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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Colombia
1. Posted by lob (Inactive 18 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

I'm a new member and in need of some advice from those of you in the know about Colombia. I am travelling to the region late April through to the end of May this year. I will be in the country for roughly 4/5 weeks. The purpose of my trip is a cultural adventure, travel and having a good time. I intend on taking lots of photo's, practicing my language skills and generally getting a good feel for the country and the people with a view to laying the foundations for a future in latin America. This will be the first trip of many in the region so dont be too concerned with the short period.

I have read through the topics on the forums and other webforums and have gained an idea of what areas of the country to visit but I would appreciate some advice on where people would recommend to me bearing in mind the duration.

At the moment I'm considering breaking my trip down into 4 periods and intend on visiting the areas of Bogota, Cartagena, Meddelin and Cali. My intention would be to travel out of these regions each day to the outlying areas (any ideas appreciated).

My interest would be in Architecture, museums, religion, wildlife and traditional cultural aspects (Dance, music, art etc.).

Any help would be appreciated.


PS I am aware of the climatic conditions at this time of year and I am up to speed on the security situation.

2. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 924 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I'll get back to you further, but I am pleased that you decided to leave Bogota off the itinerary. Not that it doesn't have it's charms, I just find it less culturally interesting.

While in Cartagena, you'll want to see Islas Rosario, and try to get out to the country....Santa Marta and Taganga are worth it for the water there.....Carta has very shitty Caribbean water. You'll see when you get there

More later. Colombia....good choice.


3. Posted by lob (Inactive 18 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Piecar, thats a helpful start. I'll do a bit of research in to those areas. I'll probably spend a couple of days in Bogota so administrate myself (It would be rude not too) but going out of town is no doubt where its at...

Regarding accommodation would you recommend booking well in advance or is it possible to just rock up to a B&B/Hostel and get a bed for the night. I tend to work off the cuff and have a tendancy to change direction at the last minute depending on what Info I pick up on the road. If I like a place I like to stay longer and do more research.

Also I'm hoping to pick up a charango (Andean Guitar like a Ukulele), the wooden made one not the tortoise shell. Any ideas of instrumental shops or manufacturers would be appreciated.



[ Edit: Edited on 18-Mar-2009, at 03:53 by pja3839 ]

4. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 924 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Well, I seldom book a hotel in advance...But then there is that trudging around with stuff trying to find a place to go.

I don't know what kind of hotel guest you are. I have VERY low standards...but others like amenities. I would try to book a more upscale hotel in advance. I would just show up in an area and price out hotels if you are more lowrent.

I obviously missed your inclusion of Bogota in there. You'll be fine there. Great music scene. Don't discount the downtown area, which many do.

Where is everybody else on the Colombia scene? Usually someone else has chimed in by now.


5. Posted by rborzillo (Budding Member 84 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

What is the best guide book for Colombia too? The Lonely Planet is a bit outdated now (2006) and I have heard some poor reviews about the book....

6. Posted by rborzillo (Budding Member 84 posts) 8y Star this if you like it! was discussed briefly here up top, but Medellin or Bogota to visit in Colombia? I unfortunately only have time to visit one as I plan to spend time on the Caribbean coast. Thanks.


7. Posted by lob (Inactive 18 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I looked at several guide books but settled for the Bradt Colombia Guide. Its quite informative and so far has contained everything i would expect it to. I dont think any of them are an exciting read though.

From what I have researched so far i'm quite excited about Medellin, although I will spend a few days in Bogota probably when I arrive and just before I leave the country.

The only thing that has put me of Medellin at the moment is the apparent sex tourism which I have found being discussed on other travel sites. I'm just not into female exploitation, the reason why I've never visited Thailand and I would be dissapointed if the place is really like that. I'm sure its not as bad as i've heard but I will no doubt find out for myself and i am going there with a completely open mind.

Piecar, I will more than likely just turn up and get a room wherever I can. At least then i can just go where life takes me. Nothing wrong with being spontaneous.


8. Posted by lob (Inactive 18 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Well the time has come and i'm ready for the off. I fly in the early hours of tuesday so this time tomorrow i will be bimbling around lost in Bogota. Happy days!

Oh a point of note that I have learnt in the last couple of weeks. All the vaccinations (yellow fever, typhoid, hep A & B and tetanus) cost a fortune... and dont even get me started on the malarone (drug total £200!!!!!!!). And I feel like crap.


9. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 924 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Yeah. I wouldn't buy or take the Malaria meds. They are worse than the fear you may get the actual disease. I've never taken it. Sorry you don't feel great. Have the best time ever on the trip. Colombia is excellent.

10. Posted by lob (Inactive 18 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Mission accomplished. Now back home in the UK planning my next excursion.

Travel guides..... Bradt are very up to date with only a few minor ommissions and errors. The lonely planet apparently was written by people who have never been to the country (although this is being corrected). All the other travellers used my Bradt guide.

Great trip. Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Taganga, Sangil, Barricharra, Villa De Leyva and back to Bogota over 5 weeks. Each place was completely different both culturally and ethnically and all well worth a visit, apart from Taganga. No horror stories... needed more time though and wish I had another month or so.