Back in Bogota proper, head to Andres Carne de Res (www.andrescarnederes.com) for a dinner you’re unlikely to forget. This legendary 2.76 mile square steak-house can accommodate up to 2,000 of Bogota’s movers and shakers who flock here to take advantage of the 19 page menu before dancing on tables to vallenato (Colombian accordion music). Then strut yourself in a salsa club - preferably in La Zona Rosa, Bogota’s hottest, hippest, drinking destination. And if you’re dancing skills resemble those of Strictly 2016 contestant, Ed Balls, put the panic on hold… simply neck some aguardiente (an anise flavoured local spirit) and you’ll soon find yourself shimmying like Shakira…..
When you get bored of Bogota, pop to Pereira - the gateway to the spectacular Valle de Cocora. Famed for its palma de cera (wax palm), Valle de Cocora is all dramatic green mountains and pretty fields, which comes as a relief after the bright city lights of Bogota. Make no mistake: there’s not much to do in Valle de Cocora - often described as a tropical version of Switzerland - but then that’s the appeal of the place….
From Pereira it’s also possible to tour a Colombian coffee plantation for Pereira is located in the foothills of the Andes - aka Colombia’s celebrated coffee-zone. (Colombia is the world’s third biggest exporter of coffee). A tour of a Colombian coffee plantation should feature on every traveller’s itinerary and TNT can rec-ommend Finca Don Eduardo (www.theplantationhousesalento.com/coffee/coffeefarmtours). English tours take place every morning at 9am with Tim – an amiable Englishman who swapped the grey shores of the UK for colourful Colombia 15 years ago - and gives an insight into the various stages of the coffee production process, as well as providing an opportunity to taste no fewer than four varieties of coffee (called tinto): Arabico Tipica, Caturra, Variety Colombia and Bourbon.
Then shake off your caffeine jitters by moving onto Medellin - Colombia’s second city - that is most definitely having a moment. Bogota may have more history and Cartagena more romance, but no Colombian city delivers anywhere near as much fun as Medellin. Make no mistake: partying is paramount to the paisas (Medellin residents) who can be found cutting loose in El Poblado - a buzzing barrio packed full of hedonistic bars and clubs that are mentioned in the same breath as Berlin and Ibiza - on any given night.
Partied out? Push onto Cartagena. Here horse drawn carriages, cobbled alleys, flower bedecked balconies (a prize is awarded every year for the most beautiful balcony) pretty plazas and statues (saluting the heroes who helped defend Catargena against British and French colonialists, pirates and ultimately from Spain) come as standard. It’s the perfect place from which to salute the sun and, over a Mojito or too, start planning your return…