Malaria in Colombia – The Facts

South American vacations offer much novelty and excitement, but when traveling through that region, it’s prudent to take preventative health measures. Serious diseases are common in numerous South American countries. Often enough travel agents give you plenty of information on destinations, restaurants and possibly how to avoid getting ill, but it is still better to do your own independent research as well.

South America tours often involve getting shots to prevent hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, and rabies. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get shots for everything. There are no shots to prevent malaria, which is often highly prevalent in countries with large populations, mass migrations, and poor sanitation. Not all South America tours offer enough information on what to do to prevent it and what help to get if you do get it.

Malaria Infested Areas in Colombia

All areas of Colombia below 5,577 ft are likely to have malaria-infested regions, particularly in the less urban sections. Large cities where there are low to no cases of malaria are Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Cartagena beach.

What Is Malaria?

Malaria is a serious illness. If not correctly treated, it can cause jaundice and anemia, and these, in turn, can result in a coma or kidney failure. Malaria is spread from mosquito bites, and symptoms occur about a week after a bite. The symptoms of malaria include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, body aches, headaches, sweating, and chills. In most cases, it is almost impossible to recover without treatment, and if not treated in time, or not treated at all, it can even be fatal.

High Risk of Malaria On A Colombia vacation

If your South America vacation includes Colombia tours, you need to ask your doctor about what you can do to avoid getting ill with malaria. When embarking on a Colombia vacation, taking precautions is something you should do before you leave the United States. Be well prepared to protect against malaria and to have the right drugs on hand should you get it. Should you need to visit a doctor there, knowledge about anti-malarial drugs prevents you from getting the wrong medication.

With a population of 45 million people, it has not been easy for health authorities in Colombia to quell the spread of malaria. Colombia’s tropical climate, unsanitary living conditions, pools of stagnant water, makes it difficult to contain this vector-borne illness. About 75% of Malaria cases abound along cities and towns along the Pacific Coast. Cauca, Valle, Choco, Antioquia, and Cordoba have reported the highest incidents of malaria in the country.

According to a survey done in 2008 by the National Institute of Health, 110,000 cases of malaria were reported in Colombia. It is estimated that this number has not decreased in 2011 because no effective measures have yet been found to prevent the spread of malaria in Colombia.

Prevention

What, then, are the steps you need to take if your trip to South America includes Colombia?

Here are a few commonsense steps:

• Begin taking your prescription anti-malarial pills before traveling and regularly during your trip.
• Use insect repellant.
• Wear long pants, not shorts or skirts, and shirts with sleeves.
• Sleep in air-conditioned rooms, or rooms with screens or bed nets.

Effective And Ineffective Anti-Malarial Drugs

Effective drugs include mefloquine, doxycycline, or Atovaquone-proguanil. It’s important to note that chloroquine is not effective as an antimalarial drug for a Colombia vacation. Although halofantrine is widely prescribed overseas for malaria, do not take this drug because it has serious side effects, including heart attacks. In fact, it is preferable to buy your anti-malarial drugs in the United States to ensure that you get real drugs, not counterfeit medications or contaminated medications.

Malaria is a serious illness, but shouldn’t keep you from enjoying virgin Caribbean beaches, lush Amazon jungles, and delicious Latin cuisine on a Colombia vacation.

Teaching English in Colombia: A Series Overview

A Series Overview

“Teaching English in Colombia” will be a series of about 20 to 25 articles. The focus will be on providing prospective TEFL English teachers with a flavor for each of the major city areas, along with enough starting information to at least give them some idea about what each of the locations has to offer. Since many may be foreign nationals, it is assumed that information like local specialty foods, drinks and living conditions will be of some value, although I’m taking care not to provide too much information that might “date” the material, as this would render the work nearly useless in a relatively short time.

Not intended to be an all-inclusive work either, we will simply present the basics for each city area with enough to go on to make contact and/or an investigative visit of even further value. Where to go, how to get there and major EFL schools / institutes that could be contacted in advance to ascertain interest are provided for each city / area. For hotels, restaurants and other travel – tourism specifics, candidates should consult the most up-to-date Colombia travel guide book they can get in English or Spanish.

