TRUTH: home of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar (long gone)
TRUTH: second most biodiverse country in the world (after Brazil which is 10 times its size)
TRUTH: the country's name is ColOmbia, not ColUmbia
TRUTH: it's hot! (true of some areas such as Cartagena on the north coast, but Bogota is almost at 8700 feet in the foothills of the Andes so can get cool with average low-high temperatures 7-19 degrees; Medellin is known as the "City of Eternal Spring")
MYTH: Medellin is the murder capital of the world (it used to be true, but the city has experienced a reawakening as a fashionable cultural centre)
MYTH: transportation is rough (Bogota has South America's largest network of bicycle routes, and both Bogota and Medellin close down major traffic routes every Sunday except for bicyclists, rollerbladers, runners and pedestrians; both cities boast efficient, clean, and modern mass transit systems)
MYTH: if you go, you're going to be killed or kidnapped by guerillas (again, might have been true, but in the major tourist regions they are all but gone as the country grapples with a new found, if slightly delicate, peace after decades of war).
While it has a reputation as a drug-trafficking, dangerous place, we are told that it’s one of the most beautiful countries in the world, now experiencing a re-birth as the tourism diamond of South America. In 2015 tourism grew by 12% over 2014 with 2.5 million foreigners visiting in 2015, and 87% over a decade before. It is anticipated to grow by 20% per year, and is listed as one of the 10 fastest growing tourism markets globally.
So...we thought we'd give it a try. We hope to experience a taste of the many things Colombia has to offer and develop a new appreciation for a previously 'much feared' country. Stay tuned!