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Leisure in Colombia

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Both visitors and those who stay long term in Colombia will have no shortage of things to do. Colombia’s rich culture and diverse natural landscape mean that expats will have a wide range of leisure activities to choose from.

Culture & Outings

Colombia’s culture can be experienced through the many fairs and festivals held each year. There are international exhibitions of theater, jazz, gastronomy, and art. Additionally, each region holds individual festivals showcasing the local music, dance, or way of life. Located in Bogotá, one of the year’s biggest events is Expoartesanías, a month long fair where artists and craftspeople from all over Colombia show and sell their products.

The best way to learn about Colombia’s unique culture and heritage, however, is to visit it yourself. Below is a snapshot of some of the most popular places to visit.

  • Barranquilla: This coastal city is most famous for its carnival celebration each spring.
  • Bogotá: Located on a plateau in the Andes mountains, Colombia’s capital city is called the “Athens of Latin America” because of its many museums, libraries, and universities.
  • Cali: The birthplace of salsa, Cali is known for its many festivals and thriving nightclub scene. It also has several museums dedicated to Colombia’s pre-Hispanic heritage.
  • Cartagena: This historic port city is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a 16th-century castle and immaculately preserved colonial town.
  • Salento: Located in the heart of the coffee region, Salento is known for its many coffee farms and lush scenery. It’s also home to the Cocora Valley, where visitors can see Colombia’s national symbol, the 45m tall wax palm.
  • Leticia: Nestled in the Amazon rainforest, many tourists come to see the pink dolphins who live in the Amazon river.
  • Medellin: Known as the “land of eternal spring” because of the year round moderate climate, Medellín is also the home of Fernando Botero and many beautiful parks and botanical gardens.
  • Tayrona National Park: Nature preserve famous for stunning beaches and diverse rainforest. Some of Colombia’s indigenous tribes still live in the park.

 Good to know:

While travelling in Colombia by bus and car between cities is possible, it isn’t recommended due to the lack of infrastructure and mountainous terrain. Airlines such as Avianca, LAN, and Copa offer quick and affordable flights for domestic travel.

Sports

Football

Football is by far the most popular sport, whether you’re watching or playing. According to FIFA, there are over three million total players and more than 2,500 registered clubs. The two domestic cups are the Copa Colombia and the Colombian Superleague (Colombia Superliga).

Cycling

Cycling is another popular sport in Colombia, both professionally and for leisure. In the 1990s the capital city of Bogotá instituted ciclovía, where roads are closed to motor vehicles for a few hours on Sunday mornings so cyclists and pedestrians can enjoy the city without traffic or pollution. In recent decades, ciclovía has spread to other major Colombian cities and is a popular weekend pass time.

Other outdoor sports

Colombia’s extreme biological diversity offers a multitude of outdoor activities. The Caribbean coastal areas offer scuba diving, snorkelling, and parasailing, while boating, whale watching, and fishing are popular along the Pacific coast. Central mountain areas offer opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and zip-lining.

Shopping

Colombia has a lot to offer in all areas of shopping. Internationally known high-street brands such as H&M,  Zara, and Gap are in Colombia’s larger cities. Luxury brands have locations in the capital city of Bogotá. Popular craft items include hand weaved mochila bags, black crockery from La Chamba, and silver filigree jewellery and can be found all over the country.

 Useful Links:

Government sponsored tourism page

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