"Colombia" Colombia by traveldave
Colombia Travel Guide: 4,162 reviews and 12,237 photos
During the 1980s and into the early 1990s, Colombia was one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Several guerrilla groups were active in the countryside and were responsible for the capture and even killing of many foreign tourists. In addition, the country was practically run by drug lords. The murder rate was one of the highest in the world. It was even rated as the world's most dangerous country in the book The World's Most Dangerous Places.
Since then, however, the government has made peace with the guerrilla groups, and the drug lords were captured or killed. And the government has been very active in combatting crime and cleaning up the country. Colombia became a safe destination to visit once more.
In September 2009, I went on a two-week birdwatching trip to Ecuador. Before returning home, I stopped in Colombia for one day to do some birdwatching and sightseeing in and around Bogota, Colombia's capital and largest city. I must admit that given the recent reputation for danger in Colombia, I was rather nervous before my visit. However, I found that the country is as safe as any other country, and the people were very welcoming. The general populace is very glad to have tourists returning once again.
My primary goal in going to Colombia was to see the Bogota rail and Apolinar's wren, birds that live in just seven small marshes, or humidales, on the outskirts of Bogota, making them among the rarest and most range-restricted birds in the world. I did not see the rail (although I heard several), but did see several birds that are endemic to the Bogota region and northwestern South America, including the Apolinar's wren. In addition to visiting the humidales, I did some birdwatching in the high páramo grasslands of Chingaza National Natural Park. Although the purpose of my short stay in Colombia was birdwatching, I did manage to see some of the interesting attractions in Bogota later in the afternoon.
I returned to Colombia in March 2011 to go on a ten-day birdwatching trip to the endemic-rich Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mountain range on the country's Carribean coast. Because I spent most of my time in the mountains, this trip involved very little sightseeing, although I did see some of the sights in Barranquilla, Colombia's major city on the Caribbean coast.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an isolated mountain range in northeast Colombia that rises abruptly from the... more travel advice
Isla de Salamanca National Natural Park comprises a narrow coastal barrier between the waters of the Caribbean Sea and... more travel advice
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Colombia Travel Guide
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