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Top 10: Colombia Off The Beaten Track
Mar 24, 2014 by Paul Fowler
Sultry Colombia has come into the forefront of the travel world with smiles beaming and hips swinging. It's got to the point where we can stop mentioning the past and focus purely on what Colombia tours
offer: incredible culture, progressive cities and a mind-blowing amount of diversity.
So much so that we feel obliged to let you into all of her charms and showcase Colombia off the beaten track. These top 10 are truly unique, beautiful and a best-kept-secret. Enjoy!
Cerros de Mavecure
Sometimes called the "Crying Rocks of Mavecure", these epic hills are spectacular to behold.
Cerros de Mavecure. Photo by Wikipedia.
Few people explore Colombia's Eastern region thanks to a lack of infrastructure, but the area is home to some of the country's most impressive sights - not least of which are the Cerros de Mavecure, which loom over the landscape in a spectacularly morose fashion. It's not easy to get there (as with many places on this list), but those who take the trouble and time won't forget it in a hurry.
Caño Cristales is undoubtedly the most popular of the destinations on this list, but thanks to the route you need to take to get there, it remains deliciously off the beaten track.
Cano Cristales in Colombia. Photo by rachelcifelli.
Caño Cristales, or the River of Five Colors, is one of Colombia's best kept secrets. A spectacular river that's located in La Macarena province of Meta, it's a biological wonder that must be seen to be believed. And, once you've seen it (and subsequently believed it), why not take a dip?
Muzo, located in the Boyaca department of Colombia, is home to emerald mines that house some of the world's highest quality emeralds.
Those who know emeralds know that Colombia's offerings are the stuff of emerald-based legends, and Muzo will be high on their list of things to do. Those who don't know emeralds will probably just enjoy a trip to this charming town to see where this rare gems are extracted.
Capurgana, just off the coast of Panama, is one of Colombia's hidden gems - isolated beaches that make a perfect escape for the adventurous traveler.
Capurgana. Photo by http://www.capurgana-colombia.com/.
Capurgana is the stuff travelers' dreams are made of. Howling winds sweep the waves onto the shore, while locals simply kick back with a beer and some of the best seafood you'll try. Paradise.
Bahia Solano and El Valle
Divers rejoice! Bahia Solano and the surrounding area offers up great opportunities for underwater adventure, while there are an abundance of isolated beaches to explore.
Bahia Solano, Colombia
Diving options are fantastic in Bahia Solano, but there's much more to the area than just this. The laid-back attitude of the locals, the fatastic food, the incredible surf and the stunning vistas make this one of the favorite hidden spots for locals and expats in Colombia. El Valle is a small, charming fishing village just waiting for you to explore.
Beautiful waters, dense forestry and great swimming opportunities make Rio Claro the perfect stop off between Bogota and Medellin.
Roughly midway between Medellin and Bogota rests Rio Claro, one of the country's most beautiful rivers. It's the perfect escape from the bustling city with its peaceful rivers surrounded by rugged rocks and verdant forest. Enjoy swimming, sailing and much more in the area.
Another of Colombia's colonial jewels, Jardin makes a great day trip from Medellin.
Jardin, Colombia. Photo by Wikipedia.
Jardin is one of Colombia's many charming colonial towns. Many in the Antioquia region opt for Guatape and Santa Fe due to their proximity, which leaves Jardin almost tourist-free. If any town in Colombia deserves the "stepping back in time" tag, it's this one.
Apaporis is truly off the beaten track, and one of Colombia's most breathtaking spectacles.
Lodged in the middle of the Colombian Amazon and Vaupes is the spectacular river of Apaporis. This powerful river is broken in two by jungle, creating a stunning scene and forming the Jirijirimo stream. To get here you need to fly a World War 2 plane and hike some moderate routes. This unexpected, almost unheard of area is one of Colombia's highlights.
If you didn't know by now, Colombia is choc-full of beautiful colonial towns and villages. Popayan is one of its very best, and boasts an array of festivals and activities, too.
The White City is awash with colonial style architecture and white facades, making it a rival to Cartagena but, thankfully, without the hoards of tourists to accompany it. In Popayan you can enjoy a number of great museums and churches, but the city really comes into its own during Holy Week, which is surely one of the highlights on the Colombian calendar.
UNESCO protected Los Katios National Natural Park boasts an incredible amount of biodiversity and remarkable views.
Los Katios, Colombia. Photo by Wikipedia
The biodiversity in Colombia is not to be scoffed at wherever you are, but Los Katios takes it to another level. Here you'll find a baffling amount of animals and plants, with the birds of the area really stealing the show (25% of Colombia's species of birds can be found here, which makes up less than 1% of Colombia's territory). This park is part of the Darien Gap
, which means it is truly off the beaten track.