Important Features

A few important features contained in this series include:

o 3 to 5 area-related photos: Historic / tourist sites, schools, interviewees, parks

o An opening scene which is designed to feature some facet of local everyday life

o City / area features: population, location, principal industry / products

o Commentary on local special events, holidays, celebrations, festivals

o Historical data/ cultural aspects that may be of some relevance in day-to-day living

o Food & drink specialties of each region

o A one-page List of Schools and Institutions with TEFL teachers on staff

Note: The online article-marketing published page differs from the commercial E-book or report in that the article-marketing piece will NOT have photos, graphics, illustrations, be more than two pages long or have more than one page of school / institute listings with descriptions and / or reviews.

Each article or E-book chapter will detail one city area only. When a location warrants support for additional listings and other criteria, a Part 2, Part 3, etc. will be added as subsequent chapters. The cities planned to be elaborated on in this article series are:

City Area Articles / Chapters

1. Cali – Capitol of Salsa Music

2. Bogota – A Capitol City in the Clouds

3. Medellín – City of Eternal Spring

4. Pasto – In the Shadow of Galeras Volcano

5. Pereira – The Growing Heart of the Coffee Region

6. Armenia – The Coffee Region’s Business Central

7. Manizales – Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold

8. Popayán – The White City

9. Buenaventura – Colombia’s Pacific Coast Pearl

10. Cucuta – A Sun-drenched Frontier Town

11. Bucaramanga – The City of Parks

12. Ibagué – If You Want to Meet Juan Valdez …

13. Neiva – Pride of the Opitas

14. Cartagena – Caribbean Jewel of Colombia

15. Barranquilla – Always a Carnival

16. Quibdo – In the Steamy Heart of the Choco

17. Monteria – Center of Colombia’s Nickel-Mining Empire

18. Villavicencio

19. Florencia – Orchid City of the Amazon

20. Colombia: An Overview

Summary / Conclusion

The summary will offer a concise round-up of features, benefits and “caveats” presented for the city / area, allowing the prospective TEFL professional to have a balanced view of each of the locations. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world. Each location will have its own items on the minus side of the ledger. While I have made every effort to be as object as possible, I am human. As such, there are areas I like more than others. There are schools I like more than others too, although I will endeavor to keep my personal prejudices out of the way as much as practically possible. This should aid you in making up your own mind. In fact, you should check all information for yourself as much of it is subject to change through the fault of nobody in particular.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch has taught English as a Foreign Language in Colombia since 1995 and is the author of “Living in Colombia: A Practical Guide”, “Teaching English in Colombia: A Guide for TEFL Professionals” and “Insights on English Language Teaching: What TEFL Teachers Need to Know”. E-mail him at: [email protected] for more information.

Scoring Cheap Tickets to Colombia Or South America

Everybody, at one time or another, dreams of jetting down to some destination down in the Southern Hemisphere, if only for once in their lives. With the drop in worldwide travel lately, the expense of doing so has abated, too. These conditions can make scoring cheap tickets to Colombia or South America more possible than ever.

Why fly down to South America at all? With oil dropping in price all the time, jet fuel isn’t nearly as expensive as it once was, so the price of airline tickets have gone down. Also, airlines are looking to fill seats wherever possible, so you can probably put together a good trip to Brazil or Argentina, for example. And then, while you’re there, stop in and see Peru or Ecuador on top of it.
 
Cheap tickets are all over the place. As travel demand has dropped, the chances of being able to put together a nice travel package to all those countries down in South America are greater than ever. Just take a little care to plan the trip far enough out in advance, and you should be able to wing it pretty cheaply.
 
Planning is the activity to pay the most attention to. Going anywhere down in South America requires a bit of sensible planning. A lot of travel agencies exist to do most of the work for you, though. And if you don’t want to search for tickets yourself, they’ll be happy to do it for you. Of course, you pay them a commission for doing it.
 
Make maximum use of the Internet. Before we had such a thing as the Worldwide Web, it was harder to find out which airlines had cheap tickets to sell, but no longer. Today, you can get an inside view on the price of just about any ticket at any time going any place, including for all those destinations, like Colombia, down in South America.
 
