Rural tourism in Colombia is one of the best ways to get to know our country. It is undoubtedly an opportunity to learn about new cultures and traditions, especially if these are exposed by the hand of the local community. This is what this type of tourism is all about, a proposal that is established in rural areas of the country that invites you to get to know each region in a different way.
This type of tourism also strengthens the best practices of sustainability at the time of living each experience, since the local communities themselves are in charge of taking care of the environment on which they develop their tourism product. For this reason, this type of tourism is also known as community-based tourism.
La Cocha Lagoon
La Cocha Lagoon, the second largest in Colombia, is located approximately 20 km from the city of Pasto in the region of Nariño. This region is characterized by the biodiversity of its landscapes and the cordiality of its people. The Laguna de La Cocha and its surroundings frame the activities developed by the community. For this reason, rural tourism is generated in the nearby municipalities.
Some offers that you can enjoy in the Laguna de la Cocha are:
- Visiting natural reserves where you can share spaces with the Quillasinga community performing ethno-tourism activities such as crops and rituals.
- Hiking in the rural environment through the villages of Encano and Genoy. An excellent opportunity to see the local flora and fauna.
- Share with local peasant communities and participate in the cultivation of vegetables, flowers and fruits to learn about their practices, knowledge, uses and the relationship between man and the land.
If you wish to complement your experience with nature and adventure activities, we recommend paragliding, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and sport fishing.
Community-based tourism in the Colombian Pacific
Puerto Jagua is an Emberá indigenous community located in the town of Jurubira, in the municipality of Nuquí, in the Chocó region. This community is inhabited by the Emberá Dobida, which in their dialect refers to «people of the river» because they have always settled around these torrents, since they are their main means of transportation and because of their cosmogonic significance.
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It is in this community where a community tourism project called the Etnoaldea was undertaken, with the purpose of reinterpreting the indigenous habitat for a greater understanding of traditional customs by integrating the cultural elements of their own.
In this way, the Centro Turístico Asociación Etnoaldea Kipará Té was created, which received the 2016 International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Center for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies.
It is here, where tourists will be able to perform activities such as:
- Enjoy through lodging in the «tambos» (cabins), a responsible living experience with the Embera indigenous community and taste their gastronomy.
- Learn about cultural expressions such as dance and the sacred painting of the Jagua.
- Nature tourism through adventures in the jungle where you will learn about the history of the universe according to Ankore (creator God of this community) through an encounter in sacred places.
During your visit to this community you can also take the opportunity to buy handicrafts thanks to the project carried out with Artesanías de Colombia where they strengthen the weaving in chaquira, basketry in wérregue fiber and carving in oquendo wood, among others.
Tourism in the Amazon River
The Amazon is one of the most famous regions not only in Colombia, but in the world. Especially for being home to 10% of the world’s biodiversity, including 674 species of birds, 753 fish, 158 amphibians, 195 reptiles and more than 6,300 plants of various types of flora.
In addition, it is estimated that there are about 400,000 million trees. Likewise, it is a culturally diverse region since it is home to approximately 26 indigenous ethnic groups that seek to preserve their traditions and customs and the preservation of the region’s ecosystem.
This is the birthplace of the Painü Intercommunity Association, made up of young people and leaders from the indigenous communities of San Sebastián, Castañal and La Playa, who decided to create a rural and community-based tourism organization in the Yahuarca Lakes, which flow into the Amazon River. This association offers tourism plans and educational excursions throughout the year. Depending on the season of high or low water, you will find a number of activities that will delight you.
Some of these are:
- Touring the Yahuarca creek and the flooded forests through a walk in which you will learn about the most representative trees that attract the most birds. This tour can be done in low water season (July to early December).
- Enjoy a canoe trip at sunset. On the way out you will be able to appreciate the spectacular sunset paddling in a handmade canoe and discover the night life in the lakes and flooded forests. This tour can be done in high water season (end of December to May).
- Make a personalized tour according to your interests. You can focus on bird watching, learn about the vegetation and medicinal plants, practice sport fishing, cook typical food, make handicrafts and even work in the chagra (farming area) sowing and cultivating.
Let yourself be amazed by the rural tourism offer in Colombia and dare to get to know new destinations in a different way. We are waiting for you!