Here is a non-exhaustive list of all the places and cultural traditions that you will probably discover during your trip to Colombia.
Other Colombian sites, not mentioned on this page, are also listed as UNESCO Heritage sites, but are in regions that are still off the beaten tracks and hardly accessible during a discovery trip to Colombia (Quibdo, Valpes, Pasto…).
The Barranquilla Carnival (Cultural Heritage Site)
The carnival of Barranquilla offers a wide range of dances (such as the mico and micas, from the Americas, the African congo and the paloteo from Spain ) and musical expressions issued from different Colombian cultures (mainly cumbia and its variations such as the puya and the porro).
The Malpelo Sanctuary (World Heritage List)
Malpelo island in Colombia It is located 506km from the Colombian coast and includes the island of Malpelo (350 hectares) as well as the surrounding marine area (857 150 hectares). This vast marine park, that is also the largest zone where fishing is forbidden in the tropical Pacific is a habitat of a critical importance for a great number of internationally endangered marine species.
The San Agustin Archeological Park (World Heritage Lit)
It is the largest gathering of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America! Gods and mythical animals are represented with a perfect mastery in the styles from abstract to realism. These art works witness the imagination and creativity of the Northern Andes cultures, at it’s peak from the 1st to the 8th century.
One of the statues of San Agustin
Cartagena (World Heritage list)
Cartagena has the most complete fortifications in South America. A system of zones divides the city into three distinct districts: San Pedro with the cathedral and many Andalusian-style palaces, San Diego where merchants and the petty bourgeoisie lived, and Getsemani, the “popular” district.
Palenque San Basilio (Intangible Heritage)
The village of San Basilio de Palenque, in the south of Cartagena, is known for its cultural, linguistic, musical and social practices of the descendants of Cimarrones slaves.
The uniqueness of this tradition has been proclaimed “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by the UNESCO.
The Coffee Region (World Heritage List)
The Eje Cafetero region in Colombia It is an amazing example of a productive and sustainable cultural landscape that is unique and representative of a tradition that has become a strong symbol in Colombia but also in other coffee-growing regions of the world. It reflects a century-old tradition of growing coffee on small plots of land taken from the high forest and the way in which the farmers have adapted the crop to the harsh mountain environment.
Easter Week processions in Popayan (Intangible Heritage)
With the Spanish influence, the processions take place every year according to traditions handed down from generation to generation since colonial times. These festivities, which attract visitors from all over the world, are included in the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Seabed of Providencia (Marine Biosphere Reserve)
This hilly island, simply held by the coral reef, is an absolute dream, in the heart of the ocean. The richness and beauty of its seabed has earned it the title of World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
La Guajira (Intangible Cultural Heritage)
The Wayuu community is located in the Guajira Peninsula, which stretches from Colombia to Venezuela. Its legislative system (applied by the Pütchipü’üi ) forms a set of principles, procedures and rites that regulate the social and spiritual conduct of the community.
Sunset on the Guajira River
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Biosphere Reserve)
This majestic mountain range, with its snow-capped peaks, is the highest coastal range in the world and has two of the highest mountains in Colombia. In 1979 it was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site.
The Pacific Marimba (Intangible Cultural Heritage)
Marimba music and traditional songs from Colombia’s South Pacific region are part of the heritage of Afro-Colombian groups in the departments of Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño. The songs of women and men (cantadoras and chureadores) are mixed with the sound of acoustic instruments made by hand with local materials.
The Archaeological Park of Tierradentro (World Heritage List)
The archaeological site of Tierradentro in Colombia The park contains monumental statues of human figures and numerous hypogeums built between the 6th and 10th centuries. These vast subterranean tombs are decorated with motifs reproducing the interior decorations of the dwellings of the time. They bear witness to the social complexity and cultural richness of a pre-Hispanic society in the northern Andes.
Popayan (City of Gastronomy)
Since 2005, the City of Popayan has also been a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Thanks to a climate favourable to agriculture (vegetables, corn, potatoes, etc.), Popayan has given birth to a culinary tradition (chicha, omelettes and corn pancakes, soups…) whose recipes have been handed down orally over the centuries.
The historic Centre of Mompox (World Heritage List)
Founded in 1540 on the banks of the Magdalena River, Mompox played a key role in Spain’s hold on northern South America. The historic centre has preserved the harmony and integrity of its urban landscape. The majority of the buildings today retain their original function, providing an exceptional image of what was once a Spanish colonial city.