Why we love Colombia
I’ve been to Colombia twice now and I really love this country.
The geographical diversity is amazing. The multiple mountain ranges mean that climatic zones can change within a few kilometers. Example; Santa Marta and Taganga are totally dry, desert climate. About 25 km away, Parque Tayrona is lush rainforest. Cartagena is hot, like a Caribbean island. Inland, Bogota is surprisingly cool (almost cold in the evenings). I’ve also been to Cali in the south (hot) and Manizales (cooler) in the lush and mountainous coffee-growing area. Geographically speaking, I found Colombia was like visiting several different countries in one. And not only was the geography varied, the scenery was also quite spectacular.
See our detailed guide to Colombia
I was worried before leaving about security and how people would react to me. Firstly, there are many soldiers in Colombia, they seem to be everywhere. Information offices were also manned by soldiers/police officers, all of who were very friendly and helpful. In Rodadero, I stopped at the information office to ask the location of the bus station. I ended up walking with two soldiers who insisted on taking me there. In Cartagena, while walking around El Castillo de San Felipe, two very friendly soldiers with machine guns offered to show me the tunnels under the castle. “That’s where they’ll rob me”, I figured. No such thing. I took a picture of these two in the tunnels. When Lissette and I were in Parque Tayrona, the resort where we stayed was taken over one afternoon by the army because the President was there with some dignitaries. Army helicopters circled the resort. That night, after the president left, we were at the restaurant when a bunch of soldiers walked by. One of the soldiers politely asked, in English, “Sir, can I speak to you?”. Lissette and I spoke to him for about 5 minutes while about 20 soldiers stood around us, curious with funny smiles on their faces. Turns out that the soldier had wanted to prove to his friends that he could speak English. Maybe my experience was unique, but I felt very safe in Colombia.
Cartagena is beautiful with lots of history; beautiful churches, an impressive castle, a great walled city with fantastic old buildings and beautiful courtyards. I was very impressed. It also had some really good restaurants within some of the old buildings. Cartagena is a really romantic place, just loved it.
People are really friendly, the women gorgeous. While I didn’t have any difficulties, Lissette said there were a few things she didn’t appreciate: 1) people, mostly men, sometimes gave her dirty looks. Maybe they thought was a Colombian prostitute. 2) she found the Colombian women aggressive, showing no consideration towards her (women would sometimes try to take me by the arm to lead me into restaurants in Cartagena). I think these were the only complaints we had about Colombia.
Another thing I loved was the Spanish – Cartagena aside (where many spoke with that Caribbean slang) – I found the Spanish clear and concise. The perfect place for anyone who’s taken Spanish lessons and who wants to improve their Spanish.
I could go on and on about Colombia, it was one of those places that I really didn’t know anything about and where I was a bit nervous about going. It ended up being really special. I would not hesitate to go back to Colombia.
Related: Why Cartagena is incredible
Related: Places to Visit near Cartagena (Colombia)
Related: What to see and do in San Andres, Colombia
Have you been to Colombia? Please let me know what you thought of it!
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barbara c jones
I enjoyed your many pros and cons about traveling. I also do extensive traveling and have been almost to as many places as you have been. Too bad, this corona virus is robbing me of valuable travel time, since I just turned 78. I find your comments refreshing and agree with most of them. I also loved singapore, medellin, prague, seville, budapest, Istria, the bavarian alps and mountain towns, etc etc – I could go on and on – I also hate touristy places and rude folks and rude crowds. Keep up the good articles. What will you do with this travel ban, even though you are canadian??? Your photographs were lovely. good job !!!
thanks, barb jones
Thank you very much for your comment! 78 and still busy travelling – that’s great. My mom is 74 and lives in San Miguel de Allende. Every year we either travel Mexico together or we meet up somewhere in Europe. Been travelling with her forever and she’s introduced me to places like Sumatra and Zimbabwe. Like you she’ll always have the travel itch and the pandemic is tough because we haven’t seen each other since a 2 week trip through Germany last year.
This year hasn’t been wasted for us. We had a goal of getting a long term Visa in Spain this year. Got locked down in Spain for 4 months early in the year, made it back to Canada to apply for our Visa…got it 2 months later and got back to Spain Oct 1. Found ourselves an apartment, had our things sent to us from Zagreb (we’ve had our stuff in storage there the last 3 years) and have spent the last 2 weeks getting our home together.
We’ve been lucky this year. But I know a lot of people (like my mom) stuck at home wishing they could travel. Let’s hope it happens soon!
All the best and thank you for taking the time to comment!
Love all this good info I learned a lot! You’ve made me want to visit this place now that i know it seems like an adventure!
Thanks Jake 🙂
Briefly I couldn’t say more about Colombia. I also loved it and as you say, “Cartagena was beautiful…” indeed.
big hug all the way from Marrakesh!!
Great! Nice to hear someone else loves this country!