Colombia: An Overview

Ten days in Colombia was not enough! From Feb 17 to 27 I went to Colombia with my Dad, sister, and her boyfriend.  It was by no means a backpacker’s trip – We stayed at some beautiful places and ate some really amazing meals.   In the ten days we visited Cartagena, Baru, and Bogota, and there’s nowhere I don’t want to go back to!

Our trip was sort of divided into two parts: We started in the North with Playa de la Boquilla, Baru, and Cartagena, before flying down to Bogota to experience the capital.  The difference between the regions was significant; The Caribbean coast was relaxed and touristy, whereas Bogota was loud, bustling, and very much a financial centre.

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Cartagena

Our first stop was beautiful Cartagena, the fifth biggest city in Colombia and its number one tourist destination.  Unlike the rest of the country, which has been avoided due to years of violence and conflict, Cartagena has been relatively stable and has developed a pretty big tourism industry. Cartagena is famous for its colonial-era walled old town and beautiful beaches, but the skyline is pretty impressive as well. We ate some of the best meals I’ve ever had in Cartagena – the seafood is incredible and the restaurants were surprisingly delicious.  I was sad to leave when our days were up.

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Isla Baru

We spent three nights in Cartagena before heading down the coast to Isla Baru.  In theory it’s possible to drive from Cartagena to Baru because it’s connected by a peninsula, but about halfway there we realized that wasn’t going to happen.  The road down the peninsula slowly goes from pavement to dirt, and we eventually got to the end where it turns into beach.  After paying way too much for some local guys to take us there in a boat, we arrived in beautiful Baru.  Baru is absolute paradise.  It’s completely isolated but the hotel had kayaks to borrow and visit other nearby beaches and islands and also arranged day trips.

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Bogota

Bogota is better than anyone describes.  Most of the blogs I read before visiting described violence and theft and conflict, and I know that all exists in certain areas, but my experience in Bogota was relaxing and wonderful.  The city is tucked among mountains, and you can take a little train up a few of the hills to get the best views.  It’s a giant city; Congestion is some of the worst in the world, and from the mountains you can see urban sprawl in all directions. That said, it’s home to amazing markets, historical buildings, and some really amazing museums and galleries.  It’s definitely worth a visit.

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