Los Nevados National Park
One of the largest natural mosaics in Colombia is in the Colombian Andes, where the Central Cordillera is highest. The national park is dominated by the 5,300 meter high Nevado del Ruiz volcano. The Nevado del Ruiz is the most active of a total of 3 volcanoes in the Los Nevados National Park. The park offers a unique landscape where snow, sand, fauna and flora form a contrasting landscape. On these peaks and wastelands there are also many lagoons that have emerged from the former pits of the ice glaciers. The most splendid include Otún, La Leona and Laguna Verde (Green Lagoon). In the nature reserve “Otum Kimbaya” one can also find subtropical forests, which are home to howler monkeys and giant rodents between the trees of the primary forest overgrown with epyphites, orchids and bromeliads. Visit securitypology for Colombia Travel Guide.
The “white city” of Popayán, located in the southern Andes, was founded in 1537 by Sebastián de Belalcázar, who was traveling north from Quito to find the legendary gold treasures of Eldorado. Popayán is the center of indigenous culture in southern Colombia. One of the main attractions of Popayán is its colonial architecture. All buildings in the historic center are whitewashed and give the impression of a time long past. A very popular architectural work is the Iglesia de San Francisco. The Franciscan Church, built between 1775 and 1795, is a piece of late Baroque jewelery that has lasted longer here than in Europe. From here one of the famous Easter processions starts, which attract real crowds. On a 30km long bumpy road if you come from Popayán to the Puracé National Park. The Puracé is a 4756 m high, extremely active volcano that erupted twelve times in the 20th century alone. In the enchanting landscape you have the opportunity to observe the mighty condor, the “King of the Andes”, up close.
The capital of Colombia is located in a high valley at 2,645 m. The old town is known for its numerous historical buildings, spectacular churches, the government palace and the Plaza Bolívar. Particularly worth seeing is the world-famous gold museum – Museo del Oro, in which a large number of gold and silver pieces, which were made by different pre-Columbian cultures, are exhibited. Many of them were made by the Indians of the Chibcha tribe. In recent years Bogotá has established itself as one of the most important gastronomic centers in Latin America, with six gastronomic zones, where international and local culinary specialties are offered in top restaurants. You can take a cable car from the city to the Cerro Monserrate, which offers a breathtaking view over the metropolis and the surrounding savannah. One hour from Bogota is the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral. The largest underground cathedral in the world was built in the disused tunnel of the mine.
Hidden for more than a thousand years in the jungle of the Sierra Nevada in Colombia, Ciudad Perdida is one of the largest rediscovered pre-Columbian cities in South America, along with Machu Picchu. “Ciudad Perdida” – the “Lost City” – was the center of the “Tairona” culture and was almost completely destroyed by the conquistadors in 1599. Hundreds of terraces can be seen in the ruined city, which have been reconstructed for some time. It was discovered in 1972 when a group of local treasure raiders found a series of stone steps that led them to the abandoned city. The site can only be reached with a 44km hike through inhospitable terrain. From the steep mountain slopes down is the turquoise Caribbean and the Tayrona National Park. The Tayrona National Park was named after the Tairona Indians, who lived there until the 16th century. The dream beaches of the national park are perfect for relaxing after a long hike. With a little luck you can spot howler monkeys, iguanas, bats, snakes, poison dart frogs and many different species of birds.
After it was founded in 1533, Cartagena soon became the most important city in the country, as the silver and gold treasures were loaded onto the ships of the colonial rulers here. A mighty fortress ring was built to protect the city from attack. Not only the impressive fortress of San Felipe, which was built on a hill in front of the old town to protect the city from pirates, but also many buildings from the former colonial times are still preserved, such as the cathedral, the church of Santo Domingo and the Jesuit convent. Cartagena is one of the most beautiful colonial cities in Latin America. The old town also impresses with its Caribbean flair, its joie de vivre and its colorful houses. The city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.