Colombia or Brazil – Which is Better The Ultimate Comparison

By: Author Ruben Arribas

Posted on March 18, 2024

Categories Brazil , Colombia , Comparisons

So, you’re sitting there, scrolling through your phone, trying to decide on your next travel adventure, right? Colombia or Brazil – which one’s going to make the cut for your next epic journey? It’s like trying to pick between a steaming cup of Colombian coffee and a refreshing caipirinha on a Brazilian beach – both are tempting in their unique ways.

We’re here to help you figure that out, in the most laid-back way possible. Think of us as those travel buddies who’ve wandered through the vibrant streets of Bogotá and danced samba till dawn in Rio. We’ve savored the flavors, embraced the cultures, and yes, we’ve navigated the tricky bits too. Now, we’re here to share it all with you, one chilled-out chat at a time.

Colombia and Brazil often find themselves in the same conversation because they’re both filled with lush landscapes, bustling cities, and that unbeatable Latin charm. But when you get down to it, comparing them is a bit like asking whether you prefer the rush of exploring a hidden jungle or the joy of losing yourself in a carnival crowd. They offer different kinds of magic.

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In this guide, we’re not just tossing Colombia and Brazil into a ring to duke it out. Nope. We’re taking you on a laid-back journey through both, sprinkling in our “comparings,” “betweens,” and “whiles” to paint you a picture that’s as colorful and varied as the destinations themselves. Whether you’re in it for the incredible food, the diverse activities, or simply want to understand what sets these two countries apart (and what they share), we’ve got your back.

Grab a cold one, settle into your favorite chair, and let’s dive into this travel showdown. Who knows? By the end, you might just find yourself booking a flight to explore the wonders of Colombia or the vibrant life in Brazil. Or, who knows, maybe both? Let’s find out together.

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Table of Contents

Natural Wonders and Adventures: Colombia or Brazil

Picking between Colombia and Brazil for your next adventure? It’s like deciding whether you’re in the mood for a mountain hike or a beach day – both are awesome, but in totally different ways. Here’s a quick tour through the natural beauty each place offers, keeping it simple and straight to the point.

Colombia’s Cool Spots:

Mountains & Coffee: Colombia is famous for its breathtaking Andes mountains and world-class coffee regions. Picture yourself sipping a fresh brew with panoramic views of lush greenery. It’s a hiker’s and coffee lover’s paradise. Head to the Zona Cafetera for your coffee fix amidst the mountains. Towns like Salento offer jaw-dropping views and coffee plantation tours that are as informative as they are scenic.

Caribbean Coast: Ever dreamt of chilling in a hammock between palm trees, with the Caribbean Sea whispering nearby? Tayrona National Park, near Santa Marta, is where you get those iconic hammock and palm tree views, along with beautiful hiking trails. For a more cultural experience, Cartagena’s historic charm and nearby beaches offer a perfect mix.

Amazon Access: Dive into the heart of the Amazon from Leticia. It’s a bit more off-the-beaten-path, giving you a chance to experience the jungle’s raw beauty up close. Leticia is your gateway to the Colombian Amazon. It’s less touristy, allowing for more authentic jungle experiences. From here, you can embark on river cruises, visit indigenous communities, and explore the dense rainforest.

Brazil’s Big Hits:

Amazon River Adventures: Brazil takes you on epic journeys along the Amazon River, where you can explore the world’s largest rainforest by boat. It’s an unforgettable way to witness wildlife and meet communities living in harmony with nature. Manaus serves as the launch point for most Amazon River excursions. You can explore the rainforest, visit local communities, and even stay in jungle lodges for a full immersion experience.

Iguazu Falls: These massive waterfalls are a must-see. The sheer power and size of Iguazu are incredible, and the surrounding national park adds even more to the experience. Located on the border with Argentina, these falls are accessible from Foz do Iguaçu. The surrounding national park offers trails and boat tours that get you up close with the falls.

Beaches for Days: With a coastline that seems to go on forever, Brazil’s beaches range from party-ready Copacabana to the tranquil, almost untouched sands of Fernando de Noronha. For party vibes, Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana and Ipanema are unbeatable. If you’re after something more secluded, Fernando de Noronha offers pristine beaches and incredible diving spots.

What Sets Them Apart? Colombia shines with its varied landscapes that allow for quick transitions from highland to coastal experiences, enriched by the country’s coffee culture. Brazil, with its sheer size, offers expansive adventures, from the heart of the Amazon to the thundering waters of Iguazu Falls and endless coastline.

Where Will You Go? Fancy a mix of culture, mountains, and beaches with a side of coffee? Colombia’s diverse regions have you covered. Or if it’s the grandeur of nature and beach life calling your name, Brazil’s iconic spots are waiting. Each country presents a world of adventure, just waiting to be explored.

So, What’s the Difference? While Colombia offers a mix of mountainous adventures and unique cultural experiences tied to its coffee and indigenous heritage, Brazil dazzles with its vast, untamed natural landscapes and a beach culture that’s second to none. In Colombia, you can easily hop from Andean peaks to Caribbean beaches in a single trip. Brazil, on the other hand, invites you on grand-scale adventures, whether that’s trekking through the Amazon or soaking in the grandeur of Iguazu Falls.

Choosing Your Adventure: It really comes down to what kind of natural beauty and adventure you’re craving. Looking for diverse landscapes with a side of coffee? Colombia’s your spot. Dreaming of endless beaches and jungle cruises? Brazil awaits. Either way, you’re in for an incredible experience.

Cultural Experiences: Colombia or Brazil

Colombia: a melting pot of rhythms and traditions.

Festivals Galore: Colombia is a country that lives and breathes festivals. The Feria de Cali for salsa lovers, Medellín’s Flower Festival with its explosion of colors, and the unique Barranquilla Carnival showcasing the country’s diverse cultures. Each festival is a window into Colombia’s soul, offering lively music, dazzling dances, and a chance to join the locals in celebration.

Music and Dance: Dive into the heart of Colombia’s cultural identity through its music and dance. Vallenato and cumbia offer rhythmic stories of love, country life, and history. Cities like Cali, known as the salsa capital of the world, invite you to sway and step into the night.

Art and History: Colombia’s cities are canvases painted with the country’s rich history and art. Bogotá’s Gold Museum and the colonial streets of Cartagena tell tales of ancient riches and pirate legends. Meanwhile, the vibrant street art in Medellín and Bogotá gives voice to modern stories and social movements.

Brazil: A Carnival of Culture

Carnival: Brazil’s Carnival is the epitome of cultural celebration, a spectacle of glitter, costumes, and samba that sweeps through cities like Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. It’s not just a party; it’s a display of artistic creativity, unity, and the spirit of Brazilian joy.

Music and Samba: Music is the heartbeat of Brazil, from the soulful tunes of bossa nova to the energetic beats of samba and forró. Rio’s lively samba schools prepare all year for Carnival, but their doors are open to those keen to learn the dance or just soak in the rhythms.

Cuisine: Brazilian cuisine is a flavorful fusion of Indigenous, African, and Portuguese influences. From the national dish, feijoada, to street food like acarajé and the ubiquitous açaí, Brazil’s culinary scene is a testament to its cultural diversity.

Nature and Culture Interwoven: The Amazon isn’t just a natural wonder; it’s a cultural treasure, home to Indigenous communities preserving their way of life. Meanwhile, cities like Salvador celebrate Afro-Brazilian heritage, offering a deep dive into the history and contributions of African descendants in Brazil.

In comparing the cultural experiences of Colombia and Brazil, we see two countries vibrant with traditions, music, dance, and festivals, each offering unique windows into their souls. Whether you’re drawn to the rhythm of salsa in Colombia or the samba beats of Brazil, both countries promise an unforgettable journey through their rich cultural landscapes. The choice between them depends on the kind of cultural immersion you seek: the intimate storytelling of Colombia’s music and festivals or the grand, jubilant celebration of life that is Brazil’s Carnival.

Wrapping Up the Cultural Journey

Navigating through Colombia and Brazil’s cultural landscapes is like flipping through the pages of two vividly illustrated storybooks. Each page, each festival, each melody tells a part of their soulful narratives. In Colombia, the stories are intimate, woven into the fabric of daily life and celebrated in colorful festivals that invite personal connection. Brazil’s narrative is grand, a sweeping epic that dances through the streets during Carnival and hums in the background of everyday life.

The cultural journey doesn’t lead you to choose which country is better but invites you to experience how each country celebrates life. Whether it’s getting lost in the rhythm of Colombia’s cumbia or immersing yourself in the spectacle of Brazil’s samba, the richness of these experiences adds unforgettable chapters to your own travel story.

So, What’s the Cultural Vibe?

Alright, after this little cultural tour through Colombia and Brazil, you’ve probably noticed one thing – both places are bursting with life, color, and sounds. In Colombia, it feels like every day is a reason to celebrate, whether it’s through their heartfelt music or vibrant festivals. It’s about diving deep into traditions and coming out with a bunch of new friends.

Brazil? It’s a party that everyone’s invited to, with Carnival as the ultimate bash. But even beyond that, Brazil’s rhythm is infectious, its food a rich tapestry of history and flavors, and its people a testament to the joy of living.

Choosing between Colombia and Brazil isn’t about figuring out which one does culture “better.” It’s about what kind of celebration speaks to you. Do you want to dance through the night in a Colombian festival, or are you itching to join the samba parade under the Rio lights? Either way, you’re in for a cultural feast.

Food and Cuisine: Colombia vs. Brazil

Colombia: a taste of diversity.

Street Eats and Comfort Foods: Colombian cuisine is all about comfort and community. From the hearty arepas filled with cheese to the warming bowl of ajiaco soup, the flavors are as diverse as the country itself. Cities like Medellín and Bogotá are great spots to dive into street food scenes, where each bite tells a story of tradition and local ingredients.

Coffee Beyond Compare: It’s not just a drink here; it’s a way of life. Visiting the coffee region not only offers you the freshest cup you’ll ever taste but also insight into the entire process from bean to cup. Cafés in cities like Cali and Pereira take their coffee seriously, serving up perfection in every sip.

Fresh Fruits and Markets: The variety of fruits in Colombia is staggering. Markets like Paloquemao in Bogotá are where you can taste exotic fruits you’ve never heard of, from lulo to guanábana, adding a whole new dimension to ‘fruit salad’.

Brazil: A Culinary Carnival

Feijoada and Beyond: Brazil’s national dish, feijoada, is a hearty stew of beans and pork that’s a must-try. But the culinary journey doesn’t stop there. Moqueca, a fragrant fish stew, and acarajé, a spicy street food delight, showcase the African and Indigenous influences on Brazilian cuisine.

Barbecue and Churrascarias: Brazilian barbecue, or churrasco, is an experience in itself. The churrascarias offer endless servings of perfectly grilled meats, a testament to the country’s love affair with beef and grilling techniques.

Sweet Treats and Snacks: Brazil satisfies the sweet tooth with brigadeiros (chocolate truffle balls) and the savory cravings with pão de queijo (cheese bread). Snacking here is an adventure for your taste buds.

Beachside Sips and Seafood: Along the vast coastline, you’ll find beach vendors selling fresh coconut water and seafood that’s as fresh as it gets. Cities like Salvador offer a culinary experience where the catch of the day meets tropical flavors in every dish.

Savoring the Flavors

In the culinary showdown between Colombia and Brazil, it’s not about which cuisine is better, but rather about what flavors and experiences you’re eager to explore. Colombia offers a journey through its diverse regions with comfort foods that warm the soul and coffee that awakens the senses. Brazil, on the other hand, brings you a feast of bold flavors, from the smoky meats of a churrascaria to the rich stews that blend centuries of cultural influences.

Whether you’re sampling street food in Bogotá or sipping caipirinhas on a Brazilian beach, each bite and sip is a chapter in the larger story of these countries’ rich culinary heritage. So, what’s it going to be? The comforting embrace of Colombian cuisine or the vibrant, diverse flavors of Brazil? Either choice promises a delicious adventure.

Verdict: Savoring Unique Tastes

If your idea of culinary heaven is sipping on the world’s best coffee and diving into a rich tapestry of fruits and comfort food, then Colombia’s diverse and welcoming food scene is calling your name. The country’s culinary landscape is a journey through its lush valleys and vibrant cities, offering a taste of home-cooked goodness with every bite.

On the flip side, if you’re all about exploring bold flavors, from the smoky meats of a traditional churrascaria to the rich, spice-infused stews that tell stories of cultural fusion, Brazil will not disappoint. It’s a place where every meal feels like a celebration, and the beachside snacks and tropical cocktails only add to the festive vibe.

So, what’ll it be? Colombia’s comforting embrace or Brazil’s carnival of flavors? Each offers a unique culinary adventure that’s sure to leave a lasting impression on your palate.

City Life vs. Secluded Escapes: Colombia vs. Brazil

Colombia: urban vibes and hidden gems.

Bogotá and Medellín: Dive into the heart of Colombia through its bustling capitals. Bogotá, with its rich history and vibrant nightlife, offers a mix of modernity and tradition. Medellín, once famed for its turbulent past, now shines as a city of innovation and culture, boasting beautiful parks, museums, and an annual flower festival that’s a feast for the senses.

Caribbean Hideaways: Beyond the cities, Colombia’s Caribbean coast offers secluded beaches and the serene beauty of places like the Rosario Islands. Perfect for those looking to unwind and soak up the sun in a more intimate setting.

Coffee Region Retreats: For a truly tranquil escape, the coffee region’s rolling hills and quaint fincas provide a peaceful haven. It’s an ideal spot for relaxation, nature walks, and, of course, coffee tasting.

Brazil: Cosmopolitan Flair and Beachside Serenity

Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo: Brazil’s cities pulse with life. Rio captivates with its iconic beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain, and the Christ the Redeemer statue, while São Paulo, the largest city in South America, dazzles with its culinary scene, art galleries, and vibrant culture.

Tropical Islands and Coastal Paradises: Escape to Brazil’s countless secluded beaches and islands, such as Ilha Grande and the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, where crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life offer a slice of paradise away from the urban hustle.

The Amazon Rainforest: For the ultimate secluded escape, the Amazon Rainforest provides an unparalleled adventure into the heart of nature. Stay in eco-lodges and explore the dense jungle, rich in wildlife and natural beauty.

Verdict: The Best of Both Worlds

If your heart yearns for the dynamic pulse of city life with a side of history and cultural richness, Colombia’s urban centers and quaint, hidden escapes offer a beautiful balance. The allure of Bogotá’s bustling streets and Medellín’s transformation story, paired with the serene retreats in its coffee region and Caribbean coast, cater to both sides of the travel spectrum.

However, if you’re drawn to the idea of samba dancing on the streets of Rio or exploring São Paulo’s endless culinary delights, followed by retreating to the secluded beaches or the mysterious depths of the Amazon, Brazil’s blend of cosmopolitan excitement and natural wonders is hard to resist.

So, are you leaning towards Colombia’s vibrant cities and peaceful countryside or Brazil’s lively urban beat and tranquil natural escapes? Both countries promise an unforgettable journey filled with rich experiences, whether you’re in the heart of the city or far from the beaten path.

City Life vs. Secluded Escapes: Colombia or Brazil

Colombia: vibrant cities and hidden gems.

Bustling Bogotá: Dive into the heart of Colombia’s capital for a taste of its bustling life. Museums, markets, and an ever-evolving food scene make it a city of endless exploration. The historic Candelaria district offers a step back in time with its preserved colonial architecture and vibrant street art.

Medellín, The City of Eternal Spring: Once known for turbulent times, Medellín has transformed into a beacon of innovation and culture. The pleasant climate, friendly locals, and cable cars offering breathtaking views of the city nestled among green mountains make it a unique urban experience.

Secluded Escapes: Seeking tranquility? Colombia’s got you covered. The Coffee Region offers serene landscapes and a slower pace of life, perfect for relaxation. Meanwhile, places like Minca in the Sierra Nevada and the tranquil beaches of Providencia Island offer secluded escapes into nature.

Brazil: Urban Giants and Beach Retreats

Rio de Janeiro, A City of Contrasts: From the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue to the vibrant streets of Copacabana and Ipanema, Rio is a city that dances to the rhythm of life. It’s a blend of urban energy and natural beauty, where forested mountains meet the sea.

São Paulo, The Melting Pot: Brazil’s largest city is a sprawling metropolis known for its diverse culinary scene, vibrant cultural life, and bustling nightlife. It’s a place where you can find something happening at all hours, offering a slice of Brazilian urbanity.

Paradisiacal Getaways: Brazil’s vast coastline and remote destinations like the Amazon Rainforest provide unparalleled secluded escapes. Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago known for its untouched beaches and world-class diving, is a slice of paradise away from the crowds.

Verdict: Urban Adventure or Natural Retreat?

In Colombia, the blend of historical charm and modern vibrancy in its cities, combined with the peaceful retreats in its coffee regions and beaches, offers a balanced mix of urban and secluded experiences. It’s perfect for those who love to explore rich cultures and relax in nature within close proximity.

Brazil, with its iconic cities and stunning natural escapes, appeals to those drawn to lively urban atmospheres and dreamy beach getaways. It’s a destination for experiencing the grandeur of city life and then completely disconnecting in nature’s serenity.

So, where does your heart lead you? To the dynamic streets and cozy corners of Colombia or the energetic cities and paradisiacal beaches of Brazil? Each promises an unforgettable journey between the rush of urban life and the soothing calm of secluded escapes.

Cost of Travel: Colombia vs Brazil

Colombia: friendly on the wallet.

Staying Over: From cozy hostels in La Candelaria to boutique fincas in the Coffee Region, Colombia offers a range of accommodations to fit any budget. Generally, you’ll find that your money stretches further here, whether you’re bunking in hostels or splurging on luxury stays.

Eating Out: Street food and local eateries in Colombia are not just delicious, but also incredibly affordable. A hearty meal at a local restaurant will set you back only a few dollars, and even in higher-end places, the prices are pleasantly reasonable compared to North American or European standards.

Getting Around: Traveling within Colombia is relatively cheap, whether you’re catching flights between cities or hopping on buses. The country’s size makes it easy to explore diverse regions without breaking the bank.

Brazil: Diverse but Pricier

Accommodations: Brazil’s range of lodging options varies widely by location. In big cities and tourist hotspots like Rio and São Paulo, hotel prices can be higher. However, off-the-beaten-path locations offer more affordable stays, balancing out the overall cost for those willing to explore.

Dining Delights: While Brazil boasts an incredible food scene, dining out frequently, especially in tourist areas, can add up. The cost of meals varies significantly, but generally, you’ll find a slightly higher price tag on dining out here than in Colombia, especially for sit-down meals at popular spots.

Transportation Tales: Covering larger distances in Brazil can mean pricier domestic flights, though bus travel remains an affordable option for getting from point A to point B. The vastness of the country offers a lot to discover but consider travel costs when planning your route.

Verdict: Stretching Your Travel Dollar

When it comes down to it, both Colombia and Brazil offer incredible value for travelers, but your budget may feel a bit more relaxed in Colombia. The cost of accommodations, meals, and transportation generally leans in favor of Colombia for those looking to maximize their travel experiences without stretching their wallet too thin.

Brazil, while potentially commanding a higher daily budget, compensates with its unique cultural experiences and breathtaking natural landscapes that are well worth the investment. For those willing to venture beyond the main tourist centers, Brazil also reveals affordable gems that can make your travel budget go further.

So, what’s your budget saying? Looking for a destination where your dollars (or euros, or pesos) go a long way in exploring a rich tapestry of culture and nature? Colombia might be your match. Or are you okay with spending a bit more for the vibrant city scenes and majestic natural wonders of Brazil? Each country has its allure, making them both worthy contenders for your travel bucket list.

Safety and Travel Tips: Colombia vs Brazil

Chatting about safety might not be the most fun part of trip planning, but hey, it’s better to be in the know, right? Let’s navigate the safety landscape of Colombia and Brazil, tossing in some handy travel tips to keep you secure and smiling.

Colombia: Turning the Page

Perception vs. Reality: Colombia has worked hard to shake off its 90s reputation, transforming into a much safer destination for travelers. While it’s wise to stay alert, cities like Medellín and Bogotá are now known for their innovation and culture rather than danger.

Stay Street Smart: Like any major city, keeping your wits about you is key. Stick to well-lit areas at night, don’t flash valuables, and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded places.

Local Advice is Gold: Colombians are incredibly friendly and will often go out of their way to help you. Don’t hesitate to ask for safety tips or directions; local knowledge is invaluable.

Brazil: A Vibrant Mix with Caution

Big City Caution: In bustling cities like Rio and São Paulo, the same rules apply: stay aware of your surroundings, especially in tourist areas. Petty crime can be common, so keeping valuables out of sight is a good practice.

Embrace Group Vibes: There’s safety in numbers, so exploring with friends or joining a group tour can enhance your security. Plus, it’s a great way to meet people!

Transport Safety: Using official taxis or ride-sharing apps is recommended, especially at night. For longer distances, reputable bus companies or domestic flights are the safest bets.

Natural Wonders, Natural Care: When venturing into Brazil’s gorgeous natural settings, like the Amazon or remote beaches, going with a guide is not just safer, it also enriches your experience with expert insights.

Verdict: Safe Travels with a Dash of Common Sense

Both Colombia and Brazil have made strides in safety and are welcoming to tourists with open arms. By applying a sprinkle of common sense and staying informed, you can safely enjoy the incredible cultures, landscapes, and experiences these countries offer.

Final Tip? Let your adventurous spirit lead the way, but keep your street smarts about you. Whether it’s the dynamic streets of Colombia or the lively vibes of Brazil, a mindful traveler is one who gets to fully embrace the magic of their journey.

Language and Communication: Colombia vs Brazil

Navigating a new country’s language can be part of the fun, right? Whether you’re ordering a coffee or trying to find your way to the nearest beach, getting the words right (or even just trying) can lead to some of the best travel stories. So, let’s chat about the ins and outs of communicating in Colombia and Brazil.

Colombia: Spanish with a Smile

Language Lowdown: Colombian Spanish is often praised for its clarity, making it a great place for beginners to dive in. Don’t worry about perfection; locals appreciate any effort to speak their language.

Key Phrases to Know: Arm yourself with a few basics like “¿Cuánto cuesta?” (How much does it cost?) and “¿Dónde está el baño?” (Where is the bathroom?), and you’re set for a start. Oh, and “un café, por favor” will always come in handy.

Local Interaction: Colombians are known for their friendliness. A simple “Buenos días” can open doors to conversations and insights into the local way of life. Don’t be shy to practice; smiles and gestures go a long way if you’re stuck.

Brazil: The Rhythms of Portuguese

Getting Your Portuguese On: Brazilian Portuguese is the melody of the streets, full of warmth and character. It’s similar to Spanish but with its own twist. Listening to music or watching local shows before your trip can help tune your ear.

Phrasebook Favorites: “Quanto custa isso?” (How much is this?) and “Onde fica o banheiro?” (Where is the bathroom?) will be your bread and butter. And remember, “um café, por favor” works here too, though you might want to try “uma caipirinha, por favor” for those beach days.

Signs, Menus, and More: English isn’t as widely spoken outside major tourist areas, so having a translation app or a small phrasebook can be a game-changer. Menus, signs, and schedules often come in Portuguese only, but that’s part of the adventure.

Verdict: Embrace the Language Leap

Both Colombia and Brazil offer rich linguistic experiences that deepen your connection to their cultures. In Colombia, the clear Spanish helps you blend a bit more with the locals, while Brazil’s melodic Portuguese immerses you in the rhythm of their lifestyle.

Tip of the Day: Don’t let fear of miscommunication hold you back. Embrace the opportunity to learn and interact. Whether it’s Spanish in Colombia or Portuguese in Brazil, your attempts to communicate will often be met with encouragement and even new friendships.

Travel Between Cities and Destinations: Colombia vs Brazil

Hopping from one spot to another is part of the adventure, isn’t it? Whether you’re catching a flight, boarding a bus, or setting off on a scenic road trip, the journey itself is filled with stories. Let’s take a closer look at what traveling around Colombia and Brazil is like.

Colombia: Winding Roads and Sky-High Flights

By Air: Colombia’s size makes flying a popular option for covering large distances quickly. Major cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena are well connected, and flights are reasonably priced, especially if you book in advance.

By Bus: Road trips in Colombia reveal the country’s stunning diversity. Bus travel is affordable and extensive, connecting even remote areas. Routes through the Andes offer breathtaking views but can be lengthy due to the mountainous terrain.

Local Tips: For shorter distances, consider shared vans or even renting a car to explore at your own pace. And remember, Colombian hospitality means you’re never really traveling alone; locals are usually eager to share travel tips or even a cup of coffee.

Brazil: Vast Landscapes and Coastal Journeys

By Air: Given Brazil’s vastness, domestic flights are a quick way to hop between regions. The country’s major airlines connect cities like Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Salvador, making it easier to experience Brazil’s diverse cultures and landscapes.

By Bus: Long-distance buses in Brazil are comfortable and an excellent way to see the country’s changing landscapes, from coastal roads to dense forests. It’s a more economical choice, offering a glimpse into local life along the way.

Exploring Off the Beaten Path: For the ultimate secluded escape, consider journeys into the Amazon or Pantanal. These require more planning and often a guide, but the experience of exploring Brazil’s natural wonders is unparalleled.

Verdict: The Journey Is Part of the Story

In Colombia, the adventure lies in navigating the Andean landscapes and discovering the warmth of its people, whether you’re flying above or winding through the mountains. Brazil’s journeys unfold across vast distances, offering a tapestry of urban and natural wonders best experienced with a mix of flights and road travel.

Travel Tip: Whichever country’s path you choose, embrace the journey. The routes between destinations in Colombia and Brazil are more than just transit; they’re an integral part of your travel narrative, filled with unexpected delights and discoveries.

Traveling within Colombia and Brazil offers its own set of adventures, each with unique opportunities to dive deeper into the country’s heart. Whether by air or by road, the journey between cities and destinations is an enriching part of the travel experience, showcasing the natural beauty and cultural richness of these vibrant nations.

