Five Things You Should Do If You Visit Colombia

If you decide to visit the wonderfully enchanting country of Colombia, what are five things you should not leave without doing? That’s what I am going to tell you about today: the five things I think are musts during your time in Colombia.

1. Visit a coffee farm

How could you come to one of the leading countries in production of quality coffee in the world and not see how it’s made, harvested, grown, and cared for from seed to cup? Wherever you are in Colombia, you should be able to find a coffee farm. While coffee is grown and harvested in Colombia year round (due to the absence of seasons), the best time to see coffee being harvested is from October to March.

Freshly harvested coffee being washed in la Victoria in Minca, Magdalena

Freshly harvested coffee being washed in la Victoria in Minca, Magdalena

2. Experience a festival

There is literally some kind of festival happening every month, if not every week, in Colombia. Every festival is unique and celebrates something different—from theatre productions, to cultural heritage, to music, literature, and more. While the most famous festivals are sure to be worth your time, don’t pass up the smaller pueblo festivals—they’ll give you a rare glimpse into more local Colombian culture.

An incredible view in Tayrona National Park

An incredible view in Tayrona National Park

3. Visit a national park

Colombia is full of national parks—in every department there is at least one, if not more, and each one offers you a totally unique experience. Remember, Colombia is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, according to most data, so you can’t leave without really getting face to face with some of that bio-diversity. The national parks will give you the chance to take in incredible landscapes as well as explore and observe both plants and animals inhabiting the area, many indigenous only to Colombia.

Freshly grilled arepas

Freshly grilled arepas

4. Eat an arepa

Colombia may be known principally for its coffee, but it is a country that is fuelled by arepas. Arepas, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, are a thick tortilla made out of corn meal. There are at least ten different types of arepas you can try in Colombia, if not more. You can find arepas made with white corn meal as well as yellow corn meal, arepas filled with cheese, beef, chicken, sausage, etc., fried arepas stuffed with an egg, and even sweet arepas made with anise. It would be a sin to come to Colombia and not eat at least one arepa.

Wayuu mochilas

Wayuu mochilas

5. Buy a sombrero vueltiao or mochila wayuu

While there are many many many different handicrafts that characterize Colombia, the two most symbolic are the sombrero vueltiao and the mochila wayuu. The sombrero vueltiao is a hat made from a grass known in Colombia as caña flecha that is woven in to a unique pattern. These hats are found all over Colombia and are the pride of many artisans. The mochila wayuu is a type of bag made by the Wayuu indigenous group that lives in the department of la Guajira. You can find mochilas wayuu for men and women as well as smaller ones that are perfect for children. These are also found all over Colombia.

Until next time,

Paige M. Poole

About the author:

“Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie.  You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog www.trotamunda.wordpress.com 

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