The slogan of Colombia’s tourism board used to be ‘Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay’, which is one way that a trip to Colombia could definitely change your life forever: once you visit, you might never want to leave! Colombia seems to have a strong impact on travellers (more so than many other countries) and many people end up returning to live there after their first visit. So, be warned: after you visit Colombia, you might just find yourself moving there.
It’s no secret that Colombians love a good dance, and with so many unique and diverse genres of music in the country, it’s practically impossible to travel there and not end up dancing a few times. There are very few occasions during which Colombians don’t celebrate with music and dancing, so upon returning back home, you may find that you miss your day-to-day life being soundtracked by a cumbia beat or the accordion-led strains of a vallenato. Make sure to download some classic Colombian music to ease the transition.
Once you’ve tasted a fresh cup of coffee, brewed from beans that were picked, dried and roasted in the same spot where you’re standing, that casual pre-work coffee might never be the same again. After taking a tour of a coffee farm, you will definitely never look at a cup of coffee the same way either; you’ll suddenly be able to visualise all the hard work and sweat that went into extracting coffee from an Andean hillside and pouring it into your cup. You might come back from Colombia as a real coffee snob, too.
Colombia also produces some of the best chocolate in the world, so once you’ve sampled some of the award-winning chocolates from regions like Nariño, Arauca and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, you may never be able to enjoy a boring old regular chocolate bar at home without pining for a 75% cacao dark chocolate from the Colombian rainforest.
As the second most biodiverse country on earth, Colombia is a dream destination for nature lovers. But what if you’ve never considered yourself much of an ecotourist before? Well, Colombia might just awaken a passion for nature within you, as you enjoy spectacular sightings of monkeys, pink river dolphins, sloths, humpback whales, toucans and giant anteaters. Don’t blame Colombia if you come back home as a hardcore birder!
Colombians are so welcoming and friendly to visitors that it can even seem a little odd at first: why is a stranger randomly chatting to you on the bus? However, after a bit of time spent in the company of fun and friendly Colombian people, you might struggle when you visit other countries where the people are less welcoming. You’re unlikely to find many people who are kinder and friendlier than Colombians, and you won’t believe how quickly you’ll feel like you’ve lived in the country your whole life. In fact, that might be the best thing about Colombia: it’s full of Colombians!
We mean this in a good way—Colombian fruit is so diverse and delicious that after you’ve sampled some of it, a regular apple back home will never taste quite as good again. Once you’ve wandered the aisles of a Colombian market and sampled pitahaya, uchuva, mangostino, guanabana, maracuya, lulo and more, you will forever be pining for a taste of fresh Colombian fruit. Don’t even get us started on the constant supply of fresh avocados.
The Colombian approach to time could be called laissez–faire at best. When a Colombian person tells you they are five minutes away, you’d better hope you have a good book to read because they’re actually at least half an hour away! However, as frustrating as this can be at first, you’ll learn to go with the flow and maybe even slow down and relax.
The ‘most beautiful river in the world’ that ‘escaped from heaven’ is how people describe Caño Cristales. This remarkable multicoloured river in the Macarena National Park is a sight for sore eyes and will surely rank as the most beautiful river you have ever seen.
Colombia’s cities are hotbeds of world-class graffiti art, and popular tours have sprung up around street art in cities like Bogotá, Medellín and Cartagena. After taking one—or several—of these tours, you might never see graffiti the same way again. Far from simply dismissing murals or overlooking them, you might end up with a newfound appreciation of the art form.
This is the best part about taking a trip to Colombia: once you’ve experienced a bit of the country, you will definitely want to return to see even more of it. There’s so much diversity in the country that it’s impossible to experience even a quarter of what there is in a few weeks of travel, so be prepared to start booking more tickets to Colombia in the future.