I can write so much on my recent Colombia trip and hopefully will, but lest it end up like the second part of my LA tale, I will post a listicle now and hopefully a longer-form piece later. I know it’s about six weeks after my return, but better late than never. Especially before EVERYONE plans a trip to this lovely place!
10. Using AirBnB abroad. I’ve used it twice in California to find unique properties, but for my first night in Bogotá it worked out quite well to have an affordable, low-key spot to stay. I also enjoyed experiencing a more neighborhood-y area of a big city – quite a different perspective than staying in the hotel or hostel district. My host was helpful and even let me keep my stuff there the entire next day until my night bus.
9. Fresh juice and fruit. You’ll not ever taste anything quite like the dripping sweet goodness of a mango straight from the tree.
8. Street food. Tasty and ubiquitous. Followed the “long lines” rule and had the most excellent buñuelos one could imagine by the main plaza in Medellín.
7. Colonial towns. Gorgeous and intact, unlike American settlements they haven’t been plowed over for Walmarts.
6. Public transit. Whether BRT or the weekly Ciclovía in Bogota, light rail and gondolas in Medellín, a $35 luxury bus halfway across the country, or ability to get around communally in the most remote of places.
5. Fellow travelers. Met some fantastic folks during my travels. The ladies of Team Bogota will definitely reunite, I can’t wait to host the folks I met at Hostal La Finca in San Francisco and had a great time clubbing all night with the Casa Kiwi gang in Medellín.
4. Art. Street art and public sculpture everywhere! Great museums showcasing art from prehistoric Colombia (Museo del Oro) to the colonial era and independence (Museo de Antioquia) to modern day (El MAMM).
2. Natural beauty. I immersed myself in paradise at Hostal La Finca, just an hour from Medellín. I got to play in waterfalls! I did yoga overlooking the mountains and valleys! I took a 9 mile hike across the mountains. I promise a post soon about this much-needed and magical place, perfect for anyone who needs a mental retreat.
2. The Unexpected. Waking up to an avian philharmonic, meeting a group of Americans at a farm-to-table Colombian restaurant, the opportunity to help teach at a rural school, watching a honest-to-goodness landslide, driving by a night training exercise for the Colombian army, shortening my waterfall frolicking due to a thunderstorm, avoiding run-ins with perros peligrosos, picking up a 7-year-old tour guide…all this and more in just a few days.
1. Colombians! Easily the nicest and most helpful people of any country I’ve ever visited.