Choosing where to head in South America is a big task. You don’t want to miss anything amazing, but that’s hard to do unless you see all of it, and that is an even bigger task!
Because of this fact, you may find yourself having to choose between countries, simply because you don’t have the time to see everything. Two countries which many people often have to choose between are Colombia and Venezuela.
Now, the two are quite similar, and they are also neighbours, but they have slight differences, and it’s a personal choice on which one you go to. It’s worth mentioning that both countries have come out recently from under a dark cloud, because of a past history of crime, however they are both also trying to carve out a major tourist industry, with Colombia probably just pipping Venezuela.
Let’s look at each in turn.
Venezuela is a little under the radar, in that you don’t always think of it first when you’re picturing South America. This has its advantages, in that it is quite unspoilt from tourism, although that could be about to change. You will find endless natural beauty, with hundreds of miles of Caribbean coastline, and major tourist attractions, such as Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world. Venezuela is also home to the famous river, Orinoco.
40% of Venezuela is covered by protected areas, which should tell you a lot about its nature, including the Andes. Caracas is the largest city and this is a surprisingly modern and cosmopolitan place to visit, with lots of museums and galleries, as well as colonial architecture, however it’s worth mentioning that crime is a problem here, so do be careful. Coro is also a great choice, and its architecture has been named as World Heritage Site status. We have to mention beaches too, and Morrocoy National Park has some stunning choices.
Of course, Colombia is a massive country, and it is full of cities, jungles, mountains, and amazing beaches, to the point where you can’t really pinpoint a climate as such, because it changes form area to area.
Bogota is a massive city, and one which is vibrant and loud, which probably totally goes against what you might picture Colombia to be. Cartagena is a must visit, and this beautiful old city has many architectural areas of importance, including the old ramparts which whisper much of the country’s history. Cali is another popular city, where nightlife is the order of the day and food is certainly plentiful and delicious.
In terms of beaches, these are just as stunning as those found in Venezuela, with a choice of either the Caribbean or Pacific Ocean as your backdrop. If you want to be in complete nature then Amazonia is obviously where the most remote areas of the Amazon are, or head to the islands off the mainland for some of the best diving opportunities around.
So, which one will you choose?
It’s a personal choice of course, and it comes down to whether you want to go somewhere a little untouched by tourism to a degree, or whether you feel safer heading somewhere which is enjoying a tourism resurgence. Personally, I would go for Colombia, but it would be a very thin winning margin.