5 reasons why it’s not dangerous to travel to Colombia

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Colombia has been reborn from years of conflict due to narcoterrorism and illegal militias. Colombia stands firmly in search of new economies such as tourism.

That is why we can see that during 2010 we received 2.6 million foreign tourists, but in 2018 we received 6.5 million foreign tourists. This represents an increase of 150% in less than 10 years.

Here are 5 reasons why it’s not dangerous to travel to Colombia:

  1. Peace Agreements between the Colombian Government and the FARC

In 2016, the Colombian Government and FARC (Extreme insurgent and terrorist organization in Colombia) signed peace agreements ending a 50-year conflict. Because of this agreement, President Juan Manuel Santos received the Nobel Peace Prize that same year.

  1. International recognition of the tourism sector of Colombia

  • The New York Times included Colombia in its famous list “52 Places to go in 2018”, as one of the places to visit, highlighting its hotels, natural paradises, biodiversity, and treasures.
  • In 2017, Lonely Planet awarded Colombia second place in their ‘Best in Travel 2017: Top 10 countries’ article.
  • Trip Advisor included the Gold Museum in Bogota as one of the 25 best museums in the world.
  • The World Travel Awards recognized Colombia as the best tourist destination in South America for the LGBT Community. In addition, Cartagena won as the tourist destination of South America for honeymoons.
  • TIME Magazine included two Colombian restaurants among the 100 best restaurants in the world. Leo, by chef Leonor Espinosa, and the “Interno”, in San Diego Cartagena prison.
  • Colombia is the champion of eBird’s Global Big Day (A bird spotting event to support conservation) with 1,546 species of registered birds, Colombia is called “The country of the birds” because it has the greatest diversity of birds in the world.
  1. Foreign investment

  • Many investors believe in Colombia as a nation with great growth potential for their businesses in the region. That is why multinational companies such as Amazon, Mercedes Benz, Furukawa, Stanley Black & Decker, and Johnson & Johnson have decided to set up their business in Colombia, due to its strategic geographical location, quality workforce, favorable commercial environment, access to diversity and growing markets.
  1. Colombians love tourists

  • The rise of tourism to Colombia has allowed a whole country to rise and smile with the heart to whoever decides to visit our lands. We, Colombians are passionate about helping and making our culture known, so you will always find someone who will give you help, guide you and show you the best of our roots. In addition, we love if you travel with your family as well.
  1. Health services, vaccines, and water

  • Colombia has one of the best health systems in all of America, has state-of-the-art hospitals, medical standards are quite rigorous, affordable and have a high quality of care.
  • The vaccinations you need depend on the places you go to visit, but basically, you do not need any unless you visit the Amazon region.
  • You do not have to worry about loading your water bottle, the water in Colombia is completely drinkable and you can take it directly from the faucet.

Many travelers and investors have believed in Colombia, now it is time for you to discover why millions of people want to discover this magical destination.

We invite you to be part of a new magical experience in which the geographical diversity, human warmth, wide cultural offer full of flavors, aromas, and sounds are at the forefront of your experience; And it’s further proof that the advances in infrastructure and the increase in foreign investment put Colombia in the sights of the world.

In addition, the country has things for all tastes: from beautiful beaches such as the Tayrona National Park, to heritage villages such as Barichara and magical places like Caño Cristales, the most beautiful river in the world. Passing through the mountains of the three mountain ranges and the charm of the landscape make it worth knowing every corner of the country.

There are still many problems to solve and you should still take the necessary precautions should have when traveling anywhere in the world. But, that should not stop you from having an amazing and magical travel experience in Colombia.

5 Reasons to fall in love with Colombia

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One of the first things you notice on arriving in Colombia is the sense of vitality that pulses throughout the country.

 

The people are happy. Music plays in the streets. There is an energy that can be felt everywhere, from the sparkling coastline to the lush jungles, the bustling cities to the charming villages.

It’s a vibe the locals call ‘sabrosura’, a term that doesn’t directly translate but evokes the liveliness, passion and joy that is in the air in Colombia. The whole country is positively bursting with sabrosura – and it won’t take you long to be seduced by it.

