Colombia, closer than ever
Updated: Apr 22
While we stay at home and ‘Take care now so we can meet again soon’, here is a top 10 of activities between sightseeing tours, music shows, traditional cooking classes and even bird whistles that will virtually immerse travelers in the heart of the South American country.
ProColombia - April 21st, 2020 -In challenging times, such as the one the world is facing today, virtuality has become an essential tool to keep business, commerce, culture and tourism running.
According to Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia: "We are confident that by working together we can help the tourism industry regain all its strength and quickly return to its normal course". Meanwhile, thanks to various digital tools, it is now possible to explore corners, sounds and flavors of Colombia, just with one click!
1. Virtual tours around Colombia’s most exciting destinations
The Tourism Institute of Bogota has grouped 24 clips of some emblematic tourist sites in the capital, using Google Trekker and Google Maps tools. Monserrate Hill, the 93 Park, Las Delicias Trail, the Parkway neighborhood, the Santander Park in the historic center of La Candelaria, El Verjón moorland, among others, can be visited virtually, by clicking here.
Medellín, Valle del Cocora (Coffee Cultural Landscape) and Cartagena:
Plaza Botero, Pueblito Paisa, the Orquídeorama, among other tourist sites of the City of The Eternal Spring can be enjoyed at a 360° angle, thanks to virtual routes of Medellín carried out by Ciudad Cúbica, a company dedicated to making high quality panoramic tours. On this website there are also routes around the historic center of Cartagena and even in the Cocora Valley.
Cali and Valle del Cauca:
Virtual Cities is a startup that is developing projects to promote various destinations, landscapes and places declared as Cultural Heritage in Colombia. They have already enabled the virtual tour of Cali and of the Valle del Cauca department, which includes must-see monuments such as Hacienda El Paraiso and the Basilica of the Lord of Miracles, in Buga.
El Prado, one of the most emblematic neighborhoods in the capital of the Atlantico department, turned a century old in March 2020 and, to commemorate the creation of one of the most ambitious urban projects in South America, an interactive virtual exhibition was created with all its history.
Destinations as remote and fascinating as Rioacha can also be enjoyed on a 360-degree virtual tour. This tour includes, from the monument of the Yellow Butterflies of Mauricio Babilonia (One Hundred Years of Solitude), passing through the boulevard full of local crafts, the extensive beaches, until reaching the ranches of the Wayúu indigenous community.
All museums have their particularities and charm. They guard, preserve and display their collections for the enjoyment and education of locals and foreigners. The idea of going to a museum and spend hours there, contemplating its collections, is something that many people enjoy doing and, in times of quarantine, the invitation of the Ministry of Culture of Colombia with #MuseumsAtHome initiative is to visit, from everyone’s homely cosiness, these cultural spaces and learn more about the Colombian cultural heritage.
Some of the museums that have virtual experiences enabled in various cities of the country are:
• National Museum of Colombia, in Bogotá. The collections of the National Museum of Colombia have more than 20 thousand pieces; this place is, undoubtedly, a symbol of history and national heritage.
• Quinta de Bolivar House-Museum. This house belonged to the Liberator Simon Bolivar, who owned it for ten years, but only lived in it 423 days in six different moments. In addition to the house, this is also one of the places where hummingbirds can be seen in Bogota.
• Museum of Memory of Colombia. Although the museum will officially open its doors in 2022 in Bogota, a few itinerant exhibitions have already been held in coordination with the National Center for Historical Memory. One of them, entitled Voices to transform Colombia, is now virtually available.
• Casa de la Memoria Museum, created in 2006 as a pedagogical, social and inclusive project, this is one of the most important tourist places in Medellín.
• La Tertulia Museum, with its 63 years of history, this museum is an emblematic place in the city of Cali and, also, a benchmark for the country's plastic arts.
3. Learn about Colombia
For the globetrotters who are at home already thinking about the Bucket List of places to visit when the pandemic ends, in Colombia.Travel, a website that is available in English, French, German, Portuguese and even Japanese, they will be able to find valuable information about each Colombian destination, fairs and festivals, typical dishes, musical rhythms, and other practical information. There is also on its official YouTube channel, a playlist of more than 10 music videos that shows wonderful Colombian destinations, such as the Amazon, Cartagena, Cali, Santa Marta, La Guajira and Los Llanos Orientales, along with the beat of local musical genres such as champeta, salsa and vallenato.
