By Kelly Galaski
My first thoughts about traveling to Colombia were more like a mixture of exciting pieces of thoughts: Caribbean coast! Heat in February! Scuba diving! Practice my Spanish! Latin culture! (you get the idea). But I have done a lot of traveling and generally thrive off the unknown. I have to admit that every time I mention it to someone new I either get a comment about drugs or a surprised comment, e.g. “You’re going to send tourists there?” We have received the same comments about El Salvador and people are loving it. They’ve found they can do all the great adventurous activities like surfing, ziplining, volcano trekking (as well as the relaxing on the beach type of adventure) in a place full of culture. Seeing indigenous villages and mayan ruins that they never even expected because of its history of civil war.
So this is the reason for going to Colombia. The Colombian government has cordially invited tour operators such as ourselves, GreenSpot.travel, to go and explore and discover the country. The slogan for Colombia’s tourism board is now “El riesgo es que te quieras quedar” or “The only risk is in wanting to stay.” So they are embracing their risky reputation and saying look, there’s nothing to worry about we know you’re gonna love it!
This sounds like the kind of place for me to visit. I like to discover places that have pasts or reputations that make them less likely tourist destinations. These are the places that are unforgettable, that warm your souls, and while I’d like to say that I’m worried somewhat, I’m really not. I’m only excited.
Ok so I looked up some facts to make sure I’m up to date with shots for potential infections, and the latest information on conflicts, but I find no matter where you go you can find potential problems. Rather than focus on that I like to think about all the people who live in these countries day to day and do just fine and that makes me feel comfortable about wherever I’m going.
For example, when I was in Jamaica in 2007 and coming to the end of a three-month internship, the Canadian government decided to evacuate everyone before Hurricane Dean hit. They called me at my place of work and said are you making arrangements to leave? I said, well the rest of the country is staying are they not? Why should I try and escape? I still have work to finish up my project, I’ll stay with my Jamaican friends and I’ll be fine. And I was. I also enjoyed going out with my friends in Kingston – something that will never be recommended by the tourist board.
My point is there are so many wonderful countries in the world that have a bad reputation for one thing and the media focuses on that which skews the image to the point where people are afraid to visit. Not this traveler. We are going to find the best of Colombia and bring it to you.
So if you’re curious yourself about traveling to Colombia and are looking for some advice and some “I’ve been there, it’s great you should check this and that out” type of tips, stay tuned because I’ll be keeping this blog from now on and throughout/after my trip. Here’s a great video to get you feeling some excitement for the country too, onYoutube here.
Vamos a Colombia!