Villavicencio, also called La Puerta al Llano or The Gateway to the Plains, is a city in central Colombia. It is located where the plains of Los Llanos meet the Andes, so the city is surrounded by stunning and diverse landscapes. In addition to the beautiful surroundings, it is known for its history. If you are considering a vacation in this destination, then you can enjoy many interesting and fun activities during your stay. Here are the 20 best things to do in Villavicencio, Colombia, to help you decide what to include in your itinerary to make sure you get the most out of your time in this amazing city.
20. Parque de la Vida Cofrem
A great place to enjoy some fun is at the Parque de la Vida Cofrem, which has both indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy. Some of the indoor activities include sheltered soccer pitches and a bowling alley. Outdoors, there are various sports pitches and courts, along with several outdoor pools with slides and water features.
19. See Our Lady of Mount Carmen Cathedral
One of Villavicencio's most notable landmarks is Our Lady of Mount Carmen Cathedral. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the invocation of the Virgin of Mount Carmel. Ignacio Osorio, the priest of San Martin, passed through Villavicencio in 1845andsaud that the city needed a chapel. Local inhabitants began building the chapel, but it was only partially built when the priest returned three years later. The priest then blessed the church and put her under the shelter of Out Lady of Carmen. Although a fire destroyed most of the church in 1890, it was rebuilt four years later. It became a cathedral in 1964.
18. Explore Las Malocas Park
Las Malocas Park is an attraction that focuses on the culture and history of the eastern plains. Visitors can experience the customs and lifestyles of the people from the area through a range of exhibitions and activities. They can also learn more about the area's myths and legends. There are farm animals, stables, a blacksmith shop, and open spaces where visitors can experience the local natural environment.
17. Have Fun at Karmanu Parque Acuatico
A top attraction in the area for some family fun is Karmanu Parque Acuatico. It is a water park with multiple lagoon-style swimming pools, various slides, and water-based activities. There are sections suited to younger children, as well as activities more suitable for older children and adults. In addition to having fun in the water, you can also grab a bite to eat at this attraction as there is an on-site restaurant. Furthermore, there is a playground for children to enjoy if they want to spend some time out of the water.
16. Go Shopping at Primavera Urbana
If you want to grab some bargains or pick up some mementos of your trip to Villavicencio, then the best place to visit is Primavera Urbana, says Top Rated. It is a large and modern shopping mall with three storys, and the interior features waterfalls. Outside, the shopping mall is set in a forest with nature trails, so it combines modern architecture with natural beauty. There is a vast array of shops inside that sell a wide range of merchandise, alongside multiple restaurants with cuisine to suit all tastes. Primavera Urbana is also the top venue for watching a movie, as it has a movie theater.
15. Enjoy the Outdoors at Campo Ecologico Gramalote
Things to Do Post lists Campo Ecologico Gramalote as one of the best things to do in Villavicencio, Colombia. There are multiple activities to enjoy at this attraction, many of which are based around the rural life and farming traditions of the area around Villavicencio. Some of these include hiking, horseback riding, birdwatching, Rodo, dairy work, and tractor tours.
14. Swim and Eat at Pozo Azul
Pozo Asul is a combination of an asadero restaurant and a bathing club. It is a busy place with a lively vibe and loud music. You can enjoy steaks cooked over an open flame washed down with a drink, then take a dip in one of the many swimming pools, some of which have water features or slides. If you want to enjoy a meal at this venue, don't forget to pack your trunks or bathing suit.
13. Learn About the Area's Salt Mining History
Just outside Villavicencio is the village of Restrepo, which is where you will find the Upin Salt Mines. The salt industry is an important part of the local economy and has played a significant role in the area's history. You can visit the local salt mines and take a tour to learn more about the history and culture of the industry. At the same time, you can take an ecological trek through the tropical rainforest past the old mines and Quebrada Blanca. Another activity you can enjoy is floating in the therapeutic salt pool, which is said to have curative and relaxing properties.
12. See the Waterfalls at Vereda El Carmen
For those who enjoy spending time outdoors, one of the best places to visit while you are in Villavicencio is Vereda El Carmen. There are multiple hiking trails to explore, some of which have hanging bridges, and you will see several spectacular waterfalls along the way. Alternatively, you can go for a swim in the lake. This lush wilderness boasts many flower species, and it is home to monkeys and many other animals.
11. Enjoy the Nightlife
Although Villavicencio is known for its laid back vibe, it also has a livelier side that comes alive at night. It is home to Los Capachos, one of the biggest and most famous nightclubs in Colombia. If nightclubs are not your thing, then try catching the colorful Chiva bus, which takes revelers on a ride around the city while they enjoy cocktails and music before heading to one of the local clubs or bars. Many of the bars and clubs have live music or entertainment.