Where to Stay in Colombia and Brazil: Accommodations for Every Traveler

Colombia: From Colonial Charm to Modern Luxury

  • La Pinta in Bogotá offers affordability and a central location, perfect for exploring the city’s vibrant culture and nightlife.
  • El Viajero in Cartagena is a lively spot with colorful decor, offering walking tours and salsa classes to guests.
  • Casa San Agustin in Cartagena encapsulates colonial elegance with luxurious touches and personalized service in the heart of the historic district.
  • Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino in Santa Marta blends history with comfort, set in the beautiful surroundings of Simon Bolivar’s final residence.
  • Ecolodge Topo in the Coffee Region offers serene escapes with stunning views, perfect for nature lovers and coffee enthusiasts alike.
  • La Palma y El Tucan near Bogotá is a coffee farm and boutique hotel where guests can enjoy farm-to-cup tours and tastings amidst lush landscapes.

Brazil: Beachfront Bungalows to Urban Resorts

  • Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro provides iconic luxury with its beachfront location, impeccable service, and history of hosting celebrities.
  • Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte in Bahia is an eco-friendly resort offering a tranquil beach experience with sustainability at its core.
  • Ariau Amazon Towers near Manaus allows guests to sleep among the treetops and experience the Amazon in a unique way.
  • Juma Amazon Lodge in the Amazon Rainforest offers secluded overwater bungalows, wildlife excursions, and a genuine jungle experience.
  • Hotel Unique in São Paulo stands out with its modern architecture and panoramic skyline views, offering a luxury urban retreat.
  • Miramar Hotel by Windsor in Rio de Janeiro combines luxury with stunning views of Copacabana Beach, providing an unforgettable stay.

Our Final Thoughts: Colombia or Brazil – Where Will Your Heart Lead You?

After our journey through the colorful streets, lush landscapes, and spirited cultures of Colombia and Brazil, you might find yourself more intrigued than ever about both destinations. Each has its unique allure, promising adventures and experiences that are as rich and varied as the countries themselves.

Colombia beckons with its blend of mountains and beaches, coffee plantations, and vibrant cities. It’s a country where every corner tells a story, inviting you to become part of its ongoing transformation and welcoming community. Ideal for those who love to intertwine their travels with history, culture, and nature, Colombia offers an intimate exploration of its land and people, all wrapped up in an affordable package.

Brazil unfurls as a vast canvas of dazzling beaches, iconic cities, and expansive wilderness. It’s the place for rhythm, unparalleled natural beauty, and a diverse culinary scene that can only be described as a feast for the senses. Brazil is perfect for travelers drawn to grand landscapes and the vibrant energy of its festivals and street life, ready to dive into a truly epic scale of adventure.

So, What’s the Verdict?

Your choice between Colombia and Brazil might come down to what you seek from your travels. Are you looking for a journey filled with cozy encounters, a deep dive into coffee culture, and the beauty of manageable yet diverse landscapes? Or does your heart yearn for the grandiosity of Brazil’s natural wonders, the pulsating life of its cities, and the taste of adventure on a grand scale?

Remember, no matter where you decide to go, the magic of travel lies not just in the places you visit but in the new perspectives you gain and the memories you create along the way. Whether it’s the warm smiles of Colombia or the open arms of Brazil, both countries offer a wealth of experiences waiting to be discovered.

Final Tip: Let your spirit of adventure guide you, and keep your mind open to the unexpected. Colombia and Brazil, with their rich tapestries of culture, nature, and human kindness, promise that no matter where you go, you’ll be embarking on an unforgettable journey.

This conclusion aims to encapsulate the essence of what makes each country a worthy destination, leaving the final decision as an invitation to personal preference and adventure. Whichever path you choose, Colombia and Brazil stand ready to welcome you with open hearts and unforgettable experiences.

FAQ: Choosing Between Colombia and Brazil for Your Next Adventure

Do i need a visa to visit colombia or brazil.

For Colombia, many nationalities can enter without a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Brazil also offers visa-free entry for many countries for up to 90 days. Always check the latest visa requirements for your nationality before planning your trip.

What’s the best time of year to visit Colombia and Brazil?

Colombia is a year-round destination thanks to its consistent climate, though December to March offers drier weather for outdoor adventures. In Brazil, May to October is generally drier and cooler, ideal for exploring cities and the Amazon.

Are Colombia and Brazil safe for solo travelers?

Both countries have become increasingly safe for travelers, including solo adventurers. Common sense precautions and staying informed about your surroundings are recommended.

Can I get by with English in Colombia and Brazil?

While Spanish and Portuguese are the official languages, you’ll find English speakers in major tourist areas and cities. Learning a few basic phrases in Spanish or Portuguese can enhance your experience.

What’s the currency, and how should I handle money?

Colombia uses the Colombian Peso (COP), and Brazil uses the Brazilian Real (BRL). It’s wise to carry some cash, but credit cards are widely accepted in cities. ATMs are readily available, though carrying a backup card is a good idea.

What are the must-try foods in Colombia and Brazil?

In Colombia, don’t miss arepas, bandeja paisa, and fresh fruit juices. In Brazil, be sure to try feijoada, acarajé, and of course, caipirinhas.

What packing essentials should I consider for Colombia and Brazil?

Lightweight, breathable clothing is a must, along with a good pair of walking shoes. Bring a rain jacket, as tropical showers can occur. Sunscreen and insect repellent are also important, especially if you’re visiting the Amazon or coastal areas.

How do I stay connected? Should I buy a local SIM card?

Buying a local SIM card in either country is a cost-effective way to stay connected. Make sure your phone is unlocked before your trip.

Are there any health precautions I should take?

Recommended vaccinations include Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever, especially if visiting the Amazon. Check with your healthcare provider and the CDC or WHO websites for the most current advice.

How can I be respectful of local cultures?

Showing respect and openness towards local customs and traditions is key. Dress modestly where appropriate, learn a few polite expressions in the local language, and always ask before taking photos of people.

Ruben Arribas

About the Author : Ruben , co-founder of since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.

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A Travel Comparison for Vacations, Honeymoons, and Tours Brazil vs. Colombia

Should you visit brazil or colombia, which country is cheaper, colombia or brazil.

Should I visit Brazil or Colombia? This is a popular question for many travelers. By figuring out which country is more expensive, you'll understand where you'll get more bang for your buck. A week in Colombia can cost you about $318 (per person), while a week in Brazil may cost you around $608. These differences become even more noticable if you plan to spend a longer time in the country. 10 days , two weeks , or even one month of travel to Colombia or Brazil can really add to your travel budget.

Accommodation is often cheaper in Colombia compared to Brazil ($15 vs. $43). Budget travelers usually stay in less expensive hostels and guest houses, while nicer hotels often appeal to families and upscale travelers.

Compare hotel prices here: Brazil Hotel Prices and Colombia Hotel Prices .

Or, compare hostel and guesthouse prices between Colombia and Brazil to find the cheapest accommodation here: Colombia hostels and Brazil hostels .

When comparing food in Brazil vs. Colombia they are not just different in cuisine, but also in price. Meal and restaurant costs in Brazil ($20) are often cheaper than Colombia ($12).

  • Brazil Prices Colombia Prices
  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day Brazil $ 87 Colombia $ 45
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person Brazil $ 43 Colombia $ 15
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room Brazil $ 85 Colombia $ 29
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc. Brazil $ 13 Colombia $ 7.88
  • Food Meals for one day Brazil $ 20 Colombia $ 12
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc. Brazil $ 15 Colombia $ 14
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day Brazil $ 11 Colombia $ 9.17
  • Water Bottled water for one day Brazil $ 1.36 Colombia $ 0.98

How much are flights to Brazil and Colombia?

The price of a plane ticket may help you decide which country you should visit.

Find a Hostel in Brazil or Colombia

Hostels, guest houses, and locally owned B&B's are often the cheapest form of accommodation.

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  • Brazil , Colombia

Brazil vs. Colombia

Brazil vs. Colombia

Table of Contents

Each destination has its own set of advantages, and finding the right fit for your preferences will ensure a memorable trip. In this comparison, we will explore various factors such as history, culture, attractions, activities, and more to help you make an informed decision. So, keep reading to discover the highlights and distinctions of Brazil and Colombia!

History & Culture

Diving into the history and culture of Brazil and Colombia reveals fascinating stories and traditions. Both countries have rich pasts and vibrant cultures that contribute to their appeal as travel destinations.

Brazil’s history is a blend of indigenous, African, and European influences. Its colonial past, marked by Portuguese settlement, is evident in many cities’ architecture. Brazil’s culture is a colorful mix, with samba and Carnival celebrations showcasing its lively spirit.

In contrast, Colombia’s history features a strong indigenous presence, Spanish colonization, and liberation led by Simón Bolívar. Its culture is a fusion of native, African, and European elements, making it diverse and exciting. Traditional music, dance, and festivals vary across regions, reflecting Colombia’s cultural richness.

Attractions related to Brazil’s history and culture are abundant, such as colonial towns, baroque churches, and modern art museums. The country’s passion for soccer is also evident, with stadiums and museums dedicated to the sport.

Colombia’s historical sites include ancient ruins, colonial cities, and impressive museums. Its cultural experiences range from traditional handicrafts to contemporary art galleries, with various regions offering unique insights into Colombia’s heritage.

To summarize, Brazil’s history and culture are marked by its diverse influences and vibrant celebrations, while Colombia’s past is rooted in indigenous traditions and Spanish colonization. Both countries offer countless opportunities to immerse yourself in their unique histories and cultures.

Attractions & Activities

Exploring the attractions and activities in Brazil and Colombia will lead to unforgettable experiences. Each country boasts a variety of exciting things to do that cater to different interests.

Brazil’s attractions include the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, the Amazon Rainforest, and the stunning Iguazu Falls. Adventure seekers can try activities like hiking, wildlife spotting, and river cruises in the Amazon, while nature enthusiasts will love exploring the Pantanal wetlands.

Colombia’s attractions range from the historic walled city of Cartagena to the ancient ruins of the Lost City. Adventure lovers can trek through the Cocora Valley or go white-water rafting in the Andes, while those interested in wildlife can visit the Amazon region for unique encounters.

Both Brazil and Colombia offer urban experiences, with cities like Rio de Janeiro and Medellín providing a mix of history, culture, and modernity. Visitors can explore street art, museums, and parks, or take in breathtaking views from atop Sugarloaf Mountain or Medellín’s cable cars.

In Brazil, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities like surfing, paragliding, and hang gliding along the coast, while inland, they can experience the thrill of sandboarding on the dunes.

Colombia’s diverse landscape also offers a variety of outdoor adventures, such as horseback riding in the Coffee Region or exploring the Tatacoa Desert’s unique geological formations.

In conclusion, both Brazil and Colombia boast a wide range of attractions and activities that cater to different interests. Whether you prefer urban exploration, outdoor adventures, or cultural experiences, you’re sure to find something captivating in each destination.

Beaches are often a top priority when planning a vacation, and both Brazil and Colombia boast stunning coastlines. Each country offers a variety of sandy spots that cater to different tastes and preferences.

Brazil is famous for its picturesque beaches, such as Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro. These urban beaches are popular for sunbathing, swimming, and beach sports. In total, Brazil’s coastline stretches over 4,600 miles (7,400 kilometers), providing countless beach options to explore.

Colombia’s beaches may be lesser-known, but they’re equally beautiful. The Caribbean coast offers gems like Tayrona National Park, where you’ll find pristine, secluded beaches surrounded by lush jungle. Colombia’s coastline spans approximately 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers), with both Pacific and Caribbean shores to discover.

For surfers, Brazil has excellent options like Florianópolis and Saquarema, known for their consistent waves. Beachgoers who enjoy calmer waters can head to the northeast, where warm, crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

In Colombia, surfers can find great waves on the Pacific coast, while the Caribbean coast offers ideal conditions for snorkeling and scuba diving. The Rosario Islands, located near Cartagena, is a popular spot for underwater exploration.

To sum up, both Brazil and Colombia have amazing beaches that cater to different preferences. Brazil’s coastline is longer and more famous, with iconic urban beaches and surfing spots. Colombia offers pristine, secluded beaches with excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving.

Eating, Drinking & Nightlife

Savoring local flavors and enjoying nightlife are essential parts of any vacation. Brazil and Colombia both have unique culinary scenes and lively nighttime entertainment to discover.

Brazilian cuisine is diverse, with regional dishes like feijoada and moqueca appealing to various palates. Churrascarias, or Brazilian steakhouses, are also popular, offering a unique dining experience.

Colombian food is equally diverse, with dishes like arepas, bandeja paisa, and ajiaco offering a taste of the country’s varied culinary heritage. The tropical fruit selection in Colombia is also impressive, with exotic options to try.

For drinks, Brazil is famous for its caipirinha, a refreshing cocktail made with cachaça, sugar, and lime. In addition, the country produces some excellent wines, especially in the southern region.

Colombia, on the other hand, is known for its coffee, which is considered among the best in the world. Aguardiente, a local spirit, is also popular and often enjoyed during social gatherings.

Brazil’s nightlife is vibrant and varied, with options like samba clubs, live music venues, and trendy bars catering to different tastes. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are particularly well-known for their exciting nighttime entertainment.

Similarly, Colombia’s nightlife offers a mix of salsa clubs, bars, and live music venues. Cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali have thriving nighttime scenes that cater to different interests.

In conclusion, both Brazil and Colombia have diverse culinary scenes, unique local drinks, and exciting nightlife options. Whether you’re a foodie, a partygoer, or just looking to enjoy local flavors, you’ll find plenty to love in each destination.

Shopping is a fun way to explore local culture and bring home unique souvenirs. Both Brazil and Colombia offer a range of shopping experiences, from traditional markets to upscale malls.

In Brazil, you’ll find numerous shopping opportunities, including bustling street markets, where you can buy colorful handicrafts, clothing, and local food. São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are home to luxury malls, featuring both international and local brands.

Colombia also offers a diverse shopping scene, with traditional markets like Paloquemao in Bogotá, where you can find fresh produce and handmade crafts. Major cities such as Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena have modern malls with a mix of local and international shops.

Brazil is known for its gemstones, so you might want to purchase jewelry featuring stones like amethyst, topaz, and tourmaline. Havaianas flip-flops, another iconic Brazilian product, make great souvenirs or gifts.

Colombian crafts, like mochilas (handwoven bags) and sombreros vueltiaos (traditional hats), are popular items to bring home. You can also find high-quality leather goods and emeralds, which Colombia is famous for.

In summary, both Brazil and Colombia offer a variety of shopping experiences, from traditional markets to modern malls. Brazil is well-known for its gemstones and Havaianas, while Colombia boasts unique crafts and beautiful emeralds.


Finding the perfect place to stay is an important part of any trip. Both Brazil and Colombia have a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences.

Brazil’s accommodation choices vary from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. Major tourist destinations like Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Florianópolis offer many options, including boutique hotels and charming pousadas (guesthouses).

Colombia also provides various lodging options, including hostels, mid-range hotels, and upscale resorts. Cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena have a good mix of accommodations to fit different budgets and styles.

If you’re looking for a more unique experience, Brazil has jungle lodges in the Amazon or eco-resorts in the Pantanal, where you can immerse yourself in nature.

In Colombia, you can find eco-lodges in the Coffee Triangle or boutique hotels in historic neighborhoods like Cartagena’s walled city, providing a distinct cultural experience.

Overall, both Brazil and Colombia offer diverse accommodation options to suit different tastes and budgets. Whether you prefer a budget hostel, a luxury hotel, or a unique eco-lodge, you’ll find the perfect place to stay in either destination.

Family-Friendliness & Children’s Activities

Traveling with family can be a memorable experience, and both Brazil and Colombia have plenty to offer for families and children. Let’s compare the family-friendly activities in each destination.

In Brazil, you’ll find many child-friendly attractions, such as theme parks like Beto Carrero World and Beach Park, both offering thrilling rides and water slides. Rio de Janeiro’s Sugarloaf Mountain and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue are great for family outings.

Colombia also offers a variety of family activities, like the National Coffee Park, where kids can learn about coffee production while enjoying amusement rides. Medellín’s interactive Explora Park is an exciting science museum that will keep children entertained.

Brazil’s beautiful beaches, like Copacabana and Ipanema, are ideal for families to relax and play in the sun. Additionally, eco-tours in the Amazon or the Pantanal provide a unique opportunity to explore nature together.

In Colombia, you can visit the famous Rosario Islands, where you and your kids can swim with bioluminescent plankton. Hiking through the Cocora Valley or exploring the underground Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá can also be engaging family adventures.

To summarize, both Brazil and Colombia offer various family-friendly activities and attractions. Brazil is known for its beautiful beaches and theme parks, while Colombia provides unique experiences like the National Coffee Park and the Rosario Islands.

Getting There & Getting Around

Transportation is an essential aspect of any trip. Let’s compare how to get to and travel within Brazil and Colombia.

To reach Brazil, most international flights land in São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. From the United States, direct flights take about 9-10 hours (4,163 miles / 6,700 km). Colombia’s main international airports are in Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena, with direct flights from the US taking around 5-7 hours (2,420 miles / 3,900 km).

Within Brazil, domestic flights are the quickest way to travel between cities, but buses are a more affordable option. For shorter distances, taxis and rideshare services like Uber are available, while larger cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro also have metro systems.

Similarly, in Colombia, domestic flights and buses connect major cities. Taxis and rideshare apps are accessible in urban areas, and some cities like Bogotá and Medellín offer public transportation options such as the TransMilenio and Metro, respectively.

Renting a car is possible in both countries, but driving conditions can be challenging due to traffic and road quality. It’s essential to exercise caution and follow local driving rules.

In summary, reaching and traveling within both Brazil and Colombia is relatively easy, with a variety of transportation options available. Direct flights from the US are longer to Brazil, while Colombia has shorter travel times. Both countries offer domestic flights, buses, and local transportation to help you explore their unique destinations.

When planning a trip, weather plays a crucial role. Let’s compare the weather in Brazil and Colombia to help you decide the best time to visit each destination.

Brazil is a vast country with varied climates. In general, the coastal regions have a tropical climate with temperatures around 75-85°F (24-29°C). The inland areas can be cooler, with temperatures ranging from 65-75°F (18-24°C). Brazil’s rainy season varies depending on the region, so it’s essential to check the specific location you plan to visit.

In Colombia, the climate is mostly tropical and varies according to altitude. The coastal areas are hot and humid, with temperatures between 75-90°F (24-32°C). The Andean region, including Bogotá, has a cooler climate with temperatures from 50-70°F (10-21°C). Colombia’s rainy season typically occurs from April to May and October to November.

If you’re seeking warm weather, Brazil’s coastal regions or Colombia’s Caribbean coast offer plenty of sunshine. For cooler temperatures, consider Brazil’s inland areas or Colombia’s Andean region.

To sum up, both Brazil and Colombia have diverse climates with varying temperatures and rainfall patterns. You should consider your preferred weather and the specific regions you plan to visit when choosing between these two destinations.

Safety is an important factor to consider when traveling. Let’s discuss the safety aspects of Brazil and Colombia.

Both Brazil and Colombia face similar concerns, such as petty crime, pickpocketing, and theft, particularly in tourist areas. It’s essential to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places.

In Brazil, some areas have higher crime rates than others. You should avoid favelas (slums) and exercise caution at night. While most tourist attractions are generally safe, it’s wise to stay vigilant and follow local advice.

Similarly, in Colombia, it’s crucial to remain cautious in urban areas and avoid neighborhoods with high crime rates. Stick to well-traveled areas and avoid walking alone at night.

Natural hazards are another safety concern. Brazil’s Amazon region can present challenges like tropical diseases, while Colombia is located in an earthquake-prone zone.

In conclusion, both Brazil and Colombia have safety concerns related to crime and natural hazards. Staying vigilant and following local advice can help minimize risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

When planning a trip, cost is an essential factor. Let’s compare the expenses you might face in Brazil and Colombia to help you make a decision.

In Brazil, the currency is the Brazilian Real (BRL). The cost of living is generally reasonable, with a meal at an inexpensive restaurant costing around 20 BRL ($4). Accommodation varies, but you can find budget hotels starting at 100 BRL ($20) per night.

Colombia uses the Colombian Peso (COP) as its currency. The cost of living is relatively low, with a meal at an affordable restaurant priced at around 15,000 COP ($4). Like Brazil, accommodation prices range, but you can find budget options starting at 50,000 COP ($14) per night.

When it comes to transportation, both countries offer various options. In Brazil, a one-way local transport ticket costs around 4 BRL ($1), while in Colombia, it’s approximately 2,500 COP ($0.70).

For attractions and activities, prices in both countries depend on the type and location. In general, Brazil may have slightly higher prices for popular tourist sites compared to Colombia.

In summary, both Brazil and Colombia are affordable destinations with varying costs for food, accommodation, transportation, and attractions. Colombia might be slightly cheaper overall, but you should consider your preferences and planned activities when deciding between the two countries.

Which Is Better – Brazil or Colombia?

Choosing between Brazil and Colombia can be challenging as both countries offer rich history and culture, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and lively nightlife. This conclusion will help you decide which destination suits your preferences.

If you’re interested in exploring diverse historical and cultural experiences, Brazil’s vast size and rich history might be more appealing. For those looking for unique attractions and activities, Colombia’s diverse landscapes and charming cities offer plenty of options.

Beach lovers might prefer Brazil’s extensive coastline and famous beaches, while those seeking a culinary adventure may find Colombia’s diverse and flavorful cuisine more enticing.

In terms of family-friendliness, both countries offer a variety of children’s activities, but it’s essential to consider safety and accessibility when traveling with kids.

For budget-conscious travelers, Colombia is generally more affordable, but Brazil’s reasonable prices make it an attractive option as well.

Finally, when considering weather, you’ll find a wide range of climates in both countries, so choosing the ideal destination depends on your preferred temperature and rainfall patterns.

In conclusion, the choice between Brazil and Colombia depends on your interests, budget, and preferences. By evaluating the information provided in this article, you can make an informed decision and create a memorable travel experience tailored to your desires.

Medellin vs. Cali

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13 things to know before visiting Colombia

Feb 29, 2024 • 9 min read

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From health and safety to etiquette, these tips can help you plan your trip to Colombia © jeremykingnz / Shutterstock

Whether you’re drawn by its beguiling coastlines , untamed jungle or high-altitude national parks , Colombia is guaranteed to dazzle.

After decades of association with armed conflict and drug cartels, this South American country has moved well beyond those dark decades, emerging from that chapter of history as one of the continent’s most thrilling and welcoming destinations to explore . 

Travelers to Colombia should prepare for a trip that will leave them wishing they never had a return ticket, thanks to the country’s remarkably warm and friendly people and uniquely Latin spirit.

Follow these tips on planning and health and safety to ensure a truly unforgettable trip to Colombia.

1. Don't attempt to see all of Colombia in one trip

A big mistake that even seasoned travelers have made is to try and pack too much into a trip around Colombia. Before trying to squeeze every last corner of the country into a two-week itinerary, cast your eyes over the map.

Stick to exploring one section of the country and exploring it well: spend three weeks bouncing between sun-soaked,  Caribbean beaches or heading from Medellín deep into the Zona Cafetera . Your trip should match Colombia’s characteristic pace: slow and enjoyable. 

2. Domestic flights are affordable and quick

If you’re still planning to cram as many places as possible into a short trip, Colombia’s wealth of low-cost airlines offer the most efficient way of getting around (although there's your carbon footprint to consider too).

While nothing quite compares with the cultural experience of taking a regional bus (where you’ll be “entertained” by deafening music for the duration), increasingly cheap fares are available for domestic flights.

Don’t be fooled by headline prices, these typically don’t include checked baggage. Peak traveling seasons (December through mid-January, Semana Santa and June through August) will add a premium and can sell out rapidly, so book flights in advance if visiting during these months.

Woman walks across a bridge in the wind in Medellín, Colombia

3. Pack for all weather

Whether you’re hitting the Caribbean coast or heading to the rainier climes of the capital,  Bogotá , you can expect to experience a full array of weather conditions.

While Colombia officially has two distinct seasons – the dry season (December through February and July through August) and the rainy season (April, May, and September through November) – because of the country’s variation in altitudes and ecosystems, you’ll probably experience all four seasons in one trip.

As a rule, the Caribbean coast is hot and humid, while Bogotá and the wider Andean regions receive a surfeit of rain. Come prepared with plenty of layers, including a warm, easy-to-pack rain jacket, and you’ll be primed to adapt to whatever the weather might throw at you.

4. A little Spanish will get you a long way

For a country so long enveloped by violent conflict, Colombia today is a remarkably open and welcoming destination for international travelers. Wherever you are, it’s easy to strike up a conversation with the owner of a restaurant, your taxi driver or a local enjoying the sunshine in a city plaza (and they’ll be delighted if you do!).

Knowing more than the basics of Spanish can go a long way, spurring engaging, fascinating conversations about Colombian culture, football, history and politics.

Colombian Spanish, particularly in Bogotá and Medellín, is considered one of the easiest to understand in Latin America because Colombians tend to enunciate their words. Make the most of affordable language schools in both cities to get some practice in before you head out into the rest of the country.

5. There are checkpoints with a strong military presence

When traveling in rural parts of Colombia, it’s not uncommon to come across road checkpoints staffed by army personnel, who’ll often ask to see your documents before waving you on your way.

In areas recently opened to tourism, you might even spot tanks and other military vehicles stationed alongside roads. 

While it might seem intimidating, the strong military presence around the country is there for the safety of the local people – and you. Be polite and have the correct paperwork (either your actual passport or a photocopy of the main page and entry stamp) with you, and you’ll rarely have an issue.

A colorful chiva bus pulls into a street in Yolombó, Antioquia, Colombia

6. Don’t expect punctuality

Like much of Latin America, Colombian culture isn’t known for its strict adherence to the clock, and a punctuality-obsessed traveler is often a disappointed one. “Colombian time” is practically its own time zone, and you should leave any notions of timeliness at home.

To avoid getting frustrated, relax and embrace being flexible – really, the only way to deal with the typically laid-back Colombian attitude toward life, the universe and pretty much everything.

While big, inter-regional buses and flights do tend to leave on time, tight schedules aren't followed in many other contexts. If you’re making an appointment with a Colombian person or waiting for a rural colectivo to depart, bring a book as you may well be waiting up to an hour beyond the agreed time.

