The flag of Colombia blowing in the wid as it hangs from a building

Posted: three/14/2019 | March 14th, 2019

Colombia’s troubled previous – cartels, paramilitaries, poverty, petty crime — casts a extended shadow that nonetheless reaches to nowadays. The nation is nonetheless viewed by lots of as a spot exactly where danger lurks about each and every corner.*

Possessing grown up hearing stories of Colombian drug lords, kidnappings, murders, and muggings, these ghosts haunted the back of my thoughts as ready to pay a visit to the nation.

Was the nation going to be secure? Should really I bring my electronics?

The stories and photos we develop up with do not leave us very easily. They slide to the recesses of our thoughts and wait there, prepared to jump back to the forefront and whisper worry into our ears.

Even even though I knew otherwise, the old image of Colombia — born of decades of media bombardment — nonetheless circled about me as I touched down in Medellin.

It promptly evaporated when face with reality.

Colombian history is just that. History.

The colorful and bright buildings of a narrow street in Bogota, Colombia

Yes, there are nonetheless lots of difficulties right here in Colombia: the drug trade is nonetheless robust, paramilitaries nonetheless exist, and petty crime is a main issue. The murder price, even though falling substantially more than the final decade, was nonetheless 11,781 in 2017 and petty crime and armed robbery are nonetheless a standard occurrence with 2018 seeing more than 200,000 armed robberies in the nation.

Locals usually recommended not going out to particular places at evening and getting added cautious with my stuff. There are nonetheless challenges with the paramilitaries (there was a bombing whilst I was there by the National Liberation Army, a radical paramilitary group). Earnings inequality is higher. Poverty is rife. About 29% of the population lives beneath the poverty line.

Colombia is not best. It is nonetheless developing, it is nonetheless creating, and it nonetheless is attempting to cast off the extended shadow of its troubled previous.

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But the large cartel days are more than, and most paramilitaries have entered peace agreements with the government. Big crimes are decreasing each and every year. Kidnapping has decreased by 92% considering that the cartel years and homicides have dropped by about 50% more than the previous two decades.

Poverty is decreasing as properly. Due to the fact 2002, when the government began tracking poverty statistics, the poverty price in the nation has dropped from just about 50% to 29% — and it is nonetheless dropping by about three% each and every year. On leading of that, their GDP per capita has enhanced just about 5-fold considering that 1980.

Gradually but certainly, items are enhancing.

Tourism from about the globe is on the rise, as properly, with tourism doubling considering that 2010.

Foreigners are moving there in droves (Colombia gets a new immigrant each and every 18 minutes). The nation is a hub for digital nomads and tech businesses like WeWork, Facebook, and Google. It is creating large strides, normally dispelling visitors’ earlier preconceptions.

Danger does not lurk about each and every corner the way it employed. Colombia is a nation on the move and men and women are eagerly wanting to shed its previous.

This is not our parent’s Colombia.

The skyline of Cartegena, Colombia on a sunny day with skyscrapers and the port in view

The nation regularly blew away all my expectations. (Even my dad, who was certain I was going to get kidnapped, commented right after seeing my photographs that it wasn’t something like he believed it was.)

The men and women had been curious, friendly, warm, and beneficial. I had some excellent conversations with students and Uber drivers (I bonded with one particular more than classical music and an additional more than our mutual adore of the book The five Like Languages). Colombians I met in Cartagena took me out and treated me like we had been close friends forever. I had numerous other good encounters with men and women who seemed normally content to show their nation to guests.

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The infrastructure rivaled what you see in the sophisticated nations of Europe. Seriously, the roads, the ski-style gondolas major into the mountains, the subways, the fast bus routes, the trams — I only want the United States had such a extensive program.

a colorful street in Cartagena

The culinary scene — higher-class gastronomy all through, mixed with outstanding hole-in-the-wall restaurants and ceviche and fruit smoothie street vendors — is one particular of the most eclectic and cutting-edge in the area.

And with lightning-speedy Wi-Fi and tons of cafés, I identified functioning there a breeze.

Colombia is packed with items to do and see, from stunning colonial towns like Popayan and Cartagena to vibrant cities such as Bogotá and Medellín, from dancing in Cali to the Lost City Trek, from the beaches of the north to hikes in the coffee area, from the desert of Tatacoa to the ruins of San Agustín.

I believed that spending six weeks in the nation would let me to dig a small deeper, but even with that quantity of time, I nonetheless barely scratched the surface.

Colombia is no Shangri-La.

But it is damn close.

I give it an 11 out of 10.

It may perhaps be clichéd to say but I can not wait to go back. Colombia was one particular of the very best nations I’ve visited in years.

I can not speak extremely sufficient about it.

Book Your Trip to Colombia: Logistical Ideas and Tricks

Book Your Flight
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Book Your Accommodation
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Do not Overlook Travel Insurance coverage
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*I do not imply just in the United States. Colombia has come to be extremely well-liked with Dutch travelers thanks to a well-liked Television show that requires spot right here but lots of told me that older Dutch residents nonetheless ask “Why are you going to Colombia? It is harmful.” Old patterns die hard…no matter exactly where you are in the planet.