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Breaking the Stereotype: A Colombia Travel Story…

It all started with a childhood movie…

…and ended up changing one woman’s perspective of an entire nation.

Katy Schlegel had been told all her life of the dangers of Colombia – drug wars, murder, and poverty. Why travel to a nation with one of the highest rates of forced disappearances in the world? A nation where millions of refugees flee to other countries to escape guerrilla warfare? A nation where one third of the people live below the poverty line?

But Katy thought, why not?

Armed with an open mind and plenty of enthusiasm, danger-savvy Katy traveled to Colombia and learned first hand that the real danger lay in fear and stereotyping.

Learn how Colombia travel might be more enlightening and rewarding than you think…

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Underground Tombs; Tierradentro, Colombia

Grave robbers.

Underground burial grounds.

Mysterious blood-colored wall paintings.

It’s all waiting for you at Tierradentro National Park. Shrouded in mystery, Tierradentro is an archeological wonder and UNESCO World Heritage Site (1995) which should not be missed.

The park is known for its pre-Columbian funeral chambers, known as hypogea, which were unearthed during numerous excavations.

Since then, over 100 have been uncovered. Continue

Architecture & Romance; Popayan, Colombia

Affectionately called “Ciudad Blanca” for its seemingly endless rows of white buildings, Popayán is second only to Cartagena in terms of colonial charm. It was once an important stopping point along trade routes from Cartagena to Quito, Ecuador.

Then in 1983,  Popayán was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake. It took nearly twenty years to successfully rebuild the city and today, it’s more impressive than ever.

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Things to Do in Medellin, Colombia

Pablo Escobar. Cocaine. Murder. These are probably the first things that spring to mind when you hear of Medellín.

If not… good for you. Because even though this northwestern Colombian city was once a center for drug cartels and once referred to as the “murder capital of the world,” it’s much, much safer now.

Seriously.

In terms of murder, Medellín now ranks behind both New Orleans and Washington DC, and thanks to recent improvements in education, commerce and the death of Pablo Escobar the city boasts a chic, cosmopolitan charm which rivals Bogota and Cartagena. Travelers are just now beginning to return here after Medellín’s dark history. Those who do will indeed be rewarded. Continue

Why You’ll Love Amacayacu National Natural Park

Amacayacu National Natural Park – like many places along the Amazon – is difficult to get to, painfully humid… and worth every second. Located in southern Colombia, Amacayacu’s main section is routinely flooded by the Amazon river each year.

This flooding enriches local flora and fauna, making river boat tours an excellent opportunity for wildlife viewing. It’s this prodigious amount of wildlife which also draws zoologists, looking to study new, never before seen species.

Getting to the park takes some time, however. Continue