"Colombia - my second home" Colombia by Lodestar
Colombia Travel Guide: 4,082 reviews and 11,974 photos
“Presidential candidate kidnapped.” “Car bomb killed four.” “Peace talks between government and FARC ending – tension grows.” “Two German reporters kidnapped.” “U.S State Department warns – going to Colombia is not suggested.” These and many other newspaper headlines described the situation in Colombia at the time when I started organising the paperwork for my 5-month traineeship to the Caribbean coast of Colombia in January 2002. Facts about Colombia – the country is among the leaders of the world in areas such as kidnappings, cocaine and marihuana export, unemployment, amount of people living under the poverty rate, etc. A country with huge social, economical, and political instability. A country that experiences problems like illiteracy, social segregation, assassinations, corruption, poverty, enormous underground economy, guerrilla war, drug trafficking, high crime rate…to mention just a few.
But this is just one side of it all - the superficial side, emphasized by people who have never actually been to that amazing country. From the hot beaches of the Caribbean to the high mountains of the Andes, this is a country of extreme diversity. There is an amazing nature – heavenly tropical beaches, vast deserts, huge rainforests, waterfalls, coconut palms, high snow-capped mountains, salt lakes, incredible variety of animals and birds, blossoming cactuses and wild rivers. There is also a breathtaking culture – Latino music, everlasting dancing, native Indians and their prehistoric villages and relics, incredible carnivals (the greatest being the Barranquilla carnival, which is the best in south America after the world-renown Rio of course), handicrafts, unique literature, colourful colonial architecture and beautiful cities and villages (Cartagena, Medellin, Taganga, Bogota, Parque Tayrona etc.) and full of breathtaking experiences just waiting for you. And most of all there are people – friendly, helpful, happy, kind, peaceful and sunny - beautiful girls and hot men. This is a country of extreme variation. Varying from extreme poverty to unbelievable richness, from highly educated scientists to illiterate maids, from disgustingly dirty and smelly marketplaces to the most modern supermarkets, from big polluted industrial cities to huge jungles that are never still, from hi-tech miracles to neighbourhoods with no electricity. I could go on and on... This is an amazing country.
Colombia has a very rich culture, with some of the world's best artists, musicians and writers coming from this country. Gabriel G. Marquez wrote his Nobel winning 'One Hundred Years of Sulitude' -one of the best books ever written - about this La Tierra Loca.
One of the most spectacular contemporary artists - Botero - was born in Medellin, the city that is now filled with his sculptures. His funny, allegorical and excellent works are situated around the city and his paintings can be found in the art museums in Colombia as well as around the world.
One of the present latino superstars - Shakira - is yet another Colombian who has made a name for herself universally. But there are so many other musicians, who are not that widely known, but a lot better and more authentic (my very personal opinion). Colombia is undoubtedly a country of music - you can see old men playing the guitar on the stairs of their houses, young girls singing and whistling tunes on the streets, the dance clubs are crowded with people not only on weekends but also during the week, every shop, restaurant, bar and marketplace is blasting with the latino rhythms. among the best musicians in Colombia are Carlos Vives, Joe Arroyo, Juanes, Toto la Momposina and several other amazing singers.
Colombia was my home for six months last year. I fell in love with the country and the people and can't wait to go back. This has to be the most amazing place on the face of the earth...
I lived 6 months in B/quilla, the fourth largest city in Colombia, situated near the Caribbean. I worked as a teacher of English in a typically catholic, all-girls highschool. The job was tough and nasty at times, but everything else there was just amazing.
Ok, the most important thing - do not believe everything you are told. i mean - the place is not like you see in the news, and there is so much more in Colombia than just drugs, murders, bombings, the guerilla, paramilitaries, robberies and kidnappings. Nothing will happen to you, if you just keep your head cool and your wits about - a lot of the stuff being told you about Colombia is just paranoia, some of it justified of course, but most of it not however. Don't miss out on everything this gorgeous and exciting country has to offer simply because of fear.
I lived there and I loved every minute of it, and I miss this heaven on earth more than words can say...
If you have any specific questions - my mailbox is always open :)
- Pros:Rich and diverse nature, architecture and culture, great people, unique experiences
- Cons:If you keep your wits about and your eyes open and don't let fear overcome you, the cons are marginal...
- In a nutshell:So much more than meets the eye at first - an amazing place you'll just afll in love with
You shouldn't miss a sightseeing tour on a Chiva. Chivas are old buses, which are not regularly used in the cities any... more travel advice
This small fishing village is situated near the city of Santa Marta. It is the best place in the city if you are... more travel advice
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