T Nation

Going to Colombia! Advice?


#1


Heading out to Colombia near Cartagena in a couple of months. I was wondering what people's experiences have been going there. Advice such as places to avoid, things to eat, and places to go would be great. Even airfare and transportation advice would be great!

Thanks all.

P.S. No, I'm not going to smuggle cocaine. :slightly_smiling:

Attached pic is Miss Colombia contestants to help... inspire.


#2

Do all of them. Oh yeah and pics or it did not happen.


#3

Avoid the jungle and anywhere that mentions the FARC.


#4

I had to do a project for Spanish "five reasons to visit Colombia." It was much easier to find five reasons not to.


#5

Holy Sh*t, FARC is no joke. Just read up on them.

Thanks for the heads up.


#6

I can only find 2 reasons to visit colombia. the food and the women.


#7

In my humble opinion...

1.) Columbia isn't as dangerous as its made out to be. I should qualify this by saying the places that a tourist would go aren't as dangerous as you might expect. If you go wandering out in the jungle its a completely different story. Do watch your ass though, especially at night, and be wary of groups of males who want to befriend you and take you to a party. Its not uncommon to get drugged and robbed.

2.) A lot of locals absolutely detest cocaine and anything related to it. In Jamaica if you asked someone at a bar if they had any weed, they'd probably just tell you no. In Columbia, if you ask around for coke, you're likely to piss someone off. I have no idea if this is something you even care about, just thought I'd mention it.

3.) Chewing coca leaves is frigging disgusting, but coca tea isn't bad...you get a nice buzz off it.


#8

You better have someone you know there to pick you up and look after you. Seriously, you need a local to warn you of things that are oblivious to a tourist.


#9

I was gonna say the same thing. Be safe and stick to the city.


#10

I have some friends in the 7th SFG, they are down there all the time. Apparently, you can get a hooker for like $5. Have fun!


#11

I spent about 3 or 4 months in Colombia when I was traveling. I think I spent close to two months here.

http://www.lacasadefelipe.com/indexeng.html

Cartehenga is a good place to start, but I would head directly to Taganga if I were you.

I enjoyed Bogota as well, but you have to be a bit more careful there... depending on where you stay. I traveled through Colombia to the Venezuelan border, spend a couple of months in Venezuela, and then back through Colombia to the Ecuador border and spend a three months there (two months in the Galapagos).

Anyway, try to keep bus travel to the days if possible. I probably wouldn't travel by but to Ecuador again, that was one of the more sketchy trips.

Buses are kept really, really cold. Bring a blanket!

It is a beautiful country if you have the time to spend.

If you are looking to party, go to Cali.


#12

Not necessarily. I spent two years traveling alone around Central and South America.

Lots of nice people. There are thieves to be sure, but not everyone is out to get you.

I did get robbed. Most people who have spent any time have, but it was my fault really. I wasn't watching my things as closely as I should have (hungover).

My bad, I learned my lesson and moved on.

I'd say Venezuela is the more dangerous. Got robbed there too... while diving. One of the guys on the boat took $20 from my stuff while I was in the water.

But I managed as a single female to come out in one piece.


#13

I am glad for the most part you are ok, but you also proved my point. If you got robbed twice, I mean damn, you know?


#14

I was also robbed a block from my home while walking home when I lived in Hoboken, NJ. I was with a friend and some guy ran up and grabbed my bag.

The times I was robbed while traveling, I didn't even realize it until later.


#15

Really, OP it depends on what you are looking for. Do you speak any Spanish. Some helps, you don't have to be fluent, but if you can, take a class before you go. Speaking Spanish is really appreciated. I spent some time when I was in Guatemala with a family trying to learn. My
Spanish is horrible, but it helped loads and is sooooo appreciated.

As an American, you will probably run into more problems with European tourists than you will with locals. They (Europeans) will want to talk politics non-stop. But you will have an easier time now that Obama has been elected (whether or not you like him, it will make it easier for you). There are lots of Israeli tourists in Colombia. Honestly, they are much more disliked than Americans, but they (the Israeli tourists) like the Americans because we support them.

As far as food is concerned, don't be afraid to eat at the roadside carts that they have or on the streets. You can always find something good (and cheep) to eat there.

Buy the fresh fruit off the street vendors.


#16

Christine, I am glad that you had fun and that nothing overly serious happened. Not trying to sound like a prick.


#17

I had a great time while traveling. You have to think though, I was traveling for two years. Not everything that happens in any two year period is going to be fun or great. There are ups and downs, just like when you are here. The only think different was that all of my belongings were with me in a backpack and could pick up and go to another place if I didn't like the place I was staying at.

This world is full of beautiful places and people. I don't think anyone should be intimidated by what could happen. If you are, then you will miss out on so much.

I may have been robbed twice, but I ate everything that was offered and never got sick. My sister-in-law went to Paris and had some cheese and spend a week of her two week vacation sick.

I think that I am lucky.


#18

You bring up a good point, traveling for 2 yrs does open alot of opportunity for shit to happen. I am jealous, I wish I could travel that long.


#19

Nice to see there are some fellow gringos afflicted with wanderlust out there. Two years in Brazil, myself. Although doing it all by your lonesome? Even I'd think twice about that. You must wear your ovaries on the outside.

OP, if you can learn a bit of the language/local lingo before you go, do. Your experience will be that much richer. Other than that, be humble, stay out of trouble and get some. Few places in the world are better for single men on the prowl than Latin America.


#20

Actually, it would be:

"Things that you are oblivious to as a tourist."

As for Columbia, I just associate it with cocaine and Scarface. Shows how ignorant I am :(.