The last time I traveled to ColombiaI loved the marketing campaign they were doing to attract tourists to the country. The slogan read: “The real danger of Colombia is that you don't want to leave" A month traveling around the country was enough to prove that the thinking heads of the campaign had achieved something very difficult in that world: succeed without cheating anyone.
Colombia is a country that has had very bad international press for many years. Actually, that is something that, in part, still endures today.
We only hear news from Colombia when something negative happens. That if the FARC can resurrect, that if the insecurity grows again, that if the drug cartels become strong in a certain part of the country. The same bazofia that from so many other countries we hear in some news that seem to exist only to depress us to satiety.
As well, nothing had to do with the Colombia that I found with the one they painted on television.
A country of great beauty and natural resources, with vibrant cities, colonial jewels and friendly and open people who know how to have fun and give true meaning to the word hospitality.
Based on my experience, here is a brief list of the best places to visit in Colombia:
Cartagena de Indias
Domes of the old city of Cartagena de Indias
The mythical city of Cartagena de Indias was one of the most important in the Spanish Empire in its colonial times.
Cartagena de Indias was one of the most important ports and the Spaniards fortified a city from which galleons loaded with silver and gold departed. Dutch, English and pirates besieged its walls for centuries and epic battles made her change hands several times.
Nowadays, Cartagena de Indias is a World Heritage Site and its historic center - still protected by walls and forts - is arguably the most beautiful Spanish colonial show.
Walking through its cobbled streets is like time travel.
Outside the walled enclosure You will find modern Cartagena, where the beach is taken by large international hotels and locals try to get you to get to know the Rosario Islands, a small archipelago where some celebrities bought paradise islands. Among them, Pablo Escobar.
The nightlife of Cartagena de Indias is one of the best in the country. And that, in Colombia, is not little. It is my number one of the places to see in Colombia.
Pre-Columbian Sculptures of San Agustín
And if Cartagena is the emblem of colonial Colombia, the sculptures of San Agustín are the best expression of the pre-Columbian era.
They are hidden in the jungle and, although several are exposed in an archaeological park, there are many more that have been lost among trees and weeds.
Millenary art that disappeared with the arrival of the conquerors. The town of San Agustín is very small and not very accessible, which gives an extra charm and value to the trip. You can explore its surroundings on horseback or on foot, having dense forests of yesteryear and current farms inhabited by peaceful and friendly people.
Sunset from Tulcán Hill