Tayrona National Park
Photograph by Jane Sweeney, Corbis
Pristine Caribbean beaches make Tayrona National Park a standout in northern Colombia. The park is one of several natural and cultural attractions in the area that include the 16th-century city of Santa Marta and Ciudad Perdida, an archaeological site to rival Machu Picchu.
Photograph by Carlos Villalon, Redux
Eco-friendly bungalows along the pristine beaches of nearby Tayrona National Park offer a tranquil base from which to begin the vigorous three-day uphill hike past traditional villages of the Kogui people.
Photograph by Fabio Cuttica, Contrasto/Redux
An Arhuaco man works in a coffee warehouse in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Arhuaco, believed to be descended from the Tayrona people, produce coffee in the north Colombian mountains.
Photograph by Christian Heeb, laif/Redux
Travelers to Ciudad Perdida launch from seaside Santa Marta, founded in 1525. The Caribbean rhythms of salsa burst from the town’s clubs; plantains and chicken sizzle at streetside stalls.
Photograph by Dennis Drenner, Getty Images
A group of hikers climbs a stone staircase to reach Ciudad Perdida.
Photograph by Fausto Giaccone, Anzenberger/Redux
Just over 35 years ago, Ciudad Perdida, the “lost city,” was—like much of Colombia—undiscovered and off-limits for travel. This spectacular archaeological site in northern Colombia had disappeared into inaccessible wilderness populated by violent militia and drug traffickers. Now the cleared mountaintop terraces (above) shine like a green grassy beacon declaring the country’s rebirth as a travel destination at the crossroads of the Caribbean and South America.
2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Show us your best photos of nature, cities, and people from your travels around the world.