...(And it’s about my Colombia travels)
Following is a summarised version of my Colombia Travel Blog entry. If you want to see some of my photos of colombia visit Marcela's Colombia Travel Blog
Hello there. If someone gets to read this, I guess that formally means I’m finally starting my long planned - and long delayed - Colombia Travel Blog , so please allow me to introduce myself : My name is Marcela, I was born in Colombia a little more than 29 years ago and I hate to write.
Yes, you have read well, I really really hate to write… when I try to do it I just keep staring at the blank piece of paper (or at the screen in this case) wanting to say a lot, but I never manage to find the right words to make sense of all the things that go through my head. So I decided to just sit down and type whatever comes out, but you have to know this process is somehow painful for me Tatacoa
. Why go through all this then? Because as much as I hate to write , I have wanted for a long time now to tell the world what a fabulous travel destination Colombia, my home country, is.
With this blog I want to tell anyone kind enough to read it how great the new Colombia is. And saying “new” is not an exaggeration; Colombia’s reality and perception are no longer those of a shady, dangerous, convulsed country. Most of the territory is now free of guerrillas, drug trafficking has diminished a lot and now there’s a new sense of security in the streets of every major city in the country.
Besides that, the country’s prosperous economy has allowed people to increase their life quality a lot, we Colombians have always been kind and very friendly people, but now, for the first time in our modern history we are able to show the world everything there’s still to be discovered down here.
I spent my 20s living in London, and after 10 years I didn’t amass a little fortune like most of my fellow country people, instead I expend it all in travelling around the world as much as I could…. and while doing that I realized that my country had it all, that Colombia should also be a prime travel destination like Thailand, Tahiti, or our neighbour Peru … but the truth is that I didn’t know my country THAT much , at least not from a seasoned traveler perspective, I had traveled through it as a child, but I had always taken for granted that all of that diversity and beauty was “normal” . So while checking countries off my wish list I kept remembering those unbelievable
landscapes and outstanding sceneries of my childhood and thinking in the back of my head that I had to go back, with my new perspective and re-discover Colombia.
And so I did, but on my way back to Colombia I ran into a very interesting tourism company called Kumuka and - to make a long story short - I ended up working for them as a Tour Conductor around South America. As at least other 10 companies did, Kumuka offered fun and
adventurous overland tours in their own trucks around Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina … do you notice that there is one particular country missing in this route? Yes, you are right, no Colombia.
That fact saddened and made me a little angry…. why if Colombia was equally beautiful and interesting -and way more unexplored - than those countries, none of these companies were offering it as a destination?
Of course I lost no opportunity in talking to my passengers about how great Colombia is and, being social as I am, I think many of them started to see Colombia under a different perspective … they also found very “exotic” (for the lack of any other suitable word) to have a Colombian girl as their tour conductor , especially one with a very thick British accent
I had a fab time while working with them for a year and a half, thanks to Kumuka I can say now that I know most of Latin America from top to bottom, that I gained a lot of experience, met tons of fantastic people all over the world but also realized that there was still a whole lot to do in my country regarding the tourism industry when compared with other more popular South American countries.
When I got tired of carrying all my clothes in a bag all around South America I decided to end this year and a half break in my “going-back-to-Colombia” plan, but my perspective was once again totally changed, I saw now a lot of potential on doing things for my country, on developing tools to make Colombia a real attractive destination and to help boost the local travel industry. It was time to embark in a journey of re-encountering with my beloved Colombia.
After the usual welcome parties and gatherings with old friends and family - which being in Colombia meant 2 straight weeks of going out and partying with almost no sleep, after all we are the third happiest country in the world! - I started my journey in and around my home town and capital city, Bogota. For almost a year I restless traveled from North to South and East to West, discovering places in my own country that I wouldn’t have even dared to imagine before, while also keeping an eye open and researching on what was needed to improve the experience, to make it more accessible, friendlier and comfortable for foreign travelers. Seven colour rivers, hidden subterranean tunnels of hundreds of miles, a hidden city bigger than the mighty Machu Picchu… I was speechless, my country was really amazing!
In that first long trip I also visited Cali, Sugar Plantation farms, Lago Calima, Buenaventura port, the triangle of coffee,Medellin, Santa Fe de Antioquia, Tolú, Cartagena , Barranquilla,Tayrona Park, Riohacha, Cabo de la Vela, Valledupar, Bucaramanga, Parque Panachi, San Gil, Barichara, Villa de Leyva, Zipaquira, Suesca, Desierto de la Tatacoa, La Mesa, Cerros de Bogotá… whew! I think that’s it.
I saw it with my own eyes, people. And I also noticed the increasing number of tourist from North America and Europe that are slowly coming to Colombia and , believe me, there was no one of them that didn’t tell me that they wished they could stay here permanently.
All of them felt , for their surprises, safer than in their own countries. One of them even told me that the most dangerous thing he experienced while in Colombia , was almos breaking his ankle while getting off a bus. True story, but I guess you’ll have to experience it yourself, so if you are thinking about coming here send me an email and I’ll gladly advice you.
This blog is about those places I visited but also about life in Colombia, do’s and don’t’s and my ongoing trips through this fantastic land. I want to share the magic of both the most well known Colombia destinations with the off the beaten track hidden treasures.
And here I am , convinced about the fact that we’re on the verge of seeing Colombia blossom as a major new destination, and I want to be part of it.
So that’s it, I finally have a blog entry ready! I hope you enjoyed it and you’re very very very welcomed to leave your comments.
Marcela - Colombia Travel