COLOMBIA: NOT EVERYTHING IS BAD
When you mention the word Colombia, you expect two different reactions. The first and is the stereotype of danger, drugs, guerrillas, violence and other horrors. The second, and much more positive, is that it is a beautiful country with a diverse culture, beautiful landscapes and a lot of salsa dancing.
I am very much in the second group of thought. I think Colombia is an amazing country, and each different region is very different and individual, and each one has its own traditions, food, music and much more.
Having lived and visited a large number of Colombia, I would like to share my knowledge for those of you who are thinking of visiting the country: places to visit and my best advice for tourists.
The following cities are a must see:
The capital of Colombia, Bogotá, is a great city with a lot to offer. You can visit the Candelaria, a historical part of Bogotá, some of Bogotá’s many museums, churches and parks, and Mount Monserrate, which can be reached by cable car or funicular and which has exceptional panoramic views of Bogotá.
If you plan to visit Colombia in search of salsa, then Cali, known as the World Capital Sauce, is the place to go.
Cartagena is prime recognition in terms of beautiful metropolises in Colombia. If you visit Cartagena, we strongly recommend that you stay in the impressive historical part of the city, surrounded by the city walls that house bars and offer sea views. From Cartagena you can take a day trip by boat to Playa Blanca and the Rosario Islands, stunning beaches with white sand and crystal-clear waters. Cartagena is also home to the Lodo el Totumo Volcano (also known as the mud volcano), a fun day that consists of completely submerging yourself in a 15 m high mud volcano and then washing it in a nearby lake. Ideal for the skin, but be careful, you cannot avoid being completely covered in mud.
Guatape is a small town surrounded by lakes that can be visited as a day trip from Medellin, about two hours by bus. Guatape offers an impressive landscape and is home to the Rock of Guatape, a huge stone that is over 220 m high. The views from the top well deserve the 650 stairs that are needed to reach.
If you plan to go to Colombia at Christmas, visiting Medellin to see the Christmas lights is essential. Even if not, visiting Medellin is still a necessity. It is the only city in Colombia with a subway, so it is very easy to move around and visit all the many places there are to see, from the subway cable that offers incredible views of the city, to museums and interactive parks, botanical gardens. , many churches and cathedral, and Plaza Botero with the famous statues of Botero. These are just some of the many attractions that Medellin has to offer.
If extreme sports are your thing, then San Gil is the place to go. Paragliding, bungee jumping, rafting and much more are offered in this small town of Santander. There are beautiful villages that can be visited nearby, such as Barichara and Guane, as well as the Chicamocha Park, a national park with fantastic views and a cable car that crosses the Canon of Chicamocha.
There are many things to do in Santa Marta and its surroundings. Near Taganga is a great place to do diving courses with its many diving schools. Playa Grande beach, which can be reached on foot or by boat, is part of the famous and very popular Tayrona national park. The huge ecotourism park includes beautiful beaches, reached by jungle trails with monkeys swinging in the trees above its head, reefs and Tayrona Indian ruins. You can visit Tayrona Park by day or you can stay in hammocks, cabins or tents. From Santa Marta you can also do the Lost City hike, a 5-day hike through ancient ruins, historical sites, mountains and incredible landscapes.
I have some tips to keep in mind when visiting Colombia to stay safe and make the most of your trip:
There are always taxis available that you can call. Just make sure it’s a licensed taxi; You can see this by looking for a card that will be on the back of the driver’s or passenger’s seat with a photo of the driver and all his information. If you are not sure, do not enter and call a taxi. While some cities have taximeters in all taxis, others do not. If you don’t see a meter when you enter, be sure to negotiate the rate when you enter to avoid being scammed.
Although Colombia is generally safe, you should still be aware when it comes to valuables and other belongings. Try not to show cash, cameras, phones, etc., especially in quiet streets with few people around or at night. You don’t have a high risk of being assaulted, but it happens and prevention is better than cure, so be careful.
Most of the bus trips in Colombia involve windy roads, usually taken at high speed by the bus drivers, so if you suffer from a travel illness (or even if you don’t) try to take some tablets with you. travel sickness Also, try to negotiate bus prices when buying tickets. Most companies do not have fixed prices and tend to charge tourists too much; If possible, try to get a native to buy your tickets to get a better price.
Be careful of street vendors or people who sell items on the beach. They can be very aggressive and will not accept a no for an answer, so if you are not interested, try to avoid eye contact and look at their products. They will also try to charge you more, so never accept the first price they give you for something.
If you need to call ahead to make travel arrangements, save on your international call costs with Call Happy. You can call Colombia for less. The dialing code for Colombia is +57 and the time difference is GMT – 5 hours.