View from San Agustin Photo by Tijs Zwinkels via Flickr Creative Commons

The natural wonders of colorful Colombia easily lend themselves to fun in the sun. With two coasts, the sea plays a large part in recreation, whether it is diving to explore undercover wrecks, reefs and rays or whale watching from a boat on the surface. Of course, sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling are all very popular things to do, particularly around Santa Marta and Cartagena.

Colombia also offers some unusual activities that take in the culture and physical beauty of the land. Coffee Tours are a great way to take in the heritage of the export, while tasting local produce amongst stunning scenery.

Located on both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, beaches are the obvious draw to Columbia. Cartagena and Santa Marta are the most famous, while the pristine setting of Tayrona National Park has some of the most beautiful on the east coast. The sandy shores of the tourist friendly towns of Juanhchaco and Ladrilleros are favorite spots in the Choco province on the Pacific side. Contact Latin America Collection for packages and more information.

Columbia is well known for being a leader in salsa dancing and there are plenty of clubs and schools in Cali or Cartagena to learn a few moves. The Latin Dance School combines a sense of enjoyment with a technical approach, while Jovita’s Hostel was the first accommodation in the town to offer professional salsa classes for guests.

The former penal colony on Gorgona Island is now a national park that boasts no less than nine scuba diving spots to get up close and personal with white tip sharks, whale sharks and whales. The Parque Nacional Natural Isla Gorgona Dive Shop rents gear and can arrange tours. San Andres’ 30 dive spots make it another prime destination with reefs to see turtles, barracuda, grouper, and two wrecks - the Blue Diamond and Nicaraguense. San Andres based Blue Life Dive offers PADI courses and dive tours.

Colombia is a major coffee producer and exporter with coffee tours, being the South American equivalent of a European wine tasting. Tour operators such as Viator offers day trips from Bogota to the Hacienda Coloma Coffee Plantation where an expert guide will take you through the coffee making process culminating in a taste test. Alternatively, See Colombia Travel has full packages to the coffee triangle incorporating farm tours, samples and visits to Armenia, Manizales and Pereira, the cities built on beans.

Colombia is often overlooked for whale watching, but humpback whales can often be spotted off Bahia Solano on the Pacific Ocean, especially in August and September. Bottlenose, spinner and Atlantic spotted dolphins are also regularly seen on the shores. Tours can be organized through Posada del Mar Hostel or Posada Turistica Rocas de Cabo Marzo.

Colombia’s location between Panama and Venezuela makes it ideal for fishing. The town of Cartagena is one of the better known locations, hosting a number of fishing tournaments every year. The catch of the day could include tuna, billfish, sailfish marlin, dolphin, wahoo, or kingfish. Gear rental and charter boats can be booked through Todomar Marina.

The small town of San Gil bills itself as an adventure destination, particularly for river rafting. Colombia River Expedicions is one of the better known operators offering a range of day tours for all abilities. From the challenging class IV and V runs of the Saurez River to the more family friendly class III trips down the Chicamocha and Fonce rivers, there is something for every water lover.

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