Top 5 Things to Do and See in Colombia

Colombia may seem like an unusual vacation destination; however, it has natural beauty and exotic cities. Check out this list of the top 5 things to do and see in Colombia. Remember that by taking Colombia Spanish courses, you will be able to navigate the country easier and feel more at ease while traveling in and around Colombia.

Bogotá

An age-old city which successfully blends both modern and ancient times, Bogotá has high fashion, strong educational values and a love of art. Candelaria, in the center of the city, boasts numerous museums. For a slower pace, take a stroll through the shady parks on the north side of town. Notice the mountains are never out of view; peeking out from between buildings at every chance. Day long excursions are recommended with journeys available to waterfalls, colonial villages and treks through the mountains.

Guatavita

Relive the legend of El Dorado with a visit to Guatavita. A spectacular round lake set in the midst of pastures and rolling hills. Crystal clear water and blue skies offer the weary traveler a respite from city life. Visit the nearby village of Guatavita for a chance to meander through the numerous quaint shops and cafes. Luckily, it is nearby, at only 35km away it is just a short trip from Bogotá.

Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral

Excavated from the Zipaquirá’s salt mines, this 400 foot deep cathedral receives thousands of visitors weekly. Devout Christians plus a multitude of curiosity seekers amazed the sheer size of this structure come together in awe of Zipaquirá Cathedral. It is lit with perfect ambience making it easy to view the many salt sculptors. Tours are available almost every day originating from Bogotá.

Cartagena

Feel as if you are traveling back in time, as you gaze at age-old architecture. Experience cool ocean breezes, warm sandy beaches and a nightlife you will not soon forget; this is Cartegena. A bit crowded at times; however, it would be a mistake to overlook this beautiful city. Cartegena is considered a jewel among cities of South America. Quaint and charming during the day but when the sun goes down, Cartagena turns up the heat. In Zona Rosa, you will find a multitude of bars and discotheques. Avenida Arsenal, Ciudad Vieja and La Escollera in Bocagrande also deliver a Latin experience for those who love to dance.

Parque Tayrona

This national park has it all. A jungle that opens to beautiful sandy beaches with deep bays, coral reefs and all the necessities modern travelers’ desire. A top-notch visitor’s center is nearby to help with inquiries. Ciudad Perdida or the Lost City is nearby and should not be missed. It will be a highlight of your journey.

It is easy to learn Spanish in Colombia while you are staying in one of the larger cities of South America. Online websites dedicated to teaching Spanish help individuals learn a foreign language quickly and efficiently. Always remember to bring your passport and always double check your itinerary before departure.

Magnificent Travel Destinations on the South American Continent

If you are interested in adding new intriguing and exciting destinations to your travel itinerary, don’t miss the opportunity to spend your holiday in South America. By choosing to travel to this magnificent continent, you will have the chance to discover remarkable cultures and civilizations with a great history behind them, driven by the temperamental but also very welcoming Latin spirit. Some of the most prominent and important countries in South America, representing true symbols for the South American continent, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Panama have a very well-developed potential for tourism, attracting overwhelmingly large numbers of tourists each year.

These magnificent countries have known great progress and development in the last few decades, despite their struggled historical past, dominated by political conflicts and interests. Nowadays, these splendid countries on the South American continent are among the most requested holiday destinations, enchanting visitors with a wide variety of tourist sites and resorts, both old and modern remarkable architectonic structures, large and imposing metropolitan areas, all revealing the ingenious, innovative and hard-working character of their inhabitants.

The remarkable economic achievements of these major countries in South America are direct proportional with their high potential for tourism. Thanks to their great history, culture, music, as well as the amazing beauty of their urban and rural establishments, and not to mention their accomplishments regarding the much-treasured Latin passion – football, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama have become extremely popular worldwide. Their continuously increasing popularity has determined a pronounced development of their tourism, drawing millions of tourists towards their borders.

If you decide to travel to Brazil, you will be amazed by the staggering beauty of this great South American country. Among the most requested Brazil travel destinations are its capital, Brasilia, and major cities such as Sao Paulo, Salvador and Rio de Janeiro. Famous for its majestic carnivals, magnificent natural resorts, tropical climate and the exuberance of its inhabitants, Brazil is a highly requested holiday destination. Renowned as an important center for tourism of the South American continent, Brazil attracts overwhelmingly large numbers of visitors each year. Brazil has a well-developed and extended network of airports, air travel facilitating the visiting tourists’ access to major cities and various other locations between or beyond the borders of the country. Thanks to modern infrastructure and the variety of airports present here, flights to Brazil are the quick and comfortable way of traveling to this intriguing region of South America.

Similar to Brazil, Argentina is also a major center for tourism in South America. The most popular Argentina travel destinations are its capital – Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata – the main tourist resort situated on the Atlantic Coast, La Plata, Santa Fe, Santa Cruz, Cordoba, Mendoza and San Juan. Combining the Latin mentality with European cultural influences, Argentina is a welcoming country for anyone who wishes to discover new interesting locations. Thanks to the well developed network of airports present here, the best way to travel around the country is by air. Apart from being very comfortable, Argentina flights have the benefit of being inexpensive as well. Travel to Argentina and you are guaranteed to have the time of your life!

Although they are much smaller in size than Brazil and Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama are also important tourist centers of the South American continent. Vacations in Colombia, Venezuela and Panama are exciting and intriguing experiences for both regular travelers and occasional visitors. The most requested Colombia travel destinations are Bogotá, Cartagena, Cali, Villa de Leiva, San Augustin and San Andres. Among the most desired Venezuela travel destinations are Caracas, Puerto la Cruz, Isla Margarita, Isla El Grand Roque, Isla La Tortuga, Merida and Puerto Ayacucho. Popular Panama travel destinations are Panama City, Bocas del Toro, Boquete, Isla Contadora, Guadalupe, Isla Bastimentos, Isla Taboga and Almirante.

Whether you decide to visit these countries for the beauty of their tropical landscapes, shores and beaches, for their ancient cultural resorts and the variety of historical tourist sites or simply to interact with the exuberating, welcoming locals, spending your vacations on the Latin American continent is definitely a remarkable and unforgettable experience!

Colombia: What You Are Not Being Told

Over the years the media has portrayed Colombia as a country riddled with bad people, drug cartels, and criminals. Although there indeed was a time when Colombia had tremendous problems with guerrillas and drug cartels, times have improved. The days of Pablo Escobar have passed and Colombia has now transformed into one of the safer countries in Central and South America.

One of the largest misconceptions of Colombia concern kidnappings. From the news concerning Colombia it is very surprising to learn that there are very few foreign kidnappings. In fact, almost all foreign kidnappings are drug related. Simply stated, the touist has involved himself in something outwardly dangerous and brought this trouble upon himself. The fact of the matter is tourism is growing exponentially in Colombia right now due to the governments massive campaign to bring peace and security to promote international tourism. The most common report from the international tourist in Colombia is they had a wonderful time and made many friends.

Another misconception of Colombia concerns the people; Colombians. The world has it in mind that Colombia is populated by a peoples ready to do harm. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The general population of Colombia is a very outgoing, proud people more concerned with entertaining and protecting their foreign guests than anything. Upon leaving Colombia most travelers and backpackers report they can’t believe how friendly the people are and how they felt safe and well received. The last several years Colombia has made enormous gains in security and the friendliness of the people is becoming widely known and renowned.

In Colombia many travelers are reporting how they were actually protected by total strangers from potential threats. As a result, tourism in Colombia continues to grow and is now one of the safer countries to visit. Basically these days it appears that Colombia and Mexico are changing places. Colombia continues to become safer for the tourist while Mexico is becoming increasingly dangerous. It looks like maybe it’s time to change countries.

One of the most significant differences between Colombia and most other Latin countries is the police. The police in Colombia are actually some of the most helpful, polite, and concerned peace officers in all Latin America. Countries such as Peru are currently gaining fame as to how bad the police are. One traveler reported that he went to the police about being mugged in Cuzco, Peru. While in the police station the police removed his camera from his shoulder and stole it. Colombia on the other hand is the opposite. The Colombian police force is well trained and constantly watching out for the safety of tourists in their plan to bring economy to the country inviting foreign tourism.

There are some things to watch out for concerning the police however they are all related to crimes the tourist may be tempted to commit. Mainly, in places such as Cartegena the police are famous for setting up foreign tourists wishing to purchase drugs. The setup is simple. Send someone to offer the tourist drugs. When he buys, grab him. As long as the tourist is smart enough to not involve himself in drugs, there are basically few worries. What the media has never broadcasted is almost all major problems involving foreign tourists in Colombia are drug related.

The only serious, pending alert for Colombia are pickpockets. It is common to arrive back to the hotel and find the camera is missing. These are not muggings or assaults, these are sneaky, professional pickpockets who can get in and out of a backpack while the tourist is walking. This however is not unique to Colombia as pickpockets are bountiful in every country, including the United States. The difference is always location. Basically it is common sense. While in cities, be aware!

The best way to avoid problems and have a nice trip is hire a professional guide. With a good guide the tourist will not only have a safer trip, he will get to see many more sites in a shorter time frame. A guide can take you from place to place quickly and efficiently keeping you out of harms way. In addition a guide can bring you the experience of cultural immersion which is one of best and most overlooked aspects of traveling to a foreign country. Although at first glance a guide may appear to be an expense, he is actually a money saver. A guide saves time, can show you more, and can keep you safe. Traveler’s insurance is a must for cameras however it doesn’t save time. It costs time dealing with police to get your paperwork to file your claim. In the meantime you are missing your vacation for a needless hassle.

Traveling Colombia can be one of the most amazing trips of a lifetime. The country offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world as well as some of the friendliest people. While in Colombia there is no shortage of sites to see and things to do. Along with it’s own unique lost cities and cultures, the country has coffee tours, old colonial towns, rainforests, beaches, extreme sports, ecological tours, and amazing waterfalls. For those contemplating a visit to Colombia, now is the time!

Top 6 Party Travel Destinations

I’ve been working in the travel industry for the past 6 years and have been traveling/partying pretty much all of my life. You can pretty much call me an expert on the subject. I have been all over the world and consider the following destinations/parties the wildest and best I have been a part of. 1). Carnival in Salvador, Bahia Brazil 2.) Summer in Ibiza 3.) New Years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 4.) Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain 5.) National Beauty Pageant Week in Cartagena, Colombia 6.) Summer in Mykonos, Greece

1. Carnival in Salvador, Bahia Brazil
Brazilians consider Salvador, Bahia as the best and most fun Carnival in the country. The Guinness Book of World Records considers Carnival in Salvador as the biggest street party in the world. Millions of people hit the streets and it’s literally 5 days of chaotic fun. I’ve been traveling to Carnival in Salvador for the past 6 years. It’s definitely the craziest party I have been to. Just imagine millions of people on the streets just going crazy with some of the hottest bands from Brazil playing in the background. It’s also singles paradise as one of the main themes during Salvador is “Solteiro em Salvador” meaning everyone is single in Salvador. If you are looking to experience Brazil Carnival look into Carnival in Salvador, Bahia especially if you are looking for a Wild and Crazy time.

2. Summer in Ibiza, Spain
Ibiza is the party capital of the world! It’s the perfect combination of great weather, beautiful people, incredible beaches, and the hippest, most sophisticated nightlife in the world. If you love electronic/house music, it is definitely the can’t miss destination of the summer as the best DJ’s in the world make Ibiza their home from the End of May until the End of September – any other time most of the clubs in Ibiza are closed (Pacha is the only club open all year). I’ve been going to Ibiza for the past 4 years and you definitely have to go VIP and hit Pacha, Amnesia, Privilege & Space. Drinks are extremely expensive (about 10 – 20 euros per drink), but if you get VIP and do bottle service, you will have your own table and spend just about as much. Depending on the party, bottle service can be as low as 150 euros per person to 300. Clubs get extremely packed during the summer and at some parties you can barely move around. If you are traveling there, you might as well spend a little more and enjoy it, rather than feel like a sardine. I personally enjoy traveling to Ibiza in July (All major DJs are there and it’s not as hectic as August) or September (Closing parties are incredible). August is the busiest time of the year and I try to avoid it as the hotels raise prices and the clubs are overly packed.

3. New Years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
New Years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is one of the most amazing cities in the world and one of my favorite travel destinations. Its annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza puts all new year’s celebrations to shame. Millions pack the city for an all-night festival of music, food, and fun, punctuated by spectacular fireworks. From mind-blowing scenery and incredible beaches to wild nightlife and beautiful people, Rio de Janeiro will make your New Years an unforgettable experience. The main attraction in Rio de Janeiro for New Years is watching the fireworks on Copacabana Beach. The fireworks are amazing, but I’ve actually had a better time going to the exclusive parties all over the city. The beach can get a little sketchy and it is fun don’t get me wrong, but the best thing about Rio de Janeiro are the people (The Cariocas) and being at an exclusive party is the way to go because you don’t have to worry about anything. All you have to worry about is having a great time and ringing in the new year. I definitely recommend making your travel plans early as the hotels and flights sell out by mid November.

4. Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain aka San Fermin Festival
The Running of the Bulls is held every year between July 6th and 17th. It is one of the world’s craziest and wildest festivals where people run through the streets of the medieval city with actual live wild bulls! Every year over one million party-goers flock to Pamplona and party day and night drinking Sangria, eating delicious tapas and for the brave ones – run for their lives in front of angry bulls! The running of the bulls is an adrenaline rush, but it literally only lasts about 5 – 10 minutes and is at 8am every morning. What a lot of people do and what I recommend doing when running with the bulls is to party during the day, get some rest at night and then wake up early to run with the bulls. After you have run with the bulls, you can focus on partying. The pubs and streets are literally filled with people day and night.

5. National Beauty Pageant Week in Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena is the home of Colombia’s National Beauty Pageant, one of the country’s hottest events of the year. The most beautiful women from all over the country compete to be crowned Miss Colombia. The event is usually held the 2nd week in November. That week is absolutely nuts as the city erupts in Exclusive Parties, Parades, Beach Events, and the Best Nightlife in the country. My favorite event during this week is called “The Desfile de Balleneras”. It takes place in the Bay of Cartagena as marines escort the Beauty Contestants in small boats throughout the bay. The only way to check out this parade is on boat. 100s of boats line up to check out the parade, but it’s more about the party than the beauty contestants. People blast their music, have water balloon fights, move from boat to boat and party like it’s 1999.

6. Mykonos, Greece in the Summer
Mykonos is Greece’s party island during the summer. If you want to party for 24 hours straight, you can do it in Mykonos – hit the beach parties during the day, head to Mykonos Town to watch the sunset, have dinner and party at night and if you want to keep on partying there are several options for after hour spots that open at 3:00AM and go through the morning/afternoon hours. As far as Mykonos partiers – celebrities, politicians, beautiful people and ordinary mortals all flock here to see and be seen at the glitzy “anything goes” clubs for which the island is world famous for. During the summer all the clubs/bars will be packed. Peak season to go to Mykonos is end of June through mid September.

All of the destinations/parties above are a One in A Lifetime Experience. If you want to have an incredible time, I recommend pre-booking everything in advance as these events sell out quickly. I also recommend going through an expert travel company for these events like Tours Gone Wild. They do trips like this year after year and have the connections to make sure you have a great time. All you literally have to do is call them, book your trip, show up and have a good time.