Colombia has turned over a new leaf over the past few decades with its shining confidence and beauty. It is a land that is home to every geographical feature: dominating Andean mountain ranges, beaches, deserts, tropical jungles, and an array of spellbound places cached in between!
Rest aside all the assumptions, and you will find Colombia impressing you with every step you take. Right from the most aromatic and invigorating coffee to several vintage cities to explore, a Colombia vacation package will be irreplaceable and alluring. Land of magic realism, thanks to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombian cities and towns will make you introspect.
Here’s what you need to know before traveling to this beautiful transcontinental Caribbean destination.
1. It is a safer country than compared to what people usually think:
Yes, the country was ridden in conflict once upon a time. Civil unrest troubled the country long back.
But now, it is safe for tourism. There is more to Colombia than drug lords and other illegal activities. Thanks to the friendly people, and the government for slowly bringing back the good reputation and making it fascinating. As long as tourists don’t visit the restricted places, Colombia will welcome you warm-heartedly.
If tourists aren’t yet convinced then they can avail travel insurance. Insurance will keep your vacation package safe from hurdles, and all possible harm.
2. A single trip is not enough to witness the entire beauty of Colombia:
A week or even two will not suffice to see and do everything in Colombia. It is diverse with incredible adventures to undertake. You have the Andean mountains waiting for you to hike, tropical Amazon forests for a safari, Tatacoa desert to get lost into, and innumerable cities to witness.
Therefore, travel experts suggest tourists prepare a well-planned vacation package. Though one cannot see every place, some important, inescapable locations and experiences can be included in your trip.
3. Savor the best Caribbean cuisine in Colombia:
Not just the Caribbean, but Colombia offers delicious varieties of Spanish and African cuisines too. It makes it the best destination for gastronomy tourism and gourmet lovers.
The Aljaco is a warm soup of chicken, varieties of potatoes, and herbs of Guasca plants. It is a must-try soup and is available in almost all Colombian restaurants. The Bandeja Paisa, also known as “workman’s platter”, is a healthy dish including avocados, rice, pork, beef, beans, and corn. It is one of the staple dishes in Colombia as it has all the necessary nutrients required. Sancocho, Lechona, Changhua, Fritanga, tamales, arepa are other tasty dishes as unique as they sound!
Not just meat and spicy curry, but vegetarians have several dishes to choose from too. Colombians love to eat diverse dishes as well as healthy. Beans, fruits, green vegetables, lentils, sprouts, chickpeas, and juices are healthier options for vegetarians.
The foods are made in clean surroundings. Tourists need not worry about consuming street food too. They offer a more authentic perspective into the country’s culture and cuisine. Empanadas, fresh juices, and fruits, arepas, con queso are offered by street vendors for the hungry soul!
4. Transportation is easier in Colombia than compared to other Caribbean destinations:
You don’t have to spend too much on transportation. Tourists can have a good trip by traveling on public buses. The fares are cost-efficient and the seating facilities are quite good. Full reclining seats, headrests, air conditioning, brunch, and lavatory are just some features available on buses.
Uber is another cheaper way to commute between cities. But if you are opting for taxis, make sure to bargain with the driver to avoid paying too much.
5. A bit of Spanish will be helpful:
You don’t have to be fluent in Spanish but knowing a few words and phrases will help you. Thankfully, Colombian hotels, resorts, tour operators, and common people speak English. But knowing a bit of Spanish helps you converse and mingle with the locals.
Today various language applications are available online. Translation tools will help you brush up your skills while you are on the go.
Google Translate, SpanishDict, Learn Spanish Free, and Spanish Dictionary + are some reliable applications tourists can use when in Colombia.
6. Incredible coffee culture:
If Ikigai is for the Japanese and Hygge is for the Danish, then coffee is for Colombia. If you are a caffeine lover, Colombia will be your paradise! The country has good coffee shops that brew invigorating coffee, fresh and hot.
Some rare varieties of coffee tourists can try in Colombia include Tabi, Castillo, Criollo, Topazio, etc. Much of the coffee beans are exported from other destinations. But Colombia grows the best coffee. Vacation packages offer tours to famous coffee plantations. Get a good cup of coffee to drink from the source and also various goodies!
The Coffee Triangle, Experiencia Cafetera, Hacienda Venecia, and Panorama Café Hostel are some incredible coffee farms that also provide lodging facilities.
7. Kindly pay in cash:
Tourists prefer card payments as compared to cash. Undoubtedly, it is a viable and safe option. But, Colombian hotels, resorts, shops, and vendors don’t prefer to accept card payments.
ATMs are available but most of them hardly have cash or are under maintenance. Hence, travel experts suggest tourists carry a good amount of cash. Make card payments wherever acceptable.
8. The best place to learn salsa and waltz:
Salsa and waltz is the spice of Colombian life. Vacation packages offer salsa classes for tourists from experienced salsa dancers. These classes are cost-efficient and interesting. Both private and batch lessons are provided to interested tourists.
Cali, a Colombian city in the Cauca valley, is considered as the “Salsa Capital of the World”. It comes to life every year in the annual salsa festival. With more than 150 salsa academies and clubs, dancers, musicians, and artists perform day and night. The imagination, passion, and creativity put into the fest by talented dancers draw great attention from people worldwide.