Up until a few years ago, Colombia was widely regarded as basically unsafe to travel by backpackers and world travelers. Around 2008 the country had finally gained ground on cleaning up street crime and implemented an impressive ad campaign promoting international tourism. The past several years tourism has grown and continues to grow exponentially as word spreads of this country’s amazing beauty, friendly people, and huge list of sites to see. There are still some potential hazards traveling in Colombia however with a good guide you can travel safely and have the trip of a lifetime.
The most important aspect of traveling in Colombia is knowing where you are safe and where you are not. Unfortunately there is really no way to know this without hiring a professional guide. With a guide and appropriate research you can travel safely and experience the country the way the people want you to see it. As a general rule, Colombians are extremely outgoing and proud of their country. They are known for great hospitality and cheerfulness while entertaining their foreign guests. It is very common to have people you have never met or seen before watching out for your safety while exploring in Colombia. Most of the time you are not even aware you are being protected. The reason is simple. Colombians love their country and strongly desire to change the country’s image. They are fully aware the benefits foreign tourists bring to the economy as well as their way of life. As a result, despite what most people think, these days Colombia is one of the best countries on the continent for a foreign adventure vacation.
The word from today’s travelers in Colombia is shining. Most travelers leave Colombia utterly amazed at the treatment they received during their journey. The country has one of the best transportation systems in the world with modern buses and mini-buses going virtually everywhere. There is rarely any need to worry while navigating bus stations and airports as there is generally more security present than in the United States. There are various airports around the country providing several options when looking for reasonable airfare. Flights into Colombia are actually some of the most reasonable on the continent as well.
While in Colombia there is no shortage of things to do and sites to see. Many of Colombias greatest treasures are still basically unknown to the world….. for now! The country has it’s own personal and unique history of indigenous cultures and lost civilizations in addition to being one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Colombia has several distinct regions to explore including beautiful islands and beaches, Andes Mountain coffee country, high mountain plains, and the Amazon region. From the Amazon region it is possible to travel to Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru by boat and small plane. For those wishing the ultimate explorative trip, well, these passages are simply amazing.
Colombia has an almost unlimited number of things to do during your stay. One of the most popular and rapidly growing areas is coffee country. In Colombia coffee country visitors can embark on coffee tours, visit and stay on coffee plantations, and visit the official national coffee park. While staying on a plantation guests learn all about coffee cultivation, harvesting, and roasting coffee. In this region there are distinct colonial towns preserved almost as they were one hundred and fifty years ago surrounded by gorgeous mountain terrain filled with rainforest fauna, countless waterfalls, and mountain streams.
Another rapidly growing area of exploration in Colombia are the lost indigenous cultures. These cultures left little to know them by other than enormous stone statues carved periodically over several thousand years up until a few hundred years ago. There is still much to learn about these cultures attracting archeologists from around the world to visit. One popular place to visit is San Agustin, a small town about eight hours from Bogota. The area is amazingly beautiful with enough to do to keep a traveler busy for a week. Many travelers end up staying several weeks just enjoying the balmy climate and serenity of the area. This is one of the best areas to visit for those having only a week or two to travel.
Another aspect of Colombia is an abundance of original and highly creative artists. For the artist or want to be artist, it is possible to find Colombian artists in virtually every area from working with bamboo to watercolor painting. As well classes can be found in natural materials jewelry making. While taking art classes guests can study Spanish and a variety of Latin dances including Salsa and Merengue. The Colombian teachers of these arts are renowned for their eagerness and attention to detail during classes. For the traveler looking to immerse in the culture and make new friends, this is the ticket!
One of the best adventures of all in Colombia is exploring the mountain rainforest. There are guides to take guests up in the mountains with only a machete where they learn to make an emergency shelter, find things to eat, and survive with only their machete! For those wishing to experience the real art of survival while learning about the rainforest this can’t be passed up.
All in all Colombia has evolved into one of the best, yet relatively unknown destinations for the adventure traveler. For those who have been pondering the idea of visiting Colombia, now is the time. Just be sure to hire a professional guide. It is well worth the extra money to guarantee your safety and assure a fun, well rounded trip.