Here are 5 C's that will make you add Colombia to the top of your travel list.
Cheers to the land of happiness and good weather.
If you're as obsessed with color as I am, then Colombia is the place for you. Most homes are painted a bright color that is completely non-uniform and unique to each individual's taste, plus the colorful clothing, flowers and art around nearly every corner.
(FYI: one of the most vibrant places you can visit is Guatapé, a small town about an hour east of Medellín)
If you've never had authentic Colombian food; you're in for a treat. Some of my favorite classics are:
- Bandeja Paisa - a hodgepodge of flavor, this plate features meat, beans, rice, plantains, avocado a fried egg and arepa
- Arepa - this Colombian staple is best enjoyed for breakfast covered in cheese and eggs (well... that's my favorite)
- Chuzo - a Colombian "shish-kabob" that comes in a variety of meats
- Sancocho - a homemade soup of meat/chicken, potatoes, yuca/plantain and cilantro usually cooked over an open fire
- Chorizo - pork sausage
- Plantain - twice fried they're called "tostones"; baked they're called "maduros"; either way they're delicious
- Yuca - classic vegetable resembling a potato, usually served fried
- Chontaduro - grown from Peach Palms, this yam-like fruit is dry and starchy making it best enjoyed with salt & honey.
- Milo - a chocolate drink served hot or cold
There's a lot more, but here are a few photos just to get your mouth watering:
Colombia is the world's third largest exporter of coffee beans; accounting for nearly 8% of all exports in 2016 (preceded by Vietnam at #2 and Brazil at #1). I highly recommend visiting a coffee farm to see how the beans are grown and harvested. Appreciate your morning cup of Joe a lot more after witnessing what coffee farmers go through on a daily basis!
Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the food or the scenery, but Colombians are some of the nicest, most welcoming people you will ever meet. You're treated like family even if you don't speak the same language, look the same, dress the same or eat the same foods. Colombians welcome you into their community and celebrate the fact that you've chosen to visit their beautiful country. I guarantee you will leave feeling inspired and refreshed by the kindness you'll encounter.
5. Cocora Valley
There are too many beautiful destinations to pick a favorite, but the site of the world's tallest palm trees is about as close as I can get to picking a favorite place in Colombia. This lush, mountainous valley of wax palm trees (Colombia's national tree) is mesmerizing to say the least. Palms tower up to 200 feet and extend as far as the eye can see.
I went on a horseback ride through the valley and it cost approx. $15 USD for a 1.5 hour tour. "Chuck", my horse, helped me take some pretty great pictures! I recommend arriving in the mid-to late afternoon because, according to the local guide, the typical morning fog usually clears by midday. There are multiple trails varying in length: read about some of them here.