Probably the biggest misconception about Colombia is that everyone is involved in the drug trade. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Colombia does produce much of the world’s cocaine, however, nearly all of it is exported (mainly to the US) with very little staying in Colombia. Things have changed in recent times – the Colombian government has worked very hard to slow down cocaine production and it has worked with as much as 28% reduction in one year. Peru has now taken over as the world’s largest producer. The drugs business in Colombia is run by a few cartels and the average Colombian will have no connections or knowledge of their country’s infamous trade.
2. Colombia is very dangerous
There is no denying that Colombia used to be dangerous and has suffered a lot of violence during the last 30 years, particularly so during Escobar’s reign back in the 70’s and 80’s but as mentioned before things have changed. Like anywhere in the world there are dangerous places which you would not frequent out of choice but on the whole Colombia is a safe country for tourists. As long as you use a little common sense (like anywhere you go) you shouldn’t encounter any problems. Of course crime does happen but nothing like the scale it used to and it’s no more dangerous than any US cities where you certainly have to keep your wits about you. I have spent a month travelling around Colombia and experienced no problems, only very friendly