainability

Tourism has played a positive role in building peace in Colombia. It offers people the possibility to work and generate income, and it is also an opportunity for reconciliation.

The Government of Colombia and the tourism industry have played an active role in supporting communities throughout the country with the development of community-based tourism projects, such as an adventure destination for rafting in the Eastern plains, guided by former guerrilla members.

Picture from Audubon: “Wayuu indigenous students and teacher Alvaro Jaramillo are bird watching in La Guajira. The program teaches locals to become tour guides for travelers interested in spotting birds. Photo: Carlos Villalon”

Visit our entry Birdwatching Tourism in Colombia During the Post-conflict Scenarium to know more about tourism, sustainability, and the post-conflict scenario.

Know more about our sustainable destinations in our entry Recommended Sustainable Tourism Destinations in Colombia and Top 5 Tools for Sustainable Nature Tourism in Colombia.

Costs of a Luxury Travel in Colombia

Don’t think that Colombia is an economic country. It can be inexpensive for food, services in the cities, or for shopping in a mall. However, if you want to make private excursions to remote places, with helicopters, charter flights, private boats, and private cars you should know that this is what will make your trip more expensive.

Even more, if you are a photographer and carry a lot of equipment, you need to include the excess baggage in your expenses, since many airlines and charter flights have limited baggage capacity on their flights.

In some cases, you will have to send your extra luggage via cargo, or buy extra seats. This may happen if you are going to Bahia Solano, San Jose del Guaviare, Mitu, La Macarena, among other remote destinations.

Safari in Casanare

Additionally, road transfers may require high-powered cars, as many secondary and tertiary roads are not paved in Colombia. Also, in the rainy season, you will not be able to enter by land to some places, such as Hato La Aurora or Altagracia in the eastern plains; or Cano Cristales, the rainbow river, in La Macarena.

Because of this, some costs may vary depending on the weather season, or the demand. But don’t feel discouraged, this is part of the adventure!

Another thing that can make your trip a bit more expensive is a specialized guide and/or a guide who speaks your language. In general, in Colombia, most guides only speak Spanish, and if you need someone who speaks your language, this will have an extra cost.

Mitú, Vaupés, Colombia

Recommendations for your visit

  • Plan your trip in advance.
  • Travel with a travel agency you trust.
  • Ask questions, get informed, don’t be fooled, but also don’t abuse the services that an agent or a guide can give you.
  • Understand that as a country we do our best, but we are still developing and growing.
  • The risk is that you want to stay!

If you want to plan your trip to Colombia do not hesitate to contact us, visit our Plan your trip page!

References
  • ProColombia
  • Avianca
  • Virtuoso
About the author

Sara Colmenares
The current director of Sula. Doctor in Biological Sciences. Her main interests are to explore and understand the organism–environment interactions, taking advantage of emerging knowledge for the management and conservation of species and ecosystem services. She is currently working as a consultant in functional ecology, ecosystem services, and conservation projects in Colombia related to ecotourism and birdwatching.