4. Delirio Show, Salsa and Orchestra
Delirio is the most famous salsa spectacle in Colombia. It normally takes place in Cali every last Friday of each month, but given the circumstances, the dance company has decided to upload one of its shows performed in previous months every Friday on its official Facebook page, at 7 p.m. They are also sharing on their website the “behind the scenes” of their new musical show, which is titled Aurora and was meant to start in the previous month.
5. Learning how to dance like Shakira and Jennifer López at the Super Bowl!
To do the salsa steps as good as the dancers who accompanied Shakira and Jennifer López at the Super Bowl, the Swing Latino Dance School is programming weekly salsa classes on the Zoom platform and, also, on Facebook Live. You can check the schedules directly here. From Cali, to the world!
6. Cooking classes with Colombian chefs
If someone would have to describe Colombia in one word, it would be diversity. The country is surrounded by two oceans and three mountain ranges, and given its geography, it has a variety of thermal floors, and a rich mix of cultures and ethnicities. Traditional Colombian cuisine is full of those nuances, typical of the multiculturalism that lives in every corner of the territory.
Some of the most renowned Colombian chefs, such as Leonor Espinosa, have dedicated themselves during these days of quarantine, to prepare and share their favorite typical recipes.
• Leonor Espinosa, whose LEO restaurant is among the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America, shows on her Instagram how she makes her favorite shrimp ceviche.
• Alex Salgado, chef at Ocio restaurant, teaches on this Instagram Live video how to prepare a sancocho, a traditional Colombian soup made with different types of meat and tubers.
• Yulián Téllez, the “Llanero cook”, has been publishing recipes of typical dishes such as empanadas, lentils tacu tacu, and pumpkin stuffed with fish.
• David Orozco, creator of restaurant Oculto’s clandestine dinners in Bogotá, is giving live classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. There is a little bit of everything for all tastes: fried fish and coconut rice, ‘amasijos’, corn arepas and even ‘sobrebarriga chorreada’.
• María Cecilia Restrepo, chef expert in fried foods, did an Instagram Live video explaining how to make the perfect fried egg arepa.
7. Philharmonic music for ‘the soul’
To accompany the days of isolation, the Bogota and Medellin Philharmonic Orchestras continue to connect with their audience through digital channels and promote their musical repertoires, carrying a message of unity, hope and Colombian pride. The Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra has already hosted several new ensembles on its official Soundcloud page.
On the other hand, the Medellín Philharmonic Orchestra did a virtual concert for its 37 year anniversary and, additionally, it is frequently sharing clips, on Facebook and Instagram, of melodic performances done by various musicians with different instruments.
8. Theater at home
Every Thursday at eight o'clock at night, the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo, offers on its website and on its Facebook page, theater and dance performances as well as concert shows from all over the world. Among the selection of performing arts pieces to be broadcasted in the weeks to come, one can find musicals such as El Barbero de Sevilla, Beethoven Symphony concerts, Monsieur Periné concerts and even a Mariachi Festival gala. The schedule can be found here.
9. Discover a new bird, every day
Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world —and number one in birds, since we have more than 1,950 registered species—. With this in mind, in 2016, two photographers and advertisers created Birds Colombia, a project that aims to educate on the importance of birds and help protect their territories, using photography as a conservation tool. With the help of a collaborative network of 80 photographers, Birds Colombia uploads images and whistles of a different bird, every day of the year, under the slogan #OneBirdPerDay. At April 15, 2020, they already had 1,119 species of Colombian birds on the platform and they estimate to finish registering them all in July 2022.
10. The wonders of Colombia on the 'big' screen
The vast biodiversity of Colombia’s territory has also been portrayed on the big screen in films like Magia Salvaje; television series such as Andes Mágicos, by Netflix; Colombia BIO, a documentary series in which a group of researchers delves into inhospitable territories with the mission of documenting the fauna and flora of the country and in The Birders, a documentary that shows why Colombia is a birdwatching paradise.