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