In fact, spend more than a couple of days in Colombia and you’re likely to fall madly and deeply in love with this beautiful land. Here are five of the reasons why:

01- COLOMBIANS ARE SOME OF THE NICEST PEOPLE YOU WILL EVER MEET.

In Colombia, the kindness of the locals radiates from within and cannot be contained. They welcome visitors with open arms because they delight in meeting new people, they love their country and are thrilled to have the chance to share it. It’s not uncommon to have people shout out “Welcome to Colombia” or “Have a good time!” as they drive past you in the street. It’s deeply important to them that you have a good experience, see the best things and eat the most delicious food. And they’re always happy to share their insider tips on the best places to go.

02 – IT HAS UNDERGONE A RENAISSANCE IN RECENT YEARS

Colombia’s chequered history stopped it from becoming a popular tourist spot for many years, but that has all changed. Now that the domestic conflict that crippled the country for decades has officially ended, it’s opened the door to a new era for Colombia. It’s safer and easier to get around than ever before, and many of the cities have gone through a dramatic rebirth in the last few years. Most notable is the transformation of Medellín, which has completely changed in recent decades. It was declared “the most innovative city in the world” by the Urban Land Institute in 2013 and is now filled with modern plazas, contemporary artworks, an impressive botanical garden and a metro rail system that has been rated as one of the best in the world. It’s buzzing with young people and entrepreneurs, and has become a major draw for both domestic and international students.

03 – THE LOCALS KNOW HOW TO HAVE FUN

If you like music, dancing, laughing and generally having a good time, then Colombia is most certainly the place for you. Music is everywhere, everyone loves to laugh and it doesn’t take much to get hips swaying to the beat. One of the best places to head is the southern city of Cali where salsa dancing is particularly popular – although, have a quick nap before heading out to the clubs, because these parties can go all night long. Also, try to catch the Barranquilla Carnival (which takes place 40 days before Holy Week) if you can. It’s four crazy and wonderful days of parties that many say is as good, or even better, than the Carnivale festivities in neighbouring Brazil.

04 – THE NATURE IS NEXT LEVEL

To say that Colombia is a pretty country would be a dramatic understatement, as it contains some of the most breathtaking and diverse natural environments in the world. A large section of the land is covered with lush Amazon rainforest but it’s the coastal areas that are particularly exciting. The coral barrier reef located near the San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina Islands northeast of Cartagena, is one of the largest in the world and offers crystal clear turquoise green water, as well as a wide variety of marine flora and fauna. Plus this area is home to the famous Blue Wall, which is a must for experienced divers. If you prefer to stay above water, take a boat trip off the Pacific Coast during July and December for a glimpse of the humpback whales that congregate in this area and you might be lucky enough to see hundreds of these majestic creatures swimming in their natural habitat. It’s also worth making time to explore the relatively untouched Tayrona National Park, in the north of the country, as its coastal landscape, complete with bouncy palm trees and scenic beaches, is the stuff of dreams.

05 – IT HAS YOU COVERED FOR ADVENTURE

Travellers looking for something really unique should head to the natural phenomenon that is Caño Cristales, which is a bit off the beaten path but worth the effort. This stunning river in the Serranía de la Macarena National Park is often referred to as the “river of five colours” because it transforms into a spectacular array of yellow, blue, green, red and black hues during June and November. Similarly breathtaking is the Tatacoa Desert in central Colombia, a breathtaking section of arid landscape that is the perfect place for hiking, bike riding and stargazing. Finally, the Serranía de Chiribiquete mountain ranges in the northwest is the largest protected area in the country and one of the most untouched sections of wilderness in the world. Recently declared a UNESCO world heritage site, it features incredible giant rock formations and rock paintings that go back 20,000 years, and is largely closed to tourists – but you can book a flying tour with a specialist operator for a glimpse of this magical landscape from above.

 

 

How to join in Colombia’s legendary football fever

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Passion and pride in the Colombian football team is par for the course in Colombia. The country’s fans do everything they can to watch matches with their families and friends, supporting their side with every fiber of their being. It’s not unusual for a game to turn into a full-on party, even if the result hasn’t gone the country’s way.

 

Colombians are always in favor of celebrating the things that make them feel proud as they take every opportunity to enjoy life to the max. Every time the Colombian football team plays, especially in a World Cup tournament, it’s an opportunity to unleash a little sabrosura. Colombians celebrate with those they love the most, and are not above embracing strangers who are celebrating too, united in the joy of their beloved ‘Selección Colombia’.

From birthdays, First Communions and long-awaited weddings to family members’ achievements, new cars and the goals scored by a favorite team, parties are part of Colombian life. Football offers the perfect excuse to break with the routine and come together to laugh, dance and support the team that makes the entire nation feel proud of being Colombian.

These are some of the things every good Colombian does when ‘football fever’ strikes, so you know how and where to watch and celebrate a game.

Plan a party

Colombians are always ready to go big with celebrations, especially to watch football, and parties tend to be organized whenever the Colombian football team plays in the World Cup. The best parties involve friends and family.

It’s important to know where to watch a match, but that’s rarely a problem in Colombia where there is always a friend or favorite relative willing to lend their home so their guests can watch a game. The host is usually the person who has the biggest television or the latest technology so not only do those invited feel at home – they feel like they’re among the fans in the stadium too.

Once the party plan is put in motion, most guests will arrive hours before kick-off and debate the Colombian football team’s prospects. Some fans are more optimistic than others but no-one can resist trying to predict the outcome of a game, as well as dissecting previous matches and discussing the team’s chances of advancing. Music will play, the tables will be filled with food and the tension and excitement will bubble hours in advance. The Colombian soccer team aren’t the only stars of the show either. There is also a surge of pride in the country itself.

Wear the Colombian t-shirt wherever you go

The t-shirt worn by the Colombian national side is impossible to ignore. Its bright yellow fabric stands out in the crowd. Colombians can spot it from miles away and, on game days, the entire country dresses to impress in the colors of the flag.

Children, adults, students, executives, manual workers. From making the t-shirt part of school uniform to pulling it over the top of a business suit, anyone who loves soccer wears their jersey with pride. Colombian football fever is infectious and no-one will complain if you ignore the dress code for the day. It’s all part of the atmosphere.

Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes, known as making a polla in Colombia, are a common way to make a bet for fans who plan to watch a match. Each person adds a stake and either predicts, or is assigned, a result. That can mean some fans end up winning when their team loses, especially if results are assigned to ensure no player has the same outcome.

These pollas, a form of football betting, are generally made with small stakes and the idea is to have fun and add a little extra drama for those who gather to watch a game. The person who has the correct result wins a small amount of money. If no-one wins, the stake is either rolled over to the next match or used to buy drinks or snacks.

Food, food and more food

Besides football, food plays an important role in any celebration of Colombian football. According to Colombian tradition, the host provides part of the meal but it’s common for their guests to arrive with a little extra. Fried chicken, pizza or any kind of takeaway and drinks would be the easiest options here.

Although the above are popular, committed fans often prefer a Colombian feast, such as empanadas with ají dip, and enormous plates of finger food, known as a picadas, with chopped beef, potato, plantain and chorizo, washed down with a refajo (a mix of beer and Colombian soda) Typical treats such as these are likely to put the smile on every supporter’s face and bring a little sabrosura to the celebration.

Colombians are proud of their way of living and celebrating every moment of the football experience. It doesn’t matter where in the world they are, fans of Colombian soccer exalt in the pride and passion aroused by their team’s performance of the beautiful game. Why not join Colombians in some of the most joyful moments of their lives as they live every kick of the World Cup with the Colombian football team, and inspire the world with their sabrosura?

 

10 Dishes to taste on a trip to Colombia

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The best way to embrace the tastes of Colombia is to book a flight to Bogotá and set off on a culinary adventure around the country.

Packed with rich flavours, hearty ingredients and unusual taste combinations, Colombian food is as diverse as it is dazzling. Although it’s yet to really shine on the international stage like the cuisines of some its near neighbours like Brazil and Argentina, the food scene in Colombia is exciting and unique.

