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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.!
It’s National Picnic Week and since you’re reading this, we’re assuming you’re the altruistic, enjoy-every-moment type. So trust that as we help you set the tone of your fictional (or real) picnic, we’ll give you a vetted, Latino driven and focused organization that deserves your money. Who knows, maybe you’ll even plan the picnic IRL to raise awareness for the cause?
Vamos a ver.
Where's the picnic at?
@thatssohaute / Twitter
Pick a basket, any basket.
Will there be salad?
@FoodHeaIth / Twitter
Play a song to set the mood.
What food can a picnic not exist without?
Whose *not* invited?
Pick a field of flowers you'd want to be in.
Ok, really, talk about the humans invited.
@Whatawonder2018 / Twitter
What's one word you want your guests to describe your picnic?
Pick a butterfly.
Pick a beverage.
What's the dream ending to your picnic?
Dessert: will it make an entrance?
@OneGreenPlanet / Twitter
Will there be ghost stories?
@KillingEve / Twitter
Plan A Picnic And We’ll Tell You What Organization You Should Donate To
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
NLIRH is doing the research nobody else is--understanding how Latinas suffer under gender inequality, especially in regards to access to healthcare. Then, NLIRH is using policy change and Latina leadership development to advance a reproductive justice agenda to include immigrant healthcare, abortion access, and affordable healthcare.
You're ready to let patriarchy rest in pieces, now more than ever. We're not rewinding history and we're not letting women of color and immigrants get left behind in anyone's version of feminism. This is it, you're here for it.
Trans Latina Coalition
TLC is formed by Trans Latinx leaders *for* trans Latinx immigrants living in the U.S. They work with policy makers to find solutions to trans peoples' unique needs, especially those living in detention centers without access to appropriate healthcare.
You are abounding in inclusive energy because you know justice reform must be intersectional, and you are intentional about creating space for this advocacy work from picnic conversations to your pocketbook.
Freedom for Immigrants
Freedom for Immigrants is devoted to abolishing immigration detention, while ending the isolation of people currently suffering in this profit-driven system. They are the only nonprofit in the country monitoring the human rights abuses faced by immigrants detained by ICE through a national hotline and network of volunteer detention visitors, while also modeling a community-based alternative to detention that welcomes immigrants into the social fabric of the United States.
You and Freedom for Immigrants have a lot in common--you're both changing the world one person, one step at a time, and feel everyone has a right to a safe space of belonging.
Spay Mexico is aiming to end pet overpopulation and homelessness in Mexico one animal at a time. It's vision is to create affordable and free spay and neuter surgeries for responsible guardians and homeless animals alike.
You can't imagine your animal companion left to fend for him or herself in the streets anymore than any other dog or cat. Your heart is big enough to extend to a range of issues, and you won't leave anyone behind.