Like a conjurer, Colombia will charm you, mesmerize you, and slowly lure you in. You will wander through this blurred shadow world, this realm of deception, where reality and fiction mingle, and you will get lost.


But you will not object. At first, you will want to linger. After a while, the thought of forsaking this enchanted land will vanish altogether. You will be captivated by Colombia’s rawness, its vibrant colours, and divers culture, and you will fall in love with its people.


Colombia is much more than violence and bloodshed. It might have lost its innocence long ago, but its soul remains pure.


Travelling Colombia is living life at its fullest, because in Colombia life is celebrated.

“There is a reason magical realism was born in Colombia”




Deep inside the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains lies La Ciudad Perdida: The Lost City.


A four-day trek is needed to reach this stronghold of the Tairona civilization.


So, if you are into hiking through the jungle, crossing torrential streams, and wandering around ancient, overgrown ruins, this is definitely for you!


Cartels, drugs, bombings, and civil war.


Medellìn's history is tumultuous and painful, full of suffering and sorrow, yet its future looks bright. 


Dive deeper into the city's past, learn about the struggle and perseverance of its people, and hear stories of hope.


Join a tour to get your bearings and then venture out and explore this incredible place on your own!


Only reachable by plane or boat, the northern Pacific coast is by far my favourite spot in the country.


Pristine beaches, dense jungle, and the most beautiful sunsets let you easily forget the hustle and bustle of Colombia’s metropolises. You might even get lucky and spot the majestic jump of a humpback whale!


If you just wanna get away from it all for a while, this is the place to be.


VISA | Colombia grants visa free entry (up to 90 days) for 100 countries, including all European countries, with the exception of Belarus and the Kosovo. All other nationalities can apply for an eVisa.


Check Passport Index to see whether your country is eligible for visa free entry or not.

MONEY | Currency: Colombian peso (COP). In the larger cities ATMs are widely available. If you are venturing off into the more rural, remote areas of Colombia, make sure to bring enough cash though.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT | Buses are the way to go in Colombia. Coaches are used for long distance travel, whereas colectivos (minibuses) will serve shorter routes. 


While coaches will have a fixed itinerary, colectivos generally wait to fill up before departing. Keep that in mind if you have to be somewhere on time. They are significantly cheaper, however.

DRUGS | Colombia is the world’s leading exporter of cocaine, as well as the 5th largest producer of cannabis. As a consequence, drugs are easily available throughout the country and prices go as low as 1-2$ for a gram of coke.


Hence, it is not surprising that a lot of tourists consume while travelling Colombia. The police is aware of that fact, however, and has been known to purposely target Westerners in hopes of finding drugs, especially in the more touristy/party areas of Colombia’s larger cities.


The cops will be far more interested in your wallet than the drugs, however. Police wages are extremely low and accepting bribes is a common way to boost the meagre income. While this might seem like an easy escape for tourists, do not take it lightly! Although imprisonment is very unlikely to happen (unless you get caught with a suitcase full of coke), your bank account might suffer severely. If you venture out in search for illicit substances, be aware that you are not only risking a run-in with the tenacious and oftentimes greedy Colombian police but the loss of a substantial chunk of your travel budget, as well.

SECURITY SITUATION | The security situation in Colombia has increased significantly in the last couple of years, mostly due to peace talks with the largest guerrilla group FARC. However, even though FARC officially disbanded in 2017, other guerrilla groups such as ELN and EPL, as well as a steadily rising number of FARC dissidents, are still operating, especially in the remote mountain and jungle areas of the country. Kidnappings are a rare occurrence nowadays and overland travel is deemed safe.


Robbery and petty theft is what tourists should be most aware of though. As long as you keep your wits about you, inform yourself on potential no-go areas for travellers, and don’t show unnecessary signs of wealth, you should be fine, however.



10.000 BCE
Traversing the Isthmus

Hunter-gatherers from Mesoamerica travers the Isthmus of Panama and base themselves along the Magdalena River, as well as the highlands surrounding present-day Bogotá.

5000-1000 BCE
Transition to sedentary societies

The Colombian tribes transition to sedentary, agrarian societies and cultivate crops such as yucca, maize, and potatoes.

1000 BCE-1499 CE
The goldsmiths of Colombia

The most prominent groups are the Chibcha, Arawak, and Carib, distinct in their language and comprised of a multitude of different cultures and subcultures. They are also proficient craftsmen, well versed in the fields of mining, metallurgy, and pottery, however, excelling in their disposition of gold unrivalled on the continent.

Modern era

Arrival of the Spaniards

Alonso de Ojeda makes landfall in Colombia and is captivated by the wealth of the natives and their stories of even greater riches waiting inland. The most advanced civilizations he encounters are the Muisca and Tairona (both belonging to the Chibcha group).

The hunt for El Dorado

Rumours of a city covered in gold and gems spread throughout the Spanish Empire and become the driving force behind the exploration and colonization of the Colombian hinterland. After successfully subjugating the Muisca Confederation, three independent expeditions meet in the newly founded city of Bogotá and vie for supremacy. King Carlos V of Spain ends the power struggle, and the colony becomes part of the Viceroyalty of Peru.


The ensuing centuries are characterised by the exploitation of Colombia's resources and the decline of the indigenous population, greatly suffering from the introduction of European diseases and employment in the Spanish mines and plantations. To compensate the losses, slaves from West Africa become a necessity for the overlords, and Cartagena establishes herself as one of the main harbours in the New World.

Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada

The Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada is created, consisting of present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama, in an effort to centralise authority and strengthen Madrid's influence on the colonies, introducing an array of political and economic measures in the process. However, in the following century, the interests of the crown and the Creoles (whites born in the New World) start to divert significantly.

Independence War

Following the occupation of Spain by Napoleon, the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada erupts in rebellion, and the republican forces, aided by Simón Bolívar, claim victory after a nine-year struggle for independence.

Gran Colombia

Venezuela and Ecuador secede from the newly formed Republic of Colombia/Gran Colombia in 1829 and 1830, respectively.

Early division

Colombia is plunged into decades of political upheaval and civil wars, due to the emerging power struggle between the Conservative and Liberal parties.

The Panama Canal

The United States take advantage of Colombia's internal strife and support Panamanian independence, allowing the subsequent construction and control of the Panama Canal.

Contemporary history

La Violencia

After a period of relative stability, the country is ravaged by a bloody civil war between Conservative and Liberal forces, later known as La Violencia.

Left vs Right

The Cold War reaches Colombia, and Marxist guerrilla groups, such as the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia (FARC) and Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), take up arms against corrupt elites and big landowners, who, in return, raise private militias to retain the status quo.

White gold

Colombia becomes the biggest producer of cocaine and cartels, Pablo Escobar's Medellin Cartel at the helm, soon influence and control large parts of Colombian society.

Escobar's death

Following Escobar's death and a fierce government crackdown on the other crime syndicates, the drug trade falls into the hands of guerrillas and paramilitary groups, sensing their chance to fill the void and fund their political ambitions.

Presidency of Álvaro Uribe Vélez

Álvaro Uribe Vélez becomes president on the promise to end the decade-long conflict between the state, left guerrillas, right paramilitaries, and the organised drug trade. The security situation increases but alleged ties to right-wing paramilitaries and involvement with atrocities committed by those groups cast a dark shadow on his presidency.

Talks of peace

In June 2016, his successor Juan Manuel Santos signs a historic cease-fire agreement with FARC. In 2017, the Colombian government concludes peace with the rebels, who disarm and transition to a political party.

A FARC president

In an unprecedented election, Gustavo Petro, a former FARC guerrilla, becomes Colombia's first leftist president.

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