Travel to Colombia offers a kaleidoscopic tour of Latin America. Bordered by the Pacific to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the East, the coastline is sprinkled with ideal beaches whilst further inland, incredible landscapes unravel between the Andes Cordillera and the Amazon Forest. A colonial jewel, Cartagena "the Andalusian" is a vision of beauty. This old city of pirates and smugglers has preserved colonial buildings, beautiful ramparts and the picturesque Bocagrande beach. All this promising tourist potential is unfortunately hampered by many reports of violence and crime, although in recent years the Colombian government has worked extremely hard to improve safety for locals as well as tourists.
In the Cauca valley, take a trip out to the many fintas (coffee-growing farms), or learn the local dances of salsa and merengue, or cumbia (in the mountains), all musical rhythms that haunt daily life. Colombia is considered to be dangerous in certain areas so always listen to the advice of locals.
+Caribbean beaches, trekking at the foot of the Andes, an expedition to Amazonia... Colombia offers incredible diversity.
+Windsurfers will love the coast of Cartagena.
+The charming population.
-The drug traffickers and guerrilla forces can make this a dangerous destination in places.
-Arrival in Bogota is often taxing due to the altitude.
There is at least one festivity a day in Colombia, and you can easily participate in it, whether in processions, Easter Week, or the Barranquilla carnival. Every occasion is good for singing, getting drunk on sharing a bottle of brandy, and dancing to the sound of salsa, merengue, or cumbia (in the mountains), and many other musical rhythms haunting daily life.
It is difficult to leave out the popular "arroz con pollo", chicken with rice, served with any "sauces". The "locro de choclos" is a soup that is very rich in corn and potatoes. In Cartagena, rice is often seasoned with coconut. "Canastas de coco" is a small cake containing coconut cream flavoured with wine and topped by a meringue. "Tinto", a very black coffee served in a tiny cup, is drunk all the time.
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In Bogota, you can find gold jewellery, Indian pottery, and embroidered cloth. The ruana (Colombian poncho) is ideal for the cold nights. Most shops are open from 8.00 AM to 12.00 AM and from 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM.