The diversity and richness of Colombia’s national territory and culture, means the country offers all manner of activities and sports. The country accordingly caters to almost every possible interest and taste. Active visitors and fans of extreme sports, in particular, will certainly not be disappointed.
Here's our advice on the best places to visit for adrenaline junkies and those who want to get active during their stay:
Explore Underwater Environments...
One of the primary areas in which to pursue adventure activities in Colombia is in the country’s water features. Extended Pacific and Caribbean coastlines provide a wealth of excellent scuba diving and snorkeling sites.
Warm waters and high visibility on the Caribbean in particular mean divers flock to sites including San Andres and Providencia, Capurgana, Golfo de Morrosquillo (near Tolu), Islas del Rosario (Cartagena), and Taganga (Santa Marta).
...And Those Above the Surface
On Colombia’s Pacific side there are unrivaled opportunities for whale watching during a few months of the year, especially around Bahia Solano and Buenaventura.
The larger waves and stronger winds at beaches along this coast also attract those wishing to engage in sports such as surfing, kitesurfing and stand-up paddle boarding.
Want to speak Spanish with Colombians as naturally as you'd chat in English with your friends back home? Well, you'll need to learn a load of local slang and expressions first.
Thisshows you the fun stuff that your textbook missed.
Looking to turbo charge your Colombian Spanish?
Fast track from dull ‘textbook Spanish’ to sounding like a native with our Colombian Spanish Language Hacks email course.
Sign up now for 7 days of expert tips that will instantly transform your Spanish!
Off to Colombia?
Well, you better not leave without first signing up for our FREE email course to the best of Colombia's Spanish and slang.
Learn all the coolest lingo that you'll need to have fun with locals, but which the textbooks will never teach you.
Yet, you need not travel to the coast to get involved with these sorts of activities. Inland Colombia has plenty of lakes and rivers where you can try your hand at kayaking, caving, sailing and the like. Of the considerable number of destinations available, we recommend you check out the activities and excursions on offer at Rio Claro, located a few hours' travel from Bogota, and in Guatape, which lies a short way away from central Medellin.
In addition to the activities available on the waterfront, Guatape is also a great place to visit if you're keen on rock climbing. Looming over the area's multiple lakes is the several-hundred meter tall La Piedra Del Peñol (Peñol Rock) which you can arrange to scale-up on your own steam. If you don't fancy clambering up the rock face itself, you can always scale this dramatic geological feature by using the stairs that have been installed by local authorities.
Colombia’s multiple rivers, valleys and waterfalls are, in and of themselves, highly picturesque and enjoyable places to explore. Many of them are also used as the scene of other active pursuits such as canyoning, climbing, and rafting.
A number of operators offering such outings are clustered around San Gil in the east of the country, and in the valleys around Medellin. These mountainous areas additionally offer the opportunity to paraglide, and soar over the area for panoramic views of your surroundings. This is an excellent way to take in the spectacular Aburra valley, in which Medellin is nestled.
For Cultural Vultures
For those seeking activities more directly related to the local culture, a highly recommended pursuit is to take some salsa classes and later to put your new moves to the test in Colombia’s numerous clubs. Though you can easily do this in any part of Colombia, it is Cali where the Latin rhythms are biggest and best.
To help you integrate better with locals and Colombian culture you may also wish to stay a while and learn the language. Spanish courses are often in professional, as well as more informal, language schools in all major cities and tourist destinations. Once you've mastered the basics, you can supplement your Spanish with the local slang for a more natural sound.
Those who gain a reasonable grasp of the language will find that this opens the door to a whole host of new activities and possibilities. If you have the time, you may also wish to consider undertaking a short or long-term volunteer placement in Colombia and help give something back to the country and its people.