When I originally planned to go to Colombia I was met with various questions from friends and family, Is it safe? Why Colombia? Wherever I travel I go with an open mind, experiencing new cultures, seeing different ways of life, these are some of the reason we all travel the world. Colombia was an amazing surprise for me, the worries people put in my mind before traveling there had soon faded away and I was emerged in the Latin culture.
Was Colombia safe?
When anyone travels of course you must be cautious and use your common sense, there are bad areas where you need to be careful in every city including my own. I was in Colombia for 2 months and not once did I feel unsafe, scared or uncomfortable.
So why should you travel to Colombia?
The Colombian people are some of the friendliest people that I have met along my travels, whether it’s asking directions in the street, giving advice on what to see or dancing through the night.
The food!!! There is such a variety of food available in Colombia from the modern-day dishes that we are all used to, to the traditionally Colombian dishes that still thrive within their daily life. I loved the fruit juices here, so many fresh fruits to make your own concoction I could have seriously just lived on juices alone. Check out what dishes to try…
Colombia doesn’t have the wonders of the world like some of its South American neighbours but it is one of the most diverse countries that I have visited, from the Amazon jungle, beautiful Caribbean beaches, Tatacoa desert and several mountain ranges there is something for everyone.
I have visited 5 countries in South America and Colombia has a real Latin feel that you don’t feel in other countries. It’s hard to explain why, but anyone who has already been will know what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s the constant Latin music or the beautiful weather but walking through most of the cities, towns and streets will fill you with a new travel experience.
Top places to visit
After 2 months, I still didn’t see half the places that I would have liked to but I did get to explore some beautiful parts of Colombia.
If your flying in, your journey will most likely begin here. I wasn’t very excited about staying in the capital, but here was where I was most surprised. Bogota has a mix of history and modern day, there are plenty of historical sites for you to explore but make sure you delve into the modern-day life of the people living in the capital. One of my favourite visits was to 7th avenue, running through the city the central section is home to lots of street acts. Strolling down the street watching different acts, dancing, singing, comedy acts, mimes and plenty more filled a good few hours for us. The nightlife is something everyone must enjoy in Bogota, our favourite being Andres Carne Del Res this place gave me my favourite night whilst travelling around South America. Read More about Bogota
Salento, Eje Cafetero
Colombia is famous for its coffee so the coffee area is normally on most traveller’s lists. We chose Salento as it was close to the areas we wanted to explore, I believe everyone should visit Valle del Cocora, we took a horse ride around the area and the scenery was beautiful. Of course you have to visit the coffee farms, the farms take you through the coffee production from bean to cup. Read More about Salento.
Petronio Alvarez, Cali
Petronio Alvarez is a music festival that celebrates the Pacific tradition and music. The festival is a weeklong event in August and its FREE. Stepping into the festival transports you directly into the Pacific’s culture, showcasing music acts, food and drink this festival is a must. Read More about Petronio Alvarez.
Tayrona National Park
Who isn’t tempted by a national park located on the Caribbean coast. We definitely were, so we spent almost a week soaking up the sun and enjoying the area. Whether you decide to stay inside the park or stay just outside and take a day trip inside you can only love this the beautiful place. We stayed at Costeno beach, it was beautiful only a 20 minute drive from the National Park is was perfect. Read more about Tayrona Park
Cartagena could be one of the most popular tourist destinations in Colombia, located on the Caribbean coast you get the great weather with the colonial style streets a great mix for a great holiday. Cartagena was just beautiful, we stayed within the old town and strolling around getting lost was one of our favourite things to do here. Cartagena has a big history so visiting the city and not trying to understand what happened in this coastal city would be a shame, there are plenty of museums in the old town that do a good job of informing the tourists. Read more about Cartagena
Colombia has lots of small little towns and many of them have lots to offer for us travellers. Guatape was one of my favourites amongst these towns, located a few hours from Medellin. One of the towns highlights is The Rock of Guatape or El Peñón de Guatapé, climb the 740 steps to the top and be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding area. Read More about Guatape.
Medellin probably has one of the worst reputations in Colombia, once named one of the ‘most dangerous cities on earth’ I didn’t arrive we great hopes. But I was wrong, Medellin was great. The city has so much to offer visitors from Botanical gardens, Botero Square or Lleras park you can fill all your days. In 2012 Medellin won the title ‘Innovative City of the Year’ leaving its once bad reputation in the past this city is rising for you all to enjoy. Read More about Medellin.
I have no doubt that Colombia will soon be a huge tourist destination, the country has so much to offer, so much for us travellers to explore. If you look past the negative connotations which the media tends to play on, look past the Pablo Escobar stories that fuel the bad reputation, then you will leave Colombia with different impression than the one you first started with.