Islas del Rosario
South America’s best-kept secret has transcended its recent history to become a safe and rewarding destination, blissfully free of crowds. Colombia is the land of magic realism, a place with its own well-defined national identity, unspoiled by exposure to foreign influence. Along with the bustling modern city of Bogotá, there are the twin splendors of the Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, lush rainforests, soaring Andean peaks and the picturesque cobblestone streets of Cartagena, one of the country’s seven UNESCO World Heritage sites. Just offshore, delve into the undersea world beneath the crystal-clear waters of the Rosario Islands. Descend into the salt mines of Zipaquira, where an entire cathedral has been carved from the mineral deposits. Among the world’s richest countries in terms of biodiversity, Colombia is also proud of its colorful cultural heritage, on display in a host of celebratory carnivals and festivals. Ideal for a quick getaway or a longer, more in-depth exploration, the country offers culinary adventures (Anthony Bourdain is a fan), the incredible gilded treasures of the Museo del Oro and hiking in the Corcora Valley’s verdant hills, where you can also visit a hacienda to learn about the process of growing, harvesting, drying and roasting Colombia’s famed coffee beans. From one end of the country to another, you will encounter lively and vivacious people eager to make you feel at home.