The 10 main cities in Colombia

Who I am
Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Among the countries of Latin America, Colombia is recently becoming one of the most popular destinations for European travelers, accomplices unparalleled landscape wonders and cities with a lively soul. Overlooking both the Atlantic Ocean (to the north) and the Pacific (to the west), Colombia it boasts an incredible variety of landscapes: sandy dunes overlooking the sea, very suggestive mountainous regions and endless expanses of orchids, the national flowers.

However, even from the point of view of the cities present, Colombia has nothing to envy to the other neighboring states, indeed! In this article, we tell you what they are the 10 main cities of Colombia, as well as the 10 cities that you just can't miss if you find yourself wandering around this slice of the world! Prepare a pen and paper, let's get started!



Index

  1. Soacha
  2. Ibague
  3. Bucaramanga
  4. Loneliness
  5. Cucutà
  6. Baranquilla
  7. Cali
  8. Medellìn
  9. Cartagena
  10. Bogota
  11. User questions and comments

Soacha

Part of the Cundinamarca department, Soacha is one of the country's main cities, with its 400.000 inhabitants and an altitude of around 2.500 meters above sea level. It is about a city center with an ancient constitution: it seems that it was Luis Enriquez who founded the city around 1600.

Although not very particular in terms of urban architecture, the city it is located near some of the most important naturalistic attractions of the whole country, which certainly makes it an excellent starting point for exploring the surroundings. Among the natural wonders located in short range, we particularly point out the spectacular Tequendama Falls with a jump of over 132 meters, the beautiful Chicaque Natural Park (highly recommended if you love greenery and unspoiled spaces) and the famous Mirador la Leona, located within the Radal Siete Tazas National Park.



  • Best time: being close to a hill, Soacha is characterized by typical mid-season temperatures for most of the year: the maximums are around 20 °, while the minimums are around 9 °; if you are looking for nice days, it is best to visit it in spring when you have the best chance of getting some sun
  • Main attractions: Tequendama Falls, Chicaque Natural Park, Mirador la Leona
  • starting from € 500,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 15,00 per room -
  • Tequendama Falls and Coffee Hacienda Day Trip from Bogotá Chicaque full day trip from Bogotá

Ibague

Not far from the capital Bogota, Ibagué is a city inhabited by nearly 500.000 people. Founded in 1550 by the Spanish conquistador Andrés Lopéz de Galarza (with the name of Villa de San Bonifacio de Ibagué), it is a large and interesting place to visit, both in the city and in the surrounding natural areas.

In this regard, a beautiful trekking excursion to discover the verdant mountains of Tolima, but also a trip to the Payande Falls or the scenic Carretera Ibagué-Armenia: a road that passes up and down the mountains will allow you to immerse yourself in nature between coffee plantations and small chasms. Staying in the city, however, we recommend the Tolima Art Museum or the Tolima Music Conservatory, both worthy of a visit if you want to learn more about Colombian culture.


  • Best time: through a speech similar to the one done with Soacha, we recommend that you visit this area of ​​Colombia in spring to enjoy it in good weather, although there are no major changes in temperature between one season and another, with highs hovering around at 20 °, while the minimums around 9 °
  • Main attractions: Tolima Art Museum, Tolima Music Conservatory, Carretera Ibagué-Armenia
  • starting from € 2000,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 10,00 per room -

Bucaramanga

Capital of the Santander department, Bucaramanga is a city of about 500.000 inhabitants: however, together with Floridablanca and Giron, it constitutes an extensive metropolitan area inhabited by over 1 million people. Founded in 1622, it was immediately a very important center of production and manufacture of tobacco, still today among the main activities of the city.

In addition to the tobacco, Bucaramanga is known for some of its wonderful colonial churches such as the Catedral de la Sagrada Familia. Furthermore, a self-respecting visit to Bucaramanga cannot fail to include a discovery path of the numerous city parks and the nearby natural areas of national importance, among which the Chicamocha Park stands out.


  • Best time: being in the Colombian region of the Andes, Bucaramanga is characterized by hot days (albeit without excess) and abundant rains; the best time to visit the city is in fact from December to February, a period that coincides with the dry season
  • Main attractions: Catedral de la Sagrada Familia, Iglesia de San Pedro Claver, Palacio de Justicia, Chicamocha Park
  • starting from € 680,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 10,00 per room -

Loneliness

Practically overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Soledad is a city of 450.000 inhabitants whose inhabited center was founded in 1598 by Antonio Moreno Estupinan. Due to its proximity to the northeast coast, Soledad often comes used by tourists as a base from which to explore the surrounding area.

However, the city still has some very interesting points of interest: among these, we point out the Bolivaro Museum, but also the Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua, recognizable by the white plaster with gold decorations typical of the exterior, and the Plaza de Armas, the heart of past and present city life.


  • Best time: along the coast of the Caribbean Sea, the climate is more humid, characterized by tropical heat and abundant rainfall; that's why if you hope for good weather, the best months to travel to Soledad are those between January and April
  • Main attractions: Bolivaro Museum, Plaza de Armas, Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua
  • starting from € 500,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 8,00 per room -

Cucutà

Also on the north-eastern side, there is another important Colombian city: Cucutà, capital of the Norte de Santander department populated by 700.000 people. Located over 3000 meters high, it is part of the Eastern Andes Cordillera, as well as being one of the last inhabited centers before the border with Venezuela.

Despite being one of the most relevant economic centers in the country, Cucutà is also a beautiful tourist destination: points of interest, in fact, are certainly not lacking! Among the most significant, we suggest the Museum-Birthplace of General Santander and the Francisco de Paula Santander University, but also the Cathedral of Cucutà, the lively Plaza Santander with an adjoining park and the Torre del Reloj.


  • Best time: like Bucaramanga, the climate in Cucutà is typical of the Andes region with abundant rainfall all year round, except for the months between December and February; the temperatures of this period are between 20 ° maximum and 7 ° minimum.
  • Main attractions: Cucutà Cathedral, Plaza Santander, Torre del Reloj
  • starting from € 700,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 15,00 per room -

Baranquilla

Fourth Colombian city by population (with its one million people), Baranquilla is located on the left bank of the Magdalena River. Also known as Colombia's Golden Gate, it was the cradle of Latin American aviation, as well as still being the first sea and river port of the entire country. The first settlements in the area date back to 1629: from that moment on, Baranquilla has grown exponentially over the centuries, becoming one of the largest economic, historical and cultural centers of the country, as well as fun and hospitality.

Among the unmissable attractions from a tourist point of view, it is impossible not to mention the Volcan del Totumo, an expanse of dense and therapeutic mud where it is possible to bathe; but also the Antigua Aduana, wonderful republican-style building, the Romantic Museum, the Boca del Ceniz and the Isla de Salamanca Natural Park, habitat of many animal and plant species.

  • Best time: in Baranquilla, the annual daytime temperatures are around 31 ° / 33 °, while the minimum around 23 ° / 25 °; it is an ideal destination to visit at any time of the year; in the month of February for 4 days (from Saturday to Tuesday before Ash Wednesday), the famous Carnival of Baranquilla takes place, the second most important carnival in Latin America after Rio de Janeiro and if you love big celebrations, you really can't miss it
  • Main attractions: Romantic Museum, Boca del Ceniz, Isla de Salamanca Natural Park
  • starting from € 500,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 10,00 per room -

Cali

In third place for number of inhabitants, Cali is a city located between the western and central Andes mountain ranges. Main center of the south-west of the country, as well as an important university center, Cali was founded in 1536 by a lieutenant of General Francisco Pizarro: which in fact makes it one of the oldest cities not only in Colombia, but in the entire American continent.

With this premise, it should come as no surprise that Cali is also a very charming tourist destination: if you are in its vicinity, do not forget to take a trip to the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Colonial Art, both very useful to better understand the culture of Colombia. Also, don't miss the Baroque-style Iglesia de la Merced, the Gothic-style Iglesia de la Ermita and the Neoclassical-style Iglesia de San Francisco. Finally, if you love zoos, you might love the Santa Teresita Zoo in the suburb of the same name.

  • Best time: although the climate of Cali is quite similar to that of Bogotà in terms of temperatures, rainfall is much less frequent: this makes Cali an ideal destination all year round, including in the months between June and August
  • Main attractions: Archaeological Museum, Museum of Colonial Art, Iglesia de la Merced
  • starting from € 500,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 10,00 per room -
  • Cali: 3-Hour City Walking Tour Cali: Cycle Through the Beauty of Nature Cali: Whale Watching in the Colombian Pacific

Medellìn

Immediately after the capital Bogota, Medellìn is the largest metropolitan center in the country. Known in the past for the production of coffee, today the city is dedicated to the steel, mechanical, textile and food industries, alongside which there are those specialized in glass and ceramic processing. Sadly famous for the high crime spike recorded in the decade between 1980 and 1990 (you have surely heard of Comuna 13, the most infamous area of ​​the city), today Medellìn is recovering in the eyes of international tourism, showing a new face of rebirth and progress.

Among the highlights, we suggest you visit the Castle and the Roman Theater, the Iglesia de Santiago, the Church of San Martin, the Cortes square, the Spanish square, as well as the numerous city parks. To fully understand the history of the city, you could also take part in a free walking tour through the streets of Comuna 13, now redeveloped and full of street art.

  • Best time: the best months to visit Medellìn are from December to February, the only dry period of the year; however the most representative event of the city, the Feria de las Flores, takes place between July and August.
  • Main attractions: Roman Castle and Theater, Iglesia de Santiago, Church of San Martin, Comuna 13
  • starting from € 500,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 15,00 per room -
  • Medellin: Guided Graffiti Tour in Comuna 13 Guatapé and Piedra del Peñol: Tour and Boat Ride from Medellín Medellín: City Essentials and Historical Tour

Cartagena

With its 900.000 inhabitants and a warm climate practically all year round, Cartagena, or Cartagena de Indias, is the favorite destination for tourists visiting Colombia. In addition to being in a splendid bay surrounded by lagoons and coves, Cartagena is characterized by a enviable historic center, protected by UNESCO since 1984. Furthermore, it is one of the most peaceful cities in the entire country, which allows you to explore it far and wide, also enjoying a lively nightlife.

In addition to the historic area made up of colonial houses and pastel colors (where there are Plaza de los Coches, Plaza de la Aduana and the Iglesia de san Pedro Claver), go to the district of Gethsemane, characterized by a bohemian soul and vintage restaurants , and then continue towards the Bolivar Park, famous for its traditional dance performances. If you love pristine beachesFinally, consider taking an excursion to reach nearby Playa Blanca.

  • Best time: in Cartagena the climate is hot all year round, with temperatures that remain constant between 31 ° and 25 °; due to rainfall, however, the best time to visit is from December to April.
  • Main attractions: Bolivar Park, old town, Playa Blanca
  • starting from € 540,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 15,00 per room -
  • Cartagena de Indias: 2-hour sunset cruise Cartagena: 3-hour tapas tour Islas del Rosario: catamaran tour from Cartagena de Indias

Bogota

The capital of Colombia has more than 7 million inhabitants and is located in the center of the country at a height of 2600 meters. Divided into 20 neighborhoods, it houses some of the main Colombian government buildings, plus an insane amount of points of interest.

Among the religious buildings, for example, we find the Church of San Francesco (the oldest in the city), the Church of Veracruz (hosting about 80 corpses of heroes of the Colombian wars of independence), the Church of the Third Order (better known as the Church of the Stigmata) and many others. Other very interesting buildings to visit are the Botero Museum, which houses works by Picasso, Mirò, Degas and Monet; the Casa de Moneda de Colombia, the country's former mint, and the National Astronomical Observatory. Moreover, the city has an infinite number of green areas where you can spend your free time: among the most beautiful, the Simon Bolivar Metropolitan Park and the El Salitre Park.

  • Best time: Bogota's climate is cool and unstable all year round, with mid-season temperatures between 7 ° and 20 ° and a high probability of precipitation; for this reason, January and February are the best months to visit the capital, although an average of 7 rainy days per month is still expected
  • Main attractions: Church of San Francesco, Botero Museum, Casa de Moneda de Colombia
  • starting from € 500,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 15,00 per room -
  • Bogota: Salt Cathedral Group Tour with Daily Departure Bogotá: City Bike Tour Bogotá Helicopter Tour

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