Mini Travel Guide: Colombia

Colombia travel on the mind? This mini travel guide to Colombia comes to us from Carolina. This is one of many Mini Travel Guides in which we dip our toes into international puddle jumping.

mini travel guide to Colombia

There’s no one better to give Colombian travel tips than a native Colombian! I was born in Bogota, went to high school there, and visit on a yearly basis to catch-up with family and friends. I can never get over the excitement of coming home to beautiful, friendly people, to amazing weather, to mouth-watering food for vegetarians and carnivores alike, and to heart-stopping vistas in every direction. The only risk left in Colombia is wanting to stay for good, something that I’m always considering.

travel tips for Colombia


Must Go in Colombia

Bogota

La Candelaria is a lively and artsy part of town. It is the equivalent of the Old City in other cities and there are galleries, old colonial architecture, student bars and restaurants. Cerro de Monserrate is a mountain that towers above the capital of Colombia with amazing views of the city. You can take the cable car to the top, where there is a church and a delicious restaurant. La Zona Rosa y El Parque 93 are two areas home to nightlife, bars, and restaurants. Crepes and Waffles is a great restaurant where you can taste Colombian classics on all kinds of crepes.

Cartagena

Cartagena is Colombia’s coastal city and the Old Town is romantic and beautiful. Travel down the narrow roads and maze-like terraces and rooftops, covered with small swimming pools and hidden balconies. A day trip to Las Islas del Rosario is worth it to get a secluded getaway on beautiful beaches. If you’re on a tight budget, you can sleep on the beach at Mar de Plata and mingle with the locals. For a feast, buy some lobsters from the fishermen and have them grilled for a delicious and memorable experience.

Medellin

Hatoviejo Restaurant is the best place in the centre for regional dishes such as plato montañero, a mix of fried pork skin, eggs, and ground beef. Mercado San Alejo is great for buying souvenirs, antiques, arts and crafts, and walking around.

must do in Colombia

Must Do in Colombia

Dance Salsa with a Colombian

Dancing Salsa with a Colombian is a life changing experience. Most restaurants cater to Colombian’s need to shake their hips. In Bogota, go to Andres Carne de Res which epitomizes Colombia through its food and vibrant dance-filled ambiance.

Drink Aguardiente

Fiery Water is a Colombian trademark and it contains 24%-29% alcohol. It is mostly drunk as a shot or over iced cubes throughout any festivities.

Go to Parque Tayrona

This is one of Colombia’s most popular national parks. It is set on the jungle-covered coast at the foot of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. The biggest attractions are the beaches, shaded with coconut palms and set in bays. If you want some of the freshest food and don’t mind no electricity, Reserva Natural El Matuy is a great place to stay.

must eat in Colombia

Must Eat in Colombia

Ajaico

This is a potato soup and contains chicken, large chunks of corn on the cob, two or three kinds of native potatoes, and guasca, a weedy herb that gives the dish part of its flavour. This soup is served with capers, table cream, and avocado all mixed in just before eating. If you’re in Bogota, Andres Carne de Res  has an amazing Ajaico that you will never forget.

Arepas de Choclo

Colombian Corn Cakes with fresh cheese make for the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack. A plus if enjoyed with coffee or hot chocolate. Arepas de Choclo are the sweetest and moistest of the Arepa family.

Arequipe

Arequipe is creamy and has a caramel flavour. It is very common to find street vendors selling two slices of obleas
wafers with arequipe in between, making for a delicious and addicting
treat. Arequipe with cheese is a very common dessert that you’ll find,
as the salty sweet combo sends the taste buds into overdrive.

cultural tips for traveling in Colombia

Cultural Tips for Traveling in Colombia

Colombians are incredibly friendly and kind. They will go out of their way to help you and make you feel at home. They are also very proud of their country, and will love to help you enjoy Colombia.

Travel on the Cheap in Colombia

Backpackers will average US$15 to US$25 per day. If you’re looking for a more comfy trip, with better restaurants, mid-range hotels, and an occasional flight, you’ll average between US$25 and US$45 daily. You can save money by using a student card when buying plane and museum tickets, or by going to free days at museums. Bus ticket fares are always negotiable, and some haggling will knock off approximately 20% to 30% of the cost. But if you want to be successful, be ready to shop around at various bus company windows.

Thanks so much for sharing, Carolina!  Do any of you guys have Colombian travel tips to share?

4 Comments

Anonymous

Could you maybe share some infos about the safety in Colombia?
A girl from my hometown is inprisoned because someone put drugs in her backpack and as much as I would love to visit the country, I'm really concerned about the safety.. And I suppose with this attitude, I might really get problems, so maybe you can help me overcome this fear..
Also, colombia without Spanish= good idea?

Reply
Carolina Baker

I believe you always need to travel smartly and that includes staying away from dangerous situations. A lot of people in the cities know English, so going to Colombia with a less than basic understanding of Spanish is okay.

Reply
Dee

i was just in colombia visiting family, but now i wanna go back again! safety is always a concern when traveling so it should not be any different in this case. it's just a matter of always keeping an eye on your stuff at the airport, and maybe not getting cabs off the street and things like that.

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