With the introduction of Avianca’s direct flights from London to Bogota and numerous easy hop routes from North America, Colombia is fast becoming a hit destination for families in search of a memorable family adventure away from the usual school break package holidays and all inclusive Disney resorts.
Blessed with tropical rainforests, colonial towns, stunning beaches and colourful cities bursting with culture, Colombia has a natural appeal for intrepid families intent on visiting South America and there are a whole host of not-so-well-known activities for the entire family. Happy exploring!
Parque Jaime Duque – Just outside the capital city of Bogota is this highly recommended amusement park with beautifully maintained gardens and well-kept animals in the zoo exhibit. There are native jaguars and pumas in the feline exhibit, an island where spider monkeys swing from trees, and don’t miss the majestic condor with an impressive two-metre wingspan. An eclectic mix of attractions and themes include models of the seven ancient wonders, dinosaurs, planes and a warship; a house of mirrors, an huge display of traditional dresses from around the world; an enormous relief map of Colombia, Dante’s Hell, and a convincing Taj Mahal! The rides are just right for small children and there are plenty of temptations for teenagers and adults alike. Restaurants have a good selection of food and drinks and there are clean bathrooms throughout the park. Cost of admission is very reasonable for the several hours it takes to see the park.
If you can’t make it to Parque Jaime Duque then alternative options within the city limits of Bogota are: Divercity, a small children’s dream park that allows kids to experience adult activities like driving a car, putting out a fire and trying out different jobs; also worth a mention is Salitre Magico, an amusement park with a variety of rollercoaster rides.
If the wonderful colonial town of Villa del Leyva in the department of Boyacá is part of your itinerary then pack the car and get on down to nearby Sáchica for the wonderfully named Gondava – The Great Valley of the Dinosaurs where life-size dinosaur replicas are found in a natural setting. Are we there yet? Children can explore adventure trails in forest, lake and desert landscapes, playing alongside full-scale dinosaurs and mammoths for an educational and fun experience. What’s more fun than climbing over and pulling faces at life-sized dinosaurs! Also not to be missed is the fossil dig area where children and adults can learn about the techniques and tools used in excavation.
The Colombian National Coffee Park located close to the town of Armenia in Colombia’s Coffee Triangle is another entertaining and educational day out. Since opening in 2009 the coffee-themed park has had over 5 million visitors. It consists of two main areas: the museum and exhibitions detailing the history, culture and process of growing and producing coffee; and in the valley below is an amusement park with rides and shows. Highlights include the aptly named Coffee Show — the history and culture of the region told through music and dance; there’s an 18-metre high observation tower; and horse rides! Additionally there’s a rollercoaster, log flume, ferris wheel, bumper boats and dodgems. The two areas are connected by a cable car or an ecological trail through a coffee plantation where you can find different varieties of the plants and beans. While your kids will be super-hyped about the place itself, you can get super-hyped on all the freshly ground coffee in the café! Caffeine!!!
Should an intrepid journey into the Amazon rainforest be on the cards for your family then an interesting excursion to Mundo Amazonico at the southern tip of the department of Amazonas might be your next port of call. The botanical garden park, just 15 minutes outside the town of Leticia, allows tourists to experience and learn about the jungle in a safe and controlled environment for any family member. Amazon World guides share their philosophy for the importance of rainforest conservation with visitors. A guided tour consists of four 45-minute circuits that look at edible fruits and aromatic drinks; indigenous cultures in the Amazon; exotic fish species; and bird watching. Tours in English are available with advanced bookings. Among additional activities, visitors can participate in are yoga therapies and the rainforest eco-spa.
So there you have it! A selection of off-the-beaten-track activities for you and your children to get your teeth into across Colombia. There are of course plenty more attractions for you to visit with your kids and if you’d like more information about a particular place just drop us a line at Uncover Colombia!
Until next time,
The Uncover Colombia Team