Colombia has risen to the top of people’s travel bucket list – and for good reason. It is a beautiful country that is clawing itself out of it’s bad reputation. You say Colombia, and people automatically think cocaine capital of the world.
For a while, this was true. However, now a days the government has started to clean up areas of the country and wipe out the production of drugs. In areas like Minca, a town in the mountains, that residents used to make money from working the cocaine fields, are now profiting from tourism and coffee farms.
So, is it a safe place to go to? Yes and no.
Like any country you may go to, there are areas to avoid.
I’ve heard the capital, Bogotá, is partially safe. The most touristic cities are the best to visit – Cartagena, Medellin, and Cali.
To be honest, it is the first South American place I have been to where all the locals were genuinely trying to help us. Most of my experiences with locals in other South American countries involves them trying to sell you something or worse. But this was the first time I felt I could completely trust locals.
So what should you do in Cartagena?
- The wall – Cartagena is the walled city. A 7 mile long wall was built around the city int he 1700s to defend it from pirate attacks. So you can walk around the complete city on this wall. There are many lookouts and old canons in different ares of the wall.
- View the sunset – Part of the all overlooks the Caribbean Sea, making it a romantic place to watch the sunset. There is a bar on part of the wall that has a gorgeous view of the sunset. Or just grab a drink, or ice cream, and watch the sunset and hear the waves from any part of the wall.
- Visit the fort – Castillo San Felipe de Barajas was built in the 1500s on a hill to have an advantage point over land and sea invasions. It is a world heritage site under UNESCO. There is a video screening you can watch in the castle area highlighting the history of Cartagena.
- Minca – Near Santa Marta, there is this small mountain village called Minca. This little place is off the grid. You can’t even get wifi here lol. If you like nature this is a place to checkout. The views form the mountains are stunning. There are also waterfalls and rivers to explore, like Pozo Azul.
- Beaches – Colombia has many islands to go visit – each with its own beauty. The closest one to Cartagena is called Isla Baru and the water is gorgeous. Here you can rent a hut on the beach, go swimming with blue plankton under the night sky, and snorkel. Plus the fish here is SO FRESH and delicious. There are also a few islands around this area that have houses owned by Shakira and the drug lord himself Pablo Escobar.
I can genuinely say that Colombia was an impressive country (specially since it never crossed my mind to travel there) and I would like to go back to explore other areas. Any takers?