My parents, like many people’s I imagine, were initially a little apprehensive about me moving to Colombia; after all, as we’re trying so hard to alter here at the Colombia Travel Blog, negative perceptions about the country still persist, partly down to sensationalist media accounts. However, as they’re my parents, they got on board pretty quickly and have since been to visit me twice, with a third trip on the cards for this July. And guess what? They love it too! Colombia is a perfect family destination: amazing diversity, friendly, welcoming people, good value travel…But where to take the parents? Here are my top parental Colombian destinations from my experiences of traveling Colombia with my Mum and Dad:
Yeah, it’s an obvious one, but the chances are that it’s also somewhere they’ve heard of! Plus, how can anyone not be blown away by the gorgeous blend of colonial architecture, costeno charm and Caribbean weather that is Cartagena. Full of boutique hotels and excellent restaurants, it’s the perfect first-stop destination for parents who perhaps haven’t ever traveled in a more off-the-beaten-track destination before…
Forget San Andres, nearby Providencia is the island par-excellance for family visits: much less touristy, with a more laid-back Caribbean charm, and amazing food. Plus, for such a paradisaical destination, it’s surprisingly good value for money, which parents are always glad for in my experience! And you can fly here from Cartagena easily. Perfect!
Tayrona National Park
Ecohabs! If you don’t know what I mean, the Ecohabs are stunning beach-side guesthouses which, although beautiful, are a little on the pricey side! Step forward the been-earning-money-for-30-years members of the family…But it’s win-win: they’ll be blown away by the jungles and beaches of Tayrona and you will finally get to visit the park without sleeping in a sandy tent (which, although uncomfortable, does have a certain charm). It’s worth noting that the hike into the main part of the park (Cabo San Juan and Arrecifes) is a long and hot one, and could prove tricky for more elderly relatives. The Ecohabs are accessible entirely by vehicle from the entrance so that makes it a lot easier for parents who might not be up to a long hike. My parents are in their fifties and relatively fit and they managed all of the hikes (including Pueblito) with plenty of water and breaks, and one tactical horseride…
Salento and the Cocora Valley
Located in the rolling green hills of the Coffee Triangle, Salento is a brilliant destination for a family holiday: lovely little pueblo, delicious fresh trout, hiking, coffee tours, and of course, the giant wax palms of the Cocora Valley. My Dad was so taken by Salento that he probably would have bought a house if we hadn’t stopped him…Plus, take them to play tejo and rana: they won’t believe it…then they’ll love it and be amazing at it!
Stay with me…many people can’t wait to be out of Bogota once they arrive, but it’s a great family holiday spot, at least after they fly in or before they leave. Day-trips to Zipaquira, Chicaque or Guatavita; world-class museums; some BBC beer for the father; Sunday markets in Usaquen; amazing restaurants…Bogota has a lot to offer. My parents were bowled over by the city: it’s a great place to change perceptions – Bogota still has a certain ring to it abroad, and my family were so pleasantly surprised by the independent coffee shops, bars, green parks etc. that they can’t wait to come back.
So there you have, some great ideas for your family holiday in Colombia. Any more suggestions? Have you visited Colombia with your parents or children? Please let us know in the comments section.