One thing that travellers to Colombia talk a lot about when they get back home is how friendly and welcoming Colombians are to visitors. In spite of the stereotypes which people harbour about the country, the vast majority of Colombians are unwaveringly welcoming to foreigners and go out of their way to make people feel at ease. But why are Colombians so welcoming to visitors?
For decades, Colombia was the equivalent of a black hole on the global travel map: a few hardy travellers may have ventured there, but to the majority of people it was a total no-go zone. Civil war, violent drug traffickers and a shockingly high kidnap rate made Colombia an undesirable destination. Colombians, who are incredibly proud of their country, were naturally hurt by this international perception and the unfair stereotyping that came with it, and most Colombians have a sad story of being detained at customs or denied entry to a country because of their Colombian passport.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
As Colombia’s global travel reputation has improved immeasurably over the past few years, with the country even being named Lonely Planet’s top travel destination for 2017, the number of international visitors has soared, with 2017 the most successful year of all time. In a country where foreign travellers were once a rare sight, this influx of visitors is seen by many Colombians as a vindication of their pride in the beauty and wonder of their country; people are finally waking up to what they have known all along. Therefore, when Colombians meet a foreign tourist, they are often keen to make them feel as welcome as possible in their country.
It also helps that foreigners are still a relatively rare sight outside the big cities, so many people are simply curious and pleased to see you. Colombians are gregarious by nature, so there’s no awkwardness in coming over to say hello and ask where you’re from.
The negative stereotypes which Colombians still battle with are evidently another factor in their welcoming nature. If so much of the world sees you, with little justification, as a likely drug trafficker, or feels the constant need to crack jokes about Escobar and cocaine, then you might wish to keep the world at arm’s length. However, Colombians, with their strong national pride, seem instead to work hard at breaking those stereotypes. When a random Colombian comes over to you to shake your hand and say, ‘Welcome to Colombia,’ they are showing you that the vast majority of the country’s people are good, kind, and decent.
It’s important to note that you may find Colombians less welcoming if you are in thrall to the aforementioned stereotypes: ask a random Colombian for cocaine, or make a crack about Narcos, and you may find yourself in for a distinctly frostier welcome. After so many years of hurt and heartache, most Colombians simply wish to move on and look to the future; reminding them of their suffering won’t endear you to them. Talk to a Colombian about the stunning landscapes of their country, or their music,and you will be met with nothing but smiles and open arms.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.