Colombia, a vibrant country located in the heart of South America, offers a rich tapestry of cultural, historical, and natural attractions that cater to the adventurous spirit of Generation Z. From its bustling cities and colorful festivals to breathtaking landscapes and a thriving coffee culture, Colombia presents a dynamic travel experience. Here’s your ultimate bucket list to explore Colombia, tailor-made for the curious and connected Gen Z traveler.

1. Dive into the Historic Streets of Cartagena

Cartagena, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, enchants visitors with its well-preserved colonial architecture and vibrant street life. Walking through the Old Town, you'll be surrounded by colorful facades, balconied homes, and historical landmarks like the Palace of the Inquisition. The city's Caribbean flair is palpable in its lively plazas and open-air cafés, where live music often accompanies your exploration. Whether enjoying the local cuisine or shopping for artisan crafts, Cartagena offers a sensory feast that captures the essence of Colombian culture and history.

2. Explore the Coffee Triangle

Nestled in the rolling hills of Colombia, the Coffee Triangle is a lush region where the world’s finest coffee beans are grown. Here, visitors can tour various plantations to see firsthand how coffee is meticulously cultivated, harvested, and processed. These tours not only provide insight into the art of coffee making but also offer tastings that highlight the flavor profiles unique to this area. The region's natural beauty, with its cloud forests and vibrant biodiversity, makes it a perfect setting for hiking and bird watching, complementing the coffee experience.

3. Revel in the Salsa Capital of the World, Cali

Cali throbs with the rhythm of salsa music at every corner. Known as the salsa capital of the world, this city invites you to experience its iconic dance culture first-hand. From professional dance shows at theaters to impromptu street performances, Cali offers numerous opportunities to enjoy salsa. Dance schools are abundant, welcoming beginners and seasoned dancers alike to learn the steps and feel the music. At night, the city comes alive as locals and tourists alike flock to salsa clubs to dance until dawn.

4. Trek to the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida)

Trekking to Ciudad Perdida is an exhilarating adventure through dense jungle and rugged terrain. The journey to this ancient archaeological site takes about four to six days, traversing rivers and climbing over 1,200 stone steps. Along the way, trekkers encounter indigenous communities and diverse wildlife, enhancing the sense of adventure. The arrival at the Lost City is breathtaking, with panoramic views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada and a deep sense of connection to Colombia’s ancient civilizations.

5. Experience the Unique Ecosystem of Caño Cristales

Caño Cristales, known as the river that escaped from paradise, showcases nature’s artistry with its vibrant display of colors. Best visited during the wet season from July to November, the riverbed blooms with aquatic plants that turn the water a brilliant array of colors, including red, yellow, green, and blue. This phenomenon, combined with crystal-clear waters and rock formations, creates a stunning natural mosaic. Hiking along this magical river provides not just exceptional views but also a chance to experience one of the world’s most unique ecological wonders.

6. Discover the Vibrancy of MedellĂ­n

Medellín, once known more for its turbulent history, has transformed into a vibrant beacon of innovation and culture in Colombia. The city, nestled in the Aburrá Valley and surrounded by lush green mountains, uses its picturesque setting as a backdrop to its lively cultural scene. Medellín's year-round spring-like weather complements its outdoor cafes, innovative museums, and bustling markets, making it a delightful destination for any visitor.

The transformation of MedellĂ­n is perhaps best symbolized by the MetroCable, an aerial cable car system integrated into the city's public transport network. This initiative not only improved accessibility but also provides stunning views of the cityscape, making a ride an essential experience for visitors. As local urban planner Carlos Moreno explains, "The MetroCable is not just a mode of transportation; it's a lifeline that connects and revitalizes communities, embodying the city's resilience and forward-thinking approach."

Medellín is also renowned for hosting the annual Flower Festival, known locally as La Feria de las Flores. This event, held every August, showcases the city's rich floral heritage and includes vibrant displays of flowers, traditional silleteros parades, and live music events. The festival is a profound expression of the city’s transformation, celebrating its beauty and community spirit.