Limber up to be as flexible as you can. Many times, the cheapest fares are gotten by flying very early in the travel day. “Red eye” flights out of a destination can be significantly less than when you travel later in the day. Keep that in mind when you’re booking a flight.
 
Tuesdays through Thursdays are the days to fly. A lot of empty seats are sitting in an airline’s midweek inventory. If you can arrange to travel on those days, you’ll be able to find a cheaper price on a ticket to most any destination. Remember; an empty seat makes an airline no money at all.
 
Plan everything out when it comes to traveling on the cheap. Almost any destination at the moment can be cheaper to get to. Plan wisely, and that South American or Colombian or Brazilian trip won’t end up costing you an arm or a leg. Remember that you’ve got the power to see far in advance what a ticket will cost you, which will then allow you to get the best, and cheapest, price.

Travel Colombia With Ease

Colombia was often called by the Spanish conquerors ‘the country of fabulous wealth’, and it is obvious once you step on its soil. Many historical treasures of the country were looted, and the original Indian culture was destroyed. Thousands of tons of gold, gems and metals were transported to Europe, and the once mighty Andean civilizations sunk into oblivion. There was formed a unique culture that combined the traditions of Native American and European cosmopolitanism, African and Latin American mysticism and colorful ceremonies. The picturesque nature of Colombia, the long sea coast, the unique nature of the Amazon make the country one of the best tourist destinations in South America.

Cartagena de Indias was one of the first Spanish settlements in the New World. The Spaniards tried every way to secure such an important trading port for them, having built around the outer contours a complex system of fortifications, which are now the main attraction of the city. The most magnificent city of Colombia is literally filled with historic sites.

Centro Amuralyado is the heart and center of the history of Cartagena, full of colonial buildings, shady plazas, churches and convents. A lot of upscale restaurants, hotels, clubs and bars decorate Coast Playas Blanca, one of the best beach areas in Colombia. The city fortress Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas dominates the area and leaves a lasting and powerful impression. Other sights include the Archaeological Museum, the square of Bolivar, the palace Palacio de Inquisition, the Cathedral of Cartagena, the oldest church in the city Iglesia de Santo Domingo.

Southwest of Cartagena one will find the islands Islas del Rosario, an extremely popular destination for diving, famous for the magnificent coral reefs and rich marine life, white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. San Andres is one of the best resort areas of the Caribbean, where the natural beauty and charm of the island are largely untouched. Turquoise waters, rich marine life and extensive coral reefs are a true paradise for scuba diving. A relaxed atmosphere of island life, friendly people, an adequate travel service, duty-free trade and the general safety make the archipelago a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.

Bogota is the capital of the Republic of Colombia, the administrative center of the department of Cundinamarca and the largest city of the country. Today, Bogotá is the quintessence of Colombia. It is a city of futuristic architecture, colorful and diverse cultural and intellectual life, splendid colonial churches and brilliant museums. And at the same time, it is a city of tramps, slums, drug dealers and perpetual traffic jams. It is this wonderful mixture of prosperity and poverty, supercars and pack mules, cutting-edge offices and poor quarters that make Bogotá one of the most fascinating and chaotic world capitals. Bogota is a modern complex and intricate network of narrow streets, winding along the mountain slopes. Above the old quarters of the city, their tower has dozens of churches and other architectural monuments of the 17-19th centuries, as well as new areas of glass and concrete.

The central part of Bogota is famous for the statue of the first president of Colombia, the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Palace of Justice, and the churches of San Francisco, Santa Clara, and San Ignacio. Noteworthy are the buildings of the National Capitol built in the classical Greek style, the National Conservatory, and the National University of Colombia.

The second largest city in Colombia is Medellin, the most dangerous city of the planet. The city itself is very colorful, with the old quarters and the cobbled streets of the center, Spanish churches, villas and alternating red-brick barracks. The sights of the city include the Basilica de la Candelaria, the Basilica Metropolitano, the Plaza de Toros La Macarena, Plaza Botero, the famous Botanical Garden with its famous collection of orchids.