WE HAD BEEN ITCHING FOR AN ADVENTURE FOR A WHILE. AND AFTER REALIZING WE HAD NO REASON TO STAY IN THE USA - AND AFTER GETTING OUR VACCINES - WE DECIDED TO HEAD OFF TO EXPLORE COLOMBIA FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS. HERE IS WHY.
The moment we realized countries were opening back up to tourists we quickly started to decide on where we wanted to explore next. Should we have a romantic European summer or head back down to South America? While not every country was entirely open to travelers, luckily, many places we had always wanted to explore were available for tourists.
This included Colombia - a country we’d only heard great things about. This was especially true when we were down in Peru and every other traveler was asking if we had been to Colombia or were heading there next. When we told them we weren't, all of them tried to change our minds with words like beautiful, magical, adventurous. In the end, we stuck with our itinerary of Peru and Ecuador - but never lost the desire to head even more north in South America.
So fast forward to 2021 and after many years of talking about it, we finally decided to check the country out for ourselves. So we bought two one-way tickets, packed up all of our stuff and got on a plane headed for Cartagena.
WHY WE CHOSE TO SLOW TRAVEL IN COLOMBIA
Besides the obvious - it is beautiful and full of life - Colombia checked off a lot of necessary boxes for us, including the ability to learn another language and the overall accessibility of amazing adventures.
Below are the six reasons we chose to slow travel in Colombia - and why you should too!
1 | To Learn Spanish
This one was a big one for us both, for it had always been a dream of ours to become (semi) bilingual in Spanish. While we each had taken Spanish in high school, and had at least some basic knowledge of the language, we also both knew that to get practically fluent (or as close to as possible) we needed to immerse ourselves in it fully.
Hence why we decided to slow travel around Colombia where we knew we would have plenty of opportunities to speak the language with the locals and plenty of time to work on it overall (the plan was to spend around 3 months in Colombia).
2 | The Natural Features & Adventure
If you are looking for a country with a lot of beautiful, unique landscapes then Colombia should be high on your list. Tropical beaches, vibrant red deserts, lush rainforests and high snow-capped mountains, you can find all of that and more within the confines of the South American country.
And all of those natural features translate to some truly amazing outdoor adventures, including snorkeling, trekking, mountain biking and canyoneering (and much more). When we were looking at places to explore in the country we knew we wanted a mix of landscapes - hence why we first landed in Cartagena, located on the Caribbean Sea and home to some great beaches and tropical scenery, and then planned to head further inland to the more mountainous, rainforest-y region (more importantly: the coffee growing region).
When you give yourself a couple of months in Colombia it becomes much easier to explore the various natural features in a slower, more in-depth way - including even living in various landscapes (like the coast or the jungle). Plus, when you have weeks instead of days, you can spend the time finding the right adventure for you.
EXPLORE MORE | WHAT IS SLOW TRAVEL, AND HOW DO I DO IT?
3 | Cultural Immersion
What really sold us on Colombia was the combination of the gorgeous natural landscapes and the rich culture. For us, when planning a trip somewhere we want to learn as much as possible about the local cultures and how the locals live their day-to-day lives. Luckily, it is easy to do that when you are spending weeks in one place instead of always moving around.
Plus, the culture in Colombia is incredibly diverse. For example, along the coast - especially in the Cartagena area - you have a strong African and Caribbean influence (the city was a major port for enslaved Africans under Spanish rule). Whereas in the interior of the country there are stronger influences from various indigenous groups, as well as from European immigrants that arrived after WWII, especially in areas such as the capital of Bogota, the large metropolis of Medellin and the coffee growing regions like Santander. No matter what area you explore in Colombia you will more than likely find very warm, welcoming and friendly individuals.