COLOM­BIA

WHY IT’S HOT: THIS FAST-CHANG­ING LATIN COUN­TRY IS FULL OF SUR­PRISES.

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Wonderlust Travel Hot List 2019 -

We say: Af­ter the 50-year war in the Colom­bian Ama­zon ceased in 2016, ex­plor­ers en­tered its ta­ble-top tepuis and jaguarprowled jungles to dis­cover cave art dat­ing back 20,000 years. In 2018, as part of the ex­panded Chiribi­quete Na­tional Park, it be­came UN­ESCO’S lat­est World Her­itage Site.

It’s in­dica­tive of a Colom­bia that is chang­ing at light­ning pace. Even Bo­gotá has shed its fear­some rep­u­ta­tion to em­brace hip­ster cof­fee shops, books and bikes. Once no-go zones, ci­ties such as Medel­lín and salsa cap­i­tal Cali now trade on their old no­to­ri­ety: a tour of the lux­ury La Cat­e­dral ‘jail’ drug lord Pablo Es­co­bar had built for him­self is a must.

Then there’s the sites few trav­ellers know about: the ‘lost city’ of Teyuna, Colom­bia’s an­swer to Machu Pic­chu; the cav­ernous salt cathe­dral of Zi­paquirá, and the mirac­u­lous five-colour river of Caño Cristales. What have you been wait­ing for all this time?

Don’t miss: Af­ter vis­it­ing Bo­gotá’s daz­zling Gold Mu­seum, head to Mount Mon­ser­rate (3,152m) – the steep walk up yields in­cred­i­ble views of a rapidly evolv­ing cap­i­tal.

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