The best way to embrace the tastes of Colombia is to book a flight to Bogotá and set off on a culinary adventure around the country. The friendly locals are proud of their local dishes and will happily assist hungry tourists navigating their way through the options, of which there are many.

But it always pays to do some forward planning, so here is a list of 10 dishes you should sample:

01 – BANDEJA PAISA

The jewel in the crown of Colombian cuisine, this is the much-loved national dish, and an absolute must try. Bandeja Paisa is basically a selection of local flavours, a taste of Colombia on a plate, and generally features rice, avocado, plantain, beans and a LOT of meat including sausages (both chorizo and morcilla, or blood sausage), chicharrón (fried pork rind) and minced beef. It’s nourishing and delicious – but be warned, you need to bring a good appetite to the table.

02 – EMPANADAS

On the snack end of the spectrum, the delicious South American pastries known as empanadas are particularly good in Colombia for one simple reason: they’re deep fried. Think flaky pockets of pastry filled with a range of fillings depending on the region, including various meats, potatoes, rice, vegetables, crispy fries, different kinds of peppers and even peanut sauce. They are often served with a squeeze of lime and a spoonful of the spiced relish known as ají, making it the perfect quick bite, provided you can stop at one…

03 – FRITANGA

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and in a carnivorous mood (vegetarians, look away) then fritanga is the way to go. A great big plate of various types of grilled and fried meats all mixed together, it often features a variety of offal and is terrific for sharing. Not for the faint of heart, it’s a true Colombian experience and best enjoyed with toothpicks (to pick up the juicy morsels) and an icy cold local beer.

04 – SANCOCHO

For something a little lighter but just as full of meaty goodness, try a bowl of sancocho. This soup is full of treasures, usually chicken but often other meats as well, plus corn on the cob, plantain and beans. Like many Colombian dishes, it varies depending on who is making it, so you can enjoy different versions around the country, all served with rice, avocado and ají dipping sauce on the side.

05 – AJIACO

An alternative and equally excellent local soup is ajiaco, which is particularly popular in the central region of Colombia. Made with three types of potatoes from the Cundiboyacense Plateau, it also features chicken, cream and capers, as well as a special daisy-like grassy herb known as guascas that is found in the mountains and is high in minerals, giving the soup a distinct and delicious flavour.

06 – AREPAS

Another excellent snack option, often enjoyed for breakfast, are the cornmeal pancakes known as arepas. Frequently served on the side at meals, they can also be picked up at street stalls throughout the country where they are split open and filled with a tasty mix of cheese, meat and fried eggs.

07 – PATACONES

Colombia has a wide and glorious array of bananas and the locals are incredibly creative in their uses, making them an essential item to try when you’re travelling around the country. A popular way to eat them is as patacones, which are green plantains flattened and twice fried then served as little patties topped with anything from beans to meat or the tomato-based relish called hogao. Bananas are also often transformed into cayeye (a breakfast dish made from mashed guineos, a type of green banana), as well as little fried plantain balls known as marranitas when stuffed with pork and aborrajao when filled with cheese.

08 – LECHONA

For a feast, try ordering the fabulous lechona, a luscious pork roast filled with rice, onion and vegetables. The slow cooked meat and spectacular crackling, combined with the deeply flavoured rice, offers an epic dining experience usually reserved for special occasions and feast days, and best shared with a large group.

09 – FRUIT CANDIES

Sweet treats are an important part of Colombian cuisine and there are plenty of sugary delights from which to choose. Due to the vast array of fruit available in Colombia (supposedly enough to enjoy a different one every day of the year) it’s not a surprise that they feature highly in desserts and are particularly popular when made into “candies”, which are a reduction of candied fruit and sugar. The best flavours include papaya, breva, blackberry, cape gooseberry, coconut, rhubarb and guava – and working out your favourite one is the best part.

10 – OBLEAS

This street stall staple is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth: thin brown wafers (a bit like flat ice-cream cones) are sandwiched together with gooey fillings including arequipe (the local version of caramel), jam and chocolate. The flavours and toppings are laid out at each stall so you can mix and match to create your very own tailor-made Colombian dessert.