ColombiaInternational TravelTravel Tips

Colorful Colombia: From Coast to Carnival

Colorful Colombia

June 2018 Meetup: The group voted on Colombia as our Destination Showcase.  Thank you to all the members who sat on our panel!  Named after the explorer Christopher Columbus, Colombia is a prominent part of the South American continent. It has a population of 48.65M with its capital in Bogota. Colombia is famous for landmarks like Monserrate, the Botero Plaza, and the Tayrona National Park.

Colombia takes pride in the rich variety of its landscapes, from the snow-covered Andes to the beaches that surround the north and the west and a rich, distinct culture.  By blending Spanish and indigenous influences Colombia has become vibrant, rich culture in the heart of South America.

Communication

Colorful colonial houses in Guatape, Antioquia in Colombia

The Columbian accent is often regarded as beautiful throughout Latin and South America. This makes Colombia a great place to learn Spanish.

Although the English language isn’t widespread in most parts of Colombia, the people are friendly and are willing to help tourists in need.

Because of this, Columbia is considered safe by solo female travelers.  Even if you travel alone, you will feel the warmth from the welcoming smiles that greet you as though you were family.

Cost of Traveling

Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona

Traveling around Colombia is generally inexpensive.

When in Colombia, 65 cents can get you a ticket to a metro ride. Since it is not that easy to drive around there, it is a good thing that they have a mass transit available. It makes it easier to get around different parts of Colombia.

From the high-altitude capital of Bogota to the depths of Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá (Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá), there’s plenty to explore in Colombia.

Make your way to the Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (Tayrona National Natural Park) which is hard to get to but worth it. It is a beautiful piece of the Caribbean coast, a balance of palm trees and a lush rainforest.

On the way to the Tayrona National Natural Park, it is advisable to pack light and leave most of your gear at your hostel.

When in Colombia, a trip to Medellin is a must. It is a high energy city with a creative vibe. It used to be coined as one of the most dangerous places on earth, but it has turned its reputation around and is now considered as one of the safest and most lively cities.

You can see this through the brightness and beauty of the lights that adorn the city of Medellin during Christmas season.

If you want to take a break from the busy Medellin, you can make your way to the famous Hot Springs — right in the coffee region of Santa Rosa de Cabal. There, you have several waterfalls for you to choose from.

Around the area, there are many different accommodations available: from Airbnb to hostels. Plus, you’ll find that it is easy to navigate the area with all the signs, made especially for tourists, that are put up on the walkways

Dining

When dining in Colombia, three dollars can get you a big meal. Be sure to try out an Arepa. It is a savory pastry made of corn flour that is very popular in Colombia.  They are often stuffed with a variety of meats and vegetables.

From Coast to the Carnival

Barranquilla Carnival in Colombia

Lastly, a one-of-a-kind experience in Columbia would be to take part in the Barranquilla Carnival. It is the biggest carnival in Colombia. It is a 4-day festival, each day having a different theme.

The festivities begin on the Saturday before the Ash Wednesday every year. Starting with the most popular among the parades: La Batalla de Flores (Battle of the Flowers). Next, the Gran Parada de Tradicion (Grand Parade of Tradition), followed by the Gran Parada de Comparsas (Grand Parade of Dance Groups) and finally, the last day is celebrated by marking the death of Joselito, a character who symbolizes the joy of the Barranquilla Carnival. His death is role played around in a comedic way as a way to close the festivities and prepare for the coming of Lent.

The colorful and traditional masks worn during the parade are made from paper mache pulp and vegetable fibers. You can marvel at the most iconic of these cultural masterpieces by making a visit to their exhibit in the Galapa Township, just a few miles southwest of the capital of the Atlantico. There, you can learn how the bright props are made.

Even after all that, there is still yet so much to explore in Colombia! So, pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in this incredibly unique and sublime country. Gather a wealth of experiences from your Colombian adventure — from coast to carnival!

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