Family vacations are best when there is something to do for everyone, whether your family enjoys visiting museums, snorkeling, learning how to make chocolate, or learning about native culture – a family vacation to Colombia has it all!
Kuoda is ready to help you plan a perfect family vacation to Colombia, from visiting the beautiful seaside city of Cartagena to the almost Jurassic-looking landscapes of the Cocora Valley. The entire family is in for an absolutely unforgettable time on a Kuoda vacation to Colombia! Here are our top picks for family destinations to Colombia for some inspiration – read on and contact us today to start planning your family’s getaway.
Colombia’s Caribbean coast makes for the perfect destination for any family looking for some sun and sea, and Cartagena de Indias is its crown jewel. The vibrant coastal city will woo everyone in the family with its stunning colonial architecture, picturesque white sand beaches, and narrow cobbled streets.
The walled city has so much to do from dining, shopping, history, museums, culture, and outdoor activities both in the daytime and in the evening. Visit the Castilo San Felipe De Barajas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the three largest castles ever built in the Americas. Located atop San Lázaro Hill, the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas is a massive fortress with sloping ramparts that once guarded the landward approach to the Cartagena. Kids will enjoy exploring the maze of dark tunnels echoing every footstep, as well as the battlements with their rusted cannons.
Just 20 minutes north of the city lies the quaint fishing village of La Boquilla. Here you’ll find mangrove wetlands that are home to a wealth of natural treasures and the little ones in the family will love interacting with all of the interesting flora and fauna. Finally, don’t forget to visit the Choco Museum, where you’ll get the opportunity to create fresh chocolate bars from scratch and learn how to turn cocoa beans into chocolate!
Beyond the city, visiting Cartagena’s most idyllic beaches by boat is an easy feat with a private boat charter, which will take you to the Colombian coast’s many spectacular beaches including The Islas de Rosario and San Bernardo Archipelago. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphin sightings along the way!
2. Santa Marta, Parque Tayrona and Minca
Beachside Santa Marta is an established port city on the Caribbean coast that blends together indigenous, Spanish, and African cultures to create one of Colombia’s most interesting cities.
The city was established in 1525 by the Spanish and is one of the oldest cities in the Americas, as seen in the old cobblestone streets and architecture, which to this day has been well preserved in most areas of the city.
Within Santa Marta, travelers can find local markets, whitewashed cathedrals, and endless opportunities to explore nature such as the Caribbean’s best beaches, hiking trails, and the famous Tayrona National Park nearby – a Colombian gem that is teeming with wildlife, gorgeous beaches and some of the best opportunities for adventure on the Colombian coast. Here, the white sand beaches and turquoise waters neighbor a dense jungle full of tropical flora and fauna. After a jungle hike to the coast, visitors can expect to find total relaxation while sunbathing in one of the many bays or coves lining the park.
You can also choose to spend some time underwater with a snorkeling or scuba diving excursion through the sea. Not every beach is suitable for swimming, so if you want to get in the water a guided tour is your best option!
Hiking is unavoidable in Parque Tayrona, but not every walk is going to be a treacherous uphill feat of strength. Travelers who just want to unwind on the sandy shores can do so, but those who love a little exercise on vacation have some unbeatable trails here. Trails like the 9 Piedras Hike are a great way to see the jungle, get panoramic ocean views, and spot a few indigenous artifacts throughout the trail.
Finally, make sure to visit the town of Minca – tucked in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Minca is an outdoor family paradise with so much to do for everyone in the family. Swim in magnificent waterfalls and make friends with monkeys or go horseback riding on one of the many trails. The family can also enjoy visiting a local cocoa farm, and trying all of the goodies produced there like coffee and chocolate.
3. Rosario Islands
The Rosario Islands, located in the Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Cartagena, are an easily-accessible Colombian getaway destination with the white sand and clear water you’re dreaming of in a Caribbean vacation. The 27 islands are an hour away from Cartagena and make for an incredible weekend getaway while visiting the Colombian coast.
As one of the 46 national parks in Colombia, this beautiful island chain offers nature lovers an incredible opportunity to snorkel in one of the most biodiverse regions in South America, swim with bioluminescent plankton, and experience well-preserved coral reefs.
Families can enjoy the calm waters of the beaches on the Rosario Islands, and the many colorful fish and other incredible sea creatures, making the islands a perfect destination for snorkeling, even with the kids. Those looking to surf, parasail, kayak, or jetski will also find themselves with ample opportunity for adventure in the Rosario Islands, with plenty of tour operators in the region offering these activities.
Guatapé is a small pueblo just a short distance from Medellín, making it perfect for a day trip! This colorful rainbow town is famous for the “zocalos” that decorate the houses everywhere you go. Zocalos are the painted panels attached to individual homes that communicate a little information about the family within – either what their trade is or their family history! Guatapé’s streets are lined with colorfully painted homes that make for a pleasant stroll around town. Families will love how easily walkable the town of Guatape is, as well as the many lake activities like kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and more.
Willing to embark on a bit of an adventure? El Peñol has a steep staircase waiting for you! The famous rock formation juts out of the ground, casting an impressive shadow across the entire town. If you choose to climb all 740 steps to the top, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views of Laguna Guatapé.
5. Cocora Valley
Head into the Cocora Valley if you want to be immersed in a park that looks prehistoric. Mountains covered in bright green moss and foliage loom around you, with giant palm trees dotting the valley. Most visitors choose to hike their way through this region, admiring all of the incredible fauna and flora along the way. Outside of the quaint town of Salento is where the spectacular trail begins, in the midst of the cloud forest, jungle, farmland and, to top it all off, the tallest palm trees in the world. The national park status means that the area surrounding the valley is protected, which has helped to keep the landscape relatively untouched.
The area is also popular with birdwatchers, as there are over hundreds of species of birds that have been spotted in the park. Birdwatching enthusiasts can get a chance to see a variety of hummingbirds, Yellow-eared parrots, and the Andean Condor. In addition, you might get a chance to see sloths, Andean Beer, and even the occasional jaguar. For activities for the family, the Cocora Valley is a great place for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. In addition, thrill-seekers can take part in rafting, and scenic flights can be arranged to get a bird’s eye view of the valley.