Colombia is a country full of surprises, with hidden gems that go beyond the popular tourist destinations of Cartagena, Tayrona, Medellin, and Bogota. If you're looking to explore Colombia off the beaten path, there are plenty of options to choose from, including the Bucaramanga region.
Located in the northeastern part of the country, the Bucaramanga region is often overlooked by travelers, making it an excellent destination for those looking to explore lesser-known parts of Colombia. One of the highlights of the region is the Chicamocha Canyon, which is one of the deepest canyons in the world. Visitors can take a cable car ride across the canyon for stunning views of the landscape below.
Another destination to consider is the town of Barichara. Located just a short distance from Bucaramanga, Barichara is a picturesque colonial town with cobblestone streets and white-washed buildings. The town is known for its beautiful churches and plazas and is a perfect place to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
For those who enjoy hiking and outdoor activities, the town of San Gil is a must-visit. Located in the Santander region, San Gil is known as the adventure capital of Colombia. The town is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including the Chicamocha Canyon, which is one of the deepest canyons in the world. Visitors can go white-water rafting, kayaking, paragliding, or caving, among other activities.
In addition to its natural beauty, the Bucaramanga region is also known for its cuisine, with a variety of dishes featuring locally grown ingredients. One of the most popular dishes is the "Hormigas Culonas" or big-bottomed ants, which are typically served roasted or in a spicy sauce.
If you're looking to get off the beaten path even further, head to the Chocó region on the Pacific coast. This area is known for its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and incredible biodiversity. It's also one of the few places in the world where you can see humpback whales up close. While the region is more difficult to get to than some of the other destinations on this list, the stunning scenery and unique experiences make it well worth the effort.
One of the first places to consider visiting is the town of Jardin. Located in the southwestern part of the country, Jardin is a small, picturesque town that offers a glimpse into the traditional Colombian way of life. The town is known for its colorful houses, cobblestone streets, and laid-back vibe. One of the highlights of Jardin is taking a cable car up to the top of a nearby mountain for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
Another destination to consider is the Tatacoa Desert. Located in the Huila region of Colombia, the Tatacoa Desert is a unique landscape of red and grey rock formations, canyons, and cacti. The desert is relatively unknown to tourists, making it a peaceful and tranquil place to explore. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from December to March, when the temperatures are milder.
In conclusion, if you're looking to travel off the beaten path, Colombia is an excellent destination to consider. With its stunning natural beauty, colonial towns, and outdoor activities, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, being relatively unknown to tourists, you'll have the opportunity to experience the authentic culture of Colombia without the crowds.