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Colombia - travel tips / suggestions

Any tips or suggestions for five weeks in Colombia?
10 years ago, August 31st 2009 No: 1 Msg: #84742  
B Posts: 128
I am planning a trip to South America next year (April / May) and thinking that I would spend the majority of this time in Colombia (five weeks).

I have nothing firm planned yet, but am thinking I would go straight to Cartagena in mid-April and study Spanish for a couple of weeks (I have already been studying some Spanish for a couple of years so am not a total beginner, but a LONG way from being able to speak it!), then spend the remaining three weeks exploring Colombia, flying out of Bogota.

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? I'll be travelling on my own, any advice on how solo female travellers should keep safe?

Thanks. Reply to this

10 years ago, August 31st 2009 No: 2 Msg: #84832  
San Gil , 5hrs from bogota or Medallin, is a must ,laid back town with an extreme side.US$12 bungee jumps ,$17 rappels down waterfalls,$30 parasails and much more.If you're into the backpacker scene then stay at the Macondo Hostel ,you will need to book www.macondohostel.com.The owner ,Shaun, is an Australian and he will help you orgonise all your adventures.If you are like me and enjoy closing your door at the end of the day then stay at the "Hotel San Carlos" ph 724 2542.It is only about US50c a night more than the hostel and you get private room ,double bed ,cable TV with many English Channels and private bathroom.If you stay here tell them I sent you and still go to see Shaun ,at the hostel ,to orgonise your adventures
Tacanga ,suburb of Santa Martha ,about 12hrs from Cartagena, is a fun little village with the second cheapest SCUBA course in the world.The only cheaper are in Honduras and there the cheap courses are in a lake so quite boring.If you do do a SCUBA course here I would suggest "Poseidon Dive School" the oldest ,most experienced and ,in my opinion, the friendliest.Ask for Desi to be your instructor.Also Tacanga is the starting point for the "Lost City" trek.Its not my thing but many people do an extra day on this trek to see a working cocaine factory.
1 of my favourite places in the world is a little village ,about 5kms from Panama border, named Capurgana.I am trying to buy a block of land here ,in the jungle, I love it so much.1 of the most relaxing and most beautiful places on earth.To get here you travel to Turbo ,about 8hrs from Medallin or 12hrs from Cartagena, , then get a "Lancha" ,speed boat, to Capurgana.Stay at Cabañas Darius here and tell Joey and Nery I sent you.Joey is a native Hawaiian and Nery is his Colombian wife.Great people and good friends of mine.From here you can walk through the jungle to "La Miel" ,in Panama, along the beach to Aguacate ,through the jungle to incredible waterfalls or you can do guided horse treks deep into the Darien Wilderness.Also you are only a short boat ride to Puerto Aboldia ,Panama, and a 50min plane ride to Panama City.Joey will help you orgonise any of these excursions or he will walk with you along the treks.Just be warned he's like a mountain goat so you will be exhausted at end of the day.
Medallin is a beautiful and exciting town.I always stay at the "Hotel Lyon" .A short train ride ,on the Metro, from the bus terminal to Estacion Esadio" and it is about a 100metre walk.Ask at the "Information Booth" at the terminal for a "Things to do" in Medallin Brochure and you will easily fill your time being a tourist.
There are MANY other places to see in Colombia but you have a very short time so I have only written my favourites.You asked about safety.Always ask your hotel if street taxis are safe,eg I live in Bogota and with my Colombian GF we just grab taxis on the street but by myself I have to call for taxi and get special code to be safe.Express kidnappings are still a problem here.As in any country ,there are dangerous parts of Colombia but most people are friendly and loving and if you do wander into a dangerous district ,by mistake, everyone will warn you and point you in the safest direction.All the horror stories you hear of Colombia are either by people who've never been here or haven't been back for 10years.The USA has invested billions here to help establish stability ,and get a base in socialist Sth Am, but it is having the desired affect.Colombia is an incredible friendly country and as they say in tha ads "The only risk you take is wanting to stay"
Any other Qs you might have please feel free to message me and ENJOY COLOMBIA .I love it

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10 years ago, September 1st 2009 No: 3 Msg: #84913  
B Posts: 128
Thanks so much for your response - fantastic to get an insider's tips! As I do more research I may have some questions, so will definitely take up your offer and message you. Thanks! And happy travels wherever you go next... Reply to this

10 years ago, September 7th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #85540  
Hey RJT.....
I totally agree with Elaustraliano's advice for your trip. I live down in Bogota and have done for the past 3 years without any trouble what so ever but abide by the tip regarding taxi travel if on my own, however I use a "pushbike" around the north of the city on Pico y placa days (on two days a week you cannot use your private car in an attempt by the City Governors to reduce congestion and polution). As often as we can we escape to either a friends "finca" out to the west or grab a flight up to Barranquilla to family but stay that extra few days to take in Santa Marta, Cartagena and if time allows grab a small boat out to the islands. If youre in Bog for long enough look to visit Girardot to the south (about 4 hours down the mountain) where the weather is totally different as is the landscape, and if you can go that little further to the Coffee Zone...... I could ramble on and on here but if you need more information on the back pack scene or wish for detailed info on particular areas, then if we cant help, visit the "poorbuthappy.com" website, logon for free and use the Colombia Forums page, there you will find subjects on EVERYTHING about Col, and if not, you can get answers readily and with total "honesty" on just about anything, and I mean anything!!!!
Happy planning and a happier trip. Reply to this

9 years ago, December 9th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #95860  
B Posts: 128
Hi Chris - so sorry about the slow response - but thanks for your tips! And the link to poorbuthappy - very useful. Am starting to do mmore research now and getting pretty excited! Reply to this

9 years ago, December 29th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #97828  
Colombia really was fantastic! Check out our blog for what we got up to!

We spent 5 weeks there and went from Bogota to San Gil to Santa to Tayrona to Cartagena to Medellin to Salento to Cali to Popayan to Ipiales and then Ecuador.

Such a great country! Reply to this

9 years ago, January 6th 2010 No: 7 Msg: #98570  
B Posts: 128
Thanks Ben and Clare - looks great! You've also visited a few other places on my list for 2010, so will check out your other blogs as well. What an amazing time you've had! Reply to this

9 years ago, January 9th 2010 No: 8 Msg: #98924  
we went to colombia a while ago but loved every minute and wished we could have spent longer there!

Mud Wrestling in Colombia

not sure if you are travelling on to panama but if you do this is the way to go!

Good Karma? Colombia - Panama by Boat Reply to this

8 years ago, April 1st 2011 No: 9 Msg: #132599  
mmm.. Colombia has long had a reputation as a dangerous country. Although dangers still exist in many forms, safety conditions for visitors have improved greatly in recent years thanks to efforts by the current government. Most crimes against tourists involve pickpockets and bag-snatchers and can be avoided with a bit of common sense. Don’t flash your valuables in public, keep your cash protected and out of sight and your bag slung across your shoulder and you should be fine.
Be wary of any stranger who approaches you on the street, especially if they are overly friendly and well-dressed. There are dozens of scams in Colombia, and tourists are the only ones naive enough to fall for them.
Police: 156
Other Colombia travel tip: The tourist visa requirements for Colombia vary for each country. Citizens from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States need only to show a valid passport to enter Colombia for up to 30 days. Visitors from other countries must apply for a tourist visa from the Colombian Consulate or Embassy in their home country before arrival. The fees for these visas vary between countries, but are valid for stays of up to 6 months Reply to this

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