Fruit seller in Cartagena

30 Photos That Will Make You Want to Visit Colombia

As had been the case with Indonesia, Colombia was a country which caused me considerable anxiety prior to my visit there. This was largely because of the traditional media narrative about Colombia: That it was not safe, especially not for light-skinned travelers like myself.

As it turned out, the only danger in Colombia was wanting to stay more time than I had, to explore more places than my schedule would allow for and, as you’ll see if you continue reading, to take an inordinate number of photos that depict a land almost mythical in its beauty.

Nearly every part of my trip to Colombia was extraordinary. Within 24 hours of my arrival in Bogotá, for example, I was already huddled in the back room of a coffee shop, trying not to breathe in tear gas police had thrown to disband a protest outside. Doesn’t sound fun? Well, within a few days of that, I was up on the Caribbean coast, hiking through Tayrona National Park, one of the most pristine places in the world.

The colonial city of Cartagena proved not only to be calmer than volatile Bogotá, but also more colorful, a truth that carried through to Isla de Barú, an idyllic paradise located just a couple hours offshore but in some ways, an entire world away. Colombia’s Eje Cafetero coffee-producing region also proved to be otherworldly, in particular the incredible Valle del Cocora.

I finished my three weeks in Colombia in the city of Medellín, which over the past two decades has transformed itself from a hiding lair for drug lords to one of the most modern cities in Latin America, if not the world. You can click through the links in the preceding paragraphs to learn more about things to do in Colombia, or continue scrolling down to let these Colombia photos speak for themselves.

Need help planning your trip to Colombia? Hire me as your Travel Coach!

About The Author

is the author of 1074 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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Britany Robinson March 12, 2014 at 11:29 am

Geez… every single one of these makes me miss Colombia. I spent two months there last year and absolutely fell in love with it. Such a cool country and I can’t wait to get back there! Thanks for the photo reminder. 🙂

Robert Schrader March 12, 2014 at 11:37 am

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share 🙂

Ray March 12, 2014 at 11:07 pm

These are absolutely gorgeous photos! I particularly love the one of the Salt Cathedral. Read about it before, and have it on my “to do” list whenever I finally make it to Colombia. How busy was it when you were there?

Charlie March 13, 2014 at 3:00 am

Wow, so colourful. And you’re right, each one of these photos makes me want to visit Colombia!

Trusted Traveller March 13, 2014 at 3:26 am

Such beautiful photos Robert. The idea of Colombia scares me to death and intrigues me all at the same time. But day I will visit for sure!

Robert Schrader March 13, 2014 at 9:32 am

You definitely should. It’s actually remarkably safer than many of its neighboring countries.

Robert Schrader March 13, 2014 at 9:32 am

Awesome 🙂 Feel free to share

Robert Schrader March 13, 2014 at 9:33 am


When I went there, there was almost no one there, and I was the only foreigner.

Ray March 13, 2014 at 10:03 am

Amazing! Those are the type of travel moments I love the most — when the world becomes your own personal playground. Once again, great shots of the Cathedral!

Robert Schrader March 13, 2014 at 11:26 am

Thanks a lot! And the world is definitely my playground!

Waegook Tom July 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

LOVE Colombia, and I can’t wait to go back and visit someday – there’s still so much I need to explore! If you ever go back, make sure you fly out to Choco, the province that borders the Pacific. So beautiful, and unlike anywhere else I visited in Colombia. Although I can’t agree with you about Cartagena being calmer than Bogota. Sure Bogota has a lot of people, but in Cartagena I was hassled non-stop by aggressive touts who really marred the admittedly stunning city for me.

Robert Schrader July 11, 2014 at 10:08 am

See Tom, maybe I was just lucky, but I didn’t find the touts in Cartagena to be too overwhelming. To me, Bogotá is one of the worst cities in the world, on the other hand. So sketchy and ugly.

Richard Rueda July 21, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Robert, saying that Bogota Is one of the worst cities in the world, is a complete lack of respect, and a rude opinion about a city as Bogota, Bogota is the capital City of Colombia, and it has way more to offer than a look at the Candelaria neighborhood and a cafe according to your article, the city itself is home of more than 9 million people during the day, and is a financial center for hundreds of industries in the country, saying that is sketchy and ugly is a misrepresentation of what the city truly is, I personally invite you to spend more than a week here, so you can see with different eyes what the city and the people living there have to offer to the world and to the foreigners.

Robert Schrader July 21, 2014 at 2:49 pm

One day I will take you up on your offer!

The Nomad Notes July 3, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Great pics! Ugh I’d love to go right about now!!

Robert Schrader July 10, 2015 at 7:41 am

Soon 🙂

Jony G October 15, 2015 at 7:50 am

Bogota is not just the Candelaria and sketchy environs my friend – you experienced a few blocks of a world (yes somewhat lacking in some parts) but nonetheless global city. It’s a UNESCO world city of music – the arts scene is thriving, has the largest open streets scheme in the world where 75 miles of roads are closed off for cyclists/skaters/pedestrians and just general play every Sunday, the largest Rock festival in Latin America (3rd largest free music festival in the world), completely gratis over 3 days, see street artists on the pedestrianised avenue “Septimazo” every Friday night after 5pm? Go to concerts/theatre at the stunning Cristobal Colon theatre or Art Deco Gaitan theatre? See the Grammy winning Bogota symphony orchestra? See the ginormous fruit/foods market at Paloquemao? (area’s bit dodgy – but the markets safe), eat Afro-colombian Pacific fusion food at Mini-mal? Eat great Asian food at Wok? See victorian/mock tudor architecture in barrio la Merced next to the perfectly formed olaya herrera park, with pockets of British architecture also prominent in Teusaquillo and Zona G, the latter being a gastronomic district also. See an expo at Corferias? Try nationally brewed ales at the BBC (Bogota Beer Company)? Join a hiking group and explore the mountains? Experience semi-colonial lively & quirky Usaquen on Sundays? Party the night away at the swanky zona rosa or opt for a more reggae/roots vibe in Chapinero also affectionateyl nick-named “Chapigay”, area home to Teatron, the biggest gay club on the continent? Take in the view of north Bogota at la calera and paraglide over San rafael lake? To quote an LA based journalist, David Jenison, “for years, backpackers swung through Bogotá, stayed in La Candelaria and told other travelers to skip the city. The neighborhood has enough activity for a daytrip, but deficiencies in local nightlife and safety make the area a drag after dark. The real action is in the north.”
People are missing out on Bogota – but hey more room for me to play.

Robert Schrader October 15, 2015 at 7:58 am

Duly noted 🙂

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