Colombia has become the buzz-word for backpackers in South America. In fact most say that it’s their favourite country that they’ve visited. This is one of the reason why I chose Colombia as my latest work and travel spot… and I wasn’t disappointed (I stayed two months longer than originally planned).
Not many years ago travellers simply ignored Colombia. Its reputation as a dangerous drug-haven turned people off. But things have changed. This amazing country has become the place to be, and the time to go is now.To give you a better understanding what’s so special about this country and why you should highly consider it as your next work and travel destination I’m sharing 10 reasons why you need to visit this amazing country.
1 The Nature is mind blowing
The Amazon, The Andes, The pacific, The Caribbean, The Desert… What more could you want in one country?
The only South American country with Pacific and Caribbean coasts, Colombia is one of the most varied and spectacular places on earth. It’s also home to an amazing amount of fauna and wildlife… I don’t know any other country in the world that offers so much diversity in such a small area -make sure you bring an extra memory card for your camera!
2 The People are Awesome
It’s very difficult to find a friendlier country than Colombia (if you know one tell me now!) They are not blind to their past and know their reputation, so they always do their best to change your mind.
If you’re out salsa dancing, wondering the streets, or looking for a game of football, they’ll make sure that you’re having an awesome time. A recent poll by an international research companyfound that Colombia was the happiest country in the world, twice as happy as the global average. Now, I’m not sure how you can measure this, but the result doesn’t surprise me.
3 Want to learn Spanish? Vaya a Colombia!
If you really want to learn Spanish in your spare time there are few better places than Colombia. Colombians speak with an understandable and neutral accent (compared to countries like Chile!) and they’ll be patient as you try your best to ask them for a favour. Plus, Colombia has loads of top class universities, most of which run affordable group and private classes.
4 The best coffee in the world
Nobody likes having to wake up early to reach a deadline but it’s not so bad with a steaming cup of strong Colombian coffee – the best in the world. The coffee area (Eje Cafetero) is definately worth a visit, beautiful landscapes and lush green mountains makes it one of the best places to enjoy nature and a fresh cup of coffee.
5 Adventure hotspot
If you love the buzz of adrenaline then Colombia is to you what a shoal of fish is to a shark: full of opportunities. Paragliding, rock-climbing, Scuba diving, hiking, kayaking, rafting, kitesurfing, surfing you name it Colombia’s got it!
6 Colombia is affordable
Like most of South America travelling around Colombia is not expensive:
- Food is cheap: an almuerzo (lunch of soup, meat, rice, and juice) is around $3-4.
- Accommodation is cheap: Hostels are around $10 a night
- Transport is cheap: Flights with Viva Colombia are often less than busses – it’s possible to get a return flight between Medellin and Bogota (12 hour bus ride) for $50… seriously.
You can easily travel around Colombia on a budget of $1000 a month if you take it easy and don’t party every night!
7 A Hidden Gem, but for how long?
Colombia has had a difficult past and as a result most backpackers didn’t even consider travelling there. But now the country is getting up from its knees, soon it will be standing with its chest puffed out. But I don’t know how long this beautiful country can stay the way that it is.
As more and more tourists come here (inevitable) it might lose some of its charm and maybe the people will become less friendly, the prices will definitely rise. I don’t know the future, but one thing is for sure… Now is the time to go to Colombia.
8 Fantastic infrastructure to get things done
When we work and travel it’s important to be able to get things done with the least amount of stress. Colombia is the perfect place to come on a ‘workation’. Every city has a free-to-enter University where you can use the library and Wi-Fi. Mobile internet is very popular and works very well in every big city. And travelling is really easy to organise and the busses are modern and comfortable.
9 Medellin – An awesome city, perfect for a longer work stop
As I write this there are 10,000 people from 160 countries taking part in the World Urban Forum (WUF), in Medellin! The Forum discusses ways to live together, peacefully in cities. And they’ve chosen Medellin because of the unbelievable transitions it’s made in the past few years. Just think… 10 years ago this was the most dangerous city in the world, now look at it! Important people are coming here from all over the world to see how they’ve done it! Amazing!
Medellin also has a diverse entrepreneurial scene, with lots of business opportunities. And it’s becoming known as ‘the silicon valley of South America’- high praise indeed. Plus, the climate is perfect. Not too warm and not cold. Medellin is the perfect place to base yourself. It’s centrally located so you can easily visit any other part of the country. I ended up staying here for 6 weeks instead of 1,I will tell you a few more things about Medellin in the upcoming posts.
10 The only risk is wanting to stay …
The Colombian tourist board’s slogan is ‘The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay’. Whoever wrote that line deserves a raise! It sums up the country so perfectly. Everything about it drags you in and keeps you there as you discover new and exciting things all the time. I know a few people who’ve come here and couldn’t leave, and I don’t blame them. Forget about the risk of being abducted by a drug runner and having to live in the jungle for a year, that’s not going to happen! The only risk is wanting to stay…
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Go, and go soon. Colombia won’t disappoint you and you’ll have an amazing time!
Have you been to Colombia? How did you like it? Share your thoughts in comments!