As we crossed the border at Rumichaca in Colombia into Ecuador after our first month of travelling and initial exposure to South America, I felt a definite sadness to be leaving. Despite the excitement of the trip ahead Colombia had made an impact on me that I could have never anticipated.
Without a doubt as the time drew closer to leave home I was getting more apprehensive about the starting point of our travels. Coupled with the reaction of basically every single person that I mentioned to that we were visiting Colombia. It is a country living in the shadows of its past for sure. However, after spending almost a month there and getting our first introduction to South America, I cannot rate it highly enough. It blew us away. The power of hindsight is amazing and I wish I knew when we were beginning, what I now know! There is no need to be scared in Colombia, the thing that has left the biggest impact on us from our time there is the people. They are the most welcoming, helpful and friendly people going. This goes for Medellin in particular, I went there interested about the history and I left with a new definition of what it means to be proud. The city and it’s people have worked incredibly hard to transform from their past.
And as for an attractive location, we explored new cities with city tours, rafted the river Fonce in San Gil, adored the nature and scenery of Tayrona national park, fell in love with the old city walls of Cartagena, slept on the beach in Playa Blanca, paraglided over Medellin, listened intently about Pablo Escobar’s past, smiled at the colourful town of Guatape, hiked to the tallest palm trees in the world and drank Colombian coffee from branch to cup in Salento, enjoyed our introduction to the national sport Tejo, experienced salsa dancing in Cali, and visited one of the most impressive churches we’ve ever seen in Ipiales. Along the way we met the most amazing people, experienced brilliant local food and loved every single minute of our time there.
This glowing review isn’t to say that Colombia is without its dangers but I genuinely believe if you aren’t looking for trouble it won’t find you and we are lucky to say we had a hassle free time here. Don’t let the past reputation of this wonderful country form your opinion of it. It has made a positive lasting impression on us and I will forever have a special time for the people of Colombia…VIVA COLOMBIA!!
Highlight: Sleeping in a beach cabana and watching the sunset in Playa Blanca
Lowlight: Being without luggage for two days in Bogota!