Eight Things You Might Not have Known About Traveling to Colombia

When you hear that someone is travelling to Colombia, what do you think of first?  Cocaine?  Danger?Or maybe something more pleasant, more cultural…the famous writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez (author of:  Love in the Time of Cholera and 100 Years of Solitude).

Or maybe salsa music?

Super cool wall art in Cali

Or maybe you’ve had a friend stop off in Cartegena, Colombia on a recent cruise.  (It is supposed to be BEYOND amazing but alas, I never made it there…)

When I visited, I really didn’t have any preconceived notions.   Well…I was just a little Pablo Escobar obsessed and then Colombia stunned me.  It kicked me in the proverbial nuts.  It is one of the most amazing countries I’ve ever visited.

Here is why.

1.  You can drink the water.

From the tap!  For some reason, after living in Belize and traveling Central America, that really shocked me.  And it took me more than a few days to really trust it.

2.  They have the best fruit in the world.

Before, I would have voted Thailand but this country wins.  And Colombians love it.  There are fruit vendors on every single corner of every small town making fresh juices and smoothies.

Fruits you have heard of…and fruits you’ve never seen in your life.  Lulo?  Sugar cane juice (OK!  not technically a fruit)?  Who knows what this even is?

The fresh tangerino juice…sigh…I could use one right now.

3.  Friendliest People in the World

Honestly.  I’ve never met friendlier…and I don’t even speak the language!   Every time we asked for help or directions, a restaurant or bar owner was happy to point us to the next place, his competition, to give us a good tip.

4.  Colombians wear the tightest, most revealing clothes I’ve ever seen

And why not?  They are good looking people.

But what I love?  There is no age barrier.  70 year old woman dress like this too.  8 year old girls…same thing.  There is no weight barrier either.

Somehow it just works.

5.  The Coffee in Colombia?  It’s Not So Great

There are exceptions.  But the stuff you find in a coffee shop or at a street vendor?  It’s very weak and probably super sugary.

All the good coffee is generally shipped out of the country.  For great coffee in Colombia, visit one of the fincas growing the beans, in the Zona Cafetera.  Here is a great one:  Hacienda Venecia.  The coffee was amazing.

6.  The Weather is Perfection.

This I wasn’t expecting.  Travelling south from Belize?  I thought it would be HOT.  And parts of Colombia are.   But I was in the Andes, from 3000 to 8000 feet, the weather was hot during the day and nice, to COLD during the night (we went down into the 40s in the mountains around Medellin).   Low humidity.  It really felt great.

Medellin, Colombia.

7.  Adventure Travelers.  This is Your Spot.

See that valley above?  You can para-glide there for $40 USD.  YES!  People are traveling to Colombia to go rafting, to paraglide, to zip line and it is all there.  CHEAP!

I’d show you pictures of me doing it…but I wimped out.  I PROMISE.  I’ll be back in 2013.

8.  Culture, Culture, Culture.

Museums, opera, jazz, salsa, ballet, stadiums where Madonna performs.  It’s all there.

I honestly couldn’t be more impressed.  I really felt safe the ENTIRE time that I was there.

Colombia Tourism…are you looking for a new employee?

  • Sounds fab — well, except for the not-so-good coffee (and I hate sugar in my coffee!) I just checked, and the colombiascoop.com domain is still available…

  • Me

    Good to know! Now only if i knew spanish…

  • Immersion course! Some friends of ours here (they’re part-timers) were mentioning one in Merida.

  • Me

    I know…but I am really…I just can’t. I hate speaking Spanish. I suck at it!

    It’s my ISTJ.


  • Heheh…we’ve been doing a Pimsleur audio course, but our Spanish is still very limited. When we went to western Belize and Guatemala, Barry made me do almost all talking. He is also ISTJ!

  • Steave Michaels

    Salsa music and delicious food are what Columbia is famous for. Never did I think that Columbians wear fit clothes and are friendly. You should probably visit the Philippines. People there are really the kindest and the most hospitable people on earth. I like them, Filipinos. http://www.londondaytrip.co.uk/

  • Joy

    @Rebecca, greetings from Turkey! Saw your blog profile on the expat blog site so thought I’d stop by. We went to Belize for our honeymoon in 2010 and really enjoyed our 10 days there! From the ruins in Guatemala, biking in the jungle to laying on the beach – Belize really impressed us. Cheers!

  • Me

    Turkey! Awesome. It’s a country I am DYING to go back…only made it to Istanbul.

    I didn’t LOVE the food and I don’t do much dancing. Philippines? That is quite a flight…will need to consider that.