10. Visit Tiuma Park
Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or you get a kick out of activities that get the adrenaline going, Tiuma Park has something for you. It is a tourist ranch just outside Villavicencio where you can hike along the nature walks, try horseback riding, float along the real lazy river, or learn how to herd cattle. If you want to try something a little more adventurous, there is the option to try ziplining or take a buggy around the ranch. In the evenings, there are various cultural activities, such as folk dancing. It is possible to stay at the ranch as there is both accommodation and a campsite. There is also a restaurant on-site.
9. Have a Go at Joropo
Joropo is the traditional dance and music of the Llanero culture, so you should try to watch some or give it a go yourself while you are in this part of the world. It is possible to take dance classes if you want to give it a try, or you can visit one of the many venues where there are live performances. If you are lucky enough to visit the area at the end of June or the beginning of July, then try to catch the International Tournament of Joropo.
8. Try the Llanero Food
Each country has its own unique cuisine, and the regions within a country each have specialties and cooking traditions. One of the traditions in the Llanero region is roasting meat over an open fire. During your visit, you should visit one of the many open-air venues that serve barbecue-style feasts. Beef is the most common meat found due to the cattle farming traditions in this region. One of the specialties is mamona, which is slow-roasted veal.
7. Go Horseback Riding
The area around Villavecienco is Colombia's cowboy land, so a popular activity is going horseback riding. Just outside the city, there are fincas with experienced tour guides and trained horses. The horseback riding tours take you to some of the area's most beautiful places, and there are both short trips and long rides available.
6. Take a Stroll Through the Parque Fundadores
Although Villavicencio is an urban location, it has many beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy. One of the best parks in the city is Parque Fundadores. There are wide pathways through gardens and fountains, with plenty of benches where you can sit and take a break from your stroll. If you are traveling with children, you can take them to the playground to have some fun. Throughout the year, there are events, festivals, and performances held in the park. Check what is on in the area in advance to make sure you do not miss out on a fun event that you will enjoy.
5. See the Cano Cristales
Many people describe the Cano Cristales as one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. It is also known as the liquid rainbow because depending on the time of year you visit, the river appears to turn shades of orange, yellow, red, pink, green, and blue. There are no other rivers in the world that look like this, and it is a fascinating sight. If you take photographs to commemorate your vacations, then make sure that you get a shot of this river. It is not easy to get to, so you will need to take a long hike with a guide or get to the river via boat or plane.
4. Take in the Views from Miradores Piedra del Amor y Buenvista
When visiting a new location, you might want to enjoy the best views of the place where you are staying and get some photographs of the scenery. One of the best places to enjoy stunning views is Miradores Piedra del Amor y Buenvista. If you head into the mountains, there are two excellent viewpoints where you can enjoy the views. The first viewpoint is at Buenavista, and the second viewpoint is about 15 minutes up the road at Piedra del Amor. The latter is owned by a local artist, so you can stop to see the artwork and sculptures. There is also a place to buy food and drink.
3. Spend Some Time at the Plaza Los Libertadores
The main square in Villavicencio is Plaza Los Libertadores. During your vacation, you will probably visit the square several times. Not only are there historic buildings that showcase architecture from various periods, including the city's main church, but the square is also surrounded by shops and restaurants. It is also where you will find a bank and various services. Even if you are not having a meal or seeing the historic buildings in the square, it is a nice place to relax and watch people going about their daily lives.
2. Explore Los Llanas
Villavicencio is known as the gateway to the plains due to its location next to the Los Llanas, which is a lesser-known area of eastern Colombia that is covered in tropical grasslands. Amongst the plains, there are many small villages to visit. Most people who explore the plains do so by hiking. However, they are the perfect landscape for enjoying a wide range of outdoor activities, including horseback riding, caving, and mountain biking. The streams and rivers through the plains mean that people can also enjoy activities such as rafting and fishing. The plains are home to diverse fauna and flora species, so it is a wonderful place to visit for wildlife and nature lovers.
1. See the Animals at the Bioparque Los Ocarros
According to The Crazy Tourist, the best thing to do in Villavicencio is to see the animals at the Bioparque Los Ocarros. It is a zoo just outside Villavicencio where the animals live in wide-open spaces. The main focus of the zoo is Colombian wildlife from the Llanero region. Some examples of the animals include crocodiles, anacondas, jaguars, toucans, armadillos, and monkeys. Many of the animals are allowed to roam freely. There is also a lake in the middle of the park that is home to many fish and bird species.
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Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn