Welcome to Colombia
Colombia. Such a reputation. Drug cartels. Violence. Fast forward and today there are travellers out and about exploring. Colombia is diverse, rich in biodiversity (say…how many species of birds?!) and a country with 2 ocean fronts, 3 deserts, the Andes, the Amazon jungle and verdant green hilltops growing coffee. And wait..also vibrant cities that burst with Colombian vibe and pride.
People are curious about Colombia but worry about safety. An old reputation is hard to shake and yes, I heard of people being robbed at knifepoint. It happens. Someone I met did not tell her parents she was going to Colombia until she had arrived. Another young girl’s Grandpa cried when he heard she was travelling to Colombia. That’s the truth about the effect the word “Colombia” can have on people.
When travelling in Colombia, don’t let your guard down and ¡No Dar Papaya! What does this mean? The direct translation of ¡No Dar Papaya! means ¡Don’t Give Papaya! My Spanish teacher in Medellin explained that this Colombian saying means don’t give the opportunity to be taken advantage of. For example, don’t leave your cellphone sitting on a café table. Don’t walk down the street holding it. Don’t invite temptation to be robbed. Be alert and ¡No dar papaya!
Colombia was the last of four countries that I visited in a 3 month South America itinerary. Here is my full itinerary through Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Colombia.
In 2019, I spent 6 weeks in Colombia and feel that I barely scraped the surface. I have a list of my “must see” places to visit next time! Add Colombia to your bucket list. You won’t be disappointed.
Posts on Colombia
- Cartagena sits on the Caribbean coast and just sizzles! It’s hot, full of Spanish colonial architecture and a lively vibe. Here’s how to enjoy Cartagena. Things to do in Cartagena Colombia | The Take it Slow Guide
- Salento is the pride and joy of Colombia’s coffee triangle. Every Colombian I met just “oooohed” and “ahhhed” about Salento. They were so right. Read about why. Salento Colombia: My Favourite Town in Colombia
- Jardin is the real deal. So authentic. I mean, men just ride their horses right into town for a drink on a Saturday night. Here are The 5 Reasons You Just Have to Vist Jardin.
- Medellin was once the most dangerous city in the world. How on earth is the most violent neighbourhood in Medellin attracting visitors? Read about the transformation of Comuna 13. Comuna 13: Why It Should be on Your Medellin Itinerary