7. Drugs and talking about that Netflix show are big no-nos

If there’s one way to annoy Colombians, it’s to get onto a topic that many Western tourists, despite Colombian’s attempts to dissuade them, continue to associate with the country: drugs. Illegal substances are a taboo subject in Colombia, and despite (or more likely, because of) the country’s history, few Colombians take them.

Residents of Medellín, in particular, are fed up with the city’s association with drug cartels and with tourists who go there to use cocaine, which is illegal and could see you getting into a lot of trouble if caught. 

When traveling in Colombia, don’t mention Narcos , either. Colombians are frustrated with the Netflix show’s portrayal of the country and what they see as the exaltation of a mass murderer.

Show some respect and steer clear of the many Pablo Escobar tours, too. Listening to local people's experiences during the drug-war years is likely to be far more informative and accurate.

8. Taxis will help you get around safely

While safety is no longer the same overwhelming concern it once was, taking taxis when traveling between neighborhoods in big cities across Colombia is a sensible choice.

Wandering around at night, particularly after you’ve had a shot of heady aguardiente or two, is often an invitation to opportunist thieves.

Taxis are extremely affordable and relatively painless if using a ride-share app, such as Cabify or Uber . Hailing a taxi can leave you open to scams or worse, so calling for a cab (or asking your hotel to) is recommended. Always confirm the price or check that the taxi has a working meter before entering a vehicle.

A drag queen dressed in a colorful rainbow-patterned dress draped with beads strikes a pose at an outdoor Pride event

9. Bogotá has a well-established gay scene

Homosexuality was decriminalized in Colombia in early 1980s, and the first same-sex marriage ceremony was performed in 2013 – evidence that this country has some of the more progressive attitudes toward LGBTIQ+ rights in Latin America.

Bogotá has a well-established gay scene, with bars and nightlife mostly found in Chapinero, one of the city’s most dynamic neighborhoods . Some lodgings and restaurants are beginning to advertise themselves as gay-friendly.

Despite its progressive laws, much of Colombian society remains traditionalist, and many same-sex couples still feel unsafe showing affection in public. For more information specifically for LGBTIQ+ travelers, check out Guia Gay Colombia. 

10. Tipping isn’t obligatory, but it is appreciated

Dining out in Colombia is extremely affordable.

When you go to pay the bill at fancier or more upmarket restaurants, it’s likely you’ll be asked if you want to include the propina (tip), typically around 10% of the cost of the meal.

Service in restaurants, cafes and bars across Colombia is generally much better than in many other parts of South America , so unless you had a terrible experience, consider paying the tip to show your appreciation. 

A female cyclist rides through the Paramo in the Andes Mountains of Boyacá, Colombia, South America

11. Traveling is safe – but stick to the beaten track

Colombia has experienced an about-face in the past few decades, shedding its title as one of Latin America’s most dangerous countries and coming into its own as a worthy travel destination.

It all comes down to the history-making peace accords signed in 2016 between the Colombian government and the FARC, which, after five decades of conflict, have led to many rural parts of the country finally shifting from no-go areas into welcoming places for visitors.

However, it still isn’t wise to go too far off the beaten path. Some rural areas remain dangerous because of their links with neo-paramilitary and drug-trafficking groups, particularly along the borders with Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Before traveling anywhere unusual, always research the situation on the ground as well as your government’s travel advisories.

12. Scams and muggings do happen

While safety has improved significantly, you should always “ no dar papaya .” This delightful idiom – which literally translates to “don’t give papaya” – means you should always keep your wits about you, staying alert to those who would take advantage of you.

In practice, this means following common-sense guidelines: don’t wander down dark, empty streets at night, don’t head out into neighborhoods you don’t know without checking their safety first and don’t flap about the city with an expensive camera or phone on display.

Travel insurance is essential because muggings are, unfortunately still an issue in cities such as Bogota, Cali and Medellín.

You should never resist if someone tries to rob you. Distraction techniques are those used most fruitfully by would-be thieves, so always be wary of people coming up to you in the street or being asked to show your money to scammers posing as police officers.

If things do go wrong, head to the nearest police station immediately to report the crime. The police will put together a report and give you a copy, which you’ll need to make an insurance claim.

13. Don’t let this country’s history scare you away

Colombia has come on leaps and bounds since the dark days of the 1980s and 1990s, and its residents are more than excited to show you their beautiful and wonderfully diverse country.

The biggest mistake you can make is to let Netflix or historic newspaper headlines scare you away: this is a country that just about every traveler can’t help but fall in love with. The biggest danger when visiting Colombia? Finding yourself never wanting to leave.

This article was first published May 2022 and updated February 2024

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Tourism Showdown: Brazil vs Colombia

  • By Fatima Sajid
  • September 18, 2023
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Brazil vs Colombia

When it comes to tourism in South America, two nations shine brightly on the international stage: Brazil vs Colombia . These countries, known for their captivating landscapes, vibrant cultures, and warm hospitality, offer travelers an array of experiences. In this article, we explore the unique attractions and experiences that make Brazil vs Colombia top contenders for your next unforgettable adventure.

Brazil: The Land of Diversity

Brazil is a land of vast contrasts, where the Amazon Rainforest, iconic Carnival celebrations, and pristine beaches converge to create a tourism paradise.


  • Natural Wonders: The Amazon Rainforest, often dubbed the “lungs of the Earth,” is a bucket-list destination for eco-adventurers. Visitors can explore the diverse flora and fauna while experiencing the unique cultures of indigenous communities.
  • Cultural Extravaganza: Brazil’s cultural diversity is on full display during Carnival, an extravagant festival celebrated across the country. The pulsating rhythms of samba, colorful parades, and elaborate costumes create an electrifying atmosphere.
  • Stunning Beaches: From Copacabana to Ipanema, Brazil boasts some of the world’s most famous beaches. Whether you’re surfing in Florianopolis or relaxing in the secluded coves of Fernando de Noronha, Brazil offers a beach for every taste.

Colombia: A Hidden Gem Revealed

  • Colombia, once known for its tumultuous history, has emerged as a vibrant and welcoming tourism destination.
  • Historical Charm: The historic city of Cartagena, with its well-preserved colonial architecture and vibrant streets, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It offers a journey back in time to an era of pirates and Spanish conquistadors.
  • Coffee Culture: Colombia is synonymous with coffee, and the Coffee Triangle is a must-visit for coffee aficionados. Tour coffee farms, learn about the coffee-making process, and savor some of the world’s finest brews.
  • Natural Beauty: Colombia’s diverse landscapes include lush jungles, towering Andean peaks, and pristine Caribbean coastlines. The Cocora Valley, with its surreal wax palm trees, is a hidden gem for hikers.


Brazil vs Colombia Main Differences Shared Values

Both Brazil vs Colombia share a commitment to warm hospitality that leaves a lasting impression on travelers. Whether you’re savoring feijoada (a traditional Brazilian dish) in a family-run restaurant in Rio de Janeiro or enjoying arepas (a Colombian staple) from a street vendor in Bogotá, the warmth of the people is a common thread.

Brazil: Where Nature Reigns Supreme

Brazil, as the largest country in South America, boasts a natural bounty that seems almost endless. Its crown jewel is the Amazon Rainforest, home to an astounding array of wildlife, including jaguars, capybaras, and pink river dolphins. Travelers can embark on guided expeditions into this lush wilderness, exploring its winding waterways, and encountering indigenous communities that have lived harmoniously with the forest for generations.

For those seeking a different kind of adventure, Brazil offers the mystical Pantanal wetlands. This vast region is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise, where you can spot caimans, giant otters, and a plethora of bird species on guided safaris. If you’re more inclined towards birdwatching, the Pantanal is considered one of the world’s premier destinations.

Brazil’s love for football is legendary, and tourists can soak in the passion by attending matches at iconic stadiums like the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. The energy of Brazilian football fans is infectious, creating an unforgettable experience even for those who aren’t die-hard sports enthusiasts.

Colombia: A Cultural Tapestry Unfolds

Colombia’s charm lies not only in its natural beauty but also in its rich cultural tapestry. The city of Medellín, once infamous for its association with drug cartels, has undergone a remarkable transformation. Today, it’s a vibrant metropolis known for its innovation, art, and lush botanical gardens.

If you’re a history buff, a visit to Bogotá is a must. The Gold Museum (Museo del Oro) houses an astonishing collection of pre-Columbian gold artifacts, offering a glimpse into Colombia’s ancient civilizations. Meanwhile, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is a true architectural marvel, carved within the depths of a salt mine.

Colombia’s Caribbean coast, with its turquoise waters and coral reefs, is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Scuba diving, snorkeling, and kite surfing are just a few of the activities you can enjoy in the coastal towns of Cartagena, Santa Marta, and San Andrés.

Conclusion: Choosing Your Adventure

Deciding between Brazil vs Colombia for your next adventure is no easy task. Brazil offers a kaleidoscope of natural wonders, cultural extravagance, and beachfront bliss. Colombia, on the other hand, unveils historical treasures, coffee culture, and breathtaking landscapes.

Ultimately, the choice between these two tourism powerhouses depends on your preferences. Are you seeking the rhythm of samba on Rio’s streets, or the cobbled alleys of Cartagena’s Old Town? Do you dream of lounging on Brazil’s iconic beaches, or hiking through Colombia’s coffee-scented hills?

Whichever destination you choose, one thing is certain: Brazil vs Colombia are both poised to welcome you with open arms, offering a taste of their unique cultures, flavors, and natural beauty. It’s a tourism showdown where there are no losers, only unforgettable memories waiting to be made.

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The ultimate Worldpackers Brazil travel guide

If Brazil is on your bucket list, look no further than this comprehensive budget travel guide to Brazil with tips on what to do, how to get around, safety, ways to save money, and more.

colombia or brazil travel

Juliana Juliana Arthuso

Nov 25, 2023

Brazil travel guide

Brazil is the largest country in South America and the fifth-largest in the world . 

Therefore, creating a   best Brazil travel guide is not the easiest of tasks!  When you think of all the places to visit in a country that is as big as the entire continent of Europe, you realize you probably won't be able to cover it all in one trip... let alone one travel guide. If you're  traveling to Brazil or planning a trip to Brazil , I recommend you embrace the "no need to do it all at once" approach, learn from the Brazilians and relaxa !

Be it one trip or several, Brazil should be on every traveler's bucket list . In the land of Carnival  you can find everything from little historical towns to towering skyscrapers in the largest cities of South America. Brazil's natural landscapes are must-sees, ranging from legendary paradise beaches over the coast, to tropical forests and the inland region of world's most biologically rich savanna, the Brazilian Cerrado .

Before I introduce you to the  best places to visit in Brazil , it's worth going over Brazil's location and history, language, visa requirements, currency and other practical tips for a backpacker trip to Brazil.

Map of Brazil, South America

Where is Brazil located?

Brazil is a great destination to start a South America backpacking trip , because there are many cheap flights from Europe and United States to São Paulo, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza airports.  In addition, Brazil shares borders with ten countries! The list of its neighbors includes almost every country in South America, with the exceptions of Chile and Ecuador.

For instance, if your flight lands in São Paulo, you can take a bus, BlaBlaCar or hitchhike south and get to Foz do Iguaçu, Porto Alegre or Curitiba. From those cities you can easily cross to Uruguay, Paraguay or Argentina by land or boat. The distances between the capitals are equivalent to a night sleeping in a bus, or a long car ride. It's not difficult to find students and families making these routes and offering lifts.

On the other hand, if you land in Salvador, you'll be only a few hours away from the best beach destinations in Brazil : the northeast. You can go to places like Jericoacoara, Recife, Olinda, Aracaju, Fernando de Noronha, and Fortaleza.

Brazil is officially divided into five regions : North, Northeast, Center-West, Southeast and South. It's important to familiarize itself with each region before traveling to Brazil, because if you plan a trip  that has the Iguaçu Falls and the Amazon rainforest in the same week, it's going to be extremely tiring, or worse, expensive! I'll talk later about how to find cheap domestic flights in Brazil , so   k eep reading.

Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, South America

Some of the history of Brazil

The first Portuguese colonial expedition arrived in Brazil in the year 1500. Before this, Brazil was inhabited by native Indians with many different cultures and languages. Later on, Africans were taken to the country farms, when Brazil became one of the biggest slavery-based colonies in the world. Today, Brazilians with African ancestry represent 54% of the country's population, while Brazilians with indigenous ancestry account for 0.4%.

After the abolition of slavery, European immigrants came to work in coffee farms widespread throughout Brazil. The mass European immigration changed the population, and this is still apparent today, as Brazilian society is a mix of diverse ethnic communities and a confluence   of people of several different origins .   Did you know that Brazil has the biggest Japanese population outside of Japan? How cool is that?

In 1882, Brazil became independent from Portugal, which marked the beginning of the Republican period during which voting was a privilege for just the highest classes.  Afterwards, the country was governed by a military dictatorship which lasted from 1964 to 1985.

In 1988, a new Constitution was passed and Brazil officially became a democracy . Since then, the military has remained under the control of civilian politicians, with no official role in domestic politics. The current Constitution was drafted as a reaction to the period of military dictatorship, seeking to guarantee individual rights and restrict the state's ability to limit freedom.

What is the official language spoken in Brazil?

Brazilians speak Portuguese, not Spanish! 

I recommend you try to learn a few words before your trip, since less than 10% of the population speaks English. However, even if you don't speak the language, locals in the major touristic cities are accustomed to tourists, and can usually speak and understand basic Spanish or English. A lot of young Brazilians also speak excellent English, especially in the big cities. 

Ultimately, the number of people who speak English around you will depend on the city you go and the social context you're in, so learning a few Portuguese words definitely couldn't hurt !

To be more specific, in big cities such as São Paulo, Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasília, it's quite easy to find English speakers. After the World Cup and the Olympics, many places now have signs and services in English, too. On the other hand, when you go to the countryside and visit smaller cities and towns, it can be a bit more difficult to find English speakers, and you're going to have to rely on luck.

If you're  traveling to Brazil and don't know Portuguese , make sure you always have internet (get a pre-paid SIM card) and a positive attitude, and try to communicate using translation apps. Brazilians in general are more than willing to help a lost foreigner. Most Brazilians love to interact with outsiders, but don't be offended if they don't. It's not because they are xenophobic, but likely because they don't feel comfortable or confident speaking English.

Dois Rios, Brazil, South America

Climate and packing list for Brazil

Winter in Brazil is between June and August with temperatures reaching lows of 5-8°C in the coldest regions and 15-20°C in the warmest regions. The southern region, formed by the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul, is especially cold. Many Brazilians go to these states to visit cities with a European vibe, such as Curitiba, Joinville, Gramado or Blumenau.

Summer in Brazil lasts from December to February. In the coastal and northern regions, rain showers are common compliments of the country's tropical climate. On the other hand, in the Center-West, it can get really dry, especially in states like Goias and Tocantins, in the Cerrado biome. The Amazon Basin is the wettest area in the country and has consistently hot temperatures averaging around 27°C. Combined with high humidity, the Amazon Basin's climate can be difficult to handle if you are not used to it.

A  packing list for Brazil  should definitely include clothes made from breathable fabric like cotton. Polyester, nylon and the like are not a good idea for hot, humid weather. Flip flops are also essential, but remember to buy your havaianas once you get to Brazil (they're way cheaper there). Another thing you should remember is to bring a hat! The sun is stronger near the Equator and you don't want to get sunburned in Brazil.

Also, make sure to bring an extra layer for indoors and bus rides. Yes, you read that right — indoors! If you go to the mall, restaurants in city centers or cafés, you'll notice the air conditioning is turned up very high. Also, if you travel by bus, especially overnight, carry a small cardigan or sweatshirt for the same reason.

Finally, bring an adapter for Brazilians sockets (type N), or just carry a universal adapter to have no surprises.  The electrical current in Brazil varies from region to region so it's a good idea to check out your destination(s) beforehand to bring the appropriate adapter(s). For example, in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the current is 110V or 120V, 60Hz AC while in Salvador it is 127V and in  Brasília  it is 220V. If all your electronic devices are dual voltage, this won't be a problem.

If you're an experienced backpacke r, you may find the next packing tips obvious, but it's always good to remember this list of things to take to Brazil :

  • Money belt : Brazil is not the safest country in South America, but also not the most dangerous. To feel secure, it's best to keep your passport, cards and cash hidden and out of sight!
  • Water bottle : Help the environment by bringing your own bottle, so you can refill instead of buying a new bottle each time you feel thirsty. 
  • Travel towel : You never know when you'll end up at the beach in Brazil. Keep a travel towel handy —  it dries fast and doesn’t take too much space in your backpack.

For more packing tips for Brazil , check out this Brazil packing list for backpackers .

Beautiful Brazil

Visa requirements for Brazil

The majority of European nationals need two things to enter Brazil : a valid passport and a return ticket, or a valid passport and proof of the means to pay for a ticket. You will need to fill in an entry card on arrival which will allow you to stay up to 90 days.

The immigration officials will keep one part of this card and attach the other to your passport. Make sure you don't lose this part as you'll need to show it on departure!

U.S., Australian, Canadian, and Japanese citizens can visit Brazil for up to 90 days without a visa . Other countries may require a visa, which can be acquired from the Brazilian Embassy in their home countries. 

Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to visit Brazil as a tourist: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Malta, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

Residents of all countries should always contact their local Brazilian Embassy or nearest consulate for specific visa procedures and travel information . A passport that is valid for six months past the date of first entry is also a requirement.

Tourist information in Brazil

You should not depend too much on tourist information offices when traveling to Brazil . The main office is in the country's capital Brasília, and there's also another branch in Rio de Janeiro. In São Paulo and all the other 24 states, tourist offices are sponsored by state or municipal government, and often have pretty limited information or don't even exist.

The easiest way to find information about Brazil is through social media. Most capitals have accounts on Instagram just to help visitors, and travel blogging/Instagramming is very popular among Brazilians. A lot of people post in English!

It's a good idea to do plenty of research before you  travel to Brazil . Read Brazil travel blogs , get a Brazil guidebook , and compare different Brazil travel websites ' top picks for Brazil trip ideas . Don't forget to save this Brazil travel guide  to your phone before you go!

Currency exchange in Brazil

When exchanging currency in Brazil , you'll usually find the best exchange rates in a " casa de câmbio ." The only problem is that outside of big cities, you won't find that many of them. Assuming you're probably going to land in a hub airport like São Paulo or Rio, it's a good idea to exchange money right after arrival. Once you travel outside of Brazil's larger cities, it can be difficult to exchange money at all, or you might find terrible rates.

Another option for exchanging currency (in larger cities) is to find major banks like Banco do Brasil, Itau or Santander. It's also worth noting that carrying US dollars might make exchanging easier, as more places accept US currency.

All major credit cards are accepted, even in small cities. But in the more rural areas, paying with a card can be quite limited. You can use your credit card to withdraw cash in most banks in the bigger towns and cities. In smaller towns, Banco do Brasil will provide this service.

If you're wondering if Brazil is for safe tourists , you're not alone. The short answer to the question " Is Brazil safe? " is that it all depends on where you go. Much like other large countries, Brazil offers differing levels of safety, which can vary from region to state to city and even neighborhood to neighborhood in big cities.

One could say that Brazil is as safe as most of its neighboring countries . So, if you're a traveler with a lot of experience in Latin America, you'll do perfectly fine in Brazil. The same precautions that apply to countries like Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay would also apply during a trip to Brazil .

However, Brazil receives plenty of bad press about violence and crime rates, which makes you wonder how safe Brazil really is for tourists . And not without reason. 

Rio de Janeiro is an example of a relatively unsafe destination in Brazil. If you watch or read news about Rio, you may get really scared as the city has cases of violence, robberies and other problems that originate from high social inequality rates and other social issues. 

Surprisingly, Rio is full of tourists year-round! The key to staying safe on a trip to Rio — or any city in Brazil for that matter — is to learn about the safest parts of the city you're visiting. 

Chat with locals, fellow travelers, or your Worldpackers host in Brazil and ask people about places they'd avoid walking alone at night, and places they feel safe and go often. Read blogs, guides and articles about the locations you decide to visit. Try to get as much information as you can before your trip, as well as when you get there.

It may sound obvious to some experienced travelers, but it's also worth mentioning: use common sense! If you want to know more about  how to travel safe in Brazil , use the following list of precautions to guide you (also applicable in any country in South America).

1. Don't carry all your cash and documents with you!

If you want to avoid fees and withdraw all your cash at once, I get you. Do that (preferably along with one or more friends) and then go back to your hostel and hide parts of your money in different places. 25% of your money can go to the bottom of your backpack which stays in the hostel locker. 50% of your cash can go to the hostel's safe, if they have one.

When you go out, carry only the minimum cash needed . By traveling that way you can also plan your day a little more, because you have to estimate how much money you need to carry. This is also a clever way to save money while traveling .

Also, remember to keep your passport, flight tickets and other important papers in the hostel at all times. Carry a copy of your ID or passport if you want to be extra careful. Pickpocketing and armed robbery can happen, especially in some areas of big cities like Brasília, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza.

2. Lock up your valuables

Don't leave anything valuable lying around in your hostel. Look for hostels which offer lockers, or at least a locked room where you can safely store your bags.

3. Dress down

Avoid jewelry and don't walk around flashing an iPhone, iPads, expensive smartphones, cameras and other expensive electronics. Be alert and walk like you know where you're going! Never hold a map (or your phone) up in a busy street because that will make you look disoriented, and turn you into an easy target.

4. Use ATMs inside buildings

When it comes to Brazil travel tips for safety , this is a big one. In addition to using ATMS inside buildings, avoid being the only one at the bank and try not to withdraw cash at night. It's always safer to use ATMs during normal working hours because there's always guards at the bank agencies from 10 am to 4 pm.

5. Be aware of tourist scams in Brazil

Have you ever read Paris travel guides that say you must get away from people trying to fool you right under the Eiffel Tower? They say someone tries to make you sign a petition to help a charity to distract you, while others take your backpack. If you can get scammed in the most romantic city in the world, you can get scammed in Brazil too.

In Brazil, people try to fool you in many different ways. In beach cities, you'll see people selling tours illegally, right next to agencies with a decade of tradition in the local community. They look exactly the same.

How can you spot which one is which? The agency will always have clear information about price, itinerary, and safety procedures written on a flyer, board, booklet, guide, or something similar. Also, trustworthy service providers will always negotiate prices in advance.

If someone offers you a tour and tells you to "pay later", or "pay after", don't take it. If the person speaks English or you speak Portuguese, awesome! You can ask them as many questions as you want and establish a time to pay pay. But if you don't, the person can try to fool you by charging a different amount in the end or they can try to say you fooled them, etc... and you might be stuck in a situation you're not expecting. In short, always make sure you get all the information you need before starting an activity.

Distraction is another common tactic used by street thieves. Sometimes, it's something as simple as someone asking you for a cigarette, the time, a coin or a lighter. As soon as you slow down and open your bag, you're off guard and someone grabs your phone and makes a run for it.

6. Only bring essentials to the beach

If you go to the beach, don't leave your stuff lying around on the sand while you go for a swim. Only bring essentials. Leave home wearing your bathing suit and take a towel, a small amount of cash and maybe your phone, and nothing else.

7. Avoid being out after dark

Avoid walking on empty streets, in deserted parks or on urban beaches like in Rio, Maceió, Recife, Salvador or Fortaleza.

8. Keep an eye on your drink if you go to parties

If you feel dizzy, fatigued or "weird" after drinking something, your drink may have been spiked. If you think so, call the hostel you're in and/or try to get to a safe place immediately. Never leave your drink unattended and don't take drinks from strangers.

9. Avoid business with random people

As a general rule for super safe travel , never book a tour, a service or even accept help from people who approach you unsolicitedly at the airport, on the street or next to famous tourist spots. Choose a Worldpackers hostel in Brazil and ask your host about safe tours and things to do in Brazil . Another nice way to get safe tours in Brazil is to book on websites ahead of time, for example Airbnb experiences.

10. Get informed, the internet is your friend 

In Brazil, you must be extra cautious in big capitals like São Paulo, Rio, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Manaus, and Porto Alegre. But there are very safe cities in Brazil too. The safest city in Brazil is Brusque, in Santa Catarina, famous for its German heritage. Campina Grande (Paraíba) was ranked as the most dangerous city in Brazil in 2017.

The best thing you can do to travel safely in Brazil is to read guides and use social networks to your advantage. People who have traveled to places where you haven't yet can give you updates in real time, or offer you an overview on where to keep your eyes open and be extra careful.

Talk directly to a Worldpackers expert or bloggers to get more questions answered about safe travel in Brazil .

Aerial view of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, South America

Getting to Brazil

The major airlines serving Brazil include: Aerolineas Argentinas, Air France, AeroPeru, Alitalia, American Airlines, British Airways, Continental Airlines, South African Airlines, Swissair, TAP Air Portugal, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, Pluna, KLM, LAN-Chile, United Airlines, and Lufthansa. The local airline Azul also provides flights between São Paulo and some European cities like Lisbon, Paris, Porto, London and Rome.

As you can imagine, prices can vary, but you can expect to pay between USD $700-$900 for a round-trip flight from Europe. During a promotion, the same flight might be found for less than $500.  If you're flying from the United States, you can usually find good deals on flights from Miami to Manaus, and Los Angeles to Goiania. 

Depending on where you live, you can have a greater or lesser opportunity to book cheap airfares, but there are some common techniques that everyone can use to  find cheap airfare anytime of the year .

It's worth noting that Brazil shares land borders with Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and Suriname . If you have time for a longer trip, why not explore more of South America and then enter Brazil by land? If you're looking for an adventure, you might even consider entering Brazil  by river on the Amazon route from Peru.

Serra de São Bento, Brazil, South America

Getting around in Brazil

The favored option for travel within Brazil is by bus. Air travel in Brazil has gotten considerably cheaper in the last decade, but it's still not as cheap as flying low-cost in Europe. However, it's always a good idea to check promotions for air travel in Brazil , because sometimes flying can be as cheap as taking the bus!

The use of car sharing apps has grown a lot in the last years in Brazil, and it's getting safer and easier to travel this way. There are a few car sharing apps you can use in Brazil, such as Waze Carpool, BlaBlaCar — which has a ladies only option called " só para elas ", and FemiTaxi — a ladies only only taxi company. Safety is a major issue for women everywhere in the world, so it's nice to know that as a woman traveling in Brazil, you have extra options for staying safe!

