One of the most underrated places I have ever visited is without a doubt Colombia. In every drug-related Hollywood movie somebody is surely Colombian. If you ask people who have never been to Colombia to name a few things about the country, probably Escobar would come up on top of their list. International media only mentions Colombia when talking about the FARC. As a result of this „bad press” the country has a negative image and tourists are afraid to go and visit. They coudn’t be more wrong. Colombia is a country of great opportunities and fantastic people. Here is a list of 10 reasons I think you should visit Colombia.
- Colombia boasts a great diversity of landscapes. A short domestic flight from Bogotá will take you to the Caribbean to the north, the Pacific to the west, the Amazon to the south or the Andes in the centre of the country. One day you can enjoy a boatride in the rainforest, the next day dance to the vibrant beats of Cartagena. Every day something completely new might come along your way.
- Colombia has been named the happiest country in the world several times. The people just feel happy about where and how they live and they are not afraid to show it. They are humble but kind, open and extremely helpful. Their love of life is contagious. As a foreigner you will never have the difficulty to strike up a conversation over there.
- The variety of its ecosystems makes Colombia one of the countries with the richest biodiversity of our planet. More than 50% of its territory is a natural forest. No other country has so many bird species like Colombia. For sure it is one of the best vacation spots for nature lovers.
- The bigger cities are safe, developing fast and they offer a wide array of fun activities. The capital, Bogotá is a booming metropolis. Its hip dining and party zones offer great opportunities for the ones looking for entertainment. The sightseeing tourists can dive into the historic centre’s museums, colonnial buildings and lush squares.
- The proximity of the equator guarantess a year-round fantastic weather. The climate is ideal in the bigger cities also, because either the altitude or the sea moderates the heat. Prepare yourself for some humid days, though.
Colombian gastronomy is one of the biggest surprises along the way. Different areas of the country bring in distint flavors and themes to the national cousine. Grilled meet products are a big favorite, and get ready for beans, avocados, plantains in large quantities. I was astonished by the number of different fruits you can ask local restaurants to make a „jugo” (juice) out of. Lulo was my absolute number one.
- Coffee culture has never been stronger than now. And I don’t mean Juan Valdez only. Make sure to visit the Eje cafetero (coffee producing area between Bogotá and Cali) where you can enjoy the serenity of the plantations and try different brews of authentic, hand-picked coffee. For coffee lovers I recommend reading the Colombian Coffee Company blog here.
- Colombia has deep roots in the past and culture of Latin America. For those trying to understand the pre-colombian centuries, or interested in the history of the independence movement of Bolivar will just as easily find this place spectacular as the fans of García Márquez or the modern art of Botero.
Life is music and music is life in Colombia. Everywhere you go, you feel the latin beats of cumbia and vallenato around you. May it be a summer festival on the streets of Medellín, a dinner on the beaches of Santa Marta, or a party in Bogotá, you will surely immerse in the rhythm of the country. If you feel like listening to some latin beats, get some taste of it here.
- One of the greatest things about Colombia is that it already caters to the needs of the rising number of foreign visitors but it is still not a touristy destination. You can easily find places where you will not feel you are following the footsteps of hundreds of other visitors. Colombia still gives you the chance to feel like you are discovering something new in this world.
These reasons explain well why the Colombian National Tourism Board chose once the slogan “The only risk is wanting to stay!” I am grateful I also got to discover this myself during my visit to one of the best vacation spots on Earth.
If you are still not convinced, just watch this video about Colombia:
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