SOCIAL DISTANCING BY NATURE: COLOMBIA TRAVEL EXPERIENCES TO HELP YOU ESCAPE THE PANDEMIC
It’s time to escape that Work-From-Home monotony! You know you’ve been secretly scheming about booking a getaway. Whether it’s a small, intimate little escape or a grand, epic journey you’ve been considering, beautiful Colombia offers so much to see and do here that make this country an ideal destination that’s fun, exotic, safe, and welcoming for gay travelers.
Colombia is a true paradise of changing landscapes and so much diversity in nature, culture, wildlife, and climates. You’ll find it very easy here to escape crowds and connect with nature. Here are just a few of the experiences make it a great gay vacation destination where you can travel well, travel out, and travel safely.
Want to explore an area of true magic and beauty? The Cocora Valley is just the place. Colombia is a country full of exquisite wildlife and plants and the otherworldly aura of this part of Los Nevados National Park should be at the top of any nature lover’s list. This section of the National Park is comprised of farmland, jungle, and a cloud forest with the world’s tallest palm trees, the Quindío wax palms. The National Tree of Colombia, these palms can reach nearly 200 feet tall and they look as if they sprouted right out of a Dr. Seuss book.
The nearest access to the Cocora Valley is from the tiny and colorful town of Salento, which is in the heart of Coffee Country, so yet another reason to explore here. While the valley is on the To Do list of many travelers to Colombia, right now there are few crowds, and our customized experiences will help you avoid those big tour groups. Both Salento and the Cocora Valley are perfect contrasts to the bright lights of big city Bogotá. We can easily plan this excursion for you with a private pick-up from your hotel and a bilingual guide.
Once you reach the Valley, it’s better to cover the area by jeep or even by horseback, which is decidedly more Instagram-worthy. Take in the splendor of the cloud forest and the soaring palms, the flitting and buzzing of colorful hummingbirds drawn by the sweet nectar of the region’s colorful flora. Surrounded by all this abundant space and fresh air you are in true danger of having your breath taken away by nature’s beauty. This is just a sample of the many one-of-a-kind experiences OUT in Colombia can curate for you.
Are you a city boy, but still need some elbow room? Less than an hour by boat from Cartagena is the tropical paradise of the Rosario Islands. This island chain comprises a National Park, but several of the islands boast privately owned resorts for overnight stays, and we have scoped out the best ones for you. Spend a night or two on these Caribbean islands and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy all the pleasures of island life: the sun, sand and surf, fresh fish and seafood, fun activities, or the bliss of doing nothing at all in a hammock or a chaise on the beach.
Head out to any one of the resorts we work with here, some have their own testing station once you arrive. Because you are on an island, there are lots of natural social distancing opportunities everywhere and you can walk around without a mask once you test negative for COVID-19. Each island resort is its own bubble and has no restrictions. It’s total luxury, total freedom. You won’t easily find an experience like this anywhere else, but we make it simple to enjoy here in Colombia. Those looking to either totally relax or party on -- or perhaps do a little of both -- will be in heaven.
Can’t drag yourself away from Cartagena too long? Have a look at our OUTdoor Adventure: Island Hopping on a Private Boat, a great day trip option for a couple or even a small group of friends.
BIG CITY SURROUNDS OF MEDELLIN
Want an urban experience in Colombia without visiting a bustling metropolis like Bogotá? Medellín and the surrounding area has a wealth of activities to capture the attention of lovers of nature, adventure, history, food, art, and relaxation, both in and around the center of this lively city. It’s a very easy escape to Parque Arví, a nature reserve located high in the hills surrounding the city. Here you will find 39,000 acres of different terrains to explore and 33 miles of walking trails. Enjoy biking and horseback riding as well as exploring a pre-Hispanic trail of stone built by a local indigenous tribe some 1500 years ago. This is a quick break to get some nature, long walks, and more fresh air in marvelous Medellín.
Further out of the city (by 1 ½ hours, but easily done in a day), enjoy a Coffee Farm excursion to see where that magical liquid that starts your day is grown and roasted before export to your nearest supermarket. The coffee fincas in this region are primarily family-run cooperatives. Here you’ll get the whole experience of this precious bean from ground to cup. Plant, pick, brew, taste….learn about all of it and even pick up some of that rich brown gold to take back home. A perfect day trip, our packages include a traditional lunch made with love.
Or make this trip a multi-day experience by pairing it with one or two nights at an upscale eco lodge about 90 minutes outside of Medellín. With private, intimate cabanas on stilts situated as well as some balconied lodge rooms, all on 27 acres of lushly forested mountainside, you are surrounded by wide open spaces and glorious mountain views, in the very heart of nature. The resort offers cooking classes as well as tasting sessions on Colombia’s export trinity: coffee, rum, and chocolate. There are walking tours to explore the nature surrounds, the remains of the pre-Hispanic peoples in the region, and even the romantic sunsets each day.
The exquisitely preserved colonial town of Santa Fe de Antioquia, once the capital of this region before Medellín, is also about 90 minutes’ drive outside the city. The cobblestoned streets and plazas here have witnessed a complex history which includes both the gold and slave trades. Today, the area is a popular weekend escape for Colombians that you’re destined to fall in love with, too.
Guatapé, located just 2 hours from Medellín, is yet another beautiful town which is also a weekend retreat for Colombians. Famous for the brightly painted zocalo friezes on its buildings, it has been called the most colorful town in the world. Here you’ll discover welcoming people, local restaurants serving amazing food, and exquisite handicrafts, all surrounded by beautiful lakes and scenery.
Did we mention the world’s third-largest rock? We didn’t? Well, La Piedra de El Peñón is here, too. This 10-million-ton rock was once worshipped by the local indigenous tribe here. We’re not sure if they ever climbed it, but you can scale those 649 steps wedged into the rock and be rewarded by panoramic views at the top. Want to stay longer and try glamping in this pristine area? Ask us about the unique, rustic domed lodges resembling mushrooms where you can be one with nature. The mushrooms offer outstanding views of the area, including El Peñón. During the day, there are abundant activities to experience and, at night you’ll be amazed by the stargazing.
Last but certainly not least, Rio Claro Natural Reserve, is the ultimate introduction to Colombia’s complex biodiversity, with nearly 700 distinct species of animals just 3 hours from Medellín. Although overnight accommodations here are basic, they do include full private baths. Overnighting here will allow you more time to experience rafting, caving, zip-lining, bird-watching along with many more outdoor activities. OUT in Colombia’s curated Rio Claro visits include a welcome introduction by a member of the local LGBTQ+ community here. You’ll feel gratified that 30% of the income generated by your stay goes back to supporting, educating, and redeveloping the local community.
Here at OUT in Colombia, we make it easy to travel just as you are and experience the very best of all that Colombia has to offer.