A wealth of ancient civilisations left behind a fascinating spread of archeological and cultural sites throughout Colombia. The one-time Tayrona capital, Ciudad Perdida, built between the 11th and 14th centuries, is one of the continent’s most mysterious and lovingly preserved ancient cities, arguably second only to Peru’s Machu Picchu. Even more shrouded in mystery is San Agustin, where more than 500 life-sized, ancient statues of enigmatic origin dot the surrounding countryside. And then there’s Tierradentro, where elaborate underground tombs add even more mystique to Colombia’s past. Mix in the influences of Spanish colonisers, African slaves, 20th-century European and Middle Eastern immigrants and large, intact indigenous groups such as La Guajira Peninsula’s Wayuu, and you get a rich recipe. This intoxicating cocktail shows in the food, music, architecture and lifestyles that shake and stir the melting pot of contemporary Colombia.