How to find cheap domestic flights in Brazil

The four main national airfare carriers are LATAM, Gol and Azul. All of Brazil's major cities are served by at least one of these airlines. You can use apps like Kayak , Skyscanner or Voopter to keep an eye on prices.

I don't recommend flying with Avianca Brazil since they have filed for bankruptcy, and although a lot of flights have been canceled, they still show on some search websites. 

Getting around Brazil by bus

As previously mentioned, bus service is the most common option for budget travel in Brazil . In general, buses are punctual, clean and comfortable. Sometimes you'll encounter problems with delays and cleanliness when traveling around the North region, especially in the Amazon Basin. It's a good opportunity to take a boat instead and have an adventure!

All major cities and towns in Brazil are connected by bus . When buying your ticket, you'll notice there are several types of long distance busses — comum , executivo , semi-leito and leito . It's best to go for  executivo or  semi-leito ; they're not the cheapest, nor the most expensive, but are comfortable enough that you won't end up with a stiff neck or back pain!

The difference between semi-leito and leito is that in leito you can lie down like in a sleeper train. Leito is usually the most expensive class of bus in Brazil, so sometimes, water, soda/juice and snacks are included. The most popular sites to look for bus timelines and available seats are  ClickBus  and  BuscaOnibus . 

If you do intend to travel by bus in Brazil , you should buy your ticket at least a day in advance, especially if you plan to travel during weekends or festivals. This way you have a higher chance of getting a bus that is comfortable enough for a few hours or a night, without paying a high price. Also, note that while most inter-city buses are air-conditioned, in small towns in the countryside, you'll just have to accept that it's hot!

There's also a train service in Brazil , but it's extremely limited and the trains are slow (40km/h). Most train services in Brazil are historical railways that have been restored for touristic purposes. People also take the train in São Paulo city, but it's not a common thing in other Brazilian capitals, and there's just a few intercity trains. In conclusion, getting around Brazil only by train is not possible.

What to eat in Brazil?

Due to its cultural diversity, Brazil has incredibly unique cuisine . In fact, one of the best things to do in Brazil is to go out and try local food.

I've picked the best dishes from each different region in Brazil , so you can get a quick insight into some of the native specialties.

The North region of Brazil is home to the Amazon Rainforest. The cuisine is strongly influenced by the local indigenous culture, which makes it especially unique. Traditionally, the indigenous eat fish, root vegetables, yams and tropical fruits. One popular dish is açaí com peixe (açai berry with grilled fish and roasted cassava or corn flour mixture).

The Northeast region of Brazil includes the State of Bahia, considered the heart of black Brazil. Bahia's predominately African background is abundantly apparent in its traditions, music, and food. In Bahia you'll find a thriving culinary scene typified by local produce, traditional recipes, and seafood-based fare. Specialties include acarajé , vatapá , bobó , and acaçá . Bahia is the perfect place in Brazil for a local food journey!

The Northeast region also includes Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Sergipe, and Alagoas. These states are very different from each other. Some have a strong Dutch influence from colonization, while others have a more Portuguese influence. In the coastal areas you'll get high quality and diverse options of seafood dishes. One example is moqueca , which consists of fish, onion, tomato, pepper, cilantro and dendê oil all cooked together in one pot.


The Center-West region of Brazil consists of a mix of the original Indigenous population and people from the Southeast and South regions who migrated Center-West in the '80s and '90s, when Brazil had a boom in agri-business development. In the Center-West you can expect to find dishes with fish, beef, chicken and pork from the huge ranches which dominate the region. So if you love meat, Center-West your place!

In the same region you'll also find beiju , tapioca , and other typical Indigenous foods made from cassava and cassava starch. Make sure to taste the local peppers by trying jiquitaia sauce, and eat the Center-West's version of feijoada .

The Southeast region of Brazil includes Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and São Paulo, so you can expect several distinctive styles of cooking! One of the most popular dishes is arroz com feijão (rice and beans). Dive deep into the local cheese culture in Minas Gerais, and make sure to try pão de queijo , a local (and famous) Brazilian specialty!

Pão de Queijo

In São Paulo and Rio, you'll get a more metropolitan vibe; fast food branches and famous restaurants abound. There's also significant influence from Italian and Portuguese immigrants, so you won't be disappointed.

The South region of Brazil is the national home of the " gauchos ", or Argentinian/Uruguayan cowboys. Expect lots of wood-fire barbecue and spirits to fight the cold!

Dishes influenced by the German and Dutch settlers who arrived in the region centuries ago are also very present. Make sure to try the locally-made beer and wine, gourmet cheese and much more! You don't want to miss drinking Chimarrão , a hot beverage made from yerba mate and pine nuts served in a gourd cup.

Tipping in Brazil

Remember that tipping in Brazil is not compulsory... but a tip of 10% is generally expected (and appreciated). Most restaurants include the service charge on your bill, but you can ask to take it away if you want.

Where to stay in Brazil

Here are the top picks for Brazil travel destinations . I've divided this section by region, so it's easier for you to plan your Brazil travel route . In my opinion, these places are the absolute best of Brazil . Any of these destinations is reason enough to plan a visit to Brazil !

North Region

Manaus, Brazil, South America

If you want to go North, your flight will probably land in Manaus, the capital city of the state of Amazonas . There you will find  MUSA — Museum of Amazonia, the Amazonas Theater, and other historical landmarks. From Manaus, you can also take a boat to see the "Meeting of Waters" (Portuguese: Encontro das Águas), the confluence between the dark Rio Negro and the pale sandy-colored  Amazon River, or Rio Solimões.

Manaus is also the gateway to the Amazon rainforest and there are infinite tour options for every type of travel budget.

2. Presidente Figueiredo

Presidente Figueiredo, Brazil, South America

A small town north of Manaus, Presidente Figueiredo is home to over 100 waterfalls, and is the perfect place for an avid outdoor enthusiast.  It contains part of the Uatumã Biological Reserve , a strictly protected conservation unit, and also holds about 2% of the Rio Negro Left Bank Environmental Protection Area , a sustainable use conservation area.

3. Alter do Chão

Alter do Chão, Brazil, South America

Alter do Chão is, in my opinion, one of the best places in Brazil . This beach paradise in the middle of the Amazon is one of the administrative districts of the city of Santarém and received the attention of Brazilians around 2017, when the Ministry of Tourism declared it a destination with potential.

Alter do Chão is located on the right bank of the Tapajós river, in the state of Pará.  Commonly referred to as the " Carribean of the Amazon " because of its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters,  and laid-back vibe, Alter do Chão is a relaxing place to spend a few days in the Amazon.  During weekends, the residents of Santarém and other nearby cities come in search of parties, beer, barbecue, music and dance.

Jalapão, Brazil, South America 

Jalapão is a national reserve in the state of Tocantins, famous for its  dramatic landscapes with large orange sand dunes, towering rock formations and clear rivers and streams. 

The region is a popular destination for adventure tourism and eco-tourism . Most of Jalapão's attractions are located in the cities of Mateiros, Novo Acordo, Ponte Alta do Tocantins and São Félix do Tocantins. The Jalapão region has an area of 34,000 square kilometres, and is must-see for anyone  traveling to Brazil .

5. Anavilhanas Islands and National Park

Anavilhanas National Park, Brazil, South America

Approximately 100 km from Manaus in the Rio Negro, you'll find one o f the most unique environments on earth : the Anavilhanas Archipelago. This is a complex of over 400 islands in the middle of the Amazon that constitutes the  largest group of pristine river islands in the world!

The Anavilhanas National Park  encompasses the archipelago and is part of a World Heritage Site. I n the dry season (from September to February), you can enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches, or " prainhas ", throughout the archipelago. In rainy season (from March to August), you can experience  boat trips between the islands and swim in crystalline streams. 

You can also explore Jaú National Park in the region.

Bonus for the North region: Attend Parintins Folk Festival

Taking place at the end of June every year and attracting people from all over the world, the city of Parintins (Amazonas) holds a unique festival with traditional music, dance, folklore and local food. The main theme of the festival is ' Boi Bumba ', a battle between two groups representing the legendary bulls, " Caprichoso " and " Garantido ."

You won't see costumes like those of the Parintins Folk Festival anywhere else in the world. They're nothing like those seen in Rio's Carnival, as the general atmosphere and music of Parintins Folk Festival is entirely unique.

The festival begins at a harbor where thousands of boats arrive with tourists eager to take part in one of Brazil's greatest folk festivals. If you are in Brazil around the time of Parintins Folk Festival and enjoy discovering local culture, it's certainly worth making the trip.

Northeast Region

Pro tip: There are many cheap flights from Portugal to the Northeast region of Brazil. Try looking for flights from Lisbon or Porto to Salvador, Recife, Fortaleza, or Natal and you'll be pleasantly surprised!

6. Salvador

Salvador, Brazil, South America

Carnival in the state of Bahia takes place in February and is one of the largest festivals in Brazil.  

If you attend, you will hear (and very likely dance to) the best Afro-Brazilian music that Brazil has to offer. Salvador is the capital of Bahia and the African center of South America . The Carnival in Bahia celebrates all things African in the region, making it distinctive from the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro .

Salvador is famous for great sunset views ... so take your time to explore and   find your favorite! Also make sure to visit the famous viewpoint from E levador Lacerda.  Ponta do Humaitá and the Modern Art Museum of Bahia are other popular attractions.  Walk around the Pelourinho neighborhood and try local food and cachaça (a local spirit made from sugar cane). Finally, don't forget to visit Farol da Barra and the calm beach of Stella Maris!

Recife, Brazil, South America

Recife is a center for culture and leisure in the Northeast region of Brazil. It's also the main theatrical, gastronomic, and medical hub of its region. From the beautiful Recife Antigo (Old Town) to the various scenic spots with rivers, bridges, beaches, Recife has a lot to offer.

Recife is one of the most-visited Brazilian cities during Festa Junina and Carnival.  Carnival in Recife is one of the biggest parties of the year in Brazil .   Frevo music is the most famous and  popular folk music style associated with the Northeast region of Brazil. Originally from Recife, Frevo music involves the parade of Carnival blocks  (street bands) playing varied musical genres, such as maracatu , forró , and even electronic music.  You can visit the Frevo Museum in Recife to learn more about the history of this cultural symbol.

Another highlight of Recife is the Instituto Ricardo Brennand, a cultural institution of Recife that comprises a museum, an art gallery, a library and a large park. The museum has an incredible  collection of art from all over the world. Also worth visiting is the Parque das Esculturas, a park built on a reef in front of the Marco Zero of Recife. Parque das Esculturas is  a unique place that will certainly surprise you when you visit Recife.

8. Jericoacoara and Fortaleza

Fortaleza, Brazil, South America

From Recife you can find transportation to Jericoacoara, a car-free town standing 300km from Fortaleza (capital of Ceará, pictured above).

Jeri, as locals call it, has been a National Park since 2002, so the construction of highways and roads — as well as any type of pavement whatsoever — is prohibited.  Jeri consists of blue lagoons, calm seas, and huge dunes, and was recently selected by The Washington Post as one of the  most beautiful beaches in the world .  Most visitors arrive from Fortaleza and change vehicles in Jijoca, the nearest town to Jeri with paved roads.

Central-West Region

9. brasília.

Brasília, Brazil, South America

If you want to see the Central-West region of Brazil, your flight will land in Brasília, Goiânia or Palmas. Brasília is the third busiest airport in Brazil. Located atop the Brazilian highlands, Brasília is also the federal capital of Brazil  and seat of government of the Federal District.

Some of  Brasília's major landmarks include the Cathedral, National Library and government buildings. The Institute of Biological Sciences (IB) of the University of Brasília also makes for a nice visit.

10. Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park

Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, Brazil, South America

From Brasília or Goiânia you can take a bus or organized tour to see Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in Goiás! 

Chapada dos Veadeiros is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site for being an outstanding preservation area of the Brazilian Cerrado   —  one of the world's oldest and most diverse tropical ecosystems.

11. The Pantanal

Rio Paraguay, Pantanal, Brazil, South America

The Pantanal translates as 'large swamp' and is one of Brazil's most important biomes, encompassing the world's  largest tropical wetland area. 

While everyone has heard of the Amazon, The Pantanal Matogrossense National Park area far surpasses it when it comes to wildlife viewing. The Pantanal is home to over 600 species of birds as well as alligators, deer, otters, emus and monkeys. It's a fascinating destination if you love nature.

12. Alta Floresta

Cristalino Private Natural Heritage Reserve, Brazil, South America

Alta Floresta  is another great  destination for outdoor adventurers  in the state of Mato Grosso. Many Brazilians visit every year to fish, swim, hike in the forest and take boat trips to spot wildlife. Located at the southern edge of the Amazon rainforest, Alta Floresta is also on the way to The Cristalino Private Natural Heritage Reserve , another popular eco-tourism destination.

Gruta do Lago Azul, Brazil, South America

Bonito is the main destination in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul for people who like to go diving. Attractions such as the Blue Lake (pictured above), Mimoso Caves, the Natural Aquarium and the Sucuri River are the most visited. Rafting, treetop walking, waterfalls, caves, hiking and diving are some of the other popular options of things to do in Bonito.

Pro tip:  Only 8 km away from Bonito you can visit  Rio Formoso Ecological Park and get to know Brazil's rich diversity of flora.

Southeast Region

14. são paulo.

São Paulo, Brazil, South America

The list of things to do in São Paulo  can get very long! Start with the museums like MASP, Museu Afro Brasil and The Pinacoteca, one of the most important art museums in Brazil. Walk Avenida Paulista and visit cultural centers like Japan House and Casa das Rosas.

On weekends, a traditional itinerary for  paulistanos  (São Paulo locals), includes going to fairs and markets around the city center. Fairs at Bixiga, Liberdade and Praça Benedito Calixto are some of the city's most famous, and offer local beers, organic products and artisan crafts.

São Paulo is also a nice place to visit parks like Ibirapuera or Vila Lobos. A portion of the city has bicycle paths, and some parks have their own museums, and auditoriums. Ibirapuera even offers a planetarium!

Don't miss the São Paulo LGBT Pride , which usually takes place at Avenida Paulista to the beat of trio elétricos (big decorated trucks with loud music). It's one of the largest parades of its kind in the world, and there's also debates and cultural fairs on topics like tolerance and respect.

Sampa, São Paulo's nickname, offers vibrant nightlife and a thriving culinary scene. You can find high-standard international restaurants and fine dishes made by famous Brazilian chefs. Sampa is also considered the Brazilian capital of pizza, with over six thousand pizza places scattered throughout the city!

15. Minas Gerais

Minas Gerais, Brazil, South America

The capital of Minas is Belo Horizonte, or simply BH. It was the first Brazilian city  planned from the start for future expansion in order to meet growing demand. Visit the  Pampulha Art Museum, Pampulha Church, and Casa do Baile. Also nearby is Brumadinho, where you'll find Inhotim  —  a large open air museum with one of the most expressive contemporary art collections in the world.

Don't forget to try Pão de Queijo and the local cheeses in Minas Gerais, and also visit colonial towns like Ouro Preto, São João Del Rey and Diamantina.

16. Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, South America

Rio de Janeiro is home to Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Hill , two of the  most visited attractions in Brazil . Standing at 38 meters tall, Christ the Redeemer is Brazil's most prominent landmark. From Corcovado Hill, you'll also see spectacular views of the entire city.

Visiting Copacabana  and  Ipanema are among some of the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro . These neighborhoods can mean very different things for different people; for some, they are a business or tourist destination, but for locals, they're great places to exercise, meet friends, and socialize.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is all about samba, dancing and parades full of more color and rhythm than you can possibly imagine. If you're planning a trip to Brazil , Carnival in Rio is probably one of the best and worst times you could possibly go. Hotels get insanely expensive, but you can always find plenty of  Worldpackers hosts in Rio and save lots of money to spend on caipirinhas !

South Region

17. curitiba.

Curitiba, Brazil, South America

Curitiba has a strong cultural influence from its many Italian, German, Polish and Ukrainian immigrants. In addition to being a  cosmopolitan city, Curitiba is also one of the most prosperous and organized cities in Brazil .

A strong tech scene and culture of innovation permeates Curitiba. The city is also home to many parks and green areas. 

The best things to do in Curitiba  include visiting Parque Barigui, Opera de Arame and Tangua Park. Parque Barigui in particular is a favorite spot among locals and a great place to see  capybaras, birds and beautiful nature. It's also worth seeing Th e Oscar Niemeyer Museum, a space dedicated to the exhibition of visual arts, architecture, urbanism and design.

Curitiba is one of Brazil's most cultural cities and has the highest number of vegetarians in the country! Don't forget to visit the Contemporary art Museum, Indigenous Art Museum, Holocaust Museum and Botanical Garden.

18. Ilha do Mel

Ilha do Mel, Brazil, South America

Just two hours by car from Curitiba is Ilha do Mel (Honey Island). The name makes it sound like a honeymoon destination, but it's actually one of the most pristine and picturesque beaches in all of Brazil .

Ilha do Mel is calm, clean and not many people go there during low season... so if you're lucky, you might find a beach all to yourself!

19. Florianópolis

Florianópolis, Brazil, South America

A four hour drive from Curitiba, Florianópolis, also called Floripa, is divided into two parts. Most of the city's area consists of the island of Santa Catarina , connected to the mainland by two bridges. Santa Catarina is famous for its beaches but also has beautiful forested mountains and a lagoon.

Jurerê Internacional is a beach-side neighborhood on the northern shore of the island of Florianópolis in Santa Catarina. Full of luxurious mansions and fancy restaurants, Jurerê  offers some of the most lively nightlife in Brazil .

Florianópolis is a famous spot for  surfing in Brazil  and hosts national and international championships. Joaquina and Praia Mole are examples of famous surf beaches in Florianópolis. Sailing, kitesurfing, diving and offshore fishing are also among the city's main activities.

20. Porto Alegre

Porto Alegre, Brazil, South America

Only an hour and a half away from Serra Gaucha, Porto Alegre is the first of many trendy destinations in South region of Brazil such as Gramado, Canela, and Bento Gonçalves.

Porto Alegre is the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, the last state in Brazil before Uruguay! The city is home to more than 50 museums and cultural centers. The Gasometer is one of the best places to visit in Porto Alegre. It's a former power station that has become a cultural center. The rooftop offers a great view of the river. 

At Memorial of Rio Grande do Sul you'll learn about the state's history and partake in wine tasting sessions provided by regional winemakers!

21. Iguaçu Falls

Iguaçu Falls, Brazil, South America

At the point where Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina meet, the Iguaçu river drops spectacularly in a group of hundreds of waterfalls that thunder down into the gorge below. Some of the falls — like Garganta do Diabo —are more than 100 meters high!

The forest and river cover such a broad area that it's impossible to see everything at once, but you'll get the broadest panorama from the Brazilian side of the falls. If you choose to visit the Argentinian side, you'll have more options to explore the rainforest's unique flora and fauna, while also enjoying trails to spectacular views.

Both sides offer different perspectives and views, so most tourists choose to see both. The falls are protected by the UNESCO-acclaimed Iguaçu National Park , where subtropical rainforests guard over a 1,000 species of birds and mammals, including deer, otters, ocelots, and capybaras.

Iguaçu National Park, with the Falls as its main feature, is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its exceptional natural beauty and habitat of rare and endangered species.

Worldpackers in Brazil 

Want to have an authentic local experience in Brazil? Look no further than a work exchange in Brazil with Worldpackers ! Help a host by becoming a member of the Worldpackers community and get accommodation and other benefits in exchange for a few hours of work a day.

When planning to  visit Brazil on a budget , it's especially nice to know where to start. I've selected a few great Worldpackers hosts in Brazil below for inspiration.

If you want to experience the Brazilian Cerrado and learn more about Brazil's immense biodiversity, check out the projects on offer in Alto Paraíso de Goiás, Brazil . Most of these projects offer the opportunity to be immersed in incredible nature, and volunteers often include students from cities nearby like Brasília and Goiânia. 

If you're looking for a full-on immersive eco experience, consider working at Coletivo Mão na Terra, an urban permaculture farm in Curitiba . In addition to caring for the agro-forest and community garden, you’ll help with events and courses about permaculture and urban nature conservation, learn how to make organic soap and natural inks, and practice yoga and meditation. Any event or activity during your stay is free and the Coletivo is located right next to the Oscar Niemeyer Museum (The Eye Museum), which a great place to start exploring Curitiba, otherwise known as the cultural capital of south Brazil.

If you to enjoy relaxed guesthouse environment during your time in Brazil, stay in the mountains while doing a work exchange in Ibitipoca, Minas Gerais . Ibitipoca is a mountain village located near a state reserve with paradise-like waterfalls. The hostel/guesthouse on offer is a delightful country house with wood-burning stove, grass in the front yard, fruit trees and birds. If you look forward to lying in a hammock, reading a book, stargazing, and having a coffee and simply being, this is the ideal place for you.

Costs/ways to save money in Brazil

Generally speaking, Brazil isn't an expensive country to visit. It's not hard to travel on a budget in Brazil. For those coming from the United States, Australia, the UK or Europe, the exchange rate will make you feel like everything is very cheap. For those coming from Latin America, this may vary. The currency in Brazil is the real (R$), and R$1.00 is currently worth ~US$0.26.

Saving money on on food

Prices in Brazil have not been consistent for a long time and locals complain frequently, especially about gas and grocery prices. Still, if you want to know how to eat cheap in Brazil , my best advice is to go to a supermarket, buy your own food, and cook at your hostel.

If you don't like to cook, eating out in Brazil is not the cheapest of activities, but it's certainly possible to find affordable places with delicious food. Especially if you like a big lunch. Brazilians tend to eat their largest meal in the middle of the day.

You can find all major fast food restaurants and plenty of information online about affordable places to eat in the main capitals, and throughout the country you'll find any kind of food you can imagine. "All you can eat" restaurants are very common for pizza, meat and sushi and they're called Rodízio . You can eat rodízio de pizza from R$25 to R$125 depending on the quality and location of the restaurant you go to.

If you're traveling around Brazil on a budget , eat where the locals eat. Go to a city center and look for the words marmita , prato feito or the abbreviation " PF ", and you might be in for a nice treat. Marmita is a packed lunch you can buy in almost any restaurant near an office district or city center in Brazil. It will, almost certainly, include rice, beans, some sort of salad and meat. Usually, you can choose the kind of meat from chicken, pork, beef or fish. If you're a vegetarian, ask for eggs and some extra salad. Don't forget to smile and say obrigado!

A marmita in São Paulo can go from R$8 to R$50 depending on what you order. There are even restaurants specialized in vegan pocket lunches and other healthy alternatives. In Curitiba, you can eat as much as you want for R$20 if you go to the office district at lunch time. The further north and northeast you go, the more this kind of food gets cheaper.

Saving money on transportation

One big expense in Brazil is transportation, since the country is quite big. The cheapest option is to travel by bus or car . BlaBlaCar is a great resource for safe, cost-effective travel in Brazil . For example, a ride from São Paulo to Curitiba using BlaBlaCar costs around R$90 or less. 

Intercity buses are a good way to visit Brazil on a budget too, but keep an eye on airlines like Azul, Gol and LATAM. Domestic airlines often have promotions and low-cost flights between the main cities. In 2019, a good average price to look for when booking a flight between Rio and São Paulo is less than R$200.

If you're planning to stay in one city for a while, you can expect to pay around R$4.50 to use the local bus or metro. By the way, São Paulo has the biggest metro network in Brazil , and only four other cities in Brazil have subway lines. São Paulo is one of the most crowded metro systems in the world, so avoid rush hours (from 6 to 9 am and from 5 to 8 pm).

Saving money on accommodation

You can find a hostel for R$25, but you don't need to stay in a very cheap place if you exchange work for accommodation . 

Without paying for accommodation, and getting up to three daily free meals, the price of your trip will drop massively. If you find a host that provides only breakfast, you could easily survive on R$100/week. If you want to party, buy drinks from the supermarket and have an esquenta  with friends before you go out. Esquenta means warm-up, and is a kind of home party before the main party. Brazilians use esquentas  to drink at home or at the hostel to get a little tipsy before they go out to bars, in order to save some money.

Remember to use the Worldpackers travel experience  to your advantage and ask your host about their favorite places to eat, the best routes to get where you want, and nice bars to go out. Or turn on the adventure switch and go wander with other world-packers that are also touring Brazil on a budget .

Other costs

Consider saving some money for vaccinations. In Brazil, vaccination is not a requirement for tourists, but it's highly recommended. Remember to include that cost if you want to be safe when traveling to Brazil . 

Yellow fever, malaria and dengue are present in many regions of the country, so be sure to take proper precautions to avoid mosquito-borne diseases. Bring repellent and use proper equipment if you go camping, like mosquito nets.

Beautiful beach, Brazil, South America

It's very easy to define Brazil in terms of Carnival, caipirinhas , and nice landscapes.  However, when traveling to Brazil , it's only inevitable that  you will get a true feel for the complex layers of this vibrant, diverse, and immense nation. 

There are two things that unite all Brazilians: hospitality, and a big smile. Open your mind and heart to discover Brazil and I promise that you will be welcomed with open arms. 

Join the community!

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Juliana Arthuso

Tradutora e mochileira :) Conquistei a fluência do inglês estudando, trabalhando e fazendo voluntariado no exterior. Trabalho de qualquer lugar do mundo desde 2018, e vc também pode! Confira meus cursos na Academy: como se tornar tradutor profissional e inglês para viajantes. VIAGENS: Até agora, visitei 22 países, morei na Holanda, na Alemanha, na China. Fiz 5 intercâmbios - 3 com bolsa de estudos e outros trabalhando ou como voluntária - fiz voluntariado no Brasil e na Europa, mochilão pela Europa, e agora estou morando no Brasil. Últimos destinos da américa latina: Peru e Colômbia.

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Colombia or Brazil: what is the safest? - San Andres Island Forum

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colombia or brazil travel

Hello everyone :)

I am looking to travel in South America in February and I am wondering if Colombia (san andres) is safer than rio de janeiro?

