It's Colombia! The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay

Trip Start Dec 10, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2012

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

I originally wrote the title of this entry, as 'O Colombia' but since spending time with an expat living out here in the volunteering project, I have stolen his catchphrase and affectionately re-named it 'It's Colombia'! an expression when something is not logical or different to the way you would do things in your (westernised) country.

The Colombian tourist board say it even better, I watched one of their adverts on the plane here from Venezuela when I first arrived some seven weeks ago - wow yes seven weeks I have already been in Colombia. 'Colombia. The only risk is wanting to stay'. 'Colombia, el risgoe es que te quieras quedar'. You can see one of their adverts here:

I nearly skipped this country, hearing what I had before about drugs, violence and kidnappings. All of which are happening and still a problem, but on the tourist trail here it is easy to travel. People are very friendly. I am not saying people were not friendly in the other countries I visited, but here I feel so welcome always and people are ready to accept you. I have also had a lot of fun in this country, with the party scene of Cartagena and the caribean coast of Colombia, down to cities like Medellin the parties did not stop with some good clubs and drinking venues in the city and the travellers lapping them up.

I am so glad I chose to visit and yes I have stayed a lot longer than I thought, even making the decision to skip Ecuador all together and spend about another four more weeks in this wonderful country. I am going to fly direct from Bogota the capital mid April to meet my Dad in Lima's airport to start my Peru adventure.

I am so surprised each time I visit a new place here, how diverse it is and still how wonderful the people are. Today I needed to get something laminated, I went to three shops all very helpful but could not actually laminate what I wanted, but gave it a good try first before saying it was not possible. It's Colombia. A bit similar to asking directions here, even if they don't exactly know they will help even if it isn't right or possible. I got my stuff laminated in the end by the way.

It's not all perfect of course, drugs amongst the tourists is prevalent and the Colombian people are against this and wish for this to be eradicated and this image of Colombia to dissipate. There are also police everywhere, security guards even guarding a toy shop at night all armed with a LOT of guns. My documents have been checked sometimes twice on any of the bus journeys I have taken, but 'touch wood' as we say in Britain, to no problems so far. I am now travelling to the far south of Colombia and arriving in Popayan there were police on literally every street corner and intersection as we drove into the bus terminal.

What has made me stay so long is falling in love with the people and the country.

Estoy emorada de... Colombia. And the only risk is wanting to stay!

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Felipe on

Charlotte! I'm so glad that you made the wise choice of visiting my country! I remember that before you embarked in this journey, Colombia was not even in your plans. Keep enjoying my homeland, you will find Bogota a bit chilly but hopefully it will only be the weather, people, party and culture are everywhere! I personally recomend you a visit to Villa de Leyva. 2.5 hours drive to the North of Bogota. Hope to see you down in Chile! Let me know if you make it all down here.

greekcypriot on

Charlotte thanks for sharing this video. For years I had the impression of Colombia as a country that I should never visit. The video is just the opposite of what I have heard. I see friendly people here, exotic beauty, pleasant and lovely people and I am truly going to consider it a country that I should visit. I would be interested to know more about this country from people living here, and I wonder if Felipe wishes to contact me.

charlotte on

Hola Felipe, you know it is now more than ten years since we met in Turkey! and so great that now I am in your home country having the time of my life. I think I might not get to Chile but who knows when I could meet you in Colombia one day in the future. I am pretty sure I will be returning to Colombia again, I love it here.

Popi, glad you like the video and blog entry. I have many people here Colombian and expats living here, I am also lucky I know some people from Colombia before I travelled here. Although before I came here I thought I would skip the country and what a gem I would have missed. Anyone hesistating about coming here , don't! Colombia is a must to visit.

greekcypriot on

Believe it or not, after seeing the video I have it in my mind the whole day today.
When the time comes I will surely ask you for some names or e mails of people you know there. It is nice to get to know them much before the trip.

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