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Hi everyone, JL here. First and foremost, thanks for reading our first entry in our blog for Colombia.travel where Marcela (my wife) will join me during the coming weeks. We took a long time to decide what we’d kick things off with… We thought maybe to introduce ourselves, tell you who we are, what we do etc., but you can find all that information in our original blog. In the end the decision was obvious, and staring us right in the face as we looked out the window, so here are our
When you imagine Colombia without having come here, the first thing that comes to mind is undoubtedly beaches. Palm trees, white sands, turquoise waters – the Caribbean paradise. Afterwards you might call Cartagena to mind and, finally, a steaming cup of the best coffee in the world. But the traveler than comes to Colombia will be surprised to know that, during their stay, you could visit the Tatacoa Desert and find some of the most arid, desolate landscapes in the world, worthy of a scene in Star Wars; you can find snow-capped mountains at the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta; some of the best extreme sports spots in the world in San Gil; surprising, modern cities such as Medellín which boast perfect weather all year round, or, alternatively, take a dip in the (rain) water in the bustling Bogotá (more on that later). Beaches, for sure (Tayrona is comparable to Thailand, says Paul), but also almost any landscape, scenery or experience that you want.
The image of Colombia is changing. During the troubled years in its history very few travellers dared visit and the country mainly relied on internal tourism. Today, Colombia continues to receive more and more travelers – all different kinds of people from all over the world. It’s still, however, a new destination. There’s nothing quite like exploring the beaches of Tayrona or La Guajira Desert with the sensation of being one of the first explorers – like the place somehow belongs to you. Imagine discovering The Lost City – an ancient settlement bigger than Machu Picchu – and sharing the experience with only a small group of fellow travelers. You arrive at the top, put in your headphones, and listen to your favorite music. No-one surrounds you. In very few parts of the world can you enjoy this experience overlooking such impressive scenery.
It rarely happens in advertising, but the slogan of the official campaign for tourism in Colombia completely hits the target. None of us have met a traveler that didn’t want to be in Colombia a little longer, explore a little more, return soon, or simply stay in the country. They all have their own reasons, but it’s something you should discover for yourself.
We briefly spoke above about Bogotá. To the surprise of many, in Bogotá it rains a lot. Like, a lot a lot. There are no palm trees – nor chickens – as they try and tell you in Hollywood. We’re in the middle of the Andes, at a considerable height (2600mt, higher than the highest skiing resort in Europe). These are the first things that will surprise you – at least superficially – to begin with. The longer you stay, however, the more you’ll find yourself surprised by the amount of museums, bookshops, cultural activities, international restaurants and, of course, the famous Bogotá nightlife. Bogotá is a huge city, and very cosmopolitan. In fact, as I, a Peruvian, sit here in a café-bookshop in La Macarena, I can hear a pair of Germans talking over a beer. A group of English people browse the bookshelves while a guy from France tries to teach a girl from Bogotá how to say ‘breakfast’ in his country.
You’re going to hear this again and again and again, but, you know what? It’s not an exaggeration. Our blog is written by a Colombian that lived in London for a decade; a South African that drove throughout South America for many years; an Englishman that travelled two years around our continent; and me, a Peruvian that’s decided to settle in Colombia. It’s the 43rd country I’ve visited. Sometimes we disagree about things – our favorite food, museum or type of music. We always agree on the same thing however: we’ve never felt more welcome than we do here in Colombia.