Colombia: Great diverse country with a bitter end for us

For already one month I am travelling in Colombia. Regarding the current Lonely Planet ranking its number 2 country to visit in 2017 (1st is Canada). After having been here for a while I am getting it why – it’s the full package of culture, nature, people and food at an affordable budget traveling which makes Colombia worth a longer visit.

Unfortunately at the very last station we were not this happy – continue reading and discover what I liked about the country and what bad thing happened during our last days.

Lots to do and see in Colombia

Having been to Bogota, San Andres, Cartagena, Tayrona Nationalparc and Medellin I can say that Colombia is very diverse and unique – an all you can think about travel country. (Get inspired by the pictures I uploaded for every destination.)

As I am not traveling on my own any more and are mostly sharing a private room with my new travel buddy Alex for just a few € more than a dorm bed, my trip in Colombia is a bit more comfortable than before. Almost everywhere we are getting towels, shower gel and warm water – jippieh, the world traveller is happy about small things 🙂

Beautiful San Andres
Beautiful island San Andres

Trying really hard to overcome the former image of the drug nation, in every city guides of “Free walking tour” companies are explaining the historical events quite frankly emphasizing the positive development, beautiful sights and culinary specialties of every region (Arepas, Empanadas, Bandeja Paisa, Aguardiente, Cevice, …)

Nevertheless we felt really safe everywhere. In the tourist areas you can almost find policemen at every corner. If you are walking the wrong directions the locals will immediately tell you not to go to this area. This was our experience TILL Salento. Then the first really bad thing during my trip happened to me. WE GOT ROBBED WITH GUNS!!!

Walking on a pretty touristic path towards a nature tour and coffee farm just 50 meters before the entrance two armed and masked guys were jumping out of the bushes behind us shouting at us to give them our bags. As we read in every travel guide we tried to stay calm and gave them what they wanted – including our phones, my friends camera and outdoor jackets. Then one guy shot with the gun into the air and told us to run. Damn shit damn – spend the whole day at the police station trying to get a report done which probably will lead to nothing as no one will give us any money back. But we did not get hurt and are okay…Well, obviously it is impossible to do a world trip without getting robbed.

Walking tour in Bogota
Walking tour in Bogota
Gold museum in Bogota - a MUST
Gold museum in Bogota – a MUST
Botero museum - can you spot the Dali?
Botero museum – can you spot the Dali?
Botero in Medellin
Parque Arvi in Medellin
Sleeping first time in my life in a hammock at night to visit this stunning place - Tayrona Nationalparc
Sleeping first time in my life in a hammock at night to visit this stunning place – Tayrona Nationalparc

Besides getting robbed looking at Colombia as a travel country I am very surprised about the variety of climate zones and touristic attractions and offers:

  • The museums (Gold and Botero museum) and the 2600m altitude of Bogota (also called “the fridge”) which took my breath away.
  • Amazing Caribbean beaches at San Andres waiting to be discovered on your own by scooter.
  • Jungle, palm trees and natural beaches at Tayrona Nationalparc reminding me Guatemala and the Philippines.
  • The romantic atmosphere of Cartagena which made me stay for almost 2 weeks.
  • Fruit market, art and natural forest like in Germany in Medellin.

Furthermore Colombians are really friendly, helpful people and super “tranquillo” – relaxed. Stress or hectic like at home does not seem to exist what’s great on the one hand as it calms me down as well but difficult on the other hand if the punctual German tourist needs to have something done (like paying the room or getting a police report).

Romantic Cartagena
Romantic Cartagena
Sightseeing in Cartagena
View to Cartagena from Castillo San Felipe
View to Cartagena from Castillo San Felipe

We will leave Colombia with some mixed feelings and heading further down to Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. Hopefully this was our last bad experience.