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Colombia has a diversity of landscape, climate and cultures which should make it one of the world's most popular travel destinations. The jungles, including swathes of the Amazon, rival the rawness of the world's least explored, and hide ancient temples and astounding ruins. Colombia's cities offer both the grace of their colonial heritage and the vibrancy of modern South America, rivalling the region's most colourful and culturally varied. The mountains are high - perfect for both trekkers and skiers - and these are some of the best places to stay in Colombia. The beaches wouldn't seem out of place in a Caribbean travel brochure, and there's whale watching, diving and surfing opportunities just off the coast. Basically Colombia is paradise.

The deterrent for most visitors has been the drugs and the violence, and this is changing, so take the opportunity to experience this paradise before it becomes too obvious!

Colombia's cooler climes are probably the easiest to visit. Medellin, Bogotá and Cali have the best infrastructure, and have experienced the most dramatic changes in the last decades, as far as safety is concerned. But beyond the practical, these towns have strong personalities and they're ripe for exploring. They also have dramatic snow-capped volcano and alpine lake views.

If you find the freshness of Bogota a bit nippy, drive for an hour down the mountains to where it's warmer. Lower still are the lush jungles, coffee plantations and the Reserva Natural Canon de Rio Clara. Just one of many beautiful Colombian reserves, the Rio Clara Canyon, with its strange marble bed, is particularly spectacular. And this is a great spot for anyone who wants to get out into Colombia's great outdoors and do some hiking or kayaking.

The coastline is tropical - almost right on the equator, and things are naturally more languid and happen at their own pace. Beautiful Cartagena is probably the country's best known destination and it remains one of the best places to stay in Colombia. Once an important and wealthy port on the gold and silver trade routes, Cartagena was made glorious, and well fortified, and it is the fairytale remnants of this which have qualified it for Heritage Listing.

Medellin is today one of the safest cities in Latin America, a very far cry from what you might have heard about it. Surrounded by spectacular rugged peaks and blessed with a pleasant climate all year, this is a fun city to be in.

Saying that, for many people Cali might be even more fun. Lower down the slopes, Cali is a lot warmer, more tropical, and a lot more fond of salsa music and dancing. In Cali it's considered reasonable to want to dance until dawn every night of the week - perhaps one of the best places to stay in Colombia for an inpromptu party!

If you're looking for Colombia's colonial charm, Barichara is for you, a magical place which feels suspended beautifully in time (about 300 years ago when the Spanish built it).

Best Places to Stay in Colombia


Bogotá is quickly modernising, and parts of the city seem frantic with activity, but you can still find pockets of calm, and the historic area round the centre of town is packed with churches, squares, museums - including the famous Gold Museum, galleries, cafes and plenty of charm. This is also one of Latin America's most 'intellectual' cities.

  • B.O.G. Hotel is well situated close to all major attractions. Plus it offers a great restaurant and fabulous roof top terrace with bar which serves great cocktails!


Cartagena has never been the Colombia where danger is easily encountered. In Cartagena the most dangerous things are probably the horse drawn carriages which prance the narrow streets of the pristine Old Town. In fact while it feels like an exotic destination, Cartagena is also one of the best places to stay in Colombia if you want to relax - one of the top things to do here is stroll the sea wall of an evening, followed by some mojitos in a cafe/ bar and some people watching.

  • Right by Santo Domino Square, Casa Pestagua is a palace of a hotel, built for an 18th Century Count, and it's often referred to as 'the most beautiful house in Cartagena'.
  • The Sofitel Legend Santa Clara used to be a convent, but with four bars and the largest pool in the walled city it's anything but staid now.

Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Colombia for you? Browse though our list of all the best places to stay in Colombia, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in Colombia

See all » 8 hotels in Cartagena

  • Bantu Boutique Hotel


    Elegant 5* hotel in 18th century building. Characterful rooms have exposed bricks, traditional mosaic tiles and light marble bathrooms. Outdoor pool on roof terrace, inner plant-filled courtyard, solarium, hot tub and massages. Caribbean and Colombian fare in romantic restaurant. An authentic stay.

    26 rooms from $146
    Writing a novel  -  Take inspiration from this 18th century building and old city, read upon the roof terrace lounge or the bricked courtyard
    Great walks  -  Through the cobbled Old Town
    Sights nearby  -  Santo Toribio Church
    Barefoot Luxury  -  For total relaxation.
  • La Passion

    Cartagena (Bolivar)

    A beautiful 18th century palace with traditional facades and classical suites to match. Chequered stone floors, romantic balconies, four poster beds, pastel walls, gilt mirrors and winding staircases. Stunning roof top swimming pool and cocktail bar. Very ethereal.

    8 rooms from $167
    Romantic Break
    Sights nearby  -  Situated in the heart of the historical centre of Cartagena
    Restrictions on children  -  Over 14s welcome.
    Swimming Pool  -  Rooftop Pool
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, CN Traveller

See all » 1 hotel in Bogota

  • B.O.G. Hotel

    Bogota (Cundinamarca)

    Bogota's first luxury Design Hotel, constructed in granite, natural stone, glass and aluminium. Interiors by Nina Andadre Silva, using gold and emerald as staples. Furniture custom-made using Columbian and international artisans. Ultra cool rooftop terrace, bar and pool with dramatic skyline views

    55 rooms from $172
    Suites  -  Individually decorated minamalist rooms and suites with every comfort and the latest technology
    Restaurant  -  Superb restaurant showcases award winning chef Leonor Espinosa's inspirational cuisine.
    Roof terrace  -  Futuristic roof terrace bar with extensive bar menu and fabulous cocktails
    Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
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