Friday, May 11, 2012

Colombia Beyond the Myths

When I tell friends I'm about to take off on a new adventure, if I happen to be traveling to Hawaii, the Caribbean, Spain, Chile or dozens of other places around the world, often the response is, "Oh, can you take me in your backpack?" That's not the response I got when I told friends and colleagues that I was venturing to Colombia. Instead, I heard, "Oh, be careful." "Don't go out at night." "You're not going alone, are you?" "Wow. Colombia. Well, email me that you're safe."


Even when I returned and told of the expansive nature preserves, the hot nightlife in Bogota, the fine restaurants with wines from around the world, the boutique hotels with spas, and quaint colonial villages paved with cobblestones, the responses were, "Sounds nice. Glad you didn't get kidnapped." Poor Colombia. There's so much beauty and culture that most people are missing because they continue to believe that terrorists, thieves, drug lords and kidnappers are lurking around every corner.


 My article for the Huffington Post describes 20 of the treasures I found on my recent trip to Colombia. And, as we all know, it's the people you encounter that can make or break a trip. In Colombia, I was surprised to find so many people who were delighted that someone from New York came all the way to their country.



And, if you don't feel like visiting Colombia alone, then check out Voyage Colombia, a company I used to help me plan this trip. They'll set up your itinerary based on your interests, whether it's the culinary scene or more nature based, and also provide an English-speaking guide and/or a driver that will be flexible, informative, helpful and absolutely interested that you enjoy your stay in Colombia.


14 comments:

Brette Sember said...

I think there are a lot of misunderstood destinations in the world - I'm glad you are debunking that!

Living Large said...

To be quite honest when I hear the word, I think of drug wars. I'm glad you showed a different side.

HeatherL said...

Very good to know about Columbia and very timely in light of the recent Secret Service scandal there.

JTravel said...

Hi Brette, I'm all about debunking travel myths.

JTravel said...

Hi Living Large, Thanks much. Yes, drug cartels are so often mentioned in connection with Colombia. I love to go beyond the stereotypes and find out about a country's beauty.

JTravel said...

Hi Heather, Yes. When I heard about the Secret Service scandal, I thought about how Colombia's image is tainted yet again.

MyKidsEatSquid said...

Voyage Columbia sounds like a great resource. We hired a local guide in Mexico and it made our trip so much cooler--he took us to a lot of places we might have missed otherwise.

Steph - DiscoveringIce.com said...

Yes totally agree, having spent almost 4 months in Colombia and my boyfriend is also from there, it pains me to see how ignorant people still are to the truths about a country now-a-days especially with the internet where they can easily research for themselves, uninfluenced by the western media portrayals of 'third world' countries. There are cities in the US far more dangerous than some parts of Colombia. You have to be careful no matter where you go in the world and Colombia is a truly STUNNING country, so diverse and ecologically unique.

I have wrote loads about how amazing Colombia is on my blog. The people there are the most friendly, proud and generous people you will ever meet!

JTravel said...

Hi MyKidsEatSquid, It's a great company and one that made planning this trip so easy. Their guides were impeccable.

JTravel said...

Hi Steph, It seems people just get hung up with a stereotype and don't have the time or interest to go beyond that to find out the truth.

Sheryl said...

Yes, Columbia does get a bad rap. I do applaud you for traveling there despite that - so glad you had a great trip!

JTravel said...

Hi Sheryl, Thanks much. I can't wait to return.

Donna Hull said...

This happens with countries that experience turmoil. The news media goes overboard hyping the danger. It takes so long for tourism to overcome the misconceptions. I was in Cartagena, Colombia this winter during a cruise. I overheard many of the passengers remarking that they would have liked to stay longer. Cartagena is a charming city with so much history. I'd love to go back and experience some of Colombia's nature, as you did.

Man said...

Colombia is a marvelous getaway for honeymoons, let me tell you that. Me and my wife went to Bogota and had a great time!