Colombia is back. After decades of civil war, Colombia is now safe to visit and travelers are discovering what has been missing. The diversity of the country may surprise you. Modern cities with skyscrapers and nightclubs? Verify. The beautiful beaches of the Caribbean? Verify. Amazon jungle walks and safaris? Verify. Colonial cities, archaeological ruins, high mountain trekking, whale watching, coffee plantation, diving, surfing, the list goes on.
No wonder the style of ‘magical realism’ of the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, left here – not a dreamlike quality in Colombia. Here in Ecuador, with the sun up forever, the fertile soil beneath your feet, heart-stopping views in all directions and the warmth of the locals that puts you at ease – you may find it hard to leave.
Colombian culture, as the country’s climate varies with altitude. The essence of Colombia is in the alpine mountains in the cities of Bogota, Medellin and Cali, and the smaller cities of the coffee. This is the industrial heartland. Geographic isolation has kept the accent relatively unaffected by external influence; Spanish here is accurate and easy to understand. The infrastructure in the mountainous region is good, clean water, roads in good condition. In the heat of the Caribbean coast, life is slower and more relaxed culture. The accent is the accent leisurely Caribbean Basin, and infrastructure, unfortunately, is still in need of some attention.
In darkest days people used to say, “if only it were not for the violence and drugs, Colombia would be paradise.” Well, the drugs may still be here, but the violence is gone, at least for now, and is indeed paradise. It is an easy country to fall in love with, and to many travelers. Could well become your favorite country in South America.