This is my story and my perspective about Colombia.
When my wife and I initially made plans to travel to Colombia, Bogota & Cartagena primarily, the following were my concerns, and perhaps my preconceived notions. In the end, these were proven not true, and we both grew to love Colombia.
- We all know about Pablo Escobar. He is glamorized in Hollywood. Every American who does not know any better, thinks of the Cartels whenever they think of Colombia. They think Colombia is dangerous.
- We all know about the Cocaine and the Cartels, and this also does influence our concerns
- We know about the various guerilla movements that aim to destabilize the country…at least that is what we were taught in school.
- We also kind of all were taught in school of how “European” Colombia really is as far as the ethnic diversity. The native Colombian, or African slave, part, is glossed over.
- That it is a hot, wet, and tropical country
This was my preconceived notion until I landed in Bogota. My wife and I landed in Bogota, and as we walked around, we quickly found these preconceived notions to be NOT TRUE. The more we saw Colombia, the more we found it to be a “normal” place.
- We did not see the violence as what is portrayed in Hollywood or in the news in the USA. We found Bogota to be quite nice.
- We were positively surprised about the huge native Colombian element in places like Guatavita.
- We were surprised at how “cool” and “pleasant” the weather in Bogota was for us, given that we are coming from Arizona.
- We were surprised in Cartagena about the significant African Colombian element in society. It was not an issue.
Cartagena is definitely different from Bogota. The shock in the climate change from Bogota to Cartagena was notable. It took some getting used to. We did eventually grow to like Cartagena, but the difference between Bogota and Cartagena is “night and day”.
When we ultimately concluded our vacation in Colombia, both my wife and I looked at each other on our Atlanta bound plane out of Bogota and said, we are definitely returning.
Colombia is a very nice place, and nothing like what you read about or see in the news or Hollywood.
And to think, my parents called my wife and I “Nuts” for wanting to travel to Colombia. Their loss.
The thing that I’ve told people that they never think or believe is that Bogota is cold… year round.
I still see a lot of first timers get off the plane wearing shorts (big no no) to a freezing 6am 10 degrees Celsius (about 50 F). Our nation’s capital is 2600m above sea level (just shy of 8000ft), it’s not a cold front, it’s not your bad luck, that is Bogota year round.
Another thing, although less important these days is the almost non existent postal service, don’t get me wrong, there is a postal service, but it’s not ubiquitous as it is in the states with postal boxes every couple of blocks, that thing you do about sending your check in the mail to your landlord has so many Colombian no-nos that I just couldn’t process it when my first landlord asked me to not do that. If you want to send something, and you want to make sure it makes it to its destination you use the private companies, and you certainly don’t use it to send things within the city. It’s faster to just go there anyways.
I’ll add stuff as I think of more, but those are some of the unusual.
- There is no drug trafficker in every corner of our cities.
- We don´t love Pablo Escobar. For us he was a bad person, an assassin.
- The diversity of our nature landscapes and the proximity of these places to our main cities.
- We all aren’t terrorists nor drug capos nor assassins.
- We are happy people and we enjoy helping and giving guidance to our visitors.
- We have nice cities in several thermal levels.
- We have good food and nice places for part
There are plenty :