Colombia is such an underestimated country, but it’s actually one of the most versatile destinations I’ve ever visited in South America. It has everything: coasts, islands, mountains, deserts, forests, culture, and exciting cities. So, let me share with you why you should definitely see Colombia with your own eyes.
My first encounter with Colombia was in the coastal city of Cartagena in 2010. I quite enjoyed roaming the streets and getting lost in the colourful city centre. And so I decided to study in Bogotá for a semester during my master’s degree a few years later. In the six months I lived in Colombia, I spent almost every weekend out and about to get to know the country better.
Why you should put Colombia on the top of your bucket list
Let me start by saying that Colombia today is very different from the one depicted in the Netflix series, so it’s quite safe to travel around. Unfortunately, many people forget about that. During my long stay, I not only made many Colombian friends, but I also lived with an older lady in her small house a little outside the city centre of Bogotá. On our trips together and even at home, she shared many stories from the different stages of her life and how her home country had transformed over time again and again.
Colombia is a country that everyone should visit once in their life. As mentioned before, Colombia has everything: sea, desert, forests, cities, valleys, and more. When traveling through the country, you often find yourself having to chose which places to visit and which ones to save for a future trip.
Side note: I have traveled around Colombia alone as well as with my husband, friends, and in groups, and at no point have I ever felt unsafe or uncomfortable in terms of my own safety.
The country is diverse like hardly any other
Colombia really has a bit of everything: sea, desert, rainforests, cities, valleys, etc. When travelling around the country, one often has to make hard decisions where to go next.
While it’s hot and humid on the coast and you just want to lie on the beach or go scuba diving like me, in Bogotá, you can experience temperatures around 10°C and discover the country’s cultural heritage in the city’s different museums.
Colombia: A real cultural treasure
Colombia’s culture is diverse and influenced by its rich history of different ethnicities and religions. Of course, the Spanish colonial rule had a significant impact, but indigenous cultures and traditions also make Colombia the rich treasure trove it is today.
Tip: The Museo de Oro in Bogotá gives you an insight into the rich history and legends that surround gold in the country.
The unique cuisine of Colombia
If you’re a foodie like me, you’ll love Colombia’s cuisine. The typical local dishes are rich in flavours and often rely on ingredients such as corn, beans, and rice. Besides the savoury meals, I also looked forward to the weekly market visits. The exotic fruits that you find there are in every imaginable colour, and you’re sure to discover some fruits that you didn’t even know existed.
Tip: In Bogotá as well as Cartagena, there are dedicated food tours. Let a local show you the unique cuisine of the country.
The true treasure of Colombia: Coffee
For coffee lovers out there, you probably know: Colombia is one of the most important coffee producers in the world. When you visit the country, you have the opportunity to visit coffee farms, taste different coffees, and learn more about the history and culture of Colombian coffee.
For me, Colombians are among the most hospitable and warm-hearted people I have met while travelling. It’s easy to strike up a conversation and gain deeper insights into the Colombian culture. Friendships for life are a side effect of travelling the country.
Colombia as an affordable travel destination
Among the Latin American countries, Colombia is one of the most affordable. Domestic flights, meals, and tours are much cheaper than in other places. As a student, this was ideal for me, as I could see much of the rest of the country during the months I lived in Bogotá.
A country full of highlights
What impressed me most about Colombia was the highlights that can be experienced in every corner of the country. Whether it was the Amazon river, the Caribbean coast, the desert, or the coffee zone: there were moments that I will remember for a very, very, very long time and that made my time in this country one of the most beautiful of my life.