Marinilla, Colombia

Photo: Cannúa

It’s amazing how quickly Colombia has changed. In the 1990s, no one was traveling here. A civil war, drugs, and kidnappings ruled the South American country. But in the last few years, a peace agreement was reached and the president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Security and stability quickly followed. Then tourists returned. Cartagena and the nearby beaches were first. Bogotá and Medellín were next.

Now visitors are getting adventurous. The mountains, part of the mighty Andes, were long considered off-limits. That’s no longer the case. So hotels are starting to pop up in the lush hillsides outside of the major cities. The one that’s causing the most excitement sits in a protected forest near Marinilla, about 90 minutes east of Medellín.

Cannúa should open any day. The boutique hotel is both chic and eco-friendly with a goal of quickly becoming a zero-waste property. Its stilted wooden cabins are scattered among 27 acres. Each one features sustainably-sourced bamboo and floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms have private gardens and balconies. Secluded cabanas add wraparound decks with hammocks and panoramic views of the Valle de San Nicolás.

This will be a place to truly disconnect from the outside world. Mornings will be spent stretching during a sunrise yoga class and sipping locally grown coffee. Afternoons will be time for hiking pre-Hispanic heritage trails, searching for Cordilleran flycatchers, and relaxing during organic spa treatments. While evenings will be reserved for healthy food with bold Colombian flavors. You’re sold. See, change is a very good thing.

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