I would really appreciate some advices

' class=

Yes without hesitation, given your two choices of either San Andreas versus Rio/Brazil, hands down San Andreas is safer.

What other kind of advice are you looking for?

colombia or brazil travel

Porque el foro está en inglés???

' class=

A more level playing field would be Bogotá vs Rio but even then I'd say Bogotá is safer.

Of course Rio over San Andreas for the pulse and energy of the city, no comparison at all. it's Rio after all, right.

I have been to Rio twice (1990) and it is almost magical in some sense, for me anyway as it brings me back to the mid 1960's and me as a boy of 8 staying with my aunt and uncle in Palm Springs California, swimming in their pool on a hot summer day as my uncle played bossa nova music throughout the afternoon.

So when I visit and explore Rio the music that my uncle, passed away in 1979, loved keeps playing in my mind as I wander the beaches of Rio, Girl From Ipanema, that's music!

To the original poster enjoy your trip!

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.

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San Andres Island Hotels and Places to Stay

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  • 3 Other destinations
  • 4.1 Climate
  • 4.2 Terrain
  • 4.3 History
  • 4.4 Visitor information
  • 6.1.1 Extending your stay
  • 6.2 By plane
  • 6.4 By boat
  • 6.5.1 From Venezuela
  • 6.5.2 From Ecuador
  • 6.5.3 From Panama
  • 7.1 By plane
  • 7.2 By train
  • 7.5 By urban bus
  • 7.6 By metro
  • 7.7 By taxi
  • 7.8 By cable car
  • 10.1.1 ATMs
  • 10.2.1 Typical prices
  • 10.3 Tipping
  • 10.4 Shopping
  • 11.1 Sweets
  • 13.1 Motels vs hotels
  • 14.1 Learn Spanish
  • 14.2 Learn Salsa
  • 17.1 Landmines
  • 17.2 Paramilitaries
  • 17.3 Kidnappings
  • 17.4 Guerrillas
  • 18 Stay healthy
  • 19.1 Gay and lesbian travelers
  • 20.1.1 Carriers
  • 20.1.2 Dialling
  • 20.3 Internet cafés

Colombia occupies the northwest corner of South America. It has an area twice that of France, with long coasts on the Caribbean and the Pacific Oceans, mountainous regions, and Amazon jungle areas inland. The ethnic groups and cultures are diverse.

Pick a climate, and it's yours—if you find the light jacket weather of Bogotá cold, drive an hour down through the mountains and sunbathe next to the pool of your rented hacienda. If you don't want to sit still, head off into the Amazon or any of the country's other many inland jungles, snow-capped volcanoes, rocky deserts, endless plains, lush valleys, coffee plantations, mountain lakes, deserted beaches.

For culture, intellectual Bogotá might lead the rest of Latin America in experimental theater, indie-rock, and the number of bookstores, but you could also get a completely alien education in an Amazonian malocca , or you could delve into the huge Latin music scene of salsa and cumbia, with the most exciting dance display being the enormous Carnival of Barranquilla .

For history, wander the narrow streets of South America 's original capital in Bogotá, check out old Spanish colonial provincial retreats like Villa de Leyva , trek through the thick jungle-covered mountains of the northeast to the Lost City of the Tayrona Indians, and walk the walls of Cartagena 's achingly beautiful old city, looking over the fortified ramparts upon which the colonial history of South America pivoted.

For nightlife, hot Cali is today's world capital of salsa, claiming that competitive distinction over Colombia's other vibrant big-city party scenes, which keep the music going long into the small hours of the morning. The hipsters' playground is found around the El Poblado neighbourhood in Medellín downtown.

For dining, you'll find everything from the ubiquitous cheap, delicious Colombian home-style meals to world-class upscale and modern culinary arts in the big cities, with cuisines from all corners of the world represented.

And for relaxing, there are gorgeous tropical beaches along Colombia's Caribbean and Pacific coasts, but you can find even more laidback and peaceful retreats on the idyllic and unspoilt Caribbean island of Providencia .

The political violence has subsided substantially throughout the majority of the country and savvy travelers have already flocked here from around the world—come before everyone else catches on!

Regions [ edit ]

colombia or brazil travel

Cities [ edit ]

  • 4.60971 -74.08175 1 Bogotá — the capital, a cosmopolitan city 3 km (two miles) high, with some eight million people sprawling outwards from Andean mountains, where you'll find excellent museums, world-class dining, and most everything one wants from a big city.
  • 10.983333 -74.801944 2 Barranquilla — the Gold Port and fourth largest city in the nation isn't necessarily that exciting most of the year, but its carnival is the second biggest in the world after Rio de Janeiro 's, and is an amazing cultural experience and one hell of a party!
  • 3.44 -76.519722 3 Cali — Colombia's third largest city, renowned as the salsa capital of Latin America .
  • 10.423611 -75.525278 4 Cartagena — the Heroic City, Capital of the Bolívar department, is Colombia's tourist city par excellence. The colonial architecture and the skyscrapers can be seen together in this city that offers a unique experience of festivals, historic attractions, restaurants, and hotels.
  • 5.066111 -75.484722 5 Manizales — the center of the Zona Cafetera offers the opportunity to visit Los Nevados National Park and to live the coffee plantation experience.
  • 6.244747 -75.574828 6 Medellín — the City of Eternal Spring and capital of the Antioquia department is famous for having a large textile industry, which produces top-quality clothing that is sent all over the world. It's also the birthplace of master painter Fernando Botero, so it houses the great majority of his works.
  • 4.814278 -75.694558 7 Pereira — the lovely city, capital of the Risaralda department, and major city of the coffee region – modern, commercial, and touristic. The famous "naked Bolívar" monument and the Matecaña Zoo are here. Very near to Santa Rosa hot water springs and the National Park of "Los Nevados".
  • 2.454167 -76.609167 8 Popayán — this beautiful, white-washed city is Colombia's religious center. Home to the second largest Easter festival in the world (after Seville, Spain), this town has contributed more Colombian presidents than any other. Bordered by the Puracé National Park and gateway to the archeological sites of San Agustín and Tierra Dentro in nearby Huilla.
  • 11.236111 -74.201667 9 Santa Marta — a popular base for adventure tourism in the beautiful areas surrounding, and unique in the sense that it offers you beautiful beaches one day, and the next one a walk to the foothill of a snowy mountain, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest in the country.

Other destinations [ edit ]

  • -3.483333 -70.2 1 Amacayacu National Park — Far, far from civilization in the Amazon rainforest, a huge national park explorable via boat, full of strange monkey-infested islands and pink dolphins.
  • 5.024722 -74.001389 2 Catedral de Sal — A colossal church built underground in a former salt mine, with passages lined with exquisite sculptures, and a radiant cross rising over the altar of the cavernous nave.

colombia or brazil travel

  • 11.037997 -73.925192 3 Ciudad Perdida de Teyuni — A pre-Columbian city located in the Colombian jungle close to Santa Marta . Built between the eighth and the fourteenth century by the Tayrona Indians. Nowadays only stone circular shaped terraces covered by jungle remain.
  • 10.175 -75.75 4 Corales del Rosario — a scenic archipelago a short boat journey from Cartagena.
  • 2.971389 -78.184444 5 Isla Gorgona — This former prison island in the Pacific Ocean is now a nature reserve open for visitors. There is abundant wildlife like monkeys, snakes, whales and sea turtles. It offers excellent diving conditions.
  • 4.8 -75.366667 6 Los Nevados National Park — Colombia's high altitude volcano park offers great trekking.
  • 13.348889 -81.374722 7 Providencia — an idyllic, remote Caribbean Island found halfway towards Jamaica. With the Western hemisphere's second largest barrier reef, beautiful Providencia Island has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
  • 1.879167 -76.268333 8 San Agustín and Tierradentro — Archeological sites in south-western Colombia.
  • 11.283333 -74.183333 9 Tayrona National Park — Some of the loveliest coastline in all of South America .

Understand [ edit ]

Colombia is the only country in South America with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and it has the second-most biodiversity in the world. Lying to the south of Panama , Colombia controls the land access between Central and South America. With Panama to the north, Colombia is surrounded by Venezuela to the east, Brazil to the southeast, and Ecuador and Peru to the south west. The country was named in honor of Christopher Columbus , following the Italian version of his name (Cristoforo Colombo). Although Columbus never set foot on the current Colombian territory, in his fourth voyage he visited Panama, which was part of Colombia until 1903.

Traveling in Colombia is definitely worthwhile. From Bogotá, with a temperate climate 2,600 m (8,530 ft) above sea level and at a constant temperature of 19°C, a drive of one or two hours north, south, east or west can take you to landscapes which are as diverse as they are beautiful. To historic city centres and towns, modern and energetic party cities, oriental plains which stretch out far beyond the horizon with little modulation. rugged contours of the higher Andean region, the Guajira peninsula and its desert, idyllic beaches, the tropical jungle of the Amazon and the Choco with abundant flora and fauna, snowy peaks and volcanoes, ancient ruins, the Magdalena River valley and its hot weather, beautiful coral reefs and an abundant underwater marine life together with pleasant relaxed tropical islands, and the ability to rest and relax in a privately rented hacienda that lets you have and enjoy these treasures to yourself. Such a diversity comes with equally diverse traditions and foods. Colombia is one of the equatorial countries of the world, but unique in its extreme topography and abundance of water and has something for everyone.

Climate [ edit ]

Take your pick, really. Colombia is an equatorial country with amazing variance in altitude, so it's going to be whatever temperature you like best all year long somewhere! The climate is tropical along the coast, eastern plains, and Amazon; cold in the highlands with periodic droughts. Lacking the usual seasons, Colombians normally refer to rainy seasons as winter—but the differences in terrain and altitude mean the rainy seasons are different in every corner of the country!

The one downside to all this climactic diversity, though, is that you'll have to bring a fair amount of different clothes if you plan to travel extensively. Cities in the center like Bogotá and those to the north in Boyacá can potentially reach temperatures below 0°C, so bring a coat. Some mountains are also covered in snow year-long. Cities along the Caribbean coast like Cartagena , Barranquilla , and Santa Marta are hot and humid, while some cities at mid-altitude in the Andes like Medellín (the City of Eternal Spring), Manizales , and other cities in the Coffee Triangle region always have beautiful temperate weather.

Terrain [ edit ]

colombia or brazil travel

Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains

Natural hazards : highlands subject to volcanic eruptions; occasional earthquakes. A volcanic disaster occurred in Armero, 1985. 25,000 people were buried by lahars (volcanic mudflows) that the Nevado del Ruiz produced.

Highest point : Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m (18,950 ft) of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The mountain is part of the world's highest coastal range. Nearby Pico Simon Bolivar has the same elevation

History [ edit ]

Colombia was inhabited by numerous, major indigenous cultures like the Muisca, the Tayrona and the Quimbaya; some groups of indigenous people as the Caribs lived in a state of permanent war, but others had less bellicose attitudes. The area that now is Colombia was conquered by the Spanish through alliances with some indigenous groups when America was 'discovered' by Europeans. The process of conquest and colonization radically altered the social structures of the areas, the indigenous populations shrank dramatically in size and their share of the population has declined ever since. The Spanish Empire brought European settlers and African slaves, while most of the population in the colony was of mixed Spanish and Indigenous ancestry. The Spanish empire brought slaves to their colonies largely using the 'asiento' system, licensing merchants from many slave trading nations to transport slaves.

Independence from Spain was won in 1819 as part of the "Gran Colombia" Federation, but by 1830 the federation was dissolved. It was one of the five countries liberated by Simón Bolívar (the others being Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia). The success of the independence movements across Latin America was made easier by the Napoleonic Wars that left mainland Spain with two rival governments. What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was declared in 1886. The United States of America's intentions to control the Panama Canal led to Panama becoming a separate nation in 1903.

Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America. Slavery was abolished in the country in 1851. The years following independence were marked by several civil wars, the legacy of these conflicts combined with state repression against leftist militias in rural areas and world polarization caused by the Cold War culminated in a communist insurgent campaign in 1964 by the FARC and the ELN to overthrow the Colombian Government. The years during the conflict were marked by heavy fighting between the communist guerrillas, the Colombian state and military, right-wing paramilitaries and several drug cartels. In the years following 2005 the safety has been improving throughout the country. As part of a difficult peace process the AUC (right-wing paramilitaries) as a formal organization had ceased to function, and in 2012 the government and the FARC started peace talks aiming at bringing the 50-year-old Civil War to an end once and for all. Colombia is in recovery with an rapidly improving economy. Ending the conflict, wealth inequality and rebuilding the nation are some of the issues that confront the country. In October 2016, President Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing the country's five decades of civil war to an end.

Visitor information [ edit ]

  • Colombia Travel website

Talk [ edit ]

The official language of Colombia is Spanish . Some indigenous tribes in rural areas continue to speak their own languages, though almost all people from those tribes will be bilingual in their own language and Spanish.

If you've recently learned Spanish, it’s a relief to know that the Bogotá dialect is clear and easy to understand. The Spanish does vary, however, from Cartagena to Bogotá to Cali. Generally the Spanish on the coasts is spoken more rapidly, and Spanish from Medellín has its own idiosyncrasies. In cities like Medellín and Cali, the dialect of Spanish is the voseo form. Meaning that instead of the second person familiar pronoun tú , vos is used instead. Though tú is also understood by everybody, vos is a more friendly voice while tú is reserved for intimate circles. The Spanish spoken along the Caribbean coast is similar to the dialects spoken in Cuba , Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic .

Quite a few Colombians know at least a few basic phrases in English, because English is taught at school, and Hollywood movies tend to be in English with Spanish subtitles. For the most part, however, you should definitely invest in learning the basics of Spanish since you will encounter plenty of situations where no-one will speak any English.

Colombians from more affluent backgrounds will be more likely to have learned English, and the majority of high-ranking professionals, executives and high-ranking government officials in Colombia speak a decent level of English. An English-based creole similar to Jamaican patois is spoken by the Jamaican diaspora in the Caribbean archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia .

Get in [ edit ]

Visas [ edit ].

Passport holders of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Colombia when the purpose of the visit is tourism for up to 90 days (unless otherwise noted): Andorra , Argentina , Australia , Austria , Azerbaijan , Bahamas , Barbados , Belgium , Belize , Bhutan , Bolivia , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Brazil , Brunei , Bulgaria , Canada , Chile , Costa Rica , Croatia , Cyprus , Czech Republic , Denmark , Dominica , Dominican Republic , Ecuador , El Salvador , Estonia , Fiji , Finland , France , Georgia , Germany , Greece , Grenada , Guatemala , Guyana , Honduras , Hong Kong (180 days), Hungary , Iceland , Indonesia , Ireland , Israel , Italy , Jamaica , Japan , Kazakhstan , Republic of Korea , Latvia , Liechtenstein , Lithuania , Luxembourg , Malta , Marshall Islands , Mexico , Micronesia , Monaco , Mongolia , Montenegro , Netherlands , New Zealand , Norway , Palau , Panama , Papua New Guinea , Paraguay , Peru , Philippines , Poland , Portugal , Qatar , Romania , Russia , Saint Kitts and Nevis , Saint Lucia , Saint Vincent and the Grenadines , Samoa , San Marino , Serbia , Singapore , Slovakia , Slovenia , Solomon Islands , Spain , Suriname , Sweden , Switzerland , Taiwan , Trinidad and Tobago , Turkey , United Arab Emirates , United Kingdom , United States of America , Uruguay , Vatican City and Venezuela .

Citizens of the following countries can enter with their National ID card: Argentina , Bolivia , Brazil , Chile , Ecuador , Paraguay , Peru , Uruguay and Venezuela .

Colombian authorities will stamp passports from the above countries giving permission to stay for a maximum of 30 to 90 days. Immigration officials at any of the international airports of the country will usually ask you the intended length of your trip, giving you a determinate number of days that will cover it, which you can extend to 90 by going to any immigration services office.

Extending your stay [ edit ]

You can apply for a 90-day extension to your stay at an Asuntos Migratorios office in some of the major cities, which costs around US$40. You need two copies of your passport's main page, two copies of the page with the entrance stamp, two copies of a ticket en route out of the country, and four photographs. The procedure takes some time and includes taking your fingerprints. For visitors, the maximum length of stay can not exceed 6 months in 1 year.

By plane [ edit ]

There are regular international flights into major cities including Bogotá , Medellín , Cali , Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cartagena, Pereira and San Andrés Islands as well as to other smaller cities in the borders with Venezuela, Ecuador, Panamá and Brazil.

There are daily direct flights to and from the U.S, Canada, México, Costa Rica, Panama, Spain, France, and South America.

Medellín is the only Colombian city served by 2 airports: International and long-range domestic flights go to José María Córdova International Airport ( MDE  IATA ) while regional and some other domestic flights arrive in Olaya Herrera airport ( EOH  IATA ).

Bogotá has two airport terminals: Puente Aéreo and El Dorado. Outside the airport, be aware of enterprising men who will help you lift your bags into a taxi or car, and then expect payment. It is best to politely refuse all offers of help unless from a taxi driver you are about to hire.

Taxis are regulated, reasonably priced and safe from the airports. A taxi ride from the airport to the central business district in Bogotá, takes approximately 20 minutes.

By car [ edit ]

  • Enter from Venezuela by the San Cristóbal - Cúcuta or Maracaibo - Maicao pass.
  • Enter from Ecuador by the Tulcán - Ipiales (Rumichaca) pass.
  • Important: There are no major roads coming from 3 neighboring countries: Panamá, Brazil and Perú. There are no roads at all from Panamá, and there are tiny roads between Colombia and Perú or Brazil, but they do not lead to major cities or regions.

colombia or brazil travel

By boat [ edit ]

Enter from Panama by sailboat. Sailboats depart regularly from Portobelo , Panama, on 5 night trips to Cartagena , Colombia. 3 days of which are spent exploring the San Blas island paradise. Prices range from $550 to $700 with the most reputable boats being booked out in advance direct online.

Enter from Panama by the Puerto Obaldia - Capurganá pass. From Capurganá , another boat ride takes you to Turbo , where buses take you to Medellín and Montería.

If you enter from Brazil , there are weekly boats from Manaus to Tabatinga / Leticia through the Amazon River. It takes around six days to go from Manaus and just three days to come back (the reason of the difference is the current of the river). There are also weekly motorboats which are more expensive, but cover the route in less than two days. Once in Leticia you have daily domestic flights to several cities, including Bogotá .

A fair number of cruise ships pay day visits (usually at Cartagena), especially during cooler months in North America.

By bus [ edit ]

From venezuela [ edit ].

Connections can be made from the Caracas main terminal to most cities in Colombia. From the main terminal, Maracaibo (Venezuela) you can find buses that run to the cities (Cartagena, Baranquilla, Santa Marta) on the coast. The border at Maicao provides a relatively easy, straightforward entry into Colombia from Venezuela.

You can also enter from Venezuela via the busy San Cristóbal to Cúcuta route, which passes through the border town of San Antonio del Táchira .

The border can be a bit of a hassle or even dangerous, especially in the night time. Ask locals.

From Ecuador [ edit ]

It is very straightforward to enter Colombia from Ecuador. Travel to Tulcán, where you can get a taxi to the border. Get your exit stamps from the immigration offices and take another taxi to Ipiales. From there you can travel further to Cali, Bogotá, and so on.

From Panama [ edit ]

You can't cross from Panama to Colombia by bus—the Darien Gap begins at Yaviza, where the Interamericana runs out. Consider using the boat crossing instead. There are often yachts that will shuttle you between Colombia and Panama and offer a stop in the gorgeous San Blas islands.

Airlines with flights between the two countries are Avianca, COPA, and LAN.

Get around [ edit ]

Owing in part to the absence of intercity rail and the high mountains separating many of the major cities, air travel is popular and widespread among those who can afford it and competition is fierce. Bogotá-Medellin was the 30th busiest passenger air route in 2018 with almost four million passengers flown and there is no indication of travel on that 239 km route shifting to other modes any time soon. The most important domestic carriers in Colombia are:

  • Avianca (main Colombian national airline)
  • Wingo a 'low fare' subsidiary brand of COPA Colombia operating as a separate brand (formerly AeroRepublica).
  • LATAM Colombia (formerly LAN Colombia and Aires)
  • Clic (formerly Easy Fly) (regional airline around Medellín, Bogotá and Bucaramanga)
  • Satena (Servicio Aéreo a Territorios Nacionales) operated by the Colombian Air Force to provide transport to remote regions of Los Llanos, Amazona & the Pacific coast from Bogotá.

They all have well-kept fleets and regular service to major towns and cities in Colombia. The online payment process of some domestic airlines is complicated. Payments can be done at the airport or official ticket offices.

By train [ edit ]

The Metro in Medellín and its surroundings is the closest thing to a passenger train in Colombia. There are no intercity trains in the country. There are, however, plans to change that and the mayor of Bogotá for the 2020-2023 term ran her campaign on a platform of "Metro, Metro and more Metro" and construction for both a metro and a regional tram-train is already underway.

colombia or brazil travel

Driving is on the right hand side of the road-most cars have standard transmissions. Colombia's fleet is composed mainly of cars with 4-cylinder engines that are of European and Japanese manufacture.

Foreign visitors may drive if they show an international driver's license (a multilingual endorsement card issued by automobile and driver's clubs around the world).

Insurance is cheap and mandatory.

The speed limit in residential areas is 30 km/h (19 mph), and in urban areas it is 60 km/h (37 mph). There is a national speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph).

The country has a well-maintained network of roads that connect all major cities in the Andean areas, and the ones in the Caribbean Coast. There are often landslides on roads and highways during the rainy season (November to February). Smaller landslides may reduce roads to one lane, causing significant tailbacks; larger landslides may entirely a road to traffic for days. There are many toll crossings; the fee is about US$3.00. There are also plenty of dirt roads of variable quality. International land travel is only possible to Ecuador and Venezuela.

Travel by bus is widespread and has different levels of quality. Long-distance trips rarely cost over US$55 (one way). When acquiring tickets for the bus, the local custom is that the passenger comes to the terminal and buys a ticket for the next available bus going to the desired destination. Depending on the company or terminal, it may even impossible to purchase a ticket more than a few hours in advance! Therefore, it is recommendable to know at least when a particular service starts and ends in a day. Long distance bus travel tends to be very slow because main highways are two-lane roads with lots of truck traffic. Many routes wind high in the mountains (3,000 m+) and travel sickness may combine with altitude sickness. For any distance more than 5 hours, you may want to check into air travel.

Some of the major companies that offers routes to the north of Bogotá and Medellin to the Caribbean coast and the areas in between the two cities:

  • Expreso Brasilia , toll-free: +1 8000 51 8001 . From Tigo and Movistar phones call #501 or #502 ( updated Jul 2015 )
  • Copetran , ☏ +57 7 644-81-67 (Bucaramanga) , toll-free: +1 8000 114 164 . #567 or #568 from Claro cell phones ( updated Jul 2015 )
  • Berlinas del Fonce . Travels between Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Santa Marta and points in between ( updated Jul 2015 )
  • Rapido Ochoa , ☏ +57 4 444-88-88 . Travels from Medellin and Bogotá to Arboletes, Barracajermeca, Monteria, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Tolu and points in between in multiple route combinations ( updated Jul 2015 )

Other companies that go to multiple cities and towns in the southern part of the country, south of Bogotá and Medellin and the areas between two cities; and down towards the Ecuadorian border:

  • Expreso Bolivariano , ☏ +57 1 424-90-90 (Bogotá number) . Offers extensive routes from Bogotá and Medellin to Manizales, Armenia, Medellin, Calia, Ipiales, Popayan and to other places south. They also offer international service down into Peru. ( updated Jul 2015 )
  • [dead link] Expreso Palmira , ☏ +57 321 890-35-97 (from cell phone) , toll-free: +1 8000 936-662 . ( updated Jul 2015 )
  • Fronteras - Continental Bus . ( updated Jul 2015 )
  • Coomotor . ( updated Jul 2015 )

There are numerous other bus companies and drivers' unions throughout the country that operate more locally at varying distances of a particular city or town or within a department or between adjacent departments. See or contribute to those articles of particular locality as to what is available. In the Amazonas, Los Llanos and in the remote parts of the southern regions towards Leticia and the Pacific coast the roads are limited to none, so are the bus services. In addition some of these remote areas especially those near the borders with Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador; Amazon rainforest in the southeast and towards the Pacific Coast may still be unsafe to travel to and around due to ongoing guerrilla activity. Inquire locally before going.

For finding intercity bus connections you can use or the according app. As of Sept 2021, it's good for finding intercity bus companies that serve a route and a price estimation. Even though the actual displayed departure times may be not correct.

By urban bus [ edit ]

Around the turn of this century urban centers in Colombia saw the development of a highly efficient and neat bus transit systems that are spreading to other countries. In Bogotá you can find the Transmilenio , in Medellín el Metroplus [1] , in Cali el Mio , in Barranquilla Transmetro , in Bucaramanga Metrolínea , in Pereira the Megabús .

It is still recommended that you keep an eye on your belongings and that you do not carry valuables, excess cash (more than COP$20,000 visible) or unnecessary items. Never accept food or drinks from strangers. Avoid talking to strangers at bus stops or terminals. It is possible you may be stopped at police check points. A calm attitude is the best key to avoid inconveniences.

By metro [ edit ]

The only metro system of Colombia is in Medellín , in the Department (state) of Antioquia. It connects the outlying suburban towns with the barrios of Medellín - Line A departs from La Estrella to Barrio Niquía, Line B from Barrio San Antonio to Barrio San Javíer. The metro system also has two cable car lines: Metrocable Line K from Barrio Acevedo to Barrio Santo Domingo Savio and Metrocable Line J departing from Barrio San Javier. Riding the cable cars is a unique experience, as passengers travel up the mountains in gondolas. The MetroCable has six stations and an extension to the Parque Arví ecopark. Ride to Parque Arvi costs about US$4 (COP$3500). There, after a 20-minutes trip in the gondola carts you reach an altitude of 2500 meters above sea level.

By taxi [ edit ]

colombia or brazil travel

The taxi networks in big cities such as Bogotá are extensive. The prices vary a lot between cities, Bogotá for example being relatively inexpensive while Cartagena pricey. A (bright yellow) taxi journey across Bogotá, can take up to a day but cost less than US$15.

If you order a taxi by phone the company will then give you the taxi registration number. Then the taxi will be waiting at the given address. You may need to give them a three or four digit code given to you when you book the taxi. During the day some taxi ranks outside hotels, office buildings and government offices will only allow certified drivers and companies and will also take your name and details when you board the taxi. Taxis from city to city are easy to arrange by phoning ahead and agreeing the price, it will still be cheap by western standards and is safe and quite agreeable.

The meter in all taxis starts at COP$25, and then increases over distance. The number it arrives at corresponds to a tariff that will be on display on the front seat of the cab. Taxi and bus prices increase on Sundays, public holidays, early in the morning and late at night. There are also extra charges for baggage and for booking in advance by telephone.

Unlike many other countries it is not customary to tip the taxi driver. It's up to the individual.

Many taxis are not allowed to travel outside of Bogotá due to boundary restrictions with their licences. You should always make arrangements to travel outside of Bogotá by taxi ahead of time.

In some locations (Las Aguas in the Candelaria district of Bogotá for example) you may find an individual acting as a tout for taxi drivers - they will offer you a taxi and lead you to a particular cab. They then receive a small tip from the driver.

It has become very common, in big cities, to use apps to hail cabs. Tappsi and EasyTaxi seem to be quite popular. Uber service is available in Bogotá, Cartagena, and Medellín.

By cable car [ edit ]

Since most of the Colombian population lives in the Andes, cable car systems are becoming popular for both commuting and tourist transportation. You can ride the ones in Manizales and Medellín, which are integrated in the Metro system, and the ones in rural small towns of Antioquia : Jardín , Jericó, Sopetrán and San Andrés de Cuerquia. Also enjoy the magnificent view of the new cable car above the Chicamocha river canyon in Santander .

See [ edit ]

colombia or brazil travel

Much of Colombia is in the Andes, which means there is very beautiful mountainous scenery to be found. On the other hand, there are also nice beaches to be found in the lowlands. The altitude of some peaks mean that snow can be seen even though they lie in the tropics.

Sports [ edit ]

Football (soccer) is Colombia's national sport, and Colombia's national team is one of the stronger ones in the world, having produced several world-class players such as Carlos Valderrama, Iván Córdoba and James Rodríguez. Matches against Argentina in particular tend to draw a lot of attention from the locals.

Domestically, the top tier of Colombia's football league system is the Categoría Primera A , and Colombians also take their domestic rivalries very seriously.

Do [ edit ]

There are a lot of things to do in Colombia, and you can find parties and celebrations wherever you go. Colombians especially love to dance, and if you don't know how, they'll happily teach you. Colombia is known for its exciting night life.

There are many groups and agencies offering eco-tourism and it is very usual to find trekking plans (locally named 'caminatas' or 'excursiones') on weekend; many groups (named 'caminantes') offers cheaper one day excursion, special trips (on long weekends or during periods of vacation time (January, Holy Week, July, August, October, December) to different places in the country. Some recommended groups based out of Bogotá are: Viajar y Vivir, Fundación Sal Si Puedes, Caminantes del Retorno; there are many other. Patianchos in Medellín; Rastros in Bucaramanga. They usually offer guidance and transportation to the place; on long trips include lodging and other services. The recommendation is asking if the guide has the official certification.

Buy [ edit ]

Money [ edit ].

The currency of Colombia is the Colombian peso , but the symbol you will encounter is $ (ISO code: COP ). Wikivoyage uses the notation " COP$ " for clarity.

Coins of Colombia are issued in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 pesos. Banknotes of Colombia are issued in denominations of 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 pesos.

Most banks and money changes will accept major world currencies such as the U.S. dollar and the euro.

ATMs [ edit ]

ATMs are widely available, with varying withdrawal limits (as of June 2021, unless otherwise noted):

  • Citibank - COP$1,000,000 w/ extra fees
  • Scotiabank Colpatria - COP$900,000
  • Bancolombia - COP$600,000
  • BBVA - COP$300,000
  • Davivienda - COP$2,700,000 (Feb 2024)

For withdrawing money, the ATMs of BBVA , Davivienda , Scotiabank/Colpatria do not charge a fee. Sometimes the withdrawal receipt shows a commission, but it is not charged on your bank account. Fees of other banks are:

  • Banco Populaire – COP$13,200
  • Banco de Bogota – COP$13,200
  • Banco Occidente – COP$13,200
  • Banco Agrario – COP$16,000
  • Bancolombia – COP$21,500

If you are withdrawing from a non-Colombian bank, some ATMs will ask if you wish to accept the bank's exchange rate for your currency. If its exchange rate is less favorable that your own bank's conversion rate, you may reject its rate so your own bank can calculate the exchange.

Costs [ edit ]

If there is no price tag, ask for the price first . The simple question is "¿Cuánto cuesta?" and is easily understood by Colombians.

Typical prices [ edit ]

A modest, clean (and occasionally charming) hotel is US$20-25. A very good rated hostel with shared bed rooms is usually US$5-10. A meal (often including soup and drink) in a local simple restaurant is for US$2.50-4. A nice meal in an upper mid-range restaurant has a price tag of about US$15. For two beers it's US$0.60-1.00 at "tiendas" or similar stores, US$1.5-3 at bars. An air conditioned intercity bus for 100 km is about US$6 (cheaper per km for longer trips, more for dirt roads). Urban transport costs US$0.50-0.90. All stated prices are as of November 2021.

Tipping [ edit ]

A service charge of 10% is generally added to the bill in nice restaurants (if it's not, you should add it yourself). Tipping taxi drivers is not common. Most "tipping" is merely rounding up to the nearest thousand pesos (e.g., rounding up your cafe bill to COP$7,000 from COP$6,700). Private tour guides do not need to be tipped, but it is common to do so, if you liked the guide.

In some restaurants and bars that include the tip ( la propina ) in the bill, this extra money often does not make it into the hands of the staff person who serves you. Instead, it is simply kept by the owners. With this in mind, many Colombians will pay the bill without the tip (in cash or with credit card) and then hand a cash tip to the staff member (waiter, bartender, etc.) who served them.

Shopping [ edit ]

colombia or brazil travel

The Colombian textile industry is well-recognized and reputable around South America and Europe. Clothing, including lingerie is particularly well-regarded as high quality and very affordable. Leather garments, shoes and accessories are also of interest to foreigners. The best place to buy either is Medellín, known for being the fashion capital of the country, where one can buy very high quality goods at a very low cost.

Colombian emeralds and gold (18k) jewelry can also be very attractive for visitors. A typical Colombian style of jewelry is a copy of precolombian jewelry, which is fabricated with gold, silver and semi-precious stones.

The "mochila", the Spanish word for "backpack" or "rucksack", is also a traditional, indigenous, hand-woven Colombian bag, normally worn over the shoulder. They are commonly sold in shopping malls, especially in the Santa Marta/El Rodadero area. Mochilas usually come in three sizes - a large one to carry bigger things, a medium one to carry personal belongings, and a small one to carry coca leaves. Coca leaves are carried by local tribe members to reduce hunger, increase energy and to combat altitude sickness.

Handicrafts such as intricately designed jewelry are commonly sold in markets and on street corners. Many street vendors will approach people, selling T-shirts, shorts, glasses, bracelets, watches, necklaces, souvenirs, and novelty photographs. If you want to buy something, this is a good time to exercise your bargaining skills. Usually you can go down by COP$2,000-3,000, however 10%-15% is the generally accepted rule. For example, if someone is selling a shirt for COP$10,000, try asking if you can pay COP$8,000. Go from there.

If you don't want to buy anything, a simple gracias, ("thank you") and a non-committal wave of your hand will deter would-be sellers.

Eat [ edit ]

Pre-Columbian civilizations cultivated about 200 varieties of potatoes, and they remain popular today. Try the local preparations like papas saladas (salted potatoes) or papas chorriadas (stewed potatoes). Most meals feature some kind of meat with rice, potatoes, and avocados. In the coastal areas, the rice is usually flavored with coconut.

Both restaurants and family meals often feature soup, and, in the mountain areas, you may even be served a milk-based soup called changua for breakfast.

Compared to nearby countries, Colombian food is not nearly as spicy as Mexican food. Fruit juice is particularly popular. Some foods with the same name are quite different. For example, empanadas , made with potato and meat with a pouch-like yellow exterior, are delicious and entirely different from their Mexican and Argentinian counterparts.

colombia or brazil travel

In many areas of Colombia, it is common to have buñuelos (deep fried corn flour balls with cheese in the dough) and arepas (rather thick corn tortillas, often made with cheese and served with butter) with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Bogotá and the central region have its own breakfast delicacy of tamales : maize and chopped pork or chicken with vegetables and eggs, steamed in plantain leaves, often served with homemade hot chocolate.

For lunch, especially on Sundays, you should try a sancocho de gallina (rich chicken soup, served with part of the chicken itself, rice and vegetables or salad). Sancocho is widespread throughout the country, with countless regional variants. On the coast it features fish, and is highly recommended. Another soup, served in Bogotá and the periphery, is Ajiaco (chicken soup made with three different kinds of potato, vegetables and herbs ( guasca ), served with rice, avocado, corn, milk cream and capers).

Bandeja paisa was almost the official national dish of Colombia. However, the tourism industry pushes it as such. The name translates roughly as "the peasant's plate". This filling dish includes rice, beans, fried plantain, arepa (corn bread), fried egg, chorizo sausage, chicharrón (pork crackling) with the meat still attached. It's a very fatty dish, but you can leave what you don't like, and if you're lucky enough, you could find a gourmet bandeja paisa in a good restaurant in Bogotá or Medellín . They are lighter and smaller.

In Colombia there are a great variety of tamales but they are very different from their most famous Mexican cousins. They differ from region to region, but all of them are delicious. Envueltos are the sweet tamales made of corn.

colombia or brazil travel

There are a few chain restaurants in the country. In addition to worldwide franchises (McDonald's, Subway, T.G.I.F., which are specially focused on Bogotá and other big cities), Colombian chains are very strong and located in almost every city. Presto and especially El Corral serve outstanding burgers, Kokoriko makes broiled chicken, and Frisby specializes in roasted chicken. Gokela is the first choice among people wanting healthy options such as wraps, salads, super foods, supplements, and subsequently one of the only options for vegetarians, vegans and organic eaters. Crêpes and Waffles, as the name indicates, is an upscale breakfast/brunch restaurant with spectacular crêpes, waffles, and ice cream. There are many international restaurants, including rodizios (Brazilian steak house style), and paella houses.

Organic food is a current trend in big cities, but in little towns you can get fruits and veggies all very natural and fresh. Colombians aren't used to storing food for the winter, since there are no seasons in the traditional sense. So don't ask them for dried items like dried tomatoes or fruits. All you have to do is go shopping at the little grocery stores nearby and pick up the freshest of the harvest of the month (almost everything is available and fresh all year). As for pickles and related preserved food, you can find them in supermarkets, but they are not common in family households.

Sweets [ edit ]

Bread and pastry is easily available from a neighborhood bakeries. Pastry is prevalent, both salty and sweet, including pandebono , pan de yuca , pastel gloria , and roscon . These vary in quality—ask the locals for the best niche places to indulge.

Colombians are famous for having a sweet tooth, so you are going to find a lot of desserts and local candies like bocadillo made of guayaba (guava fruit), or the most famous milk-based arequipe (similar to its Argentinian cousin dulce leche or the French confiteure du lait ). That just covers the basics, since every region in Colombia has its own fruits, local products, and therefore its own range of sweet products. If you are a lover of rare candies, you could get artisan-made candies in the little towns near Bogotá and Tunja.

A great variety of tropical fruits can be tasted, and the corresponding variety in juices, from some of the oddest ones you can find around the globe (really) to the sweetest ones. Some examples of those exotic fruits include: tamarinds, mangoes, guanabanas, lulo, mangostines (really great and rare even for Colombians), and a great variety in citrus. In addition, you can find some of those rich and strange flavors in prepared food like ice cream brands or restaurant juices. Fruit juice is a very common and popular drink. Most of Colombians drink juices at home and in restaurants. They are inexpensive and natural everywhere.

Regarding coffee, you can find a lot of products that are both made commercially and homemade from this very famous Colombian product, like wines, cookies, candies, milk-based desserts like arequipe , ice-cream, etc.

The tres leches cake is not to be missed. A sponge cake soaked in milk, covered in whipped cream, then served with condensed milk, it is for the serious dairy fiend only. Another delicious milk-based dessert is leche asada , a milk custard similar to the better-known flan .

Drink [ edit ]

colombia or brazil travel

For breakfast, take a home-made hot drink. The choices normally include coffee, hot chocolate or agua de panela . The latter is a drink prepared with panela (dried cane juice), sometimes with cinnamon and cloves, which gives it a special taste. Coffee is usually taken with a lot of milk. In Bogotá and the region around, it's customary to use cheese along with the drink, in a way that small pieces of cheese are put into the cup and then after they are melt, you can use a spoon to pick them up and eat it like a soup. It is the same way to drink hot chocolate.

Colombia's national alcoholic beverage, Aguardiente (a.k.a. guaro ), tastes strongly of anise, and is typically bought by the bottle or half bottle or a quarter. People usually drink it in shots. Each region has its own aguardiente, "Antioqueño" (from Antioquia), "Cristal" (from Caldas), "Quindiano" (from Quindío ), "Blanco del Valle" (from Valle del Cauca) and "Nectar" (from Cundinamarca). There is also a variety of rum beverages, like "Ron Santa Fe" (also from Cundinamarca), "Ron Medellín Añejo" (also from Antioquia), "Ron Viejo de Caldas" (also from Caldas) among others.

The water is drinkable right from the tap in most of the major cities, but be prepared to buy some bottles if you go to the countryside. Agua Manantial Bottled water is recommended, it comes from a natural spring near Bogotá. An advice, make sure you do not use ice cubes, or drink any beverage that might contain non distilled water, ask if the beverage is made with tap or bottled/boiled water.

If you are lucky enough, and if you are staying in a familiar "finca cafetera" (coffee farm) you can ask your Colombian friends not only for the selected coffee (quality export) but for the remaining coffee that the farmers leave to their own use. This is manually picked, washed, toasted in rustic brick stoves and manually ground. It has the most exquisite and rare flavor and aroma ever found.

In Bogotá and the rest of the country, black filter coffee is referred to as "tinto" - confusing if you were expecting red wine.

Also, you can find specialized places where you can drink coffee with many different combinations (like Juan Valdés Café or Oma), hot or frozen preparations.

Commercially, you can find a lot of products made out of coffee too like wines, ice-creams, soda-pops and other beverages.

Sleep [ edit ]

In Colombia you can find a range of options, bed and breakfast conditioned to western standards and hostels to five-star hotels. There are also apartments that rent per day.

Motels vs hotels [ edit ]

A quick word of caution; in Colombia a "motel" is not the same as what one normally finds in the United States. The term motel in Latin America usually refers to a place of accommodation where the rooms are rented on a short term basis, typically for romantic assignations. Hotels, by contrast, are places of accommodation for travelers and are typically family friendly. Many hotels will not permit persons who are not registered as guests to go beyond the reception area. This is for the safety of both the guests and hotel staff and also to protect the hotel's reputation in what is still a culturally conservative and Catholic country. So visitors looking for a place to enjoy the physical company of another, will often use motels. Also privacy is something of a premium in Colombia, with children often living at home until they are married. For this and other practical reasons, couples, even married couples desiring a little intimacy, sometimes rent a room at a motel. These motels are common in Colombia and do not carry the social stigma that used to be associated with so called "no tell motels" in the United States or Canada. The quality and price of motel accommodations varies, sometimes drastically, with most being clean and well kept. Rooms are engaged anonymously with the tariff and any associated charges usually being paid on a cash only basis.

Learn [ edit ]

Colombia education is generally strict and is kept to high standards. Many Colombian issued degrees are recognized globally. A typical Bachelor's degree program in Colombia is 160 credits or 5 years long. You can find several programs in different universities around the country.

Learn Spanish [ edit ]

Colombian Spanish is considered by many around the world as the purest in Latin America and there are many universities and language schools that have Spanish programs.

Learn Salsa [ edit ]

Colombia is one of the mother countries of Salsa and you will be able to listen to this music all over the place. In the last years several of the Salsa World Champions came from Colombia. Especially in Cali and Cartagena there are plenty of clubs and schools.

Work [ edit ]

If you want to work for a national company, such as Bancolombia/Conavi, Avianca, or Presto, you must be able to speak Spanish with near-native fluency. Depending on your qualifications, companies may offer Spanish lessons, however always make sure that you are indeed eligible for the position advertised. You can teach English for extra money, especially in smaller cities where the demand for it is high. Also you could work for a non-governmental organization.

Cope [ edit ]

If eligible, you can extend your visa or visa-free stay online . You fill out the form, upload the required documents and pay after you get an e-mail that your application was pre-approved. The whole process can be done online.

The 90 day visa-free stay can be extended for another 90 days. It's free for EU citizens, otherwise COP$105,000 (August 2021). If you want to stay (almost) 180 days in one piece in Colombia, check if you need to wait 180 days after it to re-enter Colombia visa-free or with a visa.

For example for picking up a foreigner ID card, the migration offices are in charge.

Stay safe [ edit ]

Colombia has suffered from a terrible reputation as a dangerous and violent country but the situation has improved dramatically since the 1980s and 1990s. Colombia is on the path to recovery, and Colombians are very proud of the progress they have made. These days, Colombia is generally safe to visit, with the violent crime rate being lower than that in Mexico or Brazil, as long as you avoid poorer areas of the cities at night, and do not venture off the main road into the jungle where guerrillas are likely to be hiding.

The security situation varies greatly around the country. The Travel Risk Map covers Colombia and shows the current safety levels throughout the country. Most jungle regions are not safe to visit, but the area around Leticia is very safe, and the areas around Santa Marta are OK. No one should visit the Darien Gap at the border with Panama (in the north of Chocó ), Putumayo or Caquetá , which are very dangerous, active conflict zones. Other departments with significant rural violence include the Atlantic departments of Chocó , Cauca , and Valle del Cauca ; eastern Meta , Vichada , and Arauca in the east ; and all Amazonian departments except for Amazonas . That's not to say that these departments are totally off-limits — just be sure you are either traveling with locals who know the area or sticking to cities and tourist destinations. In general, if you stick to the main roads between major cities and do not wander off into remote parts of the jungle, you are unlikely to run into trouble, and you are much more likely to encounter a Colombian army checkpoint than an illegal guerrilla roadblock.

Landmines [ edit ]

Colombia is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world. So don't walk around blithely through the countryside without consulting locals. Land mines are found in 31 out of Colombia's 32 departments, and new ones are planted every day by guerrillas, paramilitaries, and drug traffickers.

Paramilitaries [ edit ]

There was an agreement in 2005 with the government which resulted in the disarmament of some of the paramilitaries. However they are still active in drug business, extortion rackets, and as a political force. They do not target tourists specifically, but running up against an illegal rural roadblock in more dangerous departments is possible.

Kidnappings [ edit ]

At the turn of the millennium Colombia had the highest rates of kidnapping in the world, a result of being one of the most cost-effective ways of financing for the guerrillas of the FARC and the ELN and other armed groups. Fortunately, the security situation has much improved and the groups involved are today much weakened, with the number of kidnappings dropping from 3,000 in 2000 down to 205 cases in 2016. Today kidnappings are still a problem in some southern departments like Valle del Cauca , Cauca , and Caquetá . Colombian law makes the payment of ransom illegal, therefore the police may not be informed in some circumstances.

Guerrillas [ edit ]

The guerrilla movements which include FARC and ELN guerrillas are still operational, though they are greatly weakened compared to the 1990s as the Colombian army has killed most of their leaders. These guerrillas operate mainly in rural parts of southern, southeastern and northwestern Colombia, although they have a presence in 30 out of the country's 32 departments. Big cities hardly ever see guerrilla activity these days. Even in rural areas, if you stick to the main roads between major cities and do not wander off the beaten track, you are far more likely to encounter soldiers from the Colombian army than guerrillas. River police, highway police, newspapers, and fellow travelers can be a useful source of information off-the-beaten-path.

Crime [ edit ]

colombia or brazil travel

The crime rate in Colombia has been significantly reduced since its peak in the late 1980s and 1990s, with the police having arrested or killed many of the important leaders of the drug cartels. However, major urban centers and the countryside of Colombia still have very high violent crime rates, comparable to blighted cities in the United States , and crime has been on the increase. In the downtown areas of most cities (which rarely coincide with the wealthy parts of town) violent crime is not rare; poor sections of cities can be quite dangerous for someone unfamiliar with their surroundings. Taxi crime is a very serious danger in major cities, so always request taxis by phone or app, rather than hailing them off the street — it costs the same and your call will be answered rapidly. Official taxi ranks are safe as well (airports, bus terminals, shopping malls).

Drugs [ edit ]

Local consumption is low, and penalties are draconian, owing to the nation's well-known largely successful fight against some of history's most powerful and dangerous traffickers. Remember that the drug trade in Colombia has ruined many innocent citizens' lives and dragged the country's reputation through the mud.

Marijuana is illegal to buy and sell, although officially you can carry up to 20 grams without being charged for it. Police will tolerate you having a few grams of this drug on your person, but you are flirting with danger if you carry much more. Especially in small towns, it is not always the police you have to deal with, but vigilantes. They often keep the peace in towns, and they have a very severe way of dealing with problems.

Scopolamine is an extremely dangerous drug from an Andean flowering tree, which is almost exclusively used for crime, and nearly all the world's incidents of such use take place in Colombia. Essentially a mind control drug (once experimented with as an interrogation device by the CIA), victims become extremely open to suggestion and are "talked into" ATM withdrawals, turning over belongings, letting criminals into their apartments, etc., all while maintaining an outward appearance of more or less sobriety. After affects include near total amnesia of what happened, as well as potential for serious medical problems. The most talked about method of getting drugged with scopolamine is that of powder blown off paper, e.g., someone walks up to you (with cotton balls in their nose to prevent blowback) and asks for help with a map, before blowing the drugs into your face. But by far the most common method is by drugging drinks at a bar. To be especially safe, abandon drinks if they've been left unattended. While a pretty rare problem, it's an awfully scary one, and happens most often in strip clubs or other establishments involving sex workers.

Stay healthy [ edit ]

Drink only bottled water outside the major cities. The water in major cities is safe. Most drinking water in people's homes is either boiled or of the purified variety that comes in huge multi-gallon plastic bags (which you can find at any little grocery store). The coffee's delicious, though, so why not just start that habit!

The tourism website of Colombia has the current information on COVID-19 .

Tropical diseases are a concern in lowland parts of the country, and more so outside of major cities. Mosquitoes carry malaria , Yellow fever , and Dengue , and infection rates are similar to other lowland parts of South America (i.e., much lower than in sub-Saharan Africa). Yellow fever has a vaccine, so get it—it's required for entry to many national parks, anyway. Dengue is not preventable beyond avoiding mosquito bites, so using bug spray regularly in lowland rural areas is good sense.

Malaria is a potential problem, so trips outside Bogotá , Medellín , Cartagena , and the Andean region warrant use of antimalarials, which can be bought very cheaply without a prescription from a droguería , which are everywhere in any city of any size throughout the country. Ask for Doxycicline tablets at a dosage of 100 mg, with the number being 30 days plus the number of days in a malarial area (so you can start 1–2 days in advance, and take it daily continuing for 4 weeks past the end of your trip). The phrase you want is: doxyciclina, cien miligramos, [number] pastillas . Using some bug spray in the evening serves as a bit of extra protection.

Cases of Zika virus have been reported in Colombia. Zika is a mosquito-borne and sexually transmitted infection that can cause serious birth defects. Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should avoid travel to this country.

Respect [ edit ]

Colombians are acutely aware of their country's bad reputation, and tactless remarks about the history of violence might earn you a snide remark (likely regarding your country of origin) and an abrupt end to the conversation. However, Colombians eventually become willing to discuss these topics once they feel comfortable enough with someone.

Colombians are more formal than much of Latin America. Make a point to say "please" ("Por favor" or "Hágame el favor") and "thank you" ("muchas gracias") for anything, to anyone. When addressed, the proper response is "¿Señora?" or "¿Señor?" In parts of the country (especially Boyacá ) Colombians can be formal to the point of anachronism, calling strangers "Su merced" (your Mercy!) in place of usted. The one (much) more informal part of the country is along the Caribbean coast , where referring to people just as "chico" can be more the norm—but take your cues from those around you.

colombia or brazil travel

Race is not a hot issue in Colombia, since whites, criollos, and mestizos (mixed race) blend naturally with natives and Afro-Colombians in everyday life (education, living, politics, marriage). Differences between white foreigners are not dwelled upon: expect to be called "gringo" even if you are, say, Russian. Unless context includes anger, it's not meant to be offensive. If you are black, you will probably be referred to as "negro" or "moreno," which also are not considered at all offensive. Asians are usually called "chino" (Chinese), regardless of actual background. Confusingly, Colombians from the inner regions also occasionally refer to children as chinos ("kids"); this use comes from Chibcha, an indigenous language. Even more confusingly, Colombians refer to blondes and redheads as "monos" (monkeys). It sounds offensive, but actually ranges from neutral to affectionate. Colombians have the mannerism of pointing to objects with their chins or lips; pointing to a person or even an object with your finger can be considered rude or less discreet.

Avoid indicating a person's height using your hand palm down, as this is considered reserved for animals or inanimate objects. If you must, use your palm facing sidewards with the bottom of the hand expressing the height.

Colombians dance a lot. Anyone will be glad to teach you how to dance, and they will not expect you to do it correctly, since they have been practicing every weekend for most of their lives. Colombian night life centers mostly on dancing, and bars where people sit or stand are less common outside major cities. Despite the sensual movements, dancing is normally not intended as flirtation. It is applied in the same way as in Brazil—an almost-naked "garota" dancing samba in the carnival is not inviting you to have sex with her but inviting you to enjoy, to be happy, to join in the celebration, to join the exuberant shedding of inhibitions.

