So, you´re thinking of traveling to Colombia. That's your tentative plan. I can tell you already that this is a good plan, but you´re more than likely facing a slew of detractors (and maybe you´re even on the fence, too). They´re asking you questions like, “Colombia? Do you want to become a drug mule?” and “Don´t you know how dangerous it is there?”. Let´s set the record straight a bit and try to remove those hater-goggles from those around you. This is an important task because this isn´t your momma´s Colombia anymore.
Obviously, everyone is familiar with the stories of the country´s recent and turbulent past, particularly those of the 90´s, yet Colombia is a country that has come an astoundingly long way in a remarkably short period of time. The violence has largely been diminished as the result of strongly enforced security policies by the Colombian government. For example, from 2002 to 2009, kidnappings per year across the country fell from nearly 3,000 to a little over 200, and, in this same time span, homicides were almost halved nationwide (1). Bogotá, furthermore, currently has the lowest murder rate in 30 years, actually below cities like Washington DC and Chicago (2). Such dangers still exist, of course, but they have become highly localized to specific areas that are far removed from most urban areas and the favorite tourist locales.
Don´t think your friends and family are convinced?
Consider the tourism industry, our forte here at Andes EcoTours, as a proxy for the transformation that Colombia has undergone. The vastly improved security situation in the country has given new life to tourism all across the country. In 2003, for instance, there were only a recorded half-million foreign tourist visits (3). A short ten years later, Colombia broke its tourism records as it welcomed close to 2 million foreign tourists in 2013 (4).
This new upsurge in tourism has provided the opportunity for foreigners to experience and see new parts and places in Colombia that may have previously been off-limits. Ecotourism, particularly, is an exciting trend that is emerging.
That´s where we come in. Based in Bogotá, we at Andes EcoTours, aim to show the rarely-seen natural beauty and rich, vibrant local culture to be found just outside the concrete jungle. From hikes through cloud forests to community-based tours of coffee farms, we offer nearly a dozen different tours that cover almost every ecosystem that surrounds the capital city.
So, it´s time to firm up those tentative Colombia travel plans and catch your flight. We´re waiting to show you the roads and mountaintops less traveled in Colombia.