Top travel destination for 2013: cheap trips to Colombia
By Aimee Markwardt
Despite the U.S. Department of State’s warnings about the dangers of kidnapping, drug trade and violent crimes for Americans traveling to Colombia, record numbers of Americans are planning vacations to Colombia, according to USA Today. Major airlines are adding more routes to Colombia, and more hotel chains are popping up.
Lonely Planet, the New York Times, CNBC and National Geographic have all named Colombia a top travel destination. Travelzoo has called Colombia a “wow deal” destination for 2013.
So what’s the draw? Here are just a few of the reasons travelers are choosing Colombia:
1. The scenery. Plains, jungles, mountains, beaches, volcanoes. The wildlife and vegetation is impressive. In fact, Colombia has the second highest biodiversity of any country in the world, according to New Frontier Vacations.
Note: New Frontier Vacations offers great travel packages to Colombia, from bird watching to ecotourism to scientific expeditions.
For a long list of vacation spots and activities, check out Expedia.com’s list of Colombian destinations. And save money by checking the Expedia.com deals and coupons at ShopAtHome.com, like this one: Save up to $525 off by booking a hotel and flight together, plus up to 7.5 percent cash back.
2. The novelty. Colombia is only newly opened to tourism, so it’s not yet a mass tourist destination. So here, you get a beach vacation — on both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea — but without the crowds of American tourists.
3. The price tag. With new, direct routes, a flight to Colombia can be cheaper than flying continentally. For example, a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Bogota, Colombia on Jan. 31 for one week recently came up with a $272 offer. That same date range to San Francisco, Calif., started at $312 For Kauai-Lihue, Hawaii, the price skyrocketed to $1,052!
Our favorite travel deals in Colombia:
• Orbitz.com offers stays at the Howard Johnson Hotel Versalles Barranquilla starting at $89 per night.
• Discovery Tours offers eight-day, small group tours of Colombia plantations, art and culture, starting around $2,100 per person. This includes flight, lodging, food, water, guided tours and more.
• Looking for somewhere top-notch to stay? The top recommended hotel in Colombia on Tripadvisor.com is the Casa Pestagua Hotel Boutique and Spa — but it’s not cheap. Expedia.com recently showed a $395 a night price tag to stay here.