Between the sun-soaked beaches, snow-capped mountains, and raw unexplored rainforests, Colombia is arguably one of the most diverse places on the planet. And with a history that dates back to 12,000 BC, it’s also home to ancient ruins jaw-dropping architecture, and a melting pot of international cultures. Whether it’s your first or 100th time here, there is a seemingly endless number of remarkable places in Colombia to visit.
When it comes to exploring the best of Colombia, there plenty of amazing and remarkable places you won’t want to miss. We curated this list of the top sights, attractions, and places that every explorer should add to their list when visiting the spectacular country of Colombia.
1. Tatacoa Desert
Photo by: Nicole Reyes/Unsplash
Between the dry, red canyons and deserted moon-like canyons, the Tatacoa Desert is one of the most surreal places in Colombia. But the unique terrain is merely one of the reasons to visit. With relatively little light pollution, it’s also one of the best places to go stargazing. At night, it’s possible to see over 88 different constellations and celestial objects.
2. Santa Rosa De Cabal
Situated in west-central Colombia, this colorful village is known for its relaxing thermal hot springs or termales. The Balneario Santa Rosa is one of the most secluded hot springs in town, complete with multiple pools, lush, tropical surroundings, and even a 100-foot waterfall cascading down the middle of the park. It’s easily one of the most relaxing places in Colombia to visit!
3. Los Estoraques Park
It may be one of the smallest national parks in the country. But what Los Estoraques Park lacks in size, it makes up for in jaw-dropping rock formations. It’s dotted with deeply carved canyons and eroded columns, an otherworldly landscape that’s guaranteed to take your breath away. Take the trail to the viewpoint, where you’ll enjoy unobstructed views of the towering columns.
4. Valle De Cocora
Photo by Fernanda Fierro on Unsplash
Once you step foot inside Valle de Cocora, you’ll immediately notice the gigantic wax palm trees, many of which grow over 150 feet into the air. The park is located in the middle of a cloud forest, so it’s one of the most remarkable places in Colombia when the thick, dense fog rolls in, shrouding the valley in a haze. Ideal for photography, Valle de Cocora is also a good place to go hiking or horseback riding.
5. Perdida De Teyuna
The Ciudad Perdida de Teyuna, otherwise known as “the Lost City,” is the sight of a once ancient city that ruled almost 3,000 years ago. The ruins consist of 169 mountainside terraces and circular plazas. Be prepared for an adventurous hike through the jungle, as the entrance to the ruins is located 1,200 steps up a steep hill. But trust us – the views from the top are worth every step!
6. Cano Cristales
One visit to Cano Cristales, and you’ll see why everyone calls it a liquid rainbow. In the summer and fall, this fast-flowing river is painted different shades of yellow, red, green, blue, and black, making it one of the most stunning natural wonders of the world and one of our top places in Colombia to visit. Keep in mind that you have to hire a licensed guide to visit, so make sure to book far in advance!
7. La Mina, Valledupar
The crystal clear river and bizarre rock formations at La Mina near Valledupar are worth the drive. The symmetrical cube-like rocks and refreshing babbling stream offers a refreshing escape away from the Colombian heat.
8. Quebrada Las Gachas
Photo By: Lauren Squire/Shutterstock
These aren’t your average hot springs! Quebrada Las Gachas is home to a series of round plunge pools lined along a shallow river bed. Although they’ve formed over the years by natural water erosion, they look like little water jacuzzi tubs right in the middle of nature.
9. Cerro Pinturas
Photo By: @iuveldx/Instagram
Hidden in the middle of the La Lindosa Mountain Range is the Cerro Pinturas, a collection of drawn rock paintings that date back 1,000 to 12,000 years in history. It’s a mysterious site surrounded by dense jungle and lush foliage, which adds a tranquil atmosphere for one of the most remarkable places in Colo
10. Taroa Sand Dunes
Photo By: @cfranvb / Instagram
Las Dunas del Taroa is quite different compared to the lush, green landscape Colombia is generally known for. Meandering along the coastline of the Caribbean Ocean, these rolling red sand dunes belong more in the desert than they do by the water. It’s a stunning destination that feels completely isolated from the rest of the country.
11. Chiribiquete National Park
As the largest tropical rainforest in the world (and the largest national park in Colombia), Chiribiquete National Park is famed for its tepuis or flat-topped table mountains. These steep, jagged structures are some of the oldest rocks in the world. The park itself also contains over 600,000 traces of petroglyphs, some of which date back 20,000 years.
12. Tranquilandia, Cano Rosado
Photo By: @elviajerocristian and @antonio_galvis/Instagram
Colombia is known for its brightly colored rivers, and Tranquilandia in Guaviare is no exception. This vibrant river is bright pink due to the presence of Macarenia clavigera algae that blooms between June and November. While it’s not as big as Cano Cristales, Tranquilandia in Guaviare is far less crowded and equally as stunning.
13. Piedra del Peñol
Photo By: Hillsn_1992/Shutterstock
Standing over 650 feet into the air, this massive granite rock protrudes from the ground boasting dramatic views of the surroundings. To reach the top, you’ll need to trek up 659 steps on a zig-zagging staircase that extends up the side of the monolith. How could you not enjoy this remarkable view from one of the most remarkable places in Colombia?
14. Cerros De Mavecure
Photo By: Gicaman/Wikipedia
Considered one of the most sacred sites in all of Colombia, Cerros De Mavecure are three round mountains that are over 2,600 feet tall. The only way to reach these mountains is by traveling down the Inírida River, where you’ll be treated to amazing views of the Amazon basin.
15. Puerta de Orión
Photo By: Julio Duarte/Shutterstock
At the end of an unpaved road in the middle of a deserted landscape sits Puerta de Orión, a massive rock formation that’s 50 feet wide and 40 feet high. There’s a wide gap in the middle of the rock, from which you can clearly see the Orion constellation on a clear December night.
16. La Guajira
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A unique mix of coastline, rolling sand dunes, and colorful pink lakes, La Guajira caters to outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re kite surfing in Cabo de La Vela, flamingo watching in Camarones or gazing across one of the northernmost points of South America in Punta Gallinas, you won’t want to miss a visit to La Guajira, one of the coolest places in Colombia to visit.
17. Farallones de Sutatausa
Photo By: Friedrich Kirscher/Wikipedia
The views from the top of Farallones de Sutatausa are almost as stunning as the hike itself. The steep stone mountains are rarely frequented by tourists, so it’ll feel as if you’re trekking in nature with nothing but nature to keep you company.
18. Salinas De Galerazamba
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No trip to Colombia would be complete without a visit to the Salinas De Galerazamba or pink lakes. The high concentration of saline and the presence of algae causes the lakes to shine a vivid shade of pink, making it one of the most stunning attractions in the country. The best time to go is between December and April when the lakes are at their most vibrant.
19. Páramo de Ocetá
Páramo de Ocetá is home to some of the most unique vegetation and terrain in South America. The tall and pokey frailejones plants are native to the paramo ecosystem, while the rolling hills and steep plateaus offer a once-in-a-lifetime view over black lakes, trickling waterfalls, and alpine tundra vegetation.
20. Mirador Valle de Salamina
OSTILL is Franck Camhi/Shutterstock
It’s hard to convey the beauty of the landscape in Mirador Valle de Salamina. The towering wax palms, the rolling terraced hills, and the neverending vantage points are just a few reasons to visit this hidden location. And while it may look similar to Cocora Valley, there’s one major difference – Mirador Valle de Salamina is practically tourist-free.
21. Laguna La Llorano
Although not for the faint of heart, the trek to the top of Nevado Tolima has one major attraction that continues to entice hikers and mountain climbers. Here, you’ll find bubbling hot springs, which are completely heated by the molten lava from the volcano on which they sit.
22. Laguna Verde
It may seem like something from another planet, but the awe-inspiring green waters of Laguna Verda are indeed located right here in Colombia. This off-the-beaten-path destination is located over 13,000 feet above sea level in a mountainous crater in the Colombian Andes and can be reached by a steep 1.5 to 2 hour hike.
Have you discovered a remarkable place in Colombia that’s worth sharing? Let us know! We’re always on the hunt for awesome, off-the-beaten-path destinations that share with our community.