Hello ! Welcome to this so unique place called Colombia. As i just came from there, i couldn’t decide which city i wanted to start, so i’m gonna make a general guide/tips about some cities i visited and some i didn’t but i really wanted to. In my next posts i’ll stop in diferente cities of this amazing country and introduce you to the Colombian culture.
Colombia, as i said before, is a very interesting place, because has all in one, by that i mean, you have cities to visit, desert, the Amazonia, volcanos, you’ve stunning beaches and islands where you can lose yourself and relax, breathtaking landscapes, the world famous coffee plantation, also mountains and tribes where you can get to know unique people and fill your heart with their way of living and the love they give you, and to not forget about some of the world beauties and nature reserves, as well as the enormous gastronomy they have (mangos, piña, guyaba, guyabana, patacones, arroz de coco, frijoles, chicharron, areas, etc.)
Also is very good for business, big number of companies from all over the world are building there. The époque of Pablo Escobar has passed away and its a pity that everybody knows this country from that and specifically the city i felt in love: Medellín, which is very safe and has great places to visit. About this country i have to speak about the people and the way they are with the foreigns, they are such a lovely people with a big heart, everything you ask them is “a la orden” (means that they borrow you everything and try to help you in all ways they can), and the thing i love is that they are just worried about what they need for the day, when you live there for months (as i did) i start to learn some precious lessons about life, the way of behavior and the things you really need in life and which are just no important no more.
Let me start from where i lived almost all the time Caribbean coast, first of all i have to speak about the wonderful Cartagena de Indias which has tourism all year and its a very beautiful place to go for vacations ’cause you have amazing beaches, you have historic places to go sightseeing, lovely streets where you can have a walk, take some pictures and enjoy the Colombian culture. Not forgetting about the 2 important things and a MUST to do in Cartagena: make a trip/excursion/rent a boat and go around all the island they have which are really a little paradise where you can forget about everything and relax yourself and enjoy the views and the sun with some coconut water! If you have opportunity, see Barú, and the Rosario islands because they are unique and gorgeous, you feel like you are in another planet over there. Also, more important, you have to know the “muralla” which inside are museums, places to shop things like the amazing colombian swimwear (Agua Bendita, Patricia Ramírez, etc) and clothes in general, also you can buy the typical accessories and souvenirs/gifts from Colombia, the amazing Esmeralda and the precolombian’s figures necklaces. To the end of the day i recommend you to see the sunset at the Café del Mar, very nice place with music. For dinner you have so many choices, such as Juan del Mar, some pizza and wine places around as well as seafood and all, you have different options for every kind of pockets. To have some drinks, dance a bit and have fun i recommend you la movida inside de Muralla and also The Hostel media luna in Bocagrande (has 2 floors), some times there’s live concerts, in the area you have also La Havana to dance some cuban music. Also if you can catch a “Chiva Rumbera” jump into it! It’s an old bus transformed and some sort of moving disco, very funny.
Keeping on the Atlantic coast, i have so speak about Barranquilla, a city where is growing because lots of companies are investing there (as well as all over the country). This city has the beachs near (Prado Mar, Puerto Velero, Puerto Colombia…), also has very nice restaurants with amazing chefs and different kind of food, italian (la Girolata, la Piazzeta, Abruzzo..) japonese (KoiSushi Bar), Peruvian (Cuzco with live music), healthy food (La oliva), bakery (La ganache), Steakhouse, Bistros (there are 2 you really should go: Jack Bistro and Bistro 51, both have a really good options and very tasty), well i can make a big list of where you can go and eat stunning food, but i’ll keep it to a next post. For a more colombian ingredients, ask somebody to take you to the “narcobollos” very typical place where you eat typical colombian food. Also you can go for fish near the river or on the beach, don’t forget to try the Pargo and the Morraja Roja. Very important, if you are thinking/planing to visit this city, you have to go for Carnaval dates because all the city is in party with parades, everybody dress up in their Barranquilla’s carnaval costumes, is about 5 days with concerts, parties, parades, all latin music around you and their moves which will make you dance with them!
And if you want to scape for all that “Rumba” (party) you can pick a flight to the splendid island of San Andrés and Providencia, the place with the 8 colors of water, very relaxing beaches and place to buy all the cosmetic products you can, as they are very cheap around there. About that i recommend you to visit Providence, and in San Andrés, see Cayo Bolívar, do some diving, have some lunch at a nice restaurante as Donde Francesca (on the beach) and at the end, enjoy the sunset at Punta Sur, etc.
