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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Santiago de Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
    Posts
    244

    Default Colombia, South America

    In September I plan to visit Colombia for the first time. Over the years I have been to Mexico and all the countries of Central America (except Belize) numerous times but I have never been to South America yet and I chose Colombia as the first South American country to visit.

    I speak, read and write Spanish with native fluency so language won't be a barrier at all. I currently live in the Dominican Republic since 2008 and became a naturalized citizen there in 2015, so I am accustomed very much to Latin American culture.

    Having never been to Colombia, though, I was wondering if those here who have visited it have any advice. I will fly into Bogota from Santo Domingo and from there I want to visit Medellin, Cali and several other cities. I am undecided as to whether I should rent a car or go by bus or plane. I appreciate any advice on travelling there as well as safety/security tips.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Snohomish County, WA
    Posts
    2,008
    I have been to a Bogota a few times to visit family and work, but not to any other cities. Never had any problems, but was always with family or other locals that knew when and where not to be. Customs in and out of the country was always fairly smooth and usually three security check points out of the country, airport, airline, and military. Always a good time there with plenty of bars and restaurants to hit up after work.

    For work I had an armed bodyguard pick me up and drop me off at the airport. Would get the scoop on what weapons he had and where they were.

    Places to eat... will add more as I remember or look back at some old pictures.

    El Corral Hamburgers
    http://www.elcorral.com

    Waffles y Crepes... where every waitress is a single mom
    http://crepesywaffles.com.co

    Monserrate Mountain.. great views
    http://www.restaurantecasasanisidro.com/home
    Last edited by steve_k; 07-28-2018 at 08:28 PM.
    The government selectively enforces laws, so I selectively follow them.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Santiago de Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
    Posts
    244
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_k View Post
    I have been to a Bogota a few times to visit family and work, but not to any other cities. Never had any problems, but was always with family or other locals that knew when and where not to be. Customs in and out of the country was always fairly smooth and usually three security check points out of the country, airport, airline, and military. Always a good time there with plenty of bars and restaurants to hit up after work.

    For work I had an armed bodyguard pick me up and drop me off at the airport. Would get the scoop on what weapons he had and where they were.

    Places to eat... will add more as I remember or look back at some old pictures.

    El Corral Hamburgers
    http://www.elcorral.com

    Waffles y Crepes... where every waitress is a single mom
    http://crepesywaffles.com.co

    Monserrate Mountain.. great views
    http://www.restaurantecasasanisidro.com/home
    Thanks for the information. It’ll definitely come in handy.


    Enviado desde mi iPhone utilizando Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    SE New Mexico
    Posts
    1,177
    Went there once with the military for a thing so skipped customs etc.. I found the country and women to be stunning and the food delicious. Be safe and let us know how your trip goes!
    “Every day the same thing...variety”

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Santiago de Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
    Posts
    244
    Quote Originally Posted by AFSOCCRNA View Post
    Went there once with the military for a thing so skipped customs etc.. I found the country and women to be stunning and the food delicious. Be safe and let us know how your trip goes!
    I returned from Colombia yesterday evening, flying from Bogotá to Fort Lauderdale, FL on the Colombian airline Avianca, and then on JetBlue to Santo Domingo, DR.
    I had a great time. The trip started on September 20th. I spent the first night in
    Bogotá, arriving about 2pm. The altitude got to me, as I live at sea level in the Dominican Republic. I had a slight headache and felt tired. The weather was very comfortable, about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The next day I flew on Avianca to the city of Cali. I rented a car and explored Cali for about two days, then I drove up into the department of Quindío, which is where most of Colombia's coffee is produced. I stayed in a small village called Montenegro. Near Montenegro are the cities of Armenia, Pereira and Manizales, all of which are very nice.

    All of the people were extremely friendly in all of the areas I went to. I have always thought that the Dominican people were friendly but Colombians have them beat by a long shot. Colombia also has a much stronger infrastructure than the DR does. The traffic is not as crazy as in the DR and all of the highways are well paved and very modern. There are a lot of toll booths. Colombia must also have vehicle inspections because I did not see any run down rusty cars on the roads like one commonly sees in the DR.

    Colombia's electric grid is solid also, as they don't have daily blackouts like some Latin American countries do. The food in restaurants is extremely cheap and very good. The exchange rate is $3000 Colombian pesos to one US dollar. The average meal in a restaurant varied between $2500 to $5000 pesos. That's from .84 cents to $1.68 per meal, unbelievably cheap. In the more upper class restaurants I spent $15,000 to $20,000 pesos per meal which is from $5.04 to $6.72 dollars, still crazy cheap.

    If you're a coffee lover, and I am, you'll be in heaven. It too is cheap and unbelievably good and coffee shops abound on every corner in every city and town.

    While there I carried a CKRT Crawford-Kasper folding knife. While entering a restaurant one afternoon in Manizales a beep sounded and a security guard approached me and began patting my pockets. He found the knife and said he'd hold it until I left. Naturally I was worried there'd be problems, but no. After I ate and paid he pulled out the knife as he saw me walking toward the doors and gave it back to me. No lectures, no warnings, nothing. He was very friendly. I was not expecting a metal detector in a restaurant, as they're more common in nightclubs and government buildings, but I never encountered another one anywhere else I went.

    I will definitely be going back there and I'm even toying with the idea of living there instead of in the DR, as it's A LOT more modern and organized. I also want to explore many other areas and cities there. It's a huge country with a lot to see.
    Last edited by Medvetz63; 09-30-2018 at 07:14 PM.

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