Gay and lesbian travelers [ edit ]

Most Colombians are Catholic, although you'll find that young people are quite relaxed about religion, especially with regards to social issues. Public displays of affection are rare, though, and may elicit uncomfortable stares. Verbal and physical homophobic violence is not necessarily unheard of, and unfortunately less aggressive homophobia may be more widespread than what politeness masks. Overall, Colombian attitudes to homosexuality are pretty similar to what you find in the United States.

You can find more liberally-minded areas (at least about LGBT issues) in Bogotá's Chapinero district. It is home to what may be the biggest LGBT community in Colombia, and is the focal point of the community's nightlife in Bogotá (if not the whole country), with explicitly gay-friendly establishments such as Theatron (arguably one of the biggest discos in South America) [2] . LGBT pride parades also take place in some of the major cities sometime around late June and early July. [3] [dead link]

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Colombia since April 2016.

Connect [ edit ]

By phone [ edit ], carriers [ edit ].

It's simple enough to get a SIM card and even an unlocked phone at the international airport in Bogotá , although there is, of course, a price hike. They're not hard to find in any city either, just ask your hotel or hostel staff where to go. Topping up is also easy, and can be done pretty much on any street corner.

The carriers you'll most likely see are Claro, Tigo, and Movistar. Claro has the widest coverage in the country, if you expect to get off the beaten path. You can choose (as of July 2021) between

  • 2 days 400MB for COP$3,000
  • 6 days 1GB for COP$6,000
  • 10 days 2GB for COP$10,000
  • 20 days 4.5GB for COP$20,000
  • 30 days 10GB for COP$40,000

All of them have unlimited domestic calls and texting. For recharging in a SuperGiro or lottery shop you simply write down or show your phone number and the price of the option. You can recharge online, if it's possible with your international credit card.

Virgin Mobile might be the best option if you want to have internet for a low price. It might take a bit longer to find a spot that sells the sim cards. It should cost COP$5k-10k pesos.

Dialling [ edit ]

From landlines :

To call from a landline to another local landline, dial the normal seven digits. To call from a landline to a mobile, dial twelve digits, always beginning with 03, followed by the ten digit number provided.

It's far more complex to make long-distance domestic calls or international calls. Ask whoever owns the phone to dial it for you. If that's not an option, buy a mobile phone. Seriously.

From mobiles and from abroad :

To call a Colombian landline from another country or from a mobile phone in Colombia, use the +57 country code then the eight digit number (the first of which is the area code). To dial to a mobile phone, dial +57 and then the ten digit number. You can also type "00" instead of the "+".

Post [ edit ]

Colombia does not have a government-run post office system. However, the private firm 4-72 [dead link] serves as Colombia's de facto postal service, though it tends to be somewhat slow and unreliable. Locals rarely use the 4-72 service and usually go to couriers such as Servientrega , which have many more branches than 4-72, though they are very expensive when used to send mail overseas.

Internet cafés [ edit ]

Internet cafés are easy to find in any city or town. Expect rates depending on how much competition there is (i.e., cheap in Bogotá, expensive in the middle of nowhere). Quality of connection is directly related to the centrality of location, and hence inversely related to price.

Go next [ edit ]

Crossing the land border is possible to Ecuador , Brazil , Peru and Venezuela .

To cross the land border to Brazil and Peru, take a flight to Leticia . To enter Ecuador on land, you could fly to Ipiales or Pasto near the border.

colombia or brazil travel

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colombia or brazil travel

Both countries offer similar things except Brazil offers more beach destinations and Colombia more mountain destinations.

colombia or brazil travel

You can do both in both countries. Brasil is huge so travelling around will take you more time.

Sasha, I think this thread by Alera, a solo female traveller will help you:

Also the topography is varied, the lowest major city Cali , is still 1,000 metres (3,300ft) above sea level. If you want to trek in the relative warmth the area around Medellin will be for you, if you want to trek in the cool air then the area around Bogota will be for you (Boyaca, north of Bogota is beautiful and we're talking about 12-14oC or 55 farenheit). Want a mixture of both hot and cold then coffee region around Armenia and Manizales will be ideal.

Get back to us if you need any more guidance/info.

Have you decided when? Your flight to Bogota for instance could give you change from $400. That would probably just cover you for one way to Rio de Janeiro.

Colombia will be cheaper than Brazil - even though both economies have slowed down - Colombia faring a bit better - there is a little bit of political unrest in Brazil right now - which basically means some street demonstrations - could delay things when traveling

Unless a beach is high on your list - stick with Colombia

I respectfully disagree eith the idea that street demonstrations are likely to slow down travel in Brazil. Considering the size of the cities and the time scale they are pretty few and far between. In Sao Paulo, we make a mental note on the occasional days when a protest will happen and avoid that area if possible. They don't affect many people.

I think there are more pressing differences to affect choice of these two wonderful countries than exchange rates. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. The OP doesn't seem to have formed much in the way of preferences and plans as yet...

Taking the interests quite literally (hiking and cities) I think Colombia has a slight edge partly as Medellin , as a city that has transformed itself, is remarkable for exactly that. (But Rio is one of the most visually stunning cities in the world.)

Hiking can be a serious challenge in much of South America, not just in terms of navigation but when you fly into a city you then have to figure how to get out again to where you're going. Some of the best hiking areas require serious preparation just to get to. The mountains of Colombia do however make an immediate appeal.

If it wasn't harder to fly to , I'd suggest Ecuador. Compact, very inexpensive, awesome and varied scenery (rain forest areas to beach or snowy mountains can be done in a few hours with cheap buses or flights ). The historic area of Quito, one of the best preserved of anywhere, is on your doorstep right off the plane (the impressively preserved historic centres of Colombia and Brazil are harder to get to).

Medellin has one of the most intense under-30s nightlife of anywhere.

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.

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colombia or brazil travel

Why I Decided To Live in Colombia Instead of Brazil (Or Chile and Ecuador)

Living in Colombia vs Brazil wasn’t an easy choice.

I think any long term traveler after a while gets to the point where they want to just relax instead of keep going.

I remember many times where I felt burnt out.  I also felt it was a bit unfair how I would be seeing these amazing sites and it would be just another church or just another beach .

While I don’t ever plan on stopping my traveling career I did need to take a break. I travel differently than most people you are exposed to.  I wouldn’t consider myself a backpacker nor do I enjoy staying in hotel rooms or hostels. By this I mean I like to have a home base.

Primarily because I need a reliable internet connection to be able to day trade .

Whenever I move to a new country I always look for a furnished apartment and make sure it has the best internet the city can offer. Sometimes there were some hiccups along the way. Whether it was good planning, luck, or a bit of both, I rarely had problems with internet connections and finding great places to stay.

Whenever I take a shorter weekend trip then I do stay in a hotel or hostel.

When I travel long term I always like to get to know the locals by renting an apt instead of staying in any kind of commercial accommodation.  The feeling of thrusting yourself in a foreign culture where you don’t know how to get around  or even how to order from a menu is stimulating. Challenging yourself to learn new words, new phrases, a completely new body language.

That’s me! Marcello Arrambide looking over Medellin, Colombia

It’s quite exhilarating to challenge yourself in these kinds of environments.

Granted they didn’t always work out perfectly. Sometimes you get kidnapped and shot at and other times you get arrested in detained .

But all in a day’s work right?

I decided a while ago that I needed to set my first official home base to focus on the new day trading centers I wanted to open.  Trying to work AND travel simply is a novelty that doesn’t work.  The concept was to take my level of freedom to a whole new level.

When I began to see that traders I was training were becoming profitable the idea crossed my mind. What if I could actually travel with an army of traders? Just picture a group of guys getting to Rio de Janeiro renting a penthouse and having a blast.

Para Gliding in Rio De Janeiro

Wait a second we already did that with day trader and good buddy Brice, The Trading Voyageur .

Let’s try again. Imagine being able to visit the Galapagos Islands with some of your closest friends and being on one of the most beautiful yachts call The Grace. We can’t trade on a boat in the Galapagos but it would be awesome to celebrate our hard earned profits by swimming with Nemo, turtles, and sharks.

Wait… wait. I forgot we did that earlier this year as well with Honcho Extreme  and Quasar Expeditions . He won a free one year training program last year. Won an all-expenses paid trip to Jordan  and is now living in South Africa driving around a motorcycle for three months.

See what I did there?

First Day in the Galapagos Islands with Quasar Expeditions

I didn’t just want to keep renting places and staying at hotels. I wanted to be able to do something that meant more than that.

Giving locals in improvished countries the opportunity to live a lifestyle they otherwise wouldn’t be able to find in their local economy was something special.

By teaching them the right skills it would be a win-win situation. I would have the opportunity to teach locals how to trade the right way and they would be able to live a lifestyle they otherwise wouldn’t be able to live.

Then we could all travel together. A big family of day traders.

When I thought of where I wanted to live I immediately considered places where I felt comfortable.  We combine this then with a place where I could have a very high quality of living with an American style lifestyle.

Checking into our Luxury Hotels in Agra, India

Most of Africa was out as most countries are still getting their things in order. While I would love to live in Ethiopia for longer than just the 3 months I spent there the country doesn’t have good internet access. Asia was a possibility because my money would go very far there but I’ve never fully connected with Asia.  I also wouldn’t know this for sure because I haven’t traveled in depth in Asia.

That leaves somewhere in Europe or possibly Latin America.

The first places I always think of first are Rio de Janeiro and Medellin, Colombia. Both considered to be one of the best places to live in South America . They both have a great combination of everything. The only thing Medellin lacks is a beach while Rio de Janeiro lacks any kind of work ethic.

That was a joke.

But also partly true.

Rio de Janeiro to me just seemed like a constant party.  It is hard to focus when you have so many distractions.

First piece of evidence:

They Have a Best Butt Competition In Brazil. Seriously.

I also wanted to be in a place that had a lot of upside. Brazil has gotten very expensive with all of the investment for the World Cup and the upcoming Olympics. I was going to buy my first property and my dollars would go much further in Medellin than in Rio.  Colombia is just now opening up to the world and is a much friendlier place to do business compared to Brazil.

Also the cost of living is much cheaper of Brazil .

The only other place I considered was Chile and Ecuador.

Google the best places to retire in South America online everyone swears by Ecuador. That would be the last place I would want to be.

  • First, I wouldn’t consider a country that has had roughly 10 presidents in the last 15 years a good place to be.
  • Second, they can’t get their financial house in order.  They use US dollars which is a very bad proposition long term with the US Economy set to collapse .
  • Third, I didn’t enjoy Ecuador at all on a recent trip there.
  • Fourth, I just like Colombia and Brazil too much.

Chile was definitely a consideration. The only 1 st world country in Latin America and it’s also the best place to do business and also very foreigner friendly.

What I Call The Switzerland of Colombia: Guatape

I chose Colombia because of the cocaine obviously. I mean the women. I mean the coffee.

While there are still jokes about Colombia’s security and drug filled past I can guarantee they are well beyond that.   I thought to myself, where would I enjoy living year round? The city that came back into my mind was Medellin, Colombia.  The city of eternal spring has perfect weather year round. Rio de Janeiro can get a bit warm.

Sweating while walking outside at night warm.

Where I could invest and see amazing returns in the next five to ten years? Medellin, Colombia.

The people of Medellin, Colombia are some of the nicest and gracious people I have ever met on my travels. This was another big big reason I decided to choose Medellin. Everyone that comes here just feels welcome. Imagine feeling that everyday.

Brazilians are awesome people but comparing them to Paisas (people from the state of Antioquia in Colombia) would be hard to do.

Learning how to speak Brazilian Portuguese was also a consideration. The language is harder to learn than staying on a weight loss plan after every January 1 st .  I pick up languages easily and Portuguese is one of the languages I still cannot speak like a local.

I have since moved into a 7 bedroom penthouse that was purchased for a mere $124,000 USD. I could probably get a studio apartment for that price in Brazil. I can tell you that I have enjoyed living in the Medellin for almost a year now. I made the right decision considering that my cost of living in Medellin , Colombia is only $750 a month. This includes a full time chef and maid.  When I thought of home Medellin was just the place that came to mind. All the other things were a bonus.

To wrap things up I will leave you with a tour of the penthouse after being fully renovated. Look forward to sharing updates on our day trading education efforts here in Colombia with The Day Trading Academy .


That’s nice, but where do you see yourself raising kids and family ?

Is Mediin a good place in terms of safety and education and job potential for future children ?

Hey Marcello, always enjoy reading your posts.

So I just returned from 3 months of traveling South America. My favorite cities were Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Lima and Medellin. I’ve been living in Madrid for the past year and a half but am considering changing and moving to South America.

I understand the cost issue of Rio versus Medellin, and how Medellin is the up and coming place for investment and business, but what do you think of how these two cities compare for women?

I’m not really looking for just fun. I would like to meet a quality girl within the next year or so since I’m now hitting my mid thirties. My thoughts on Brazil overall is Brazilian women are the most friendly, open and warmhearted women on the planet. Didn’t matter what city I was in. But of course Cariocas are a different breed and it’s the city that captivated me so that’s where I would want to live.

Now everyone always mentions Colombian women and specifically Paisas. My thoughts were while many are pretty and have fantastic bodies, they are so dolled up and many have fake boobs. They seem very superficial on the surface so I’m not sure about the prospects of a long-term relationship with girls from Medellin. They also seem to be more interested in your money.

Your thoughts on your experiences and perceptions with the women from both these cities would be great to hear. I’m also seriously considering Buenos Aires. I know the women there are known to be a bit colder, but my experience was quite good with them. Maybe Argentine women are a bit classier but less sexy. But your input on them as well how they compare would be great. Again, I’m not really looking for just fun. Kind of want to set some roots up somewhere and find a girl from that city. So is Portuguese that hard to learn? Spanish is difficult enough for me! That would be just one more challenge to take on!

If I should send this somewhere else, please let me know. Keep living the dream man!

Dean… I think the most beautiful women in the South America are both in Medellin and in Rio. What you will find is that Rio is more worldly and also more sophisticated while Medellin still hasn’t opened up in the world in a sense. This means that the interests of women in Medellin may be a bit small minded for some people. You can find quality women in both cities.

Would not recommend Buenos Aires…. nice city to visit but not to live. Quite chaotic there with the country defaulted would not recommend it. Portuguese for me was hard to learn but not if you are there long term. Hope that helps my man.

$750 for one month including hired help and luxury surrounds is just nuts … can’t wait to check out Medellin this winter!

Ai dont know how you reach that number. Where is your PH? 127 000? You can’t buy a 3 bedroom condo for that. A maid, costs 250$ minimum, a chef, i go there every year my family is from there I was born there and raised in Canada. But we have been looking for a condo there and it’s expensive now

Really interesting article, especially as I opted for Rio! I’ve been here since early June and have absolutely loved it. Having said that, I also loved Medellin. Maybe you can give Rio a go next and see which works out best for places to live (Medellin has it’s fair share of distractions too 😉 )!!

I’ve already lived in Rio Rich.. for 6-7 months.

Hello ….. I was born in Rio Brazil , but lived most of my life in Canada . I have now just returned to Rio a year ago already ! I am thinking of spending some time in Colombia to become fluent in Spanish . Could anyone please give me some tips ….. I was in China recently for 2 years teaching English . Thank you Monica

I am interested in Medellin Columbia specifically . I’d like to visit or work there, but want to find out as much as I can first.

Do I need any day trading experience? I have a masters degree in special education

Thanks! Robin

Robin you can find out more about our trading at our sister site

But then, you have not experienced the life in Santiago de los Caballeros or Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. This country is very much like Brazil and Colombia – extroverted, friendly, socially “loose”, beautiful chicas, great weather – and oh, it’s in the caribbean.

Please visit the DR my friend!

I’ve already visited DR.. I would never live there Miguel. It doesn’t compare to Colombia or Brazil by a landslide

What a good choice to live in Colombia. I have lived in Colombia for several years in Santa Marta and Bogota and I still miss it!

Regards Gerda

HI Marcello,

I came across your videos of Colombia when I was doing some research of the country. I’ll be coming to Medellin probably around April 14 or so. I was wondering if you’re still renting any rooms? if so, what is the minimum stay? cost per night per person? the penthouse looks great, and the location very convenient, loved the renovation!

Just a little bit about me… I’m Mexican-American, from the border community of Tijuana/San Diego. I’ve traveled before to other Latin-American countries (lived in Costa Rica and Chile besides my lovely and troubled Mexico). I just can’t get enough of Hispanic cultures and now Im about to discover what Colombia is all about. I do my best to travel whenever modern-day slavery allows 🙂 !

Thanks in advance for any info.

Hey Paolo… not renting any rooms at the moment but you will enjoy your time in the city. Everyone here is very welcoming!

You do bring up the range of practical issues. I am an ex-pat living in Mexico. There are always pros and cons. There is a lot I like here about the culture and politics. Mexico keeps its nose out of other country’s biz, no wars, etc. The people have a live and let live atittude but being a gringo carries a lot of baggage becaue of the long relationship with the US and the arrogant attitude of most Americans. Good points on the Brazil vs. Columbia issue. I have thought of them both but also would probably lean toward Columbia due to the language issue and the climate. thanks.

Dear Marcello, Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. As a Colombian native, it makes me happy that someone recommends my country to live and work. I am living in Japan at the moment but I’m thinking to relocate and come back to Colombia with my family but I am hesitant about the economy in Colombia. I have a bicultural, bilingual family and I want a safe, foreigner friendly environment. I have a business degree with a concentration in marketing and a master in secondary education with a current U.S. Teaching license. Do you think I could land a job easily and make a decent living in Colombia? Although I am Colombian, I don’t have any professional contacts. Could you please suggest some ideas on how to start my job search? Thank you

You won’t make the same amount of income with the local industry but there are great opportunities to open business and do quite well. Sorry I can’t give you any information on teaching English here in the country as I’m not involved with that industry.

Hello all ,I m getting so much interest to living and doing a business at Colombia…. Though I m a Asian . Is there anyone can help me about that..

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colombia or brazil travel

Blog - Discover Your South America

  • Beaches of South America: Colombia vs Brazil
  • August 31, 2018
  • By discover
September is just around the corner, and for most of us that means the beginning of autumn: shorter days, colder temperatures and the reappearance of our woollens. So let’s look ahead to the next opportunity for sun-filled holidays, by taking ourselves to the beaches of South America – in particular, Colombia and Brazil , two of the continent’s prime destinations for summer breaks, what with their long and beautiful coastlines. Keep reading to find out more about some of the best beaches of South America, Colombia vs Brazil, to give you a little inspiration for your next escape from the cold.

Buzios, Brazil

In the south of Brazil , there lies swathes of golden sands that make for some of the best beaches in South America, unfolding for mile upon mile along the Atlantic Coast. Within this region you’ll find Buzios, a glamorous peninsula just a couple of hours’ drive from Rio de Janeiro, making it a favourite weekend hangout for city dwellers. Buzios was made famous by Brigitte Bardot in the 1960s, and ever since people have come from far and wide to luxuriate on the peninsula’s 30 beaches, hit the bars and restaurants and stay at some seriously chic boutique hotels. Linger over breakfast as you ponder the sea views, before strolling through town or finding the perfect spot on the sand – you can even have a go at watersports, with surfing being a particular highlight here.

Casas Brancas, Buzios, Beaches of South America

Casas Brancas, Buzios

Caribbean Islands, Colombia

Meanwhile, in Colombia , a scattering of islands emerges from the glowing waters of the Caribbean, with postcard-perfect landscapes that never fail to stun visitors. The islands of San Andres and Providencia are in fact closer to the Nicaraguan coastline than that of Colombia (800km away), with a fascinating cultural identity that spans influences from the British to Spanish, infused with some pirate history and a strong sense of Caribbean pride. Aside from the simply stunning beaches here – all sugar-white sand, coconut trees and the odd rum shack – you can dive or snorkel to coral reefs beneath the sea, venture to old pirate hangouts and dance to the tunes of reggae music; perhaps cycle around the islands or just soak in your hotel’s swimming pool for as long as you please. What’s more, if you don’t want to take the flight to reach San Andres and Providencia, opt for a day trip to the Rosario Islands, a little archipelago off the coast of Cartagena where you can still enjoy the sweet Caribbean life for a day.

San Andres, Beaches of South America

Eugenio Celedon, “San Andres, Colombia”    [CC BY-ND 2.0]

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

If it’s remote island life you’re after, Brazil has something up its sleeve too – Fernando de Noronha. This collection of 21 islets is strewn 350km off the northeast coast of Brazil, made up of 21 islands with only one being inhabited. This main island is striking to behold, with its distinctive volcanic peaks soaring up from turquoise sea, pristine beaches all around, and populations of endemic animal species that make it a real nature haven. It’s rumoured that Charles Darwin himself stopped at Fernando de Noronha on his great Beagle expedition! Go scuba diving or snorkelling to get up close to some of these creatures, such as Sea Turtles, Dolphins and Reef Sharks. Otherwise, simply relax on the sand; the Praia de Leão, Baia do Sancho, and Baia dos Porcos were all voted as three of Brazil’s top beaches!

Fernando de Noronha, Beaches of South America

# Jorge Brazilian #, “Fernando de Noronha, Brazil – Brasil, Pernambuco” [CC BY 2.0]

Pacific Coast, Colombia

However, Colombia can also do wild and wonderful beaches in South America, particularly on its relatively unspoilt Pacific Coast. This is one of Colombia’s lesser-visited regions, but for those in the know it provides a beautiful and raw beach escape, awash with sandy beaches, thick jungle, and dramatic cliffs. You can stay at laidback eco-lodges, take to the water on a surfboard, and explore the mangroves of Utria National Park – perhaps spying local residents like the Jaguar, Cougar, Giant Anteater and Sloth. Amazingly, Colombia’s Pacific Coast is on the migration route of Humpback Whales, so head out on boat tours to see them up close between July and November. And, if that weren’t enough, another incredible wildlife experience on Colombia’s Pacific Coast is the chance to witness Sea Turtles hatching on the beach. Rugged landscapes, empty beaches, wildlife sightings: the Pacific Coast has a lot to offer when it comes to amazing beaches in South America.

Pacific Coast, Colombia, Beaches of South America

Sergejf,  “Beautiful morning at El Cantil ecolodge”   [CC BY 2.0]

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil

On the other hand, for something just a bit different, head to Brazil’s northern coast and prepare for a natural phenomenon at Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. Here, 260km from the city of São Luís and up to 50km inland from the Atlantic Ocean, undulating sand dunes rise and fall for mile upon mile into the distance, as far as the eye can see, punctuated with pure blue waters that twinkle in the sunlight and beckon you in. Every year, strong winds heave the sand up from the coast and shape it into these rippling dunes, with nearly 50 inches of rain falling over the year and subsequently collecting in lagoons that plunge as deep as 10ft. Forget infinity pools, your typical beach or any other kind of swimming spot; to bathe in the waters of Lençóis Maranhenses is a totally unique experience. There are countless lagoons found at the bottom of sand dunes in this national park, so all you need to do is take your pick and jump in!

Lencois Maranhenses, Beaches of South America

Los viajes del Cangrejo, “IMG_4441”   [CC BY 2.0]

Tayrona National Park, Colombia

Finally, we conclude our article with a Colombian national park and beach haven: Tayrona, an unmissable highlight of Colombia. There’s not one but many things that make Tayrona National Park so special, starting with those impossibly perfect beaches of powdery sand, lapped by azure waves and blissfully untouched. Its national park status protects it from overdevelopment, so you can spend your days hiking through tangles of rainforest, clambering over rock boulders and finding shade beneath a palm tree to sit and read your book in peace. What’s more, there are ancient ruins hiding in the jungle, built by the Tayrona people centuries ago, and a small selection of eco-lodges that provide rustic-chic accommodation, befitting of the natural setting in which they are found.

Tayrona National Park, Beaches of South America

Surtrek, Tayrona National Park

What’s your verdict for beaches in South America – Colombia or Brazil , or both? Start planning your trip by choosing from any of our template tours, handpick the hotels and activities you want, adjust the durations depending on how long you want to stay in each place, and have fun in the process! Surtrek is always at hand to help out. Call us on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to an expert, and Discover Your South America with Surtrek!
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Brazil Travel Advisory

Travel advisory october 19, 2023, brazil - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Reissued with updates to Country Summary.

Exercise increased caution in Brazil due to  crime . Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • Any areas within 150 km/100 miles of Brazil’s land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay due to  crime . (Note: This does not apply to the Foz do Iguacu National Park or Pantanal National Park.)
  • Informal housing developments (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas, vilas, comunidades, and/or conglomerados) at any time of day due to  crime  (see additional information below).
  • Brasilia’s administrative regions (commonly known as “satellite cities”) of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa during non-daylight hours due to  crime  (see additional information below).

Country Summary:   Violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, and carjacking, is common in urban areas, day and night. Gang activity and organized crime is widespread. Assaults, including with sedatives and drugs placed in drinks, are common. U.S. government personnel are discouraged from using municipal buses in all parts of Brazil due to an elevated risk of robbery and assault at any time of day, and especially at night.

If you decide to travel to Brazil: 

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Do not accept food or drinks from strangers.
  • Use caution when walking or driving at night.
  • Avoid going to bars or nightclubs alone.
  • Avoid walking on beaches after dark.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Use caution at, or going to, major transportation centers or on public transportation, especially at night. Passengers face an elevated risk of robbery or assault using public, municipal bus transportation throughout Brazil.
  • Use increased caution when hiking in isolated areas.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the Country Security Report for Brazil.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.

International Borders – Level 4: Do Not Travel

U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to areas within 150 km/100 miles of the international land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay without advance approval from security officials due to crime. Travel to the Foz do Iguacu National Park and Pantanal National Park is permitted.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas .

Informal Housing Developments (commonly known as “Favelas”) – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel to informal housing developments (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas, vilas, comunidades, and/or conglomerados), even on a guided tour.  Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering these communities.  Even in these communities that the police or local governments deem safe, the situation can change quickly and without notice.  While some informal housing developments have clear boundaries or gates, or even names such as “favela”, “vila”, “comunidade”, or “conglomerado”, other such developments may be less obvious, and may be identified by crowded quarters, poorer conditions, and/or irregular construction.  In addition, exercise caution in areas surrounding these communities, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of these communities.  Except under limited circumstances and with advance approval, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to enter any informal housing developments in Brazil. Read the Safety and Security Section on the  country information page  and consult the maps on the Embassy’s website for further information regarding favelas.

