hello all, im new here please go easy on me
First of i say dared to go to colombia as i have heard so many horror stories about the place, however im from south africa and i have heard an equal amount on bulls**t about our country... is it really that bad or is it more of a case you must stay alert and stay away from danger areas and use common sense..
I am flying to Rio in november to spend a couple months in south america, flying out of santiago when i have had enough i want to spend some time in brazil then make my way down to buenos aires, hopefully a side trip to uruguay. Somehow i will make it back to paraguay from there i was thinking of getting a plane from Asuncion to Bogota and then slowly make my way down the west coast to santiago... yes i am aware of the great distances
between all these places and have endured 20hr bus rides in the past so that does not bother me to much..
I would prefer to see as much as i can by bussing about, but am lucky this time that funds will allow a few flights here and there if need be.
So back to my first question is colombia worth a visit? its not that im really going to do much in depth travelling about the place, more of i want to go and see for myself and have a good story to tell the folks when i mail them and tell them im in colombia i think if i do decide to go it will be arrive in Bogota check it out bus it to Cali then try get to Quito either by bus if i feel it is safe to do so or by plane....
holding thumbs someone has been there... look forward to hearing your replys
Answer even if you think im crazy, would like to get a feel if it will be the right choice or not..........
Mate, You´ve gotta go to Colombia. Trust me!
My first backpacking trip back was back in 2003. I had the same image of Colombia as you coming from th UK. So I thought well, if South America is so dodgy why not go straight for the deep end... Colombia.
I landed by plane in Bogota alone absolutely bricking it. I got a taxi into town and I stayed in a pretty run down hotel in La Candelaria district (I think it was called the Internacional). This place wasn´t a backpackers hostel so I was still alone. I braved the streets at night to go for food and beer and I had some strange looks from the locals, but no grief. After a couple of days of getting used to the place I found it a quite friendly (for a city) place to go out at night and I met some locals. I felt safer than most places because of the high level of security such as police and private security guards. I went to the ATM to get some cash and there was a guard looking after the thing with a sawn off shot gun. wicked!!
I also travelled to Santa Marta and Cartagena which was great too!!
I had to return, so this year in January I went back and saw some new places too. I came from Venezuela to Cabo La Vela, Santa Marta, Cartagena, Medellin, Manizales, Pereira, Cali, Bogota, Suesca and Leticia. To be honest Colombia has changed a bit during the last five years. It´s still safe as long as you don´t go off into the deep jungle looking for the guerrilla. You can travel by bus just about anywhere. I also took night buses with no problems. Also there´s an extensive network of hostels that wern´t there before. Some are run by aussies, kiwis, or brits and can be real party places. Have a look here http://www.daltrey.co.uk/cpg1416/index.php?cat=2&page=1 at my photos for an idea of the country.
If I can help with any specific stuff let me know,
hope this helps,
Lots of info on poorbuthappy.com
The security situation is very different now-the places is crawling with Police and Military and the bad guys are on the run-have run-to remote mountains and jungles.
I lived in Cartagena for all of 2007. I will not say that Colombia is the Safest Country In The World....but it gets a bad rap. There is lots to see. The people are generally friendly. Medellin is gorgeous, Bogota is like a European City and Cartagena is a World Heritage site for a reason. You'll have little trouble there...I am on my way back down in a month.
I'm defo planning on getting into Colombia when we go next year.
Bogota, Cartegena, Medellin and Santa Marta, I reckon.
I'm keen to go to the Carlos Valderrama statue!
Also the church at Ipiales and Taranga (Sp!?)
From reading blogs, it sounds like Colombia is fine, you just have to take the normal precautions.
To back up SamSalmon's post all the info you require on poorbuthappy.com/colombia
I myself always found the locals and ex pats in so called 'conflict zones' far friendlier and helpful
than being another blank face spending USD or Euros in a 'popular travel destination'
Gotta have the spirit and the knack for it to travel and survive beyond the edge.
Has anyone travelled during the winter months? Too much rainfall?
I am in Colombia right now. It is hot on the Caribbean coast with no rain in sight.
Bogota gets it's share of rain, allright. You won't get inundated though.
Goo luck out there
i land in rio the end of this month and im eagerly anticipating getting upto colombia sometime around may/june.
it sounds pretty unmissable from all ive read.
Well, I think I just have to add that you must know about how the media manipulate the info around the world. Definitely Colombia is not the safest country in the world but is one of the most beautiful places I've been. Bogota is a nice city but you have to be very careful with the personal safety, avoid taking taxis in the streets, specially late at night, try to order a cab by phone as much as is possible and avoid walking alone late at night specially in the downtown. So keep always an eye on your valuable stuffs, and always be aware like in any other capital, ironically, Colombian are most reliable than people in other Latin American countries, however always be suspicious...no offenses to anybody
For me the best of Colombia is the Caribe, at the north...a must is Cartagena and Playa Blanca (is an island near to Cartagena a lovely place to spend a couple of nights), then Santa Marta - Taganga and the Parque Tayrona located in the area is a paradise!!! parque tayrona is a natural reserve located in the Santa Marta Mountain (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta) jungle + the best beaches ever + best Caribbean food + best people and atmosphere
A new place discovered by travelers is a department called Santander, in the middle of the Central Range of the Andes (the Andes Range is divided in three ranges at the south of the country ) they have extreme sports (rafting, bungee, etc) and the panoramic view of the Andes there is amazing, is located also at 5 hours to Bogota in case you don't have so much time in the country.
An well, that's all....have fun in Colombia I spend a great time there and I wish I could live in Santa Marta when I'll be retired
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 8, 2009, at 11:21 AM by bsaslover ]