The old adage is you can’t judge a book by its cover. Yet often it is the very way a majority of us from our opinions. The Colombian “book cover” (in a lot of people’s eyes) is still very tattered and has faint images of the ‘War on Drugs’, ruthless cartels, cocaine, and violence. The fact is, today’s Colombia is newly released, revamped, and in a completely different book store. Colombia is a country of extremely genuine and pleasant people. If there was a straw poll for the world’s most friendly people, Canada might actually have a run for its money. Even with a language barrier that would make Helen Keller shake her head with dismay, the locals still found ways to help us: get off the bus at the right stop, warn us about bad neighborhoods, save us money by not getting off the metro, and the list goes on. Granted we ran into travelers that had some problems: being robbed at gunpoint, held up by four kids with knifes, and the list goes on… But if you do a quick check of the police blotter in your own city, you’ll find violence on par if not worse. We personally never felt unsafe anywhere we went.
The two of us enjoyed Colombia enough that it made it on the short list of places we plan to visit again (with there being so many places in the world to go, to return to a place takes away from experiencing somewhere new).
After spending almost five years in Seattle and still not fully knowing the city, we know that our short time in Colombia hardly makes us experts. But there are a few things that we did notice.
I am a fat kid at heart. I love food. If you like the county fair, Colombia street food is your heaven. There is a simple solution to everything, deep fry it! Aside from the stale empanadas (which for some reason we continued to get and mildly loved) the deep fry is a pinch overboard.
When it comes to restaurants, we managed to eat at a couple of good ones and there is one thing that is consistent, fries. Whether its a set meal for $3 or filet mignon, fries will find their way to your plate. After serious reflection, the only thing that we both agree scored high on our food meter in Colombia, was this spicy mayonnaise sauce that seems to make everything taste better.
Colombia had a tough time when it came to impressing us with it´s beaches. We approached their offerings in reverse order. We started with the seven layer death chocolate cake and ended with a dainty side salad. We started with San Andres Island, which is on par with some of the best beaches either of us have ever visited. When you get on the mainland it isn´t that the beaches are terrible, they just don´t have the 5 different colors of crystal clear ocean water and perfect white sand. However, the surrounding geography (especially in Tyrona National Park) is amazing.
Top Rated For The Trip:
We both agree that it is very hard to top kicking back on the beaches of San Andres and drinking industrial amounts of rum. Salento had to be a very close second. The lush green mountain ranges that surround the postcard perfect town is only enhanced by the coffee that even God probably imports.
Random Trip Facts to Date
– Bret’s cologne: left at parents house in Seattle
– Bret’s sunglasses: left at hotel in Cartagena
– $150,000 COP (apprx. $80 USD): taken from private hostel room in Medellin
– Bret’s sunglasses: retrieved from hotel in Cartagena (4 days later, luckily!)
– Airplane blanket: given to us by a lovely English/Canadian couple in Santa Marta in preparation for our long bus ride to Medellin. They crank the air-con on busses in Colombia.
– Random spices picked up from the “free food” section of the Black Sheep Hostel in Medellin.
Uses for duct tape:
– To hang towels in hostel window in Bogota to block the light shining through
– Wrap up torn bag of rice
– To hold band aids in place (on Sally’s hand) while doing burpees in hostel room
– Remove lint from clothing