How to travel Colombia as an Introvert
I went to Colombia many years ago now, but the memory of the country still stays with me. The beauty of the place, the kind hearts of the people, and the food… oh the food! Rustic and hearty, filled with corn, meat and love. There really is nothing to beat a hot corn arepa from a food truck, after an evening of salsa with people who really know how to dance right. And the fresh fruit everywhere, wow. Big fresh juicy oranges and plump ripe papaya for breakfast every day was such a treat.
Well, safe to say, I’m planning to return someday, for the salsa if nothing else! Though as a non-meat eater these days, I don’t know how I will cope. I have fond memories of a bandeja paesa, and steaming hot empanadas, their pastry skin cracking open to reveal steaming hot, tender shreds of beef. Fortunately I love corn, so if the worst comes to the worst, I can eat street corn and arepas during my whole trip!
Travelling to Colombia was an exciting time for me- I went out there to meet up with my boyfriend of the time, who had left London to go back home for a few months. It turned into well over 8 months away, and I’m afraid the relationship didn’t last too much longer, but fortunately we remain friends to this day.
As an introvert though, Colombia is… an interesting place to navigate. Of course, my boyfriend was excited to see me, as were his family and friends. Kindly, a group of 23 assorted people turned up to welcome me at the airport. After a 22 odd hour trip from London, and with pretty basic Spanish, this was an overwhelming gesture, in more ways than one!
I found that everywhere I went in the smallish city of Pereira, down in the coffee growing area, Colombians were delighted to chat, to find out more about the pale-skinned blonde girl, and were fascinated to find out that I was English. Back then, not a lot of Brits travelled to Colombia, and I’m not sure that many more do these days. People in Colombia, or the ones I met at least, were so kindly and warmhearted, which was an absolute delight after coming from Northern Europe where people are far more reserved, or possibly just less interested in other people.
However, as an introvert, this interest was a little overwhelming! On travelling to the capital city of Bogota, however, this changed completely. Bogota was far more European in every way. Much cooler in temperature, people were dressed more conservatively, more businesslike than they were down in the coffee growing areas I had stayed in to begin with. While this was a bit of a relief as an introvert, it was also less interesting. I guess I wanted it all ways!
And when I got to Cartagena, that’s exactly what I got. As this is a touristic area, you are given the opportunity to carry on with your holiday without any fuss, but there are plenty of people still interested in you and up for chatting. They also are more used to people with limited Spanish, so they could fill in the gaps between what I said and what I meant! When I visited, most of the tourists were Americans, so an English person was still a novelty for the local people. I loved it, though the humidity was such that my hair was a bit too much like Monica from Friends on their visit to the Caribbean! And no, I didn’t get corn rows put in…
So, enough reminiscing about my trip, here are my tips to travel to Colombia:
Why Should You Consider Traveling To Colombia?
Colombia is a country with a lot of natural beauty, from the mountains to the coasts. There are coffee growing areas, manufacturing areas, and always impressive and beautiful views.
It has many tourist attractions that are worth exploring, from the coffee plantations, to the coastal areas of Cartagena. There are battlements and castles from the Spanish occupation, as well as loads of first nations hostory, too much to list here. Also, it is also a great place to learn Spanish, not to mention salsa, and the local dance, cumbia.
Colombia has always been an overlooked destination for travelers, but this is changing as more people are discovering its beauty and rich culture.
The Best Time of Year to Visit Colombia and What Places in the Country You Must See
Colombia is a country with a lot of natural beauty and diversity. It is located in the northern part of South America, sharing its borders with Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador. There is a lot to see in this country and it’s best to visit during the dry season, which starts from December to April.
The dry season is usually the best time for tourists to visit Colombia because it has less rain than the wet season. This means that you will have better visibility when visiting places like Bogota or Cartagena. The weather during this period is also much warmer and more pleasant than during the wet season (from May to November).
If you are looking for adventure, then I recommend that you visit Colombia during December-April because there are fewer tourists at this time of year. I went in June and the rain really didn’t bother me, I found it quite refreshing actually, but the climate was relatively steamy as a result.
How To Get Your Colombian Visa
Colombians can apply for a visa in the Colombian embassy or consulate in their home country. The consulate loves to put official stamps on things, and I had to give my fingerprints when I went, though that might have changed in the intervening years!
The Colombian embassy or consulate will ask for the following documents:
-Valid passport with at least 6 months of validity and 2 blank pages
-Current photo ID document issued by a government agency, such as a driver’s license or national ID card
-Proof of sufficient funds to support your stay in Colombia (bank statements, credit card statements)
-Proof that you have return tickets to your country of residence (a copy of your airline ticket).
Best Places to Stay When Visiting Colombia
Colombia is a country of great natural beauty and culture. From the Amazon rainforest to the Caribbean coast, this South American country has something for everyone.
The Colombian hotel industry is booming, with more and more hotels opening every year to accommodate the increasing number of tourists visiting the country. Colombia’s tourism industry is one of its most important sectors, supporting millions of jobs in rural areas and contributing to around 8% of GDP.
The best place to stay when visiting Colombia depends on your interests and budget, as there are many different options available. There are luxury hotels in Bogota, hostels in Medellin, eco-resorts near Santa Marta or a simple bed & breakfast in Cartagena; there is something for everyone!
Just go, enjoy, and start planning your return trip immediately.