10 years ago very few tourists traveld to Colombia. When the security, civil wars, violation and Pablo Escobar dominated the country.
Â Yet Colombia has changed and more and more tourists are visiting the exotic and lovely Colombia. Here are some important things you should know before visiting Colombia, the third largest Spanish speaking country worldwide with 46 Million people.
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1. Medellin is the world’s most innovative city, officially Medellin was named as the most innovative city of the year,Â the winner of the Innovative City of the Year competition, beating out New York and Tel Aviv.
The organizers of the competition, Citigroup, the Marketing Services Department of WSJ. Magazine and the Urban Land Institute, said Medellin was chosen for its modern transit system, environmental policies and its network of museum, schools, libraries and cultural centers that “enrich the community.”
2. Drug culture stereotypes are false and offensive
Drop your ideas of a coke-soaked land still lost in the days of the Escobar gang.
While residents of Medellin can recall growing up in a battlefield, where even trips to buy groceries meant dodging violence, Colombia
Has become significantly safer for the tourists and the Colombians themselves.
The coca leaf as seen as sacred in the indigenous tribes of Colombia So it is still chewed by the native people, and coca leaf, coca tea, unguents with it`s marvelous healing properties can be bought anywhere in Colombia. Today`s Colombia can`t be compared to the Colombia from the past 10 years.
3. Bogota must be seen from Monserrate
Every big city has point of view where you can get the total overview.
That magic and romantical spot is called Monserrate in Bogota.
With an elevation of 10,34 ft a lot of Colombians recommend to chew coca leaves because of it`s natural properties of giving you an energy boost.
Besides that you can find a church, serval restaurants, cafeteria, souvenir shops and many smaller tourist facilities.
Monserrate can be reached via an aerial tramway, funicular or by climbing on foot.
4. Security has dramatically improved
Since controversial policies implemented in 2006 by former President Alvaro Uribe encouraged paramilitary groups to “demobilize” after their conflict with communist guerillas, Colombia’s security situation has vastly improved.
The country’s new image has led to a rise in tourism, with bus trips (albeit on select routes) now considered safe for foreigners.
It’s common to see military personnel at checkpoints outside cities, but this is once again an improvement that represents the government’s control of the country.
5. Real Colombians drink coffee â€œtintoâ€
Colombia is famous for cultivating the best coffee worldwide. Colombians love drinking their coffee with sugarcane and cinnamon.
Enjoy the most aromatic coffee in Colombians most popular coffee shop â€œJuan Valdezâ€.
6. Learn to dance
Almost everyone knows how to dance in Colombia.
It is advised to take some Salsa lessons to get more familiar with the dancing styles. Most of the Colombians are more than happy to give you an instruction on how to dance.
7. Villages are favored weekend destinations
Villiages are the most favourite weekend destinations for the Colombians aswell as for the tourists. These can simply be accessed via bustrips. These easy weekend trips are usually taken to enjoy and relax in the beautiful countryside of Colombia.
8. Almost everyone drinks anis grog
The anis grog with 60 % of alcohol is a popular beverage in Colombia.
In every party they will serve it. The next day is usually accompanied by the unforgettable â€œguayaboâ€. This is the Colombian slang for hangover. If you don`t want to drink alcohol you can try a â€œjugo de matrimonioâ€ which means you can choose different exotic fruits which are mixed together.
9. Colombian climates vary wildly
Colombia may straddle the equator, but that doesn’t mean you should leave your Â sweater at home.
Bogota and Medellin are located Â in tropical highlands and can get chilly at night — especially Bogota, where jackets and scarves are the norm year-round.
Visit the coast around Cartagena, however, and you’ll be sweating.
This climatic differences are reflected in Colombia’s cultural composition. Locals come in as many varieties as the weather; there’s no untiy look for a Colombian.
10. Cali is Salsa City
The gravity-defying female assets of Cali’s nightclubs thrust out to such fierce degree that they can’t be overlooked — the sultry salsa city is renowned for its talent-laden, sexually dynamic dance floors.
Those seeking a more subtle experience can start with a viejoteca, where there’s more actual dancing, less physical drama and fewer crazy drinkers.
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