COLOMBIA, an emerging destination which boasts all of South America’s allure and more, an exciting destination well-worth visiting. Soaring Andean summits, unspoiled Caribbean coast, Amazon jungle, archaeological ruins, desert and plains - whatever you desire.
Although the word “unsafe” may jump to mind when mentioning this country, according to Lonely Planet today Colombia is a safe, affordable, accessible and utterly thrilling destination.
Some of the best preserved Amazon jungle is found in Colombia. You can float down Amazonian backwaters and spend a couple of nights in one of the lodges on the Rio Yavari.
The beaches at Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona near Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast are among the country’s most beautiful.
Medellin is now coming into the limelight with stylish restaurants and a buzzing nightlife while Bogota has much to offer with cobbled streets, colourful buildings, excellent museums and areas particularly renowned for restaurants, shopping and bars
For those seeking adventure, you can gravitate to the playground of San Gil, famous for its Class IV and V rapids on the Rio Suarez. Here you can paddle, peddle, paraglide, rappel - the list of high-octane amusements are endless.
Naturally a trip to Colombia is not complete without a visit to the coffee farms in the Zona Cafetera. Here you can jump into a classic WWII jeep and embark on a coffee tasting adventure. Some of the best farms have welcomed tourism, eager to show visitors what sets Colombian coffee apart.
Last but not least Colombians are welcoming and friendly people. All you need to do is spend some time in this beautiful country and you’ll be wowed and amazed.
Colombia is a year-round destination especially along the Caribbean coast and in Medellin where warm, dry weather is prevalent throughout all seasons. The high (and dry) season is from December-March. Planning ahead is crucial as this period sees a huge influx of local and international visitors. Otherwise in general weather patterns are determined more by region than clearly defined seasons.
Why not make COLOMBIA one of your chosen destinations when planning a holiday to South America!
COLCA CANYON PERU: No visit to Peru is complete without a visit to Colca Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world (actually twice as deep as the Grand Canyon). The main reason to visit this area is to glimpse the majestic Andean condors riding on the morning’s thermals. They are one of the world’s heaviest and longest-living birds with a wingspan of up to 3.2 metres and a lifespan of up to 70 years. Despite their size they are very strong and graceful in the air.
The Andean condor is a national symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It plays an important role in the folklore and mythology of the Andean regions. Condors are considered to be sacred creatures and people call them the “apu”, which is like a god. They say the condor is a messenger from the other world, the connection between this life and the other life. Peru’s condors are such a vital part of Andean culture that in 2015 the government announced a National Strategy to protect, conserve and hopefully increase the numbers of condors across Peru which at present are threatened by habitat loss and by secondary poisoning from carcasses killed by hunters.
Although condor sightings are not 100% predictable the best view point to see these mighty birds is the Cruz del Condor. It is best to be up early and wait rather than miss them. Remember it can be cold so dress up warmly. Seeing these birds is a powerful and unforgettable experience.
PERU: “Land of the Incas”, ranks amongst the world's great centers of ancient cultures. A fascinating history that spans thousands of years and countless civilizations from 2000BC to the bloody conquest by the Spanish in the 1500s has left the Peru of today with a myriad of amazing ancient sites which fascinate travelers and archaeologists alike.
Machu Picchu (The Lost City of the Incas), notably one of South America's (and the world’s) most famous sights, was discovered in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. It sits on a saddle between two lushly forested peaks, and its inaccessible location only heightens its impressiveness. You can access the site by train from Cuzco or the Sacred Valley which brings you to the valley below and then take a bus journey up the windy road cut into the side of the mountain. Alternatively for the more active and adventurous you can walk the Inca Trail!
Peru is a year round destination, although the peak season for visiting the Andean areas is between May and October. Outside of this period it can be rainy, although this offers the advantage of fewer visitors, greener scenery and abundant flora, including orchids at Machu Picchu. The mountainous Andean area is in general cold and dry while the Amazon area or jungle is tropical, hot and humid all year round.
Whether your interest lies in ancient ruins, trekking, wildlife, discovering the joys of the welcoming and colourful Peruvian culture or all of the above, Peru will offer a stimulating and rewarding travel experience.
CUSCO PERU: Just another night in Cusco, Peru…but not for the faint hearted!
Spend a night in a Skylodge Adventure Suite (hanging lodge) overlooking the Sacred Valley. This is quite a unique experience. You sleep in a transparent hanging bedroom 400 metres above the valley floor which gives you the opportunity to appreciate a magnificent view of the valley by night as well as the Milky Way. A tasty dinner and breakfast rounds off this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
How to get there and back: Via Ferrata. Climb using metal ladders or or use a zipline trail. The return is via zipline. No previous experience is necessary (just loads of guts!)
This is a great activity for any adventure junkie or for those who wish to get out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves.
Distant Horizons is renowned for creating unusual itineraries and would be happy to include this special night as part of your Peru holiday or honeymoon. Watch the video to get a better idea.