1. Security in Colombia
That Colombia is a dangerous and violent country? Yes, it really was… but for about 15 years the situation has been under control! It is true that there are still “hot” areas that you should not get into, very poor neighborhoods in which it is also not advisable to walk at night (neither you as a tourist nor the locals). However, let us put aside all these fears: Colombia is today a country with great potential in which you can travel freely without any problem.
2. Colombian cuisine
Gastronomy is nothing of the other world because they are rather simple ingredients and combinations but I assure you that you will not go hungry because usually the rations are well copious. The most typical dish is the paisa tray that carries no more than any bacon, fried eggs, fried banana, rice, beans with tomato, beef fillets and avocado. It also consumes a lot of corn as most arepas and dumplings carry it in their dough. What has caught my attention the most, of course, is his passion for cheese. Love! Cheese arepas (which melts) are a delicacy and I’ve even tasted trout to the sailor swimming in cheese.
3. The treatment of Colombians
In Colombia it is common that when you walk past a store instead of saying hello you “To order!” to get your attention and offer their services. They also use it in place of our expression “You’re welcome” after you thank them. I was quite amused by the contrast of such a polite expression in front of the resorted “Love” that they also often use even to treat strangers.
4. Getting around Colombia
For our European minds, reaching South America is a blow. If it’s easy to get around Europe, traveling in any South American country is not a challenge. I had already told you when I traveled in Peru and in Colombia it passed me three-quarters of the same. The journeys between each city averaged an average of 7 to 10 hours of road. Good thing Viva Colombia exists! Colombia now has this low cost airline that allows you to move quickly between its major cities for little money (Eye it is mandatory to print the boarding pass and only 7 kilos of carry-on luggage are allowed!)
5. A great tourist destination to exploit
As I mentioned in Impressions on Colombia, it is a very interesting and yet to discover tourist destination. Unfortunately, there is still little information and few tourist spots in the majorities of the cities where you can find out. Being my first time, I headed mainly to the cities and more touristic places but, talking to the locals, I have been developing a very interesting list of places of interest to visit for the next time. For example, if you are nature lovers, Colombia is the perfect and much cheaper place than Costa Rica right now to enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities.
6. Jeeps and jeeps
If you move to the villages of the Coffee Axis, there are still many unpaved roads and quite a lot of rugged terrain so numerous 70-80 jeeps have been preserved that still work perfectly. During my trip to Salento and Filandia it was quite an experience to ride in them (just like when you get in an old car in Cuba 🙂).
Another of the “traditional” vehicles of the coffee axis are jeeps or jeepaos, jeeps adapted to take to an entire house by any type of land if necessary, hehehe.
7. Cities organized by blocks (apples)
Bogota and Pereira are organized by blocks (apples) so it is very easy to find an address. Just tell the taxi driver at which intersection you want to be left and ready. However, when I had already taken the taste, I discovered that in Medellin and Cartagena de Indias the streets are no longer organized in the same way (with parallel and perpendicular streets) even though the streets also carry names of numbers, hehehe.
8. The big differences between classes
As in many other Latin American countries, such as tourists, you have to be careful in the neighborhoods where you get in. The differences between social classes in Colombia remain truly abysmal. I think the thousands of “favelas” seen from the Medellin cable car will be a difficult image to erase from my mind. However, in Colombia, as far as it can be, although many of these neighborhoods are still very humble, it must be said that most streets are already paved, have lighting and running water, etc.
9. Taxis and their economic version, motorbike taxis
As in many other countries of the world, in Colombia there are no taximeters (or if they exist, most taxi drivers do not put it) so it is advisable that before you go up you set the price (ask the locals for an estimated price for the distance that q you will travel) or ask to have the meter put on if there is one. Otherwise, when you arrive at your destination, they will make you pay what ever you want!
Another way to get around Colombian cities, much faster and cheaper (although often not very safe), is to use mototaxis. They are gentlemen with a vest that distinguishes them and who always wear a helmet hanging from his arm for his passengers. A very nice way to tour the city. 🙂
10. Power adapter
In Colombia the power of the current is the same as that of Europe but it is necessary to carry an adapter since the plugs are different from ours.