With a handful of bustling major cities filled with culture and charm, plus endless stunning white sandy beaches, there really isn't a reason not to visit Colombia.

Add onto that incredibly rich biodiversity, exquisite cuisine, and, oh, possibly the best coffee in the entire world, and you have yourself even more reasons to book a trip to Colombia in 2019.

It has several vibrant major cities

1. Bogotá

As the capital of Colombia, Bogotá's central location is a great starting point for your trip. Bogotá is full of art, fashion, cultural experiences, and delicious cuisine.

Fernando Botero is one of Colombia's most prized possessions, a Medellín-born painter who is famous worldwide for his plus-sized interpretations of people, food, and animals. The Botero Museum in Bogotá is free and houses one of the most important collections of international art in Latin America, with 123 of Botero's artworks, and 85 from other outstanding international artists.

Colombia is also known for producing some of the world's best coffee, and Bogotá itself is home to some of the nation's richest beans. Click here to see where you can sip on the best cup of coffee in Bogotá.

2. Medellín

Alright, we know what you're thinking: Isn't this the city that housed Pablo Escobar's infamous drug cartel? Though this is true, the days of Escobar are a thing of the past and the city is now safe for foreign tourists.

Medellín locals couldn't be more welcoming, and the area is referred to as the "City of Eternal Spring" for offering idyllic year-round weather, with annual average temperatures of around 72°F.

While visiting Medellín, be sure to check out Arví Park, an ecotourism park and Pre-Hispanic archeological site with a gondola featuring extraordinary views of the city's endless natural beauty.

If you can't get enough of Fernando Botero's artwork, head to Plaza Botero, home to 23 of the Paisa's (a name for Medellín locals) larger-than-life sculptures.

Lights of Medellin, Colombia in the evening

3. Barranquilla (Carnival)

There is one major reason you should visit Barranquilla, and that's because it hosts the second largest Carnaval celebration in the world, coming second only to Rio de Janiero. Carnaval is a Western Christian and Greek Orthodox celebration that occurs directly before the liturgical season of Lent, with the largest celebrations in the world incorporating music, dancing, costumes, and extravagant parades.

Barranquilla's four-day-long Carnaval festival has been celebrated since the 19th century and has even received a UNESCO World Heritage Award for being a magnificent example of a folkloric expression.

Carnaval de Barranquilla is arguably Colombia's most famous and recognized celebration, and one of the most spectacular displays of Colombian culture, blending African and Spanish dances, musical genres like cumbia with variants such as the Puya and Porro, and folk instruments, including Tambora and Allegre drums, maraca, and claves.

For more information on Barranquilla's 2019 Carnaval celebration, click here.

4. Cartagena

Cartagena is a prominent port city on Colombia's Caribbean coast, characterized by its vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture, colorful streets, and the horse-drawn carriages found throughout the city.

Home to some stunning white sand beaches, Cartagena is also known for its cuisine, with some stand-out dishes including mondongo soup, egg arepas, exotic tropical fruits, and pargo frito -- a fried whole fish with coconut rice, smashed and fried plantains, and a simple salad.

Another great reason you should visit Cartagena in 2019 is its favorable weather year round. If you're looking to get away during the dreadful winter months at the beginning of the year, Cartagena has average high temperatures of 87°F in January and February. That's why we recently named it one of the 8 Best Warm Places To Visit In January.

Cartagena, Colombia.
Cartagena. Wikimedia Commons

It has some incredible beaches

5. Pillón de Azúcar

Known as the beach where the orange desert meets the aqua sea, Pillón de Azúcar is a small cove where the Guajira Desert kisses the Caribbean.

Situated just 30 minutes from Cabo de la Vela, Pillón de Azúcar is easy to reach and is admired for the contrast of its turquoise waters adjacent to desert hues of red, yellow, and orange. The beach's surrounding cove includes sand dunes, cliffs, hills, and dramatic rock formations.

Commonly regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches you'll find in Colombia, Pillón de Azúcar can be visited year round and reached by motorbike from the previously mentioned quaint fishing village of Cabo de la Vela.

6. Tayrona National Natural Park

A vast protected area covering the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria, the highest coastal mountain in the world, Tayrona National Natural Park comprises six stunning white sand beaches: Chengue, Gayraca, Cinto, Neguanje, Concha, and Guachaquita.

The foothills plunge into the sea forming beautiful bays and coves, surrounded by mangrove swamps, and bushes and forests that bask in the water of the Caribbean Sea. Furthermore, the park is known for its palm-shaded coves, coastal lagoons, rainforest, and rich biodiversity.

Tayrona National Natural Park houses the Pueblito ruins, an archeological site that can be accessed via forest trails, including terraces and structures built by the Tayrona civilization, with a history dating back more than 2,000 years ago.

Tayrona is one of the nation's most prominent natural parks and is a great place to visit for travelers seeking rest and relaxation.

The beaches of Tayrona National Natural Park
The beaches of Tayrona National Natural Park. Wikimedia Commons

7. Playas de la Providencia

Since development on the island is strictly controlled, all of the Playas de la Providencia are bereft of buildings, and travelers can enjoy peace and quiet at any of the area's five beaches, including Playa Manzanillo, South West Bay, Freshwater Bay, Maracaibo Bay, and Santa Isabel.

Instead of being bogged down by large touristy hotels, the only things you'll find on these vacant beaches are coconut palms, mangroves, and the occasional shack or restaurant serving beer, piña coladas, and fresh seafood dishes.

Playa Manzanillo stretches 900 feet and is situated on the Southeast coast of the island, a bit off the beaten path. Visitors are obliged either to take a long walk or rent a golf cart to reach this pristine white sand beach, but we promise the venture will be well worth it.

It's the 2nd most biodiverse nation in the world

Colombia is known for being the second most biodiverse nation in the world next to Brazil, with an incredible bird, amphibian, and plant richness to be found throughout the country. Home to a whopping 1,826 species, Colombia has more bird species than any other nation on the planet.

Colombia owes its biological richness to having a variety of ecosystems, including tropical rainforest in the Amazon and Choco, mountain habitats like the Sierra Nevada and the Andes, the grasslands of the llanos and páramos, and islands such as Gorgona in the Pacific and San Martín in the Caribbean.

If you're an animal or nature lover, you should definitely be considering a trip to Colombia in 2019.

Guatapé, Colombia. Unsplash / Milo Miloezger

Put Colombia on your list for 2019 before it becomes super popular! Happy trails.

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