Colombia: As seen in 2007 and 2017
Colombia. Why was I going to Colombia in 2007? To marry my Colombian boyfriend.
Yes. That was it. We met in Portugal and 6 months later I was on my way to Colombia to get married.
You may think: “She was crazy” Maybe a bit. I was in love. And people in love do crazy things.
So far it was the best crazy thing I ever did. We got married and for one and a half months we lived with no other concerns than to meet with his friends and family and get to know the country.
However, when I got there I must admit I was a little scared.
But my conclusion was that Colombia was a very beautiful country with really nice people, helpful and happy.
10 years later we went to visit family and friends and see a bit more of that beautiful country. It remains almost the same, the people are still friendly and humble, but everything is more expensive and technology is everywhere.
Chaotic as ever. Could a place with more than 8 million inhabitants be any different?
Every time you go somewhere it takes 30 minutes or more by taxi, but it’s worth it because they are cheap. Uber has also arrived in the city, and they offer greater comfort and door-to-door service.
Since Bogotá is the third highest capital in the world at 2640 metres the weather is always fickle. You might be feeling cold and suddenly the Sun comes out and it gets very hot.
In Bogotá there are beautiful places to visit like:
- Morro de Monserrate, at the altitude of 3152 metres
You can always eat Ajiaco, a typical food of Bogotá with different types of potatoes, chicken, corn and capers. It tastes really well, specially with avocado and plantains.
Cartagena de Indias
In June 2017 we took the plane from Bogotá to Cartagena and 1 hour later we were there with 32° C during the day and 25° C at night. The water temperature was 25° C which is spectacular. My 4-year-old daughter didn’t want to get out of the ocean.
The fortified city or ciudad amurallada, as Colombians call it, is very beautiful with its colonial architecture. The Bocagrande area, where we stayed, has access on foot to the beaches.
There are other tours that can take you to Barranquilla and Santa Marta. They say Santa Marta is really beautiful. However, they are long trips for kids, 3 hours each way, so we didn’t go.
There are one day tours that take you to know the islands of Rosario and Playa Blanca. There the sand is white unlike other beaches in Cartagena.
Cali and Palmira
In Cali and Palmira we didn’t visit as much as we wanted to. However, we visited the Museo de la Caña de Azucar near Palmira, which was well worth it.You walk through the outdoors Museum and see the equipment that was used to extract sugar and its evolution over time.
It is a very beautiful place where you can spend a wonderful morning or afternoon.
The second is a farm and animal park where you can watch shows with animals such as horses and pigs and meet farm animals. There are over 4500 animals in the park.
You should plan to spend one day in each park, specially with kids.
The weather in Armenia is very nice during the day and cool at night. That is not the case in Neiva where the weather is very hot.
In Neiva temperature is high, but I felt a big difference from the time we visited in 2007. I found it more bearable.
We went there to visit family and to go to La Fiesta de San Pedro Y San Juan. On this holiday that lasts several days you can see parades of horses, reinas or misses, chivas (the typical transport of rural Colombia, for people and merchandise). It is really colourful and beautiful to watch.
We visited Desierto de la Tatacoa, a beautiful red desert. Unfortunately, very windy as well so we had to end the visit earlier than expected.
In 2007 we went to Pitalito, a small town from which you can get to Parque Arqueológico de San Agustín, 59 kilometres away. The park, with its carved volcanic stone sculptures and situated near The Andes, is a beautiful place to visit.
Zipakirá: Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
Near Bogotá we visited a spectacular salt cathedral. Built inside a salt mine with na original architecture we loved every minute we spent there. Anyone who wants to can get married there.
The cathedral is about 49 kilometres from Bogotá and it takes a whole day to visit, but I liked it so much that I hope to go back one day.
I love visiting Colombia, people are very nice and the landscapes are very beautiful. Note that telecommunications have taken over people’s lives such as in Europe. In every home there is a next-generation television and there is internet everywhere: hotels, private homes or malls, so it’s easy to phone home.
Colombia is a country worth knowing, and next visit I hope to go to Letícia and get to know the Amazon jungle.
Have you been there? Is Colombia a place you would like to visit?