Family Vacation in Colombia
YOUR GUIDE TO COLOMBIA
YOUR GUIDE TO COLOMBIA
Colombia is the only country in South America to enjoy
sunbathed beaches that open towards both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.
Colombia Family Vacation With Kids:
How To Plan Your Perfect Getaway
The allure of Colombia is captured quite well in the natural bounties it possesses. Due to its strategic geographic positioning, it has lofty mountains that take you to one of the highest situated capital cities in the world, Bogotá; on the other hand, Andes virtually disappears in the west as it meets Venezuela, creating a large swath of tropical grasslands, the “Serengeti” of South America as it’s often called. Exploration of the outdoors in Colombia takes on many different colors and will prove to be an exciting playground for a well-planned family vacation. I’ve seen adventure junkies diving, climbing, rafting, zipping, trekking, and soaring, sometimes engaging in multiple activities in a day to pump out the last dredges of adrenaline from their bodies.
If you’re adventurous by nature, a Colombia family vacation might just show you a hidden mecca that you never knew existed. If you have very young children and feel that these heart-thumping adventures are not meant for them, you are still in the right place. There are several ways in which a well-thought-out vacation this country can you the fodder for strengthening your family bonds.
Like you could choose to hike through the jungle to visit the ancient city of Ciudad Perdida (literally “lost city” in Spanish) where your family can re-discover the Tayrona civilization, built some 650 years before Peru’s Machu Picchu. Frankly, the riveting truth about this place is that it was only discovered in the 1970s, a mere yesterday in archaeological terms. Known to be the most breathtaking hike in the country, the place is accessible only by foot; but fear not, it’s a particularly easy hike, and even small kids in the family should be able to make it. I promise that this hike will stay with you for a very long time.
"Lofty mountains take you to one of the highest capital cities in the world."
A Family Visit To Charming Medellín:
Fun Activities For Kids
Medellín is arguably the most beautiful city in the country, and the waves of stacked houses along the mountainside of Comuna 13 will give you some perspective on how human ingenuity can thrive in a nation that has gone through decades of unending conflict. Locals in the neighborhood we spoke with say they used to wake up to the sound of multiple gunshots on an almost daily basis. This was only a decade ago when drug lords ran the town. Now, the same place is a bustling neighborhood to which tourists flock in droves, and even petty crime isn’t a big concern any longer, making it imperative to make plans to visit this city on your Colombia family vacation.
Medellín is even more stunning if you can get a bird’s eye view of it, as I was quick to discover with my brand new DJI Mavic Pro drone. In the course of two days, I got intimate with its many alleyways and homes standing precariously by the mountain ridge. You can even take the steep road up to get a feel for the panoramic beauty of the surrounding landscape. However, the definition of beauty is usually very different for the kids that it is for the adults in the family. For those demanding souls, take the cable car ride (also called Metrocable) from high above the town as it closely hugs the many thousands of communal homes on the way. Their memorable trip down to the land of the mortals will have your kids ooh-ing and aah-ing in no time.
There are several other interesting family-friendly activities in the city. One of these is a walking tour of Medellín’s street art scene. You’ll get to see artworks from some of the most talented graffiti artists of the nation. For a more compact family itinerary, there are tour buses that will take you around the favelas so you can get an idea of how life is like inside them.
"Medellín is even more stunning if you can get a bird’s eye view of it, as I was quick to discover with my brand new drone."
Cartagena With Kids:
Best Family Travel Planning
Medellín And don’t miss Cartagena. A port city on the Caribbean coast, this colonial town is walled off on all sides, and has quaint cobblestone streets and exquisitely colored buildings to boast within those boundaries. The city is wildly popular among family vacationers from all age groups, and the only way to really explore this city is on foot. This is also the place where you’d find scattered throughout the town "las palenqueres" – beautifully adorned ladies carrying fruit baskets, a snapshot of the city’s historical past. The Old Town here is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and bougainvillea balconies, ornate churches, and a maze of interspersed lanes make the town a must-see for all culture and history enthusiasts, but especially for budding photographers in the family. For kids, an exciting proposition could be to visit the Chocolate Museum (Museo del Cacao) to participate in their chocolate-making workshops. Or if you want to go a step further to bring out the inner pirate in your kids, bring your family inside the Buccaneer Galleon Museum (Museo Galeón Bucanero) where they can pretend-play in a 17th century Spanish catamaran.
The beaches around Cartagena have enough charisma to get the kids happily hooked, but for a much more immersive family fun outing, you could take them on a short boat ride to the nearby Rosario Islands where the color of water is clear turquoise. But use caution: once they’re in the water, it will take all the rules in your parenting guidebook to drag them out of it.
"Use caution: once the kids are in the turquoise water, it will take all the rules in your parenting guidebook to drag them out."
The Most Colorful City In The World:
Visiting Guatapé With Kids
Then there’s the sheer breathtaking beauty of the Andean resort town of Guatapé, which ought to be an all-around winner among everyone in the family. Renowned as one of the most colorful towns anywhere in the world, the entire place is dotted with lakes and forests and hillocks. A truly massive granite structure here is Piedra del Peñol, and if you’re brave enough to climb its many hundreds of steps to reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the stunning scenery. Of course, in my case, I let my drone do that job. But if your hyperactive kids have energy to burn this might be a great opportunity to let them zigzag their way up the 650 steps to take them to the summit of this bizarre monolith.
But know that once you’ve reached the top, you’re bound to meet other families who’ve been brave enough to arrive here. You’ll also not remember your grueling ascension, for the scenery around you with the many islets creeping into the blue waterways creating a picturesque shoreline is going to be stupendous.
The charm of Guatapé, just a few miles from this place, is not just in the enormously bright and colorful all-around atmosphere, but also in the distinct realization that the streets here aren’t as overcrowded as they should be considering the iconic beauty of this town. Indeed, most tourists haven’t found out about this quaint hamlet, giving your family the perfect opportunity to explore freely its relatively empty street corners.
"Know that once you’ve reached the top, you’ll in no way remember the grueling journey you just went through, for the scenery around you is going to be stupendous."
"Colombia can be the perfect family getaway for those seeking an off-the-beaten path adventure with kids and family."
So yes, Colombia is a beautiful country, and generally a very safe place for a family vacation. Unfortunately, many westerners are still hung up over its stigma of murders from decades ago. The present reality couldn’t be more different though. And just as most of the Latin American countries, kids are greatly revered, and family bonding is an inseparable part of the Colombian society. Remember too that all the paid entrance fees to parks and attractions are heavily discounted for children, and as a family, you’d generally get value pricing, giving you another reason to travel as a group in this country.
So, what is our take? Well, with a welcoming population, kid-friendly atmosphere, and much of its beauty still undisturbed, pristine, and authentic, Colombia can be the perfect getaway for those seeking an off-the-beaten path adventure with kids and family.
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