Public spaces like Plaza Botero are adorned with sculptures by renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero, providing an artistic landscape that invites residents and tourists alike to engage with art in everyday settings. Furthermore, the city's commitment to public art and green spaces can be seen in the Botanical Gardens and the innovative Parques del RĂ­o, a massive urban renewal project that underscores the importance of sustainable urban development.

MedellĂ­n's rebirth is a testament to its community's resilience and creativity. It now stands as a city eager to share its rich cultural tapestry and innovative spirit with the world, making it a must-visit on any travel itinerary to Colombia.

7. Visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá

The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, an underground church carved from salt within a functioning mine, is an architectural marvel and a spiritual sanctuary. Visitors descend below the Earth’s surface to explore this subterranean cathedral, where dramatic lighting illuminates the salt sculptures and the fourteen small chapels representing the Stations of the Cross. This unique structure not only serves as a place of Catholic worship but also as a cultural attraction, drawing visitors intrigued by its design and the peaceful, hallowed atmosphere it offers.

Explore Colombia Through Top 10 Lists

Top 10 Best Nightlife Spots in Colombia

  1. Zona Rosa, Bogotá - This upscale district in the capital is known for its trendy bars, clubs, and high-end restaurants that offer a diverse nightlife experience.
  2. Parque Lleras, MedellĂ­n - The main nightlife district in MedellĂ­n, featuring a high concentration of bars, clubs, and restaurants that cater to both locals and tourists.
  3. GetsemanĂ­, Cartagena - This neighborhood in Cartagena is known for its lively bars and clubs that play Latin music like salsa, cumbia, and champeta.
  4. Cartagena's Walled City - The historic colonial center of Cartagena is home to swanky bars and megaclubs that offer a Miami-esque nightlife experience.
  5. Cali - Referred to as the "World Capital of Salsa", Cali is renowned for its vibrant salsa music and dance scene.
  6. Calle 19, Santa Marta - The "pink zone" of Santa Marta is lined with bars and clubs where you can enjoy live music and tropical cocktails.
  7. Barranquilla - Famous for its year-round carnival celebrations, Barranquilla has a lively nightlife scene that showcases Caribbean culture.
  8. The Clock Pub, Cartagena
  9. Quiebra-Canto, Bogotá
  10. The Blue Bar, MedellĂ­n

Top 10 Best Day Trips from Major Cities in Colombia

  1. Guatape Tour from Medellin - Explore the picturesque town of Guatape, including a boat tour on the lake, breakfast, and lunch.
  2. Piedra del Peñon (El Peñón de Guatape) from Medellin - Hike up the iconic 200-meter-high rock formation overlooking the Guatape reservoir.
  3. Rosario Islands Day Trip from Cartagena - Escape to the beautiful Rosario Islands, visiting the beaches of BarĂş, Cholon, and Playa Blanca.
  4. Guatavita Lagoon and Salt Cathedral Tour from Bogotá - Discover the sacred Guatavita Lagoon and the impressive underground Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá.
  5. Tayrona National Park Day Trip from Cartagena - Immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of Tayrona National Park, home to pristine beaches and lush jungle.
  6. Minca Day Trip from Santa Marta - Venture into the Sierra Nevada mountains to the charming coffee town of Minca, known for its waterfalls and hiking trails.
  7. Cocora Valley Day Trip from Salento - Witness the towering wax palm trees, the national tree of Colombia, in the picturesque Cocora Valley.
  8. Jardin Day Trip from Medellin - Explore the charming colonial town of Jardin, renowned for its colorful architecture and coffee culture.
  9. Jerico Day Trip from Medellin - Discover the quaint town of Jerico, nestled in the Andes mountains, and learn about its rich history and traditions.
  10. Filandia Day Trip from Medellin - Visit the picturesque town of Filandia, known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Top 10 Beaches in Colombia