Next city or place i have to speak very quickly, is Santa Marta and the famous Parque Tyrona. At Santa Marta you can go for the best beaches, Playa blanca, etc. Very nice sand and clear water. Tagamanga also is nice, and there’s different places you can go for a taxi boat and make around the places it has because it’s gorgeous. I have to talk about a place, little bit far from the beach, La Guajira, the place where the “indigenas/wayuu” live in tribes and also where they make those fantastics, hand made bags named wayu bags, they are just divine as the woman who made them, as well as another things with same material or kind of it. A little bit up , you can go for some “adventure” and visit the Tayrona Park, where the indigenas still live, and you can get to know them as well as make some trekking in the middle of the forest, stay in the cabañas, and discover the cutest beach hidden they have, do some diving and see all that beauties under the sea. It’s a very special experience i think that people who really want to get to know their culture and history should do.
Now lets focus on the center of the country. As i told you before, i felt in love with Medellín, and with the “paisas” (the name they give to the people from that city), the people from there are so so kind and lovely, you feel like home at the same time you are entering in the city. You have different places to sightseeing, the Pueblito Paisa, the Antioquia Museum, the Botanic Garden, the mechanical stairs around the commune 13 (take care of your belongings around there), the Botero Plaza, if you are interested in all Pablo Escobar history you can visit also his Hacienda Nápoles, there’s thousands of places to go. 2 hours driving there is a place i didn’t visit but i really wanted to Guatapé, cute little village with a big stone in the middle of the river, so beautiful. A very important point and interesting for me, is the stylists that exists there, you can find them everywhere and see some really nice clothes, and uniques! for all pockets. Have a look if you love fashion/clothes/accesories, etc. Also you CANNOT leave this gorgeous city without trying the “bandeja paisa”typical food from there, you have to forget about diet for some days at least, but it’s worth it! A part of that, i can write about thousands of restaurants i loved as well as clubs, but i’ll keep to the post i’ll make about just Medellin. A last thing, if you go, try to go on December/January because you are gonna see the famous Alumbrado navideño, it’s so beautiful, everything is illuminated!
Gonna keep it near, lets talk about the capital: Bogotá. First of all, you have to be prepared because its cold around there (yes, it is!), you have also many many things to do, but let me just make some fast tips about the city: you must visit the Salt Cathedral with is 180 metros underground, very beautiful and interesting, its located in Zipaquirá, a little village near Bogota. Also you can visit the Plaza Simón Bolivar, Basilica Montserrat Church, also the Barrio de la Candelaria, the Gold museum its a must, etc. Very important, in all those places you have to take care about your belongings and not show them too much, and not walk by the center by yourself at night, it’s not super danger but you have to take some cares. Also at night, to go dinner in nice places and not so worried about your bag, go the ” T Zone” where are shops, restaurants, pubs, shops, etc. I personally recommend you a place you should go because it’s different and unique, not so cheap but its really worth it on weekends, they have music/dacing and a big variety of food and drinks: Andrés Carne de Res. Lolas and El salto del Ángel are as well place to have some funtime too.
Well, I’m trying to reduce the words but it’s so difficult to make a general view of this so big and so complete country. Let me keep speaking about the center of Colombia and i need to talk about the coffee culture, and all the landscapes, the plantation and all green walks you can do to discover this so tasty trip. You must visit places as Pereira, Salento, Mandizales, Armenia etc, and maybe rent a car and go discover by yourself (best thing to do in my opinion). All around is the coffee plantation, there are some hot thearms you can go and pass the day or inclusive go in the night, there are hotels there. If you can, try to pass a night at some finca in the middle of the coffee plantations, they rent them and its a unique experience to wake up on that green landscapes and to walk throw the trees and all. Try the different kinds of coffee, they are so tasty! Go to the Coffe park also is nice and the views are amazing. Santiago de Cali its a very nice place to visit too and dance some salsa, and a really shame i couldn’t go, but stills on my list.
Finishing, i have to say i totally recommend you to put this country in your travel list because it’s so unique and you will come back with a special way to see things and as i did, probably you’ll bring Colombia and the people in your hearts. Sorry about this post to be so big but as you can imagine, get’s difficult to put all this information in one post. Anyway, Hope i helped you with my small tips about this so big country, and don’t forget the more important thing of all : BE HAPPY – SÉ FELIZ.