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Colombia’s Taj Mahal: A trip to Jaime Duque Park

I found the Taj Mahal in the middle of Colombia.

No, the Caribbean sun did not get to me—this place really does exist despite being totally off the radar of foreign tourists. Just a half hour drive from the capital of Bogota (as long as there are no traffic jams/crashes—you’ve been warned!) there is a place that rivals Disneyland called Jaime Duque Park. Founded in 1983 by a former pilot turned philanthropist, the sprawling site was created as a way to bring the treasures of the world to Colombians, and help educate visitors about  history and geography.

The Taj Mahal replica in Jaime Duque Park.

The Taj Mahal replica in Jaime Duque Park.

By far the most awe-inspiring part of the entire park is the life-sized replica of India’s famous Taj Mahal. OK, so it’s not blindingly white like the real one, but it is a total thrill to find the next best thing just off a highway in the middle of South America! We had a hoot taking corny photos in front of it—and based on the stares of visiting Colombians our antics turned us into the real tourist attraction. You can also walk inside the towering building, where a massive chandelier greets visitors, and the walls are decorated with knock-offs of world-famous artworks like the statue of David.

There are lots of kids activities at Jaime Duque.

There are lots of kids activities at Jaime Duque.

The park also boasts a number of other ‘world wonders’ like Russia’s famous Red Square, the Temple of Zeus and the Colossus of Rhodes. While they’re not 1:1 replicas like the Taj Mahal, they’re still fun to check out—especially if you don’t plan on hitting Greece anytime soon.

If architecture isn’t your thing, there are still a crazy amount of attractions to occupy your time. For example, there is an aviary with tropical birds, which just so happens to also hold a gigantic map of Colombia. Or, hop on the battleship or pirate ship, and check out the life-size cannons while learning more about the country’s fight-filled past. Continue reading