  1. Playa Blanca, Cartagena - A long, white-sand beach on Isla de BarĂş, easily accessible by boat from Cartagena.
  2. Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona - Home to stunning beaches like Cabo San Juan, Playa Cristal, and La Aranilla, set against a backdrop of lush mountains.
  3. Playas de Palomino - Beautiful beaches along the northern coast, known for their clear waters and scenic mountain views.
  4. Beaches of Providencia Island - The remote Caribbean island of Providencia boasts stunning beaches like Manchaneel Beach.
  5. Playa Castillo Grande, Cartagena - A popular beach in the Castillogrande neighborhood of Cartagena.
  6. Playa Rodadero, Santa Marta - A lively beach area in the coastal city of Santa Marta.
  7. Beaches of Capurgana & La Miel, ChocĂł - Remote beaches in the ChocĂł region, near the border with Panama.
  8. Playa Bocagrande, Cartagena - A long, urban beach in Cartagena's Bocagrande district.
  9. Punta Gallinas, La Guajira - The northernmost point of Colombia, known for its sand dunes and beaches like La Boquita.
  10. Playa Guachalito, ChocĂł - A secluded beach in the ChocĂł region, known for its natural beauty.

Top 10 Hiking Trails in Colombia

  1. Ciudad Perdida Trek - A 5-day trek through the jungle to the ruins of the ancient Tairona city, known as the "Lost City".
  2. Cocora Valley Hike - A scenic hike through the Cocora Valley, known for its towering wax palm trees.
  3. Los Nevados Trek - A challenging high-altitude trek through the Los Nevados National Natural Park, featuring glacial lakes and snow-capped peaks.
  4. El Cocuy National Park - Offering dramatic mountain landscapes and glacial lagoons, this park has some of Colombia's best high-altitude hiking.
  5. Iguaque Sanctuary - A hike through the páramo ecosystem to the sacred Iguaque Lagoon.
  6. La Candelaria Desert - A 6-mile trek through the arid desert landscapes of La Candelaria.
  7. Camino Real Barichara - Guane - A historic trail connecting the colonial towns of Barichara and Guane.
  8. Hill of Three Crosses, Medellin - A hike up to a viewpoint overlooking the city of Medellin.
  9. Paramo de Las Moyas, Bogotá - A high-altitude hike through the páramo ecosystem near Bogotá.
  10. Quimbayas Trail, Salento - A hiking trail through the coffee region near the town of Salento.

Top 10 Foodie Destinations in Colombia

  1. Bogotá - The culinary capital of Colombia, featuring acclaimed restaurants like Leo, El Cielo, and Criterion that showcase the country's diverse ingredients and regional cuisines.
  2. Cartagena - The historic walled city is a hub for both high-end dining and authentic local street food, from the upscale restaurants in GetsemanĂ­ to the vibrant markets.
  3. Popayán - Designated as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, Popayán is renowned for its traditional regional dishes like carantanta, empanadas, and tamales de pipián.
  4. Llanos Orientales (Eastern Plains) - This vast region bordering Venezuela is a paradise for meat lovers, offering exceptional grilled and barbecued dishes in the llanero cowboy culture.
  5. The Amazon - Explore the unique indigenous cuisines of the Amazon, featuring unusual ingredients like giant river fish and an array of tropical fruits and spices.
  6. Cali - Known as the "World Capital of Salsa", Cali also boasts a vibrant food scene influenced by the Afro-Colombian cultures of the Pacific coast.
  7. Santander Region - This Andean area has developed a distinct culinary identity, with specialties like baby goat with goat entrail rice and carne oreada (beef jerky).
  8. Paloquemao Market, Bogotá - One of the city's largest and liveliest food markets, offering a glimpse into the diversity of Colombian produce and street food.
  9. Villa de Leyva - This picturesque colonial town has hundreds of restaurants serving cuisine from all regions of Colombia as well as international fare.
  10. Medellin - The city's food scene is thriving, with innovative chefs putting a modern spin on traditional Colombian dishes at spots like El Cielo and Herbario.

Colombia offers a diverse array of experiences that can fulfill the wishlist of any Gen Z explorer looking to blend adventure with cultural enrichment. Whether it’s dancing the night away in Cali, exploring ancient ruins, or enjoying the natural wonders, Colombia promises an unforgettable journey.

Stay up to date with Travel at Woke Waves Magazine. Embrace your wanderlust in Colombia, where adventure meets heritage!

#GenZTravel #ExploreColombia #AdventureTravel #CulturalTrips #EcoTourism

Apr 15, 2024

More from 



View All