Is it secure for a lady to journey alone in Colombia? I needed to seek out out for myself. One of the principle the reason why I traveled to Colombia alone was to report for you, expensive readers, on what it was wish to expertise the nation as a solo feminine traveler.
I visited Colombia for just below three weeks and explored Cartagena, Medellín, Guatapé, El Peñol, Salento, the Valle de Cocora, Bogotá, and Zipaquirá. In a single journey I hit up many of the main vacationer locations in the nation.
Tell your loved ones that you simply’re going to Colombia, although, they usually’ll in all probability freak out. “It’s not safe!” is normally the very first thing out of individuals’s mouths. And it’s comprehensible why they’d say that — for many individuals, medication, kidnappings, and Pablo Escobar are the primary issues that come to thoughts once you point out Colombia.
But it’s not like that anymore. Colombia is exponentially safer at this time than it was in the 1990s.
I’ve loads of mates who’re hardcore vacationers, and nearly everybody I do know who has been to Colombia considers it one among their favourite nations. That’s enormous. I can’t consider every other nation that earns such common reward. Maybe Japan.
So I went to Colombia alone — and I had a blast. Most importantly, I stayed secure. I don’t fairly think about Colombia one among my favourite nations, however I had a beautiful time there and I encourage vacationers to test it out.
First of all: it’s not the 1990s anymore.
In the mid-90s, Pablo Escobar was king and Medellín had one of many highest homicide charges on the planet. Today, digital nomads from world wide flock to Medellín to take pleasure in its year-round spring-like climate and energetic nightlife.
Conflict casts an extended shadow. I’ve discovered that 90s conflicts in specific are usually introduced up at this time. Many individuals I’ve talked with about my travels have been nervous that the Khmer Rouge continues to be combating in Cambodia, that bombs are falling in Bosnia, or that South Africa continues to be in chaos post-apartheid. These have been all main conflicts that occurred through the 90s, however are nonissues at this time.
Cable information doesn’t report something when issues are good. And for that purpose, many individuals at this time nonetheless affiliate Colombia most strongly with medication, cartels, murders, and kidnappings.
Today, issues are totally different. Year after yr, Colombia has turn into extra peaceable. Kidnappings decreased by 90%. Now Peru produces extra medication than Colombia. Gun violence in Colombian cities is way decrease than many American cities. And in 2016, Colombia’s authorities ratified a peace take care of the FARC, the nation’s largest insurgent group and the group behind many kidnappings. This was a significant step in establishing long-lasting peace.
Something to maintain in thoughts is that the 1990s have been 20 years in the past. Where have been you 20 years in the past? The world has modified rather a lot since then, and so has Colombia.
Is Colombia Safe for Solo Female Travelers Today?
That’s the place issues get a bit extra difficult. I had a wonderfully secure solo journey to Colombia — nothing remotely unhealthy occurred to me. I used to be additionally intensely cautious, and maybe a bit fortunate.
When you’re a lady touring alone in Colombia, you’ll hear a lot of anecdotes from different vacationers. There are ladies who had a secure time and can say, “Don’t worry, Colombia’s fine, nothing happened to me!” And you then’ll hear from different ladies who will say, “I know so many people who got robbed there.”
Think about Colombia like Yelp opinions. People who had a foul expertise will assume that everybody else’s expertise was terrible. And persons are going to rave and suppose that everybody who had a less-than-perfect expertise was an fool. The job is sifting by means of the opinions and looking for a standard narrative.
Here’s the narrative — even skilled vacationers can fall sufferer to crime in Colombia, they usually usually do. And for that purpose, I’m not going to say that Colombia is completely secure as a result of I occurred to have a wonderfully secure journey there. It’s extra nuanced than that. Colombia requires additional precautions, and this put up will go into element on which precautions to take.
Most of the guides I’ve learn for ladies touring alone in Colombia shockingly underplay the hazards. I feel that’s fallacious.
My job is to show ladies how you can keep secure whereas touring the world. I take that accountability severely. I perceive the temptation to inform ladies that Colombia is way safer than individuals suppose it’s — and it is — nevertheless it shouldn’t be executed on the expense of failing to say the realities of touring right here.
Traveling Solo in Colombia Requires Extra Precautions
I’m going to cite just a few traces from Travel.State.gov, the US authorities’s information for traveler:
Terrorism: The National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissident teams from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) proceed plotting and executing assaults in Colombia.
Crime: Crimes and scams towards unsuspecting vacationers are widespread in city areas. Firearms are prevalent in Colombia and muggings or robberies can rapidly flip violent…Robberies by individuals using bikes are widespread in all main cities. U.S. residents have been robbed by people posing as cops. U.S. residents reported sexual assaults in a number of totally different cities all through Colombia.
ATMs: People are generally robbed after utilizing automated teller machines (ATMs) on the road. Use ATMs inside buying malls or different protected places.
Taxis: U.S. residents have been killed throughout robberies whereas utilizing taxis, most not too long ago in September 2015 in Medellin. Use phone or internet-based dispatch companies each time attainable.
Disabling Drugs: Criminals might use medication to quickly incapacitate unsuspecting victims after which rob or assault them.
While the vast majority of vacationers to Colombia go to with out incident, there’s nonetheless fairly a little bit of crime that occurs. Even so, the vast majority of crimes that occur towards vacationers are petty crimes (like pickpocketing and robberies), which you’ll be able to guard towards.
One factor that’s scary is using disabling drunks like scopolamine. Scopolamine, often known as Devil’s Breath, is a powdered drug that disorients you once you breathe it in. (Yes, it’s the identical title because the movement illness patch.) Criminals distract you, blow the drug on you or put it in your drink, after which they rob you, persuade you to empty your financial institution accounts, and also you’ll don’t have any reminiscence of it the subsequent day. Vice did a documentary about scopolamine right here.
Kidnapping at this time is much rarer than it was once in the 90s, nevertheless it does nonetheless occur. Most of the time, it occurs in areas the place vacationers are instructed to not go — just like the Darién Gap. You can scale back your threat by sticking to the crushed path in Colombia and flying Viva Colombia for longer overland journeys (see extra on that in the Travel and Safety Tips for Colombia part.)
Is Colombia Good for First-Time Solo Female Travelers?
I don’t suggest Colombia for first-time solo feminine vacationers. This is a vacation spot that requires loads of experience and it’s not the sort of place the place you need to strive solo journey for the primary time. The solely exception can be for somebody who has already traveled extensively and/or lived in Latin America and speaks first rate Spanish.
Instead, I encourage first-time solo vacationers to guide a bunch tour to Colombia.
G Adventures affords greater than a dozen excursions to Colombia. I’ve traveled with G earlier than and suggest them, as they make use of native guides, deal with sustainability, and preserve their tour sizes small. They’re loads of enjoyable, too! Here are a few of their Colombia excursions:
- Classic Colombia (16 days, Bogotá to Santa Marta)
- Colombia Express (9 days, Bogotá to Cartagena)
- Colombia Lost City Trek (7 days, from Santa Marta)
- Wellness Colombia (eight days, from Cartagena)
If you’re seeking to plan your first solo journey ever in Latin America, I like to recommend selecting Mexico or Central America reasonably than Colombia. Costa Rica and Belize are usually the simplest for first-timers, adopted by Mexico and Guatemala.
Solo Female Travel in Mexico: Is it Safe?
Is Colombia Good for Experienced Solo Female Travelers?
Yes, I positively suggest Colombia for skilled solo feminine vacationers. I visited as an skilled solo traveler and it was a very good degree of problem for me, particularly with the language barrier.
I do suggest you to take much more precautions than you’d ordinarily. While in Thailand or Italy and even Guatemala, you is likely to be comfy wandering round solo at evening, or taking an extended stroll by your self in a abandoned space, or taking the metro to a random cease and getting off, simply to see what’s there.
Those are all issues I wouldn’t suggest in most of Colombia. Instead, I like to recommend that you simply staff up with different vacationers as usually as you possibly can.
Arriving on a flight with some foreigners? Ask them in the event that they need to share a taxi to city. Hear individuals on the hostel wanting to go to a espresso plantation? Ask if you happen to can be a part of.
As an introvert, I agree that strolling as much as a bunch and introducing your self is the stuff of nightmares, nevertheless it’s a lot simpler when you really do it. Most persons are very good and I’m at all times glad I joined a bunch. I made extra mates than traditional in Colombia.
Is Colombia Good for Female Digital Nomads?
There are a lot of digital nomads and distant employees residing in Colombia — in Medellín in specific. Many of my mates have lived in Medellín on a short- or long-term foundation, and all however one among them are male. That’s curious, contemplating that the journey running a blog trade is dominated by ladies (I’d estimate it’s round 70% ladies).
On the floor, Medellín appears nice for digital nomads. There’s an enormous expat scene, the web is fairly good, there are many cafes for working, it’s inexpensive, and also you’ve bought that year-round springtime local weather.
But in addition to that…there’s a purpose why *cough* STRAIGHT! *cough* males love residing right here.
The native ladies in Medellín are beautiful, it’s widespread for them to have breast and/or butt implants, they usually love to this point overseas males. Basically, if you happen to’re a mediocre man from the States, you possibly can instantly have a smoking scorching lady in your arm, short-term or long-term.
And it’s simply not the identical state of affairs for overseas ladies. Not that overseas ladies don’t like Colombian males, nevertheless it’s not like dynamics are the identical between native males and expat ladies.
Like the remainder of Colombia, Medellín is a spot the place you have to continually take into consideration security. As a lady, you’re continually weighing whether or not it’s too darkish to stroll just a few blocks house safely. Living in that surroundings, day in and time out, is exhausting. (It’s the identical purpose why I like South Africa however would by no means need to reside there.)
And once you examine security between Medellín and different digital nomad cities like Berlin or Chiang Mai or Mérida or Lisbon, there’s simply no comparability. Medellín is the one place the place ladies have to continually be on their guard, the place strolling at evening for even brief distances could be questionable.
So sure. Medellín does have some optimistic attributes for individuals who work remotely, however if you happen to’re not in relationship the native ladies, I feel its “digital nomad heaven” repute is overblown.
Travel and Safety Tips for Colombia
Most of staying secure in Colombia comes right down to utilizing widespread sense. Don’t get blackout drunk, control your belongings, watch out who you belief. And it is vitally necessary to know some Spanish earlier than you go to Colombia (see extra on that in the subsequent part).
Get a SIM card from Claro. Having a SIM card offers you the choice to hail Ubers, and Claro has good protection all through Colombia. I bought my SIM card from a shopping mall in the Gethsemane neighborhood of Cartagena. Bring your passport and it helps to know some Spanish, even when it’s one thing easy like, “Estoy aquí en Colombia por diez días y quiero cuatro gig de internet.”
Uber exists in many Colombian cities — use it. Colombians will let you know to take Ubers as an alternative of hailing random cabs. Plus you possibly can keep inside till your trip arrives. Uber operates in Bogotá, Cartagena, Medellín, Calí, and Baranquilla. UberBLACK will get you a black automotive, however I truthfully noticed no distinction in high quality between common Uber and UberBLACK.
Look into the funds airline Viva Colombia. I used to be shocked that among the costs weren’t way more than the price of a bus, even when reserving just a few days out! It’s a great way to journey throughout routes that aren’t secure to do overland.
Some journeys will not be secure to do overland. And this may change on a dime. Why? Because generally buses are robbed — particularly public buses. My recommendation is to ask the particular person at your guesthouse, or one other native, whether or not it’s secure to journey by land to your subsequent vacation spot. Some extra cautious individuals resolve to omit overland journeys overland altogether and fly Viva Colombia each time attainable.
Don’t take the bus at evening. Keep your lengthy journeys restricted to daytime hours.
Don’t put your self in isolating conditions. One instance of this was after I needed to go to a espresso plantation in Colombia. I used to be instructed that it might be a brief, 30-minute stroll from Salento down a highway, however I ended up teaming up with individuals from the hostel and hiring a jeep. It seems that the journey would have taken far longer than 30 minutes and I might have spent a very long time as a lady alone with no person else round, leaving me vulnerable to sexual assault.
Don’t flash your valuables or put on costly jewellery. If you’re out taking photographs with an expensive-looking digicam, be additional cautious. Only take out your digicam and telephone once you want them — don’t stroll round absentmindedly with them in your hand.
Pickpocketing occurs in Colombian cities, particularly on public transportation. Keep an eye fixed in your belongings always.
If you carry a handbag, maintain it near you. I suggest a crossbody purse, made out of a troublesome materials like leather-based or pretend leather-based, that zips shut. I like to recommend many purses in this put up. Never let it grasp behind you — at all times preserve it in a spot the place you possibly can see it, and preserve your hand on it if you happen to’re in a crowd.
If you carry a pockets and not using a purse, don’t preserve it in your again pocket. This is clear to thieves and they’ll seize it and run.
If you employ a small backpack, lock it. I exploit a Pacsafe backpack the place you possibly can lock the compartments shut.
Keep your valuables locked up in your lodging and solely take with you what you want that day. I do that with my Pacsafe Travelsafe and I think about it an important factor I pack. Keep an additional debit card and a minimum of $100 hidden in obscure components of your baggage.
Never go away your baggage wherever unattended. Even if you happen to’re used to asking somebody to observe your issues when you use the toilet in a coffeeshop at house, don’t do this in Colombia. Take your belongings with you. If you’re retaining your bag below the desk or in any other case out of sight, preserve it between your ft or hook the strap round one of many chair legs.
Don’t carry tons of money round with you. You can use bank cards at many locations in Colombia, particularly in the cities, and carrying masses of cash leaves you susceptible to theft. Don’t be the traveler who loses her pockets and the $500 in it.
Only use ATMs at banks through the day, indoors. Don’t use standalone ATMs in comfort shops. Not solely do they go away you vulnerable to theft, in case your card will get eaten, it’s rather a lot simpler to retrieve it from an actual financial institution’s ATM. If you possibly can’t discover a financial institution, use an ATM in a shopping center.
The water is secure to drink in Colombia’s main cities. Smaller cities are extra of a chance — ask the locals whether or not they drink the water or use bottle water. While most vacationers in Colombia depend on bottled water, it creates a significant waste subject. For this purpose, I like to recommend you convey a reusable bottle and make investments in a SteriPen water air purifier (a lot better and quicker than tablets). Alternatively, you possibly can convey a LifeStraw, a bottle that purifies water as you drink it by means of its straw.
Be ready for avenue harassment. Street harassment occurs everywhere in the world, however particularly in Latin American nations the place machismo reigns. Honestly, I didn’t discover Colombia to be the worst — it’s far worse in Argentina and Nicaragua — however it would occur with regularity once you’re alone. The feedback, the catcalls, the hisses.
The single neatest thing you are able to do is ignore it. These males are in search of a response. And 98% of the time, it doesn’t escalate into something worse. If you are feeling nervous, go into a store or restaurant and name an Uber or look ahead to them to depart.
If somebody robs you, GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT. Nothing is price your life.
Parts of Colombia are at excessive altitude and it takes some getting used to. Bogotá is particularly excessive at eight,660 ft. When you’re at the next altitude, you’ll exhaust your self doing regular issues like climbing stairs, and — THIS IS IMPORTANT — you’ll get drunk a lot quicker. If you’re going from a low elevation to a excessive elevation in a day, take it simple on the primary day. If you go from Cartagena to Medellín to Bogotá, you’ll slowly progress in elevation.
Malaria is current in most of Colombia, excluding excessive altitude areas like Bogotá. This is the Colombia malaria map from the Center for Disease Control in the US. Some vacationers select to take malaria tablets and a few select to not. I’m not going to let you know what to do as a result of that’s a dialog you and a medical skilled ought to have. I like to recommend seeing a journey physician.
The zika virus can also be current in Colombia. Here is a map. Zika ought to be a priority of pregnant ladies, companions of pregnant ladies, and ladies who intend to turn into pregnant quickly, however if you happen to’re none of these issues, you don’t want to fret. Bogotá is at a excessive sufficient altitude that mosquitos will not be current and zika is just not an element. Again, it is a dialog to have along with your physician.
Bring movement illness treatment. You will in all probability be driving by means of some mountainous areas. I felt nauseous as hell on my 4 drives into and out of Medellín, which is surrounded by mountains. I like to recommend meclizine (the generic model of non-drowsy Dramamine).
Be cautious about your ingesting. Drink lower than you ordinarily would at house — two drinks is an effective restrict. Only take drinks from bartenders, by no means take a drink from a stranger, and at all times preserve it with you and control it. Keep in thoughts that you simply get drunk quicker when at a excessive elevation.
Spend extra cash on staying secure. If it prices you cash to take an Uber reasonably than the metro, or to remain in a resort in a nicer neighborhood, do it. It’s well worth the peace of thoughts. Don’t pinch pennies in your security.
Don’t go on cocaine excursions. There are some backpacker excursions in Colombia that can take you to cocaine processing services (!!) — certainly created to capitalize on Colombia’s harmful repute. Honestly, why would you even do that?!
Get a digital guidebook and preserve it in your telephone. Even at this time, I at all times preserve a guidebook PDF on my telephone — it’s nice for calculating approximate time of journeys, figuring out what days locations are closed, and it lists medical facilities you need to go to in case of emergency. I’m an enormous fan of Lonely Planet guidebooks — get the digital model of Lonely Planet Colombia, or if you wish to lower your expenses, simply purchase the Colombia chapter of Lonely Planet South America on a Shoestring.
Most importantly, you haven’t any obligation to be good to anybody. Women usually really feel the should be good and please individuals in any respect prices. You don’t should wherever — particularly so in Colombia. If anybody is making you are feeling uncomfortable, simply go away. Trust me — you received’t be the rudest particular person they meet that day. And so what if you happen to have been? You’re by no means going to see them once more.
Top 10 Travel Safety Tips for Women
You’ll Need Spanish to Survive Colombia
It’s good to study a little bit of the native language wherever you go, however you need to particularly make an effort to study Spanish earlier than visiting Colombia. The language barrier right here is critical. Even in Cartagena, probably the most touristy metropolis in the nation, I needed to battle by means of my kindergarten-level Spanish all over the place outdoors the partitions of the outdated city.
I’ve traveled rather a lot in Mexico and Central America, the place it’s simpler to get by principally in English. One instance: most small guesthouses in Central America have a minimum of one member of the family who can converse English properly sufficient to speak with visitors. But in Colombia, it’s widespread for no person to talk a phrase of English in small guesthouses.
Spend time studying Spanish earlier than you go — a minimum of the fundamentals. It will make your journey a lot simpler. If you don’t know the place to begin, DuoLingo is a enjoyable free app for language studying. You might need to get a Latin American Spanish phrasebook, too.
The Best Experiences in Colombia
There are so many great issues to do in Colombia. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Try dozens of various fruits! Did you understand that Colombia has the best fruit biodiversity in the world? Seriously! Take this as a possibility to strive every kind of fruits and uncover your favorites. Granadilla, lulo, and feijoa have been my favorites. The single greatest exercise I did in Colombia was the Real City Exotic Fruits Tour in Medellín. Once you do this tour, you’ll know what to ask for at fruit and juice stands.
Take Instagram photographs in the streets of Cartagena. Cartagena is likely one of the most lovely cities in South America — and it’s made for Instagram! Spend your days strolling by means of the streets and admiring the large doorways. And because you’re touring solo, rent a photographer from an organization like Flytographer to get nice Instagram photographs for you.
Climb the large rock in Guatapé. El Peñon is a gigantic rock in the center of nowhere. So what are you imagined to do with it? You climb it! There’s a staircase alongside one of many sides. While it appears simple, you’ll quickly be out of breath if you happen to’re not used to residing at this altitude — however the views on the prime, of jagged lakes and islands, are so beautiful. Book a half-day tour from Medellín right here.
Climb steps and really feel some Catholic guilt. Being such a mountainous nation, Colombia has staircases all over the place — and fairly just a few of them select to evoke the Stations of the Cross. As you’re climbing the steps, out of breath since you’re not used to the altitude, you’ll see an indication studying Jesús cae la primera vez (Jesus falls the primary time). And you’ll roll your eyes and suppose, “I get it, Jesus, you had it much worse.”
Explore the salt cathedral of Zipaquirá. Just outdoors Bogotá is an enormous underground salt cathedral. The sheer dimension of it would blow you away — it simply retains going additional and additional again! I beloved making the half-day journey from Bogotá. Transportation here’s a little bit of a problem so I like to recommend reserving a switch from Bogotá to the cathedral and again. The city of Zipaquirá is beautiful, too.
Finding the right handmade memento. There are a lot of crafts on the market all through Colombia, however my favourite is a picket mannequin of a Cartagena door that I purchased in Salento. It’s white and ornate — many of the doorways are colourful however I needed to match my white-and-gray bed room — and it’s sitting on my desk as I sort this.
Dance to salsa and drink mojitos in Cartagena. One of Cartagena’s greatest spots for an evening out is Cafe Havana. The salsa band is excellent, the mojitos are scrumptious, and it’s a gorgeous approach to get swept up in the magic of this lovely colonial metropolis,
Try some espresso on the supply. The Zona Cafetera is the supply of a lot of the world’s Colombian espresso. There are a lot of lovely villages round right here, however I fell madly in love with Salento. One day I made a pilgrimage to a espresso producer simply outdoors city and I bought to see espresso at each stage earlier than it will get bagged. And in fact I needed to have a cup on the finish — wealthy, darkish, and proper on the supply.
Try a scorching chocolate with some cheese in it. One of my favourite specialties in Colombia was its scorching chocolate, created from wealthy melted darkish chocolate bars — however the most effective half is that they offer you an enormous lump of cheese to place in it! It sounds loopy, however the sweet-and-salty mixture is simply excellent.
Where to Go in Colombia
Colombia is a really numerous nation and can enchantment to quite a lot of vacationers. Whether you need to dance all evening in massive cities or spend days trekking by means of the jungle removed from civilization, Colombia has loads of locations for you.
Cartagena — This UNESCO World Heritage-listed city on the Caribbean Sea is probably the most touristed spot in Colombia, which makes it a super spot for the start of your journey. This lovely city is crammed with Colombia’s most lovely structure, together with its signature large doorways. Be certain to strive the Caribbean-influenced delicacies right here, like ceviche and coconut rice.
Bogotá — Colombia’s capital is a significant cultural hub with tons of museums, lovely neighborhoods, and many artwork. Don’t anticipate good climate, and the elevation will go away you breathless at occasions, however Bogotá is a captivating metropolis with heaps to do.
Tayrona National Park — If you’ve seen an idyllic photograph from a seashore in Colombia, it was doubtless from right here. Tayrona National Park is house to seashores, jungles, and hostels the place you possibly can go to sleep in a hammock to the sound of the waves.
Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) — This is Colombia’s hottest trek. Departing close to Santa Marta, you’ll spend Four-6 days trekking by means of the jungle. It’s not as fashionable because the Inca Trail in Peru, nevertheless it’s getting there rapidly.
Medellín — The previously harmful drug city of Medellín is now often known as town of everlasting spring and a digital nomad hotspot. Ride the cable vehicles to get views across the metropolis, go on a fruit tour to take pleasure in Colombia’s distinctive fruit biodiversity, or go to one of many many glorious museums.
Guatapé — A colourful small city not too far outdoors Medellín, Guatapé is greatest recognized for El Peñon — a large rock rising out of the bottom. You can climb stairs to the highest for the most effective view in Colombia: jagged lakes and tiny islands so far as the attention can see. Be cautious, the altitude makes this harder than you’d suppose!
Salento — This is my private favourite spot in Colombia: a small city in the center of the Zona Cafetera, or coffee-producing area. This is an effective spot to loosen up and benefit from the calm ambiance. Other cities in the Zone Cafetera are price visiting as properly.
Valle de Cocora — Just outdoors Salento, this valley is house to climbing trails and the tallest palm bushes in the world. You can go horseback using or climbing on public or personal trails (the personal trails price about $1), and also you’ll get a few of your greatest surroundings photographs from this area.
San Gil — A well-liked journey journey vacation spot in Colombia, individuals come right here to hike, raft, or throw themselves off cliffs. It’s all in the title of adrenaline.
Calí — If you’re into salsa dancing in the least, that is the place to go. Calí could be a bit tough, however the salsa model right here is distinctive and unforgettable. You don’t come right here to be a typical vacationer — you come right here to bounce all evening with locals. The nightlife right here is known.
Colombian Amazon — Yes, you possibly can discover the Amazon in Colombia! Leticia is the hub to fly into. Use this as a base to discover the seashore on foot or by boat and witness wildlife the likes of which you’ve by no means seen.
Baranquilla — This seaside metropolis (house of Sofia Vergara!) isn’t on most vacationers’ itineraries, however yow will discover loads of direct flights right here from the States, and it’s house to Colombia’s greatest Carnival celebration.
San Andres and Providencia — These two Caribbean islands are nearer to Nicaragua however are a part of Colombia. Colombians go for the weekend for sunbathing and tax-free buying, however when you get out a little bit bit, you possibly can have white sand seashores to your self.
How to Meet People in Colombia
If you need to meet individuals, you’re in luck — Colombians are gregarious and pleasant. I met these two ladies whereas climbing in the Valle de Cocora. Amusingly, I used to be huffing and puffing by means of the altitude — however as Bogota residents, it was really simpler for them oxygen-wise! We chatted for a bit — they provided to change to English, a godsend — and we spent a while climbing and chatting.
Beyond the serendipitous situations, listed below are some methods to fulfill individuals:
Consider staying at a social hostel. You don’t have to remain in a dorm — I stayed in a personal ensuite room at The Black Sheep in Medellín, a superb, well-located hostel that runs excursions and has every kind of actions.
Join excursions. I made a pal on my Cartagena meals tour and we went out to a salsa bar later that evening. I made just a few different mates on excursions in Medellín.
Look for Couchsurfing meetup occasions in Colombia. Couchsurfing isn’t simply without cost lodging — in addition they placed on meetup occasions the place everyone seems to be welcome. I feel South America has the most effective Couchsurfing scene in the world.
Join a meetup on Meetup.com. Whether you’re into journey, working, motion pictures, board video games, or simply need to meet a bunch of good individuals, there’s a Meetup for that.
Put out feelers on social media. Often a pal of yours can have a cousin or pal who will supply to fulfill you for espresso, simply so you understand somebody in town. My pal’s husband is Colombian and she or he linked me together with his cousin in Bogotá. We ended up going out dancing!
Tinder. If you’re seeking to date or hook up, have enjoyable! Colombia is filled with lovely individuals.
What to Wear in Colombia
When you’re touring solo as a lady, you need to costume equally to the locals. This helps you mix in and sometimes will get you extra respect. The aim isn’t to go as a neighborhood, it’s to go as a longtime resident who is aware of the realm properly.
Colombia’s locations have wildly various climates. Bogotá is usually chilly, overcast and wet, not not like Edinburgh. Cartagena is scorching year-round and one of the crucial brutally humid locations I’ve ever been. And Medellín is legendary for its clear skies and delicate, springlike climate. If you’re planning to see loads of Colombia, you’ll have to pack for these totally different climates.
So what ought to ladies put on in Colombia? Jeans. Almost at all times. Colombian ladies love their denim and nearly at all times put on denims until they’re dressed up for a special day. In basic, Latin American ladies are inclined to cowl their legs however are extra liberal with their tops. I might put on denims all over the place I went and add no matter labored for the local weather.
In Cartagena, I wore the native uniform of denims, flip-flops, and a cotton tank prime. (Fun reality: after I put on this outfit in my Dominican neighborhood in New York I usually get spoken to in Spanish first.) Yes, this was borderline torturous on the humid August days — however I didn’t remorse this determination. Most vacationer ladies in Cartagena have been carrying rompers, brief clothes, or short-shorts, which immediately marked them as outsiders.
In the milder areas of Medellín and Salento, I wore denims and a t-shirt with both flip-flops or flats. I might prime it with a cardigan or pretend leather-based moto jacket after I wanted an additional layer.
Bogotá was the chilliest, and I might layer up with denims, socks, flats or boots, a long-sleeved prime, my pretend leather-based moto jacket, and a Speakeasy Travel Supply scarf.
Here’s what I like to recommend packing:
Slim or skinny denims. Lots of people say to not journey with denims, however I couldn’t disagree extra. I reside in denims; Colombians reside in denims; denims are one of the best ways to suit in. I wore skinny denims, and this appeared to be the preferred minimize of denims amongst Colombian ladies.
Comfortable sneakers. I’ve unhealthy arches so nearly every thing I personal is from The Walking Company. Depending on the place you go in Colombia, I extremely suggest their orthotic flip-flops (sure, orthotic flip-flops exist and they’re a GAME-CHANGER!), black ABEO flats (this model is excellent they usually have glorious arch help) or a pair of shoes. If you propose on climbing, you’ll need to convey climbing boots or sneakers. (I did gentle climbing and survived with simply sneakers.)
Speakeasy Travel Supply scarf. These lovely scarves are designed and sewn by my pal and have a hidden passport pocket in them that no thief will know exists. I like these scarves (I even designed my very own!) and they’re so good at retaining your valuables hidden.
Crossbody purse. I suggest utilizing a crossbody purse, made out of a troublesome materials like leather-based or pretend leather-based, that zips shut. This is the sort of purse that’s a lot tougher for thieves to grab. I like to recommend many purses in this put up.
Light jacket. I discovered my little pretend leather-based jacket to be ideally suited for Colombia — heat sufficient when paired with a shawl in Bogotá, but in addition a very good possibility for when the evenings turned chilly in Medellín and Salento.
Travel Insurance for Colombia
Travel insurance coverage is important for journeys to Colombia — or every other nation. If you get appendicitis whereas in Medellín or fall whereas climbing in the Valle de Cocora, journey insurance coverage will provide help to in your time of want and defend you from monetary destroy. If you have to be flown house, it might prevent properly over $100,000.
And it’s not nearly damage. If you get robbed, journey insurance coverage can refund you for what was stolen from you. If your flights are cancelled on account of climate, journey insurance coverage can refund you. And in case you have a dying in the household and have to get house instantly, journey insurance coverage will provide help to get house quick. I exploit and suggest World Nomads journey insurance coverage for journeys to Colombia.
How NOT to Travel in Colombia
When on a fruit tour in Medellín, I met a candy 20-year-old Israeli lady. And whereas she was a really good particular person, my God, she was the one most clueless traveler I’ve ever met — the residing embodiment of Karen from Mean Girls. Here is only a handful of the issues she did fallacious in a two-hour interval:
She was an area cadet. She walked round with a dazed smile on her face reasonably than retaining her head down and staying targeted.
She wore the shortest shorts I’ve ever seen. Her butt frolicked of the underside; her whale tail of a thong poked out the highest. This market was in part of Medellín the place no vacationers go. Literally no person was dressed like that in the market.
The males stared in any respect the ladies in our group, and yelled issues out at me after I was exploring alone. But each man in the market gawked at this lady’s lack of clothes, and had she not been in a tour group, I’m sure she would have been grabbed.
She walked round along with her purse hanging open. It was like an invite to pickpockets.
She didn’t converse a phrase of Spanish. She didn’t even say hola or gracias to the locals she met.
She didn’t carry a map on her, nor did she have a knowledge plan on her telephone. I helped her determine how you can get to her subsequent locations, and I truthfully don’t know how she would have discovered her manner if I hadn’t been there to direct her.
Honestly, I don’t know how this lady survived. She instructed me she had already been robbed at gunpoint in Peru, which is terrible — no person deserves that. I hope she made it house to Israel safely.
But let this be a lesson to you — this lady demonstrated absolutely the worst approach to journey as a solo girl in Colombia. Hell, this may be a foul approach to journey wherever.
Colombia is ready for you!
Don’t fear — if you happen to’ve learn this a lot, you’re going to be nothing like that clueless lady I met in Medellín. You are going to like Colombia.
Go have the time of your life. Then come again and inform me all about it.
Traveling in Colombia: The Best Moments
Have you been to Colombia? What suggestions would you add? Share away!
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