Visit our website for Travel High-Risk Areas .

Brasilia’s Administrative Regions (commonly known as “Satellite Cities”) – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Without advance approval from security officials, U.S. government personnel are not permitted to travel to Brasilia’s Administrative Regions of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. (non-daylight hours) due to crime.

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Amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in South America

Posted: December 28, 2023 | Last updated: December 28, 2023

<div><a href="" rel="noopener">South America</a> dazzles in its cultural and natural diversity. This huge continent includes 12 sovereign states (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela), each with its own singular identity.</div>   <div>The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has identified numerous South American natural man-made sites, areas, and structures and designated them World Heritage Sites, a landmark or region recognized as being of outstanding international importance.</div>   <div>Click through this gallery for a definitive guide to what these are and where they're located.</div><p>You may also like:<a href=""> The real impact of alcohol in your body</a></p>

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Location: Quito<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1978<br>Description: The historic center of Quito is one of the largest, least altered and best-preserved historic centers in Latin America. The city was founded in 1534.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> The most picturesque mountain towns in America</a></p>

City of Quito, Ecuador

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Location: San Juan and La Rioja Province<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: The unworldly appearance of the wind-eroded rock formations that texture this region, plus the fact that the parks represent the most complete fossil site of the Triassic periods (245-208 million years ago), endow the entire area with unique geological characteristics.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Ischigualasto/Talampaya Natural Parks, Argentina

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Location: Arequipa<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: Built on volcanic silla rock, the historic center of Arequipa is noted for its combination of traditional indigenous architectural styles with the new techniques of European colonial settlers, manifested in the city’s robust walls, archways, and vaults, as well as numerous courtyards.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> This huge crack in Kenya could split Africa in two</a></p>

Historic Center of the City of Arequipa, Peru

Location: Ancash<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1985<br>Description: Named after the tallest mountain in Peru (and Huascar, a 16th-century Inca emperor), the park harbors a unique biodiversity. It’s noted also for its 300 or so glacial lakes.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Huascarán National Park, Peru

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Location: Cartagena<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1984<br>Description: The city’s fortress and defensive walls, constructed at the beginning of 1586, surround a historic center that mesmerizes with its ensemble of churches, convents, and a host of other colonial architecture featuring Andalusian design signatures.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Famous Americans who married foreigners</a></p>

Cartagena Historic Monuments, Colombia

Location: Galápagos Province<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1978<br>Description: Forever associated with Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by means of natural selection, this remote archipelago is known for its large number of endemic species.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

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Location: Paramaribo<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2001<br>Description: The Dutch settled here in the 17th century, and their cultural influence is apparent in the old quarter's unique street plan and traditional architectural design signatures.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Most famous last words </a></p>

Historic Inner City of Paramaribo, Suriname

Location: Jujuy Province<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2003<br>Description: The site, a narrow mountain valley, was a caravan road for the Inca Empire in the 15th century. A pre-Inca fortification, Pucará de Tilcara, and the colorful Serranía de Hornocal mountain range (pictured) fall within its boundaries.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Quebrada de Humahuaca, Argentina

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Location: Federal District<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1987<br>Description: Planned by architects Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa in 1956, Brasília became the new national capital in 1960. It was chosen as a World Heritage Site due to its modernist architecture and uniquely artistic urban planning.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Old wedding traditions that are no longer in fashion</a></p>

Brasília, Brazil

Location: Cuzco<br>Criteria: Mixed<br>Year established: 1983<br>Description: One of the world's most recognized historic landmarks, this expansive mountain estate, established around the middle of the 15th century, is also the most familiar icon of the Inca civilization.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, Peru

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<p>Location: Machalí, Cachapoal Province<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2006<br>Description: The abandoned mining town of Sewell, located on the slopes of the Andes, once had a population of 16,000. However, its steep and remote location and the propensity for avalanches, earthquakes, and explosions eventually led to families moving out of Sewell and the town's subsequent decline.</p><p>You may also like:<a href=""> The leading causes of death around the world</a></p>

Sewell Mining Town, Chile

Location: Machalí, Cachapoal Province Criteria: Cultural Year established: 2006 Description: The abandoned mining town of Sewell, located on the slopes of the Andes, once had a population of 16,000. However, its steep and remote location and the propensity for avalanches, earthquakes, and explosions eventually led to families moving out of Sewell and the town's subsequent decline.

Location: Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte<br>Criteria: Natural <br>Year established: 2001<br>Description: The site encompasses an environment essential as a feeding ground and reproduction area for numerous sealife, including endangered and threatened species.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves

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Location: Ingavi Province<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: Excavation of this pre-Columbian site situated near Lake Titicara has revealed decorated ceramics, monumental structures, and megalithic blocks. Estimates date the foundation of the site at around 110 CE.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> The most epic celebrity feuds of all time</a></p>

Spiritual and Political Center of the Tiwanaku Culture, Bolivia

Location: Morono Santiago, Chimborazo, and Tungurahua Provinces<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1983<br>Description: An important refuge for rare species of the Andes, including the mountain tapir, the scenic park is equally distinguished for its two active volcanoes.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Sangay National Park, Ecuador

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Location: Pernambuco<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1982<br>Description: Among the standout buildings set within Olinda's historic center is the Convent of São Francisco, the oldest Franciscan convent in the country.<p>You may also like: </p>

Historic Center of Olinda, Brazil

Location: Santa Cruz Province<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1981<br>Description: Comprising a chain of lofty peaks and pristine glacial lakes and glaciers, the park's name refers to the giant ice cap in the Andes, the largest outside of Antarctica, Greenland, and Iceland.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

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Location: Paraná<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1986<br>Description: A world-renowned natural wonder, the park shares with Iguazú National Park in Argentina (same name, and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, established 1984) one of the planet’s largest waterfalls. The surrounding habitats are home to many rare and endangered species of flora and fauna.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Iguaçu National Park, Brazil

Location: Oropeza Province, Chuquisaca Department<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1991<br>Description: Founded by the Spanish in 1538, Sucre's many old and classic buildings, and especially the religious structures, reflect the fusion of local and European architectural styles.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Classic paintings with secret messages</a></p>

Historic City of Sucre, Bolivia

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Location: Cuzco<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1983<br>Description: The historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest, Cuzco retains many buildings, plazas, streets, and churches from colonial times, and even some pre-Columbian structures.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

City of Cuzco, Peru

Location: Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso states<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: The Pantanal is a natural region encompassing the world's largest tropical wetland area.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Classic paintings with secret messages</a></p>

Pantanal Conservation Area, Brazil

Location: Rio Negro Department<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2015<br>Description: The site encompasses the city’s Barrio Anglo, where a meat processing plant founded in 1863 and closed in 1979 stands. The well-preserved ruins of the industrial complex enclose a local history museum.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Fray Bentos Cultural-Industrial Landscape, Uruguay

Location: Minas Gerais state<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1980<br>Description: A major gold-producing city during the Brazilian Gold Rush, which started in the 1690s, Ouro Preto today is equally valuable for its large number of preserved Baroque churches, bridges, and fountains.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> 20-year-review: see how much (or little) your favorite stars have aged</a></p>

Historic Town of Ouro Preto, Brazil

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Location: Potosí<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1987<br>Description: One of the highest cities in the world, Potosí was once the location of the Spanish colonial mint following the discovery of the New World’s largest silver reserves in the mid-16th century.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

City of Potosí, Bolivia

Location: La Libertad<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1986<br>Description: Chan Chan served as the capital of the Chimú culture and was the largest city of the pre-Columbian era in South America. The Inca would eventually conquer the Chimú in 1470.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> The shirtless blazer: Which star wore it best?</a></p>

Chan Chan Archaeological Zone, Peru

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Location: Viedma Department<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1999<br>Description: The entire peninsula is an important nature reserve. Numerous marine mammals inhabit the coastline while the interior is home to an equally diverse array of land animals. The over 181 bird species recorded here include the Antarctic pigeon.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Peninsula Valdés, Argentina

Location: Tarapacá<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2005<br>Description: These two former saltpeter refineries located in the Atacama Desert are representative of the saltpeter (potassium nitrate) industry in northern Chile in the 19th and early 20th century.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Royals who shockingly died before their time</a></p>

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works, Chile

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<p>Location: Caracas<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: Designed by Venezuelan architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva and considered a masterpiece of early 20th-century architecture and urban planning, the site includes the Grand Hall, noted for its acoustics, and a collection of famous</p><p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Ciudad Universitaria de Caracas, Venezuela

Location: Caracas Criteria: Cultural Year established: 2000 Description: Designed by Venezuelan architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva and considered a masterpiece of early 20th-century architecture and urban planning, the site includes the Grand Hall, noted for its acoustics, and a collection of famous

<p>Location: Falcón<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1993<br>Description: Founded in 1527, Coro is the surviving example of the fusion of Caribbean with Spanish Mudéjar (Muslim) and Dutch architecture.</p><p>You may also like:<a href=""> Man behind the myth: Little-known facts about Bob Dylan</a></p>

Coro and its Port, Venezuela

Location: Falcón Criteria: Cultural Year established: 1993 Description: Founded in 1527, Coro is the surviving example of the fusion of Caribbean with Spanish Mudéjar (Muslim) and Dutch architecture.

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<p>Location: Colonia<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1995<br>Description: The many Spanish and Portuguese colonial style buildings include the famous city gate and wooden drawbridge (pictured), as well as the early 19th-century Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento.</p><p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Historic Quarter of Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay

Location: Colonia Criteria: Cultural Year established: 1995 Description: The many Spanish and Portuguese colonial style buildings include the famous city gate and wooden drawbridge (pictured), as well as the early 19th-century Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento.

<p>Locations: Misiones Province (Argentina), Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1983<br>Description: San Ignacio Mini (pictured) Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto, and Santa María Mayor in Argentina and the ruins of São Miguel das Missões in Brazil are set in a tropical forest in the land of the Guarani people.</p><p>You may also like:<a href=""> Celebrities who were poor before fame found them</a></p>

Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis, Argentina and Brazil

Locations: Misiones Province (Argentina), Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) Criteria: Cultural Year established: 1983 Description: San Ignacio Mini (pictured) Santa Ana, Nuestra Señora de Loreto, and Santa María Mayor in Argentina and the ruins of São Miguel das Missões in Brazil are set in a tropical forest in the land of the Guarani people.

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<p>Location: São Cristóvão<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2010<br>Description: Numerous early colonial-period buildings fringe this historic city square, examples of the typical Franciscan architecture of northeastern Brazil.</p><p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

São Francisco Square in São Cristóvão, Brazil

Location: São Cristóvão Criteria: Cultural Year established: 2010 Description: Numerous early colonial-period buildings fringe this historic city square, examples of the typical Franciscan architecture of northeastern Brazil.

<p>Location: Sipaliwini District<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: A pristine tropical rainforest ecosystem blessed with high biodiversity and a variety of endangered species distinguish this site. The reserve is home to Julianatop, at 4,199 ft (1,280 m) the highest mountain in the country.</p><p>You may also like:<a href=""> Beer brands that Americans can't get enough of</a></p>

Central Suriname Nature Reserve, Suriname

Location: Sipaliwini District Criteria: Natural Year established: 2000 Description: A pristine tropical rainforest ecosystem blessed with high biodiversity and a variety of endangered species distinguish this site. The reserve is home to Julianatop, at 4,199 ft (1,280 m) the highest mountain in the country.

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Location: Bahia state<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1985<br>Description: Founded by the Portuguese in 1549 as the first capital of Brazil, the colonial old town has preserved an attractive collection of brightly colored Renaissance houses from the 16th to the 18th centuries.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Historic Center of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

Location: Chiloé Province, Los Lagos Region<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: A unique archaeological phenomenon in the Americas, the churches, built in the 18th and 19th centuries, are the most prominent examples of Chilota wooden architecture fusing European and indigenous traditions.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Common cooking mistakes and how to fix them</a></p>

Churches of Chiloé, Chile

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Location: Paraná, São Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro states<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1999<br>Description: Brazil's Atlantic Forest is remarkable for a high biodiversity with many rare and endemic species.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves, Brazil

<p>Location: Bahia and Espírito Santo states<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1999<br>Description: As with the Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves, this section of Brazil's Atlantic Forest includes forests made up of several ecoregions characterized by high biodiversity.</p><p>You may also like:<a href=""> Longyearbyen, the island where there is no place for dying</a></p>

Discovery Coast Atlantic Forest Reserves, Brazil

Location: Bahia and Espírito Santo states Criteria: Natural Year established: 1999 Description: As with the Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves, this section of Brazil's Atlantic Forest includes forests made up of several ecoregions characterized by high biodiversity.

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Location: Maranhão state<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1997 <br>Description: A prime example of a Portuguese colonial town, São Luís was, in fact, originally settled by the French in 1612, who called it San-Louise-de-Maragnan.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Historic Center of São Luís, Brazil

Location: Huari Province, Ancash<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1985<br>Description: The Chavin culture developed in the Andean highlands between 1500 and 300 BCE. Archaeologists have described the site as "the birthplace of South American culture." It consists of a complex of terraces and squares cut from rock.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> The most iconic looks ever on 'Sex and the City'</a></p>

Chavin Archaeological Site, Peru

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<p>Location: Congonhas<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1985<br>Description: Commissioned by the Portuguese in the 18th century and designed by sculptor and architect Aleijadinho, the sanctuary's basilica features 12 sculptures of old testament prophets around the terrace.</p><p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Congonhas, Brazil

Location: Congonhas Criteria: Cultural Year established: 1985 Description: Commissioned by the Portuguese in the 18th century and designed by sculptor and architect Aleijadinho, the sanctuary's basilica features 12 sculptures of old testament prophets around the terrace.

<p>Location: Piauí<br>Criteria: Cultural <br>Year established: 1991<br>Description: The park has the largest and the oldest concentration of prehistoric sites in the Americas. A number of rock shelters found in the area are illustrated with extraordinary examples of cave art and littered with stone tools and other ancient artifacts.</p><p>You may also like:<a href=""> Things you think cause cancer (but actually don't) </a></p>

Serra da Capivara National Park, Brazil

Location: Piauí Criteria: Cultural Year established: 1991 Description: The park has the largest and the oldest concentration of prehistoric sites in the Americas. A number of rock shelters found in the area are illustrated with extraordinary examples of cave art and littered with stone tools and other ancient artifacts.

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<p>Location: Central Brazil Plateau<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 2001<br>Description: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas national parks, located in the country's Goiás state, exemplify the cerrado, one of the world's oldest ecosystems and an important refuge for species during climate change.</p><p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Cerrado Protected Areas, Brazil

Location: Central Brazil Plateau Criteria: Natural Year established: 2001 Description: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas national parks, located in the country's Goiás state, exemplify the cerrado, one of the world's oldest ecosystems and an important refuge for species during climate change.

<p>Location: Rio de Janeiro<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2012<br>Description: Rio is recognized for its exceptional urban setting, and the site includes Tijuca National Park, the Botanical Gardens, Guanabara and Copacabana bays, Corcovado Mountain, and the iconic statue of Christ.</p><p>You may also like:<a href=""> Notoriously bad celebrity hotel guests</a></p>

Carioca Landscapes Between the Mountain and the Sea, Brazil

Location: Rio de Janeiro Criteria: Cultural Year established: 2012 Description: Rio is recognized for its exceptional urban setting, and the site includes Tijuca National Park, the Botanical Gardens, Guanabara and Copacabana bays, Corcovado Mountain, and the iconic statue of Christ.

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Location: Cauca Department<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 2006<br>Description: Located in the East Pacific Ocean, the small island of Malpelo is home to a unique shark population. An oceanic island, Malpelo has never been connected with any other islands or the mainland.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, Colombia

Location: Lima<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1988<br>Description: The Archbishop Palace, Goyeneche House, and the Basílica Cathedral are just three of the outstanding buildings that distinguish the Peruvian capital's historic center.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> What Christmas was like in Victorian times</a></p>

Historic Center of Lima, Peru

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Location: Bolivar<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1994<br>Description: The impressive tabletop mountains, or <em>tepui,</em> that characterize the park are of great geographical and biological interest. Angel Falls (pictured), the highest waterfall in the world, is included in the site.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Canaima National Park, Venezuela

Location: Caldas, Quindio, and Risaralda Departments<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2011<br>Description: Colombian coffee is renowned the world over for its quality and delicious taste. The 100-year-old coffee cultivation is emblematic of Colombian culture and has impacted social traditions in music, architecture, education, and cuisine.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> World records that Guinness refuses to accept</a></p>

Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia, Colombia

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Location: Rio de Janeiro<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2017<br>Description: Built in 1811, this was the site of landing and trading of enslaved Africans until 1831. When the area was excavated in 2011, a large number of amulets and worship objects from Congo, Angola, and Mozambique were unearthed.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site, Brazil

Location: Bolivar Department<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1995<br>Description: The town is known for the preservation of its colonial architectural features, a fascinating mix of Spanish and Indian styles exemplified by the Santa Bárbara Church (pictured) and the San Juan de Dios Hospital.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Telltale signs of a gifted child</a></p>

Historic Center of Santa Cruz de Mompox, Colombia

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Location: Florida Province, Santa Cruz Department<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1998<br>Description: This pre-Columbian archaeological site consists of the remains of a town and a large sculptured rock almost totally covered with carvings of both Inca and pre-Inca origin.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Fuerte de Samaipata, Bolivia

Location: Córdoba<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: This former early 17th-century Jesuit settlement preserves a university (one of the oldest in South America), a church, residences, and five farming estates (<em>estancias</em>).<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Creepy stories from people who work alone</a></p>

Jesuit Block and Estancias of Córdoba, Argentina

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Location: Inza, Cauca Department<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1995<br>Description: Several hypogea (underground temples or tombs) distinguish this site. They were created by the Tierradentro, one of the pre-Columbian cultures of Colombia, and most date from between the 6th and 9th centuries CE.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro, Colombia

Location: Madre de Dios<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1987<br>Description: Around 1,000 bird species, over 200 species of mammals, and over 15,000 species of flowering plants have been recorded in this reserve, which protects diverse ecosystems.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Famous babies: Where are they now?</a></p>

Manú National Park, Peru

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Location: Santa Cruz Department<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1990<br>Description: Comprised of six 17th- and 18th-century Jesuit settlements, the churches of which are the standout features, Chiquitos represents the blending of indigenous and European architectural traditions.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos, Bolivia

Location: Azuay Province<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1999<br>Description: Listed for its many 16th-century buildings set in a grid-like layout, Cuenca's old quarter townscape is essentially an expression of the synthesis of different societies and cultures and a mirror of Renaissance design in Latin America.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Alcoholism: Do you know the signs?</a></p>

Historic Center of Santa Ana de los Rios de Cuenca, Ecuador

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Location: Nazca<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1994<br>Description: Created between 400 and 650 CE and believed by archaeologists to have served a ritualistic purpose, the huge and impressive designs in the Nazca Desert include animals such as a monkey and a hummingbird (pictured).<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Lines and Geoglyphs of Nazca and Pampas de Jumana, Peru

Location: Rio de Janeiro state<br>Criteria: Mixed<br>Year established: 2019<br>Description: This compelling cultural landscape includes the historic center of Paraty, one of the country’s best-preserved Portuguese colonial coastal towns.<p>You may also like:<a href=""> Signs that your partner is emotionally unavailable</a></p>

Paraty and Ilha Grande - Culture and Biodiversity, Brazil

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Location: Rio de Janeiro state<br>Criteria: Mixed<br>Year established: 2019<br>Description: Ilha Grande, a hotspot for biodiversity and conservation, is also noted for its scenic beauty, pristine tropical beaches, and rugged, verdant landscape.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Sacred City of Caral-Supe, Peru

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Location: Huila Department<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1995<br>Description: The park showcases the largest collection of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in Latin America.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

San Agustin Archaeological Park, Colombia

Location: Minas Gerais state<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1999<br>Description: Named after the fact that it was the center of diamond mining in the 18th and 19th centuries, Diamantina is characterized by its collection of Brazilian Baroque architecture.

Historic Center of Diamantina, Brazil

Location: Goiás<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2001<br>Description: Goiás was founded in 1727 by Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva and was the former state capital up until 1937. Its colonial heritage is seen as an excellent example of a European settlement in the interior of South America.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Historic Center of Goiás, Brazil

Location: Belo Horizonte<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2016<br>Description: The buildings set within this urban project sited around an artificial lake were designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer in collaboration with the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx and a number of Brazilian Modernist artists.

Pampulha Modern Ensemble, Brazil

Location: Chubut Province<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 2017<br>Description: Named for the massive alerce tree, one of the longest-living trees in the world, the park has the largest alerce forest in the country.<p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Los Alerces National Park, Argentina

Location: Paraguay<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 1993<br>Description: Two fine examples of the many Jesuit reductions (small colonies established by the missionaries in various locations in South America) built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Jesuit Missions of La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesús de Tavarange, Paraguay

<p>Location: State of Amazonas<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: The largest protected area in the Amazon basin, the site is notable for its high biodiversity, range of habitats, and several endangered species.</p><p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Central Amazon Conservation Complex, Brazil

Location: State of Amazonas Criteria: Natural Year established: 2000 Description: The largest protected area in the Amazon basin, the site is notable for its high biodiversity, range of habitats, and several endangered species.

Location: Valparaíso<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2003<br>Description: A major stopover in the 19th century for ships sailing between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via the Straits of Magellan, Valparaíso prospered as a magnet for European immigrants.

Historic Quarter of Valparaíso, Chile

<p>Location: Santa Cruz Department<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 2000<br>Description: Situated where the Amazonian rain forests and the dry forest and savannas of cerrado (upland) meet, the park is listed for its almost pristine vegetation. </p><p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Noel Kempff Mercado National Park, Bolivia

Location: Santa Cruz Department Criteria: Natural Year established: 2000 Description: Situated where the Amazonian rain forests and the dry forest and savannas of cerrado (upland) meet, the park is listed for its almost pristine vegetation. 

<p>Location: San Martín<br>Criteria: Mixed<br>Year established: 1990<br>Description: The park is home to many endemic species, including the rare and endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey (once thought to be extinct).</p>

Rio Abiseo National Park, Peru

Location: San Martín Criteria: Mixed Year established: 1990 Description: The park is home to many endemic species, including the rare and endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey (once thought to be extinct).

<p>Location: Caquetá and Guaviare Departments<br>Criteria: Mixed<br>Year established: 2018<br>Description: The largest national park in Colombia, and the largest tropical rain forest national park in the world, Chiribiquete's defining features include the tabletop mountains known as tepuis (pictured) and over 75,000 cave paintings, some more than 20,000 years old, believed to be linked to the worship of the jaguar.</p><p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Chiribiquete National Park, Colombia

Location: Caquetá and Guaviare Departments Criteria: Mixed Year established: 2018 Description: The largest national park in Colombia, and the largest tropical rain forest national park in the world, Chiribiquete's defining features include the tabletop mountains known as tepuis (pictured) and over 75,000 cave paintings, some more than 20,000 years old, believed to be linked to the worship of the jaguar.

<p>Location: Antioquia and Choco Departments<br>Criteria: Natural<br>Year established: 1994<br>Description: Embedded in the Darién Gap, the break across the South American and North American continents, the park encompasses an extraordinary diversity of plant and animal species (it contains over 25% of the bird species reported for Colombia).</p>

Los Katios National Park, Colombia

Location: Antioquia and Choco Departments Criteria: Natural Year established: 1994 Description: Embedded in the Darién Gap, the break across the South American and North American continents, the park encompasses an extraordinary diversity of plant and animal species (it contains over 25% of the bird species reported for Colombia).

<p>Location: South America<br>Criteria: Cultural<br>Year established: 2014<br>Description: The Andean Road System was an extensive Inca communication, trade, and defense network of roads covering 19,000 mi (30,000 km) and built over several centuries.</p>  <p><a href="">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Qhapaq Ñan, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

Location: South America Criteria: Cultural Year established: 2014 Description: The Andean Road System was an extensive Inca communication, trade, and defense network of roads covering 19,000 mi (30,000 km) and built over several centuries.

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Brazil and Colombia see "remarkable" decrease in forest destruction after leadership changes, data show

By Haley Ott

April 4, 2024 / 7:56 AM EDT / CBS News

Forest destruction in Brazil and Colombia fell "steeply" between 2022 and 2023, according to data from the University of Maryland's GLAD Lab that has been shared on the World Resources Institute's Global Forest Watch . In Brazil, primary forest loss decreased by 36%, and in Colombia it decreased by 49%, which the WRI called a "remarkable" drop.

"Yet despite these dramatic reductions, the rate of tropical primary forest loss in 2023 remained stubbornly consistent," Forest Watch researchers warned, due to huge spikes in tree cutting in Bolivia, Laos and Nicaragua. The data show an area of forest about the size of 10 football fields being destroyed globally every minute on average.

But the WRI said the changes in Brazil and Colombia showed the difference political will could make.

In Brazil, the WRI said the reduction in forest loss started with the governmental transition from former President Jair Bolsonaro, who eroded environmental protections, to returning President Inácio Lula da Silva, who has pledged to end deforestation.

French President Emmanuel Macron visits Amazon in Brazil for the first time

In Colombia, the shift in forest loss also came alongside a change in leadership, with the administration of President Gustavo Petro Urrego focusing on rural and environmental reform.

"As some countries show political will to reduce forest loss and others do not, the frontiers of forest loss are shifting," the WRI said.

"There are just six years remaining until 2030, by which time leaders of 145 countries promised to halt and reverse forest loss," the WRI said. "While the declines in forest loss in Brazil and Colombia show promise towards that commitment, it's clear that the world is falling far short of its targets."

While deforestation remains a major concern globally, a study published several years ago offered hope that even forests cut or burned down could regrow almost completely in just a couple decades if humans leave them to do so. 

The study published in the journal  Science looked at 77 different forest sites across the tropics that were abandoned after deforestation. When left alone by people for 20 years, scientists found the forests regained on average 78% of their original growth.

  • Climate Change
  • Forest Fire
  • deforestation
  • Water Conservation


Haley Ott is the CBS News Digital international reporter, based in the CBS News London bureau.

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