Colombia: To Go or Not to Go? written by Lisa Niver Rajna

When I mentioned we are leaving to go to Colombia in two weeks, nearly everyone replies, “Is it safe to go there?” The Lonely Planet starts its section on Colombia by saying, “Colombia’s back. 

After decades of civil conflict, Colombia is now safe to visit and travelers are discovering what they’ve been missing.”

Pete Gomez wrote about his amazing adventure in Colombia, for the November 2010 NEXT magazine in the Travel section. He reports that “friendly and enthusiastic, Colombians are eager to point out that the dark days of ‘la violencia’ and warring drug barons are firmly in the past.” I am thinking it’s a go!

Adam Seper wrote for Bootsnall, “After learning more about Colombians and their culture, I think they are just embracing the chance to be happy. After living under so much violence, after their country was torn apart over the last several decades by drug cartels and paramilitary groups, they are rejoicing.” His month long journey included many friendly people and no issues and he was warmly welcomed by all locals. I want to meet friendly locals!

An expat friend of ours who lives in Thailand said, “Are you only going to Colombia? Are you going to be traveling near the Darien Gap? if so, BE CAREFUL! I am jealous of you as that is a country on my top 10 list!” Yes, we are going and no, we are not going to Darien Gap near Panama.

While many first think of kidnappings, murder and drug lords as the norm for Colombia, Gomez continues his article by saying “Colombia is safe to visit and rewards travelers with a fascinating mix of vibrant cities, white-washed colonial villages, steamy Amazon jungle and Caribbean Islands and palm-fringed beaches.”

In early 2011, I will report back on the World Heritage site of Cartagena’s old town in the heart of the city which is the location for Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera. I personally prefer Isabelle Allende’s The House of Spirits, but cannot wait to see Cartagena and all Colombia has to offer.

Since Anthony Bourdain and his show, No Reservations, visited, many want to try out his choices of eating at La Cevicheria and enjoying the market, Basurto Market. I think they will be at the top of my list!

It will be amazing to compare the beaches of Playa Blanca with the other Caribbean islands and to enjoy Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona.
Ringing in the New Year in Cartagena, I hope will be a memorable first wedding anniversary for only good reasons.

So should we go to Colombia? Yes!

But we are taking suggestions for what to do and for where to go next !

* Article first published as Colombia: To Go or Not to Go? on Technorati.

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