Falling in Love in Colombia, Top 10 things to do
Falling in love with Colombia is easy. Leaving is near impossible. The people are welcoming, great swathes of the environment remains untouched and the culture and dance prove intoxicating. It won’t be long before Colombia is a tourist Mecca so go soon before the best kept secret is out.
Years of conflict have left huge areas of this country in its natural state, providing a stunning array of national parks to visit and so many secret spots to escape to off the beaten track. Security has vastly improved in the past decade and the welcoming people of Colombia are wanting and ready to embrace visitors.
I, as with every traveller, was warned of this “dangerous” country, over run with drugs and crime and home to tourist kidnappers, but after two months there, I felt Colombia had suffered one of the greatest public relations failures. The reality could not be further from its unwanted reputation and I felt safer and more welcomed here than in any other Latin American country.
Colombia has been possibly the friendliest of the 51 countries I have visited to date. If I was lost, a Colombian wouldn’t give me directions, he would walk me to where I needed to go. If I was travelling alone it was not long before I was adopted by a Colombian family and invited to stay at their home.
Drugs are freely available here and many tourists take the opportunity to indulge at a fraction of the price of Europe and Australia. But ethical travellers may want to think twice before contributing to drug criminals that continue to hold this country back.
Guerrilla group FARC remains a problem in parts of the country and some places remain no go zones, so check the UK’s travel advice before heading into a region with sketchy security. Peace is on the horizon and it is hard to find people that support the group, which was once motivated by politics but is now ruled by drug traffickers.
Top 10 things to do
1. Hiking to the ancient Lost City (Ciudad Perdida), near Santa Marta
2. Dance on the street outside one of Cali’s many cool bars
3. Hike through Canyon Cristales National Park, the rainbow river
4. Sit under Salento’s palm trees
5. Reach crazy speeds on a moto trolley passing through the jungle to San Cipriano
6. Watch the crab migration on Providencia
7. Wake up in a hammock on the beach in Tayrona National Park
8. Take the graffiti tour in Bogota
9. Ride a horse to one of San Agustìn’s 3000 year old archaeological sites
10. Take a bus along Colombia’s breathtaking and most danger road.