Culture

Colombia Is Calling Your Name But How Much Do You Actually Know About This Incredible South American Country?

Colombia has been a rising travel destination for several years now as more and more people realize it has so much to offer. From bustling cities full of life to snow-capped mountains and unrivaled jungle rainforests, Colombia is truly a destination worth exploring.

And before the Coronavirus pandemic halted the breaks on the travel industry, Colombia was quickly becoming a major appeal for travelers from all over the world. Just 10 years ago, Colombia received around 900,000 foreign visitors – last year that number stood at nearly 3 million!

Now, as many of us dream about our next vacation (which is likely months if not more than a year away…), we want to revisit some of our favorite travel hotspots and test your knowledge on South America’s top destinations.

The country has a bad rap – but safety has improved so much.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Unfortunately, it appears that not everyone knows that Colombia is well and truly back on the map, and that for the most part it is a safe destination for visitors to South America.

The drug cartels, still very much present, tend to keep their violence off the streets and a truce between FARC and the government has largely been held in place. Still, you may hear stories and sure there are parts of the country you probably shouldn’t visit, but Colombia has overwhelmingly improved its security. Anthony Bourdain summed it up pretty perfectly:

“If you want to find bad people in Colombia, you can surely find them, as you could in New York or Los Angeles. But nowhere have my crew and I been treated better or with more kindness and generosity. I’d bring my family on vacation there in a heartbeat. And hope to soon. As I said before: Colombians are proud. Let them show you what they are proud of.”

Colombians sure love their fiestas – the country is home to four of the world’s largest parties.

Credit: Bret Silverwood / Flickr

From the biggest salsa festival, theatre festival, outdoor horse parade to a flower parade, Colombia knows how to throw massive parties. Many of these events are scheduled well in advance so you can start looking for dates in 2021 and plan your trip accordingly!

Colombia is a major music-producing country – Maluma baby!

Credit: maluma / Instagram

Colombia has given us some pretty awesome people: hip-shaking Shakira, author Gabriel Garcia Marquez (who penned Love in the Time of Cholera) and actor John Leguizamo (of Moulin Rouge and Romeo & Juliet fame – Google him, you’ll know) all call the country home.

Not to mention Juanes, Maluma, J Balvin, Karol G and so many others.

Colombia is the only country in South America that has coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Credit: Bret Silverwood / Flickr

Ok, so the Pacific side isn’t all that much of a tourist destination yet – it lacks the sandy beaches known to the Caribbean side. But still, you get the best of both worlds with two different coastlines to choose from.

There are about 80 different regional languages spoken across Colombia.

Credit: Bret Silverwood / Flickr

Spanish, like most of South America, is the official language of Colombia and you’ll get by in most of the country with it. But keep in mind if in smaller villages that it’s more than likely you’ll encounter Indigenous languages – many of which are in danger of extinction.

Aguardiente is the national drink.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

You’ll either love it or hate it but either way you’ll end up drinking tons of it. It’s cheap and mixes pretty well.

Capital Bogota has one of the biggest cycle path networks in the world.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Bogota’s bike network is the largest network in the America’s and it actually carries more than 600,000 riders each and every day. That’s some serious ridership and is kind of surprising considering the city sits at an altitude of nearly 3,000 meters (or more than 8,000 feet).

Colombia is one of the most mega-diverse countries in the world.

Credit: National Geographic

Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, after only Brazil which is 10 times its size, and one of only 17 “megadiverse” countries. It has the highest amount of species by area in the world, including more species of bird than all of Europe and North America combined.

Plastic surgery really is a thing.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

Having grown up in a society where butt implants were a thing the Kadarshians constantly denied, it was fascinating to see so many people openly displaying their ‘physical enhancements.’

According to some locals, the plastic surgery crazy may be thanks to the drug cartels – who allegedly like women to look a certain way. But one thing’s clear – plastic surgery is big business in Colombia with some tour companies actually changing their business model to do ‘surgery tourism’ from the U.S.!

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In A Post-Covid World, Here Is Where You All Said Want To Travel

Culture

In A Post-Covid World, Here Is Where You All Said Want To Travel

©Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

Covid put a stop to our travel plans for 2020. After almost a year in lockdown, we have had time to plan fantasy trips and explore the world. We asked you where you wanted to visit and here are some of the places you all can’t wait to see.

Argentina

Argentina offers something for everyone. As on of the southernmost countries in the world, Argentina offers natural sights that will make nature lovers swoon. Into architecture? Cities like Mendoza offers a look at the art-deco style that will make you feel like you are back in time. Don’t forget to try to make a trip down to Ushuaia, the End of the World for a spectacular view.

Cuba

Cuba is a tricky one but a beautiful place to see. The country is filled with old buildings and cars that make it feel like a time capsule. Now, the island is old because they are oppressed and don’t have much. But you can always find ways to make sure that you help people of the island instead of giving the money to government approved businesses.

Costa Rica

This is about as wild and wondrous as it gets. Costa Rica will give everyone a chance to really be one with nature. The Central American country is a rainforest oasis with nature everywhere you look. The country prides itself on how development is not encroaching on nature and has even outlawed zoos and aquariums.

Honduras

Honduras is an underestimated place to visit. The food and people are warm and inviting. There has been some unrest in the country in recent years and a series of hurricanes has devastated the population. Tourism is a great way to bring money into a place the needs it. Just don’t take advantage of them while you are there.

Mexico

Mexico is a country filled with wonders new and old. You can experience the ruins of some of the oldest civilizations and bask in the modernity of Mexico City. The food is as diverse and vibrant as the people with delicious moles in Oaxaca and experimental fusions in Mexico City. Valle de Guadalupe is home to some farm to table restaurants and exquisite wineries. It truly is a journey of the sense if you take time to see the country.

Colombia

Colombia is one of South America’s gems. After years of internal conflict, the nation is growing and quickly becoming a destination. Bogotá and Medellín are great but make it a point to visit Cali. The city is one of the place everyone should visit if they make their way to Colombia.

READ: Mexico Announces 11 New Pueblos Mágicos And It’s The Post-COVID Travel Lust We All Need Right Now

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Video Shows A Man Who Lied About His COVID-19 Symptoms Dying On A Flight

Things That Matter

Video Shows A Man Who Lied About His COVID-19 Symptoms Dying On A Flight

Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

There’s a reason the CDC is recommending that people avoid travelling during the holidays–there’s no way of knowing the health statuses of the people around you. This fact was illustrated very clearly by a shocking event that occurred last Monday that was caught on video.

On December 14th, a man died on a United Airlines flight from Orlando to Los Angeles after lying about his symptoms.

Since news of his death went viral, footage of multiple passengers performing emergency CPR on him for 45 minutes has since been circulated.

According to various reports, the unidentified man was exhibiting troubling symptoms before the plane took off–namely shaking, sweating heavily and breathing with difficulty. About an hour into the flight, the man stopped breathing and the flight crew asked for CPR volunteers. In the meantime, they diverted the flight to New Orleans.

By the time the plane landed and the man was transported to the local hospital, he was pronounced dead.

Like every other passenger, the man had filled out a pre-flight checklist in which he agreed that he was not exhibiting any symptoms of coronavirus.

United later confirmed that the deceased passenger “wrongly acknowledged this requirement.”

Passengers also confirmed that the airline did not take people’s temperatures when boarding the flight. One passenger also reported that, after the diversion, United did not switch planes, but instead gave passengers the option of

In response to this, United gave the following statement: “At the time of the diversion, we were informed he had suffered a cardiac arrest, so passengers were given the option to take a later flight or continue on with their travel plans.”

According to the flight’s passengers, the man’s wife was also overheard saying that her husband had been ill in the days leading up to the flight and that he had also lost his sense of taste and smell.

One of the passengers that attempted to resuscitate the man described the experience later via Twitter.

“I made the decision to attempt to save the passengers life and along with 2 others performed CPR for close to an hour until we landed. And continued to help the firefighters when they came onboard,” wrote passenger Tony Aldapa.

He continued: “I spent the remainder of the flight covered in my own sweat and in that man’s urine. I have since become symptomatic myself and am awaiting the results of my second test. I have not been contacted by the airline or by @CDCgov as of this time.”

Unsurprisingly, many people are upset both at United for failing to have a protocol in place from preventing sick passengers from boarding their planes and at the unidentified man for knowing he was sick and putting everyone in danger.

“What a disaster!” wrote one Twitter user. “Not only was passenger and family exhibiting selfish behavior, United Airlines continues to exhibit incompetence as an airline.”

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