As had been the case with Indonesia, Colombia was a country which caused me considerable anxiety prior to my visit there. This was largely because of the traditional media narrative about Colombia: That it was not safe, especially not for light-skinned travelers like myself.
As it turned out, the only danger in Colombia was wanting to stay more time than I had, to explore more places than my schedule would allow for and, as you’ll see if you continue reading, to take an inordinate number of photos that depict a land almost mythical in its beauty.
Nearly every part of my trip to Colombia was extraordinary. Within 24 hours of my arrival in Bogotá, for example, I was already huddled in the back room of a coffee shop, trying not to breathe in tear gas police had thrown to disband a protest outside. Doesn’t sound fun? Well, within a few days of that, I was up on the Caribbean coast, hiking through Tayrona National Park, one of the most pristine places in the world.
The colonial city of Cartagena proved not only to be calmer than volatile Bogotá, but also more colorful, a truth that carried through to Isla de Barú, an idyllic paradise located just a couple hours offshore but in some ways, an entire world away. Colombia’s Eje Cafetero coffee-producing region also proved to be otherworldly, in particular the incredible Valle del Cocora.
I finished my three weeks in Colombia in the city of Medellín, which over the past two decades has transformed itself from a hiding lair for drug lords to one of the most modern cities in Latin America, if not the world. You can click through the links in the preceding paragraphs to learn more about things to do in Colombia, or continue scrolling down to let these Colombia photos speak for themselves.