Colombia’s top 5 insider experiences

Posted by Crooked Compass

Colombia is an incredibly unique, welcoming and unspoilt destination showcasing some of the most fascinating culture and experiences in South America. Whether it be stargazing in Tatacoa desert, mountain biking in the Sierra Nevada or participating in a cooking class in Cartagena, Colombia caters to every adrenaline junkie, budget conscious or sophisticated traveller’s needs. We share with you our top five insider experiences to make your next trip to Colombia one that you will not forget!

cartegena street food vendors
Cartegena street food vendors

1. Hike through Chingaza National Park  

Chingaza National Park is situated in the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes and is home to incredible landscapes, unique wildlife encounters and over 2000 different species of plants. Witness the spectacled bear, the páramo tapir, the Andean condor and if you are quick enough, the puma just to name a few! Explore ancient and sacred sites and be blown away by Chingaza National Parks natural beauty dotted with majestic lakes.

 

Chingaza National Park , National Park, Colombia, Hiking, Animals, Landscapes, Crooked Compass
Stunning hiking trails are found in Chingza National Park

2.  Play Tejo with the locals

In Bogota, Tejo is a traditional sport which is played by many locals and often includes a little gambling, plenty of laughter and friendly banter amongst players, as well as copious amounts of traditional food and beer. Tejo is played by throwing a metal disc or puck at a distance of approximately 20 metres, with the aim of hitting the centre of the board with the metal disc. In the centre of the board there is a circular metal ring filled with gunpowder like material that explodes on impact if hit. Tejo is a fantastic Colombian game and offers travellers a great way to immerse themselves into and experience the local way of life.

 

Tejo, Colombia, Bogota, Games, South America, Crooked Compass
Seeking an explosion!

3. Market Visit and Foodie Tour

Cartagena de India’s market visit and food tour provides fascinating insight into the culinary world of Colombia’s famous Caribbean coast and is designed for those adventurous travellers who are interested in indigenous cooking using local ingredients. Begin in Mercado Bazurto, Cartagena’s bustling central market, where you will be accompanied by a local chef who will help you select fresh ingredients that will be used during your cooking class. From here, you will transfer to a private colonial house in the walled city where you will prepare your masterpiece with the help of your expert guide.

 

Cartagena de Indias, market visit, food tour, Mercado Bazurto, Colombia, South America, Crooked Compass
Fresh food, get in my belly!

 4. Stargazing in Tatacoa Desert

The Tatacoa Desert, is the second largest arid zone in Colombia and occupies 300 square kilometres of land. Enjoy the unique experience of getting back to nature and witnessing thousands of stars dispersed across the clear night sky. The Tatacoa Desert receives virtually no light pollution, making it one of the best places in Colombia for stargazing. At the observatory, a local astronomer is on hand to provide information on the stars and point out the constellations. This is a truly unique and memorable experience and should be on your bucket list!

 

Tatacoa Desert, Stargazing, desert, Colombia, South America, Crooked Compass
Stargazing in Tatcoa Desert - Photo Credit: Travel & Leisure

5. Visit a local indigenous community

In Santa Marta, enjoy a full day trip and visit two indigenous Colombian communities, the Arhuaco and Kogui. Throughout the day, you will trek through the Mamaisi River and Sierra Nevada forests, learn about the traditional indigenous customs and culture, discuss mythology and be invited to see one of the houses that belongs to the indigenous community members. You will also have the unique opportunity to participate in the daily activities of the Arhuaco and Kogui people, including learning how to barter for food according to the community’s lifestyle. This is a truly eye-opening, fun and fascinating cultural experience!

 

the Arhuco and Kogui people, indigenous community, homestay, santa marta, colombia, South America, Crooked Compass
Let's get local!

Want to make these experiences yours? Check out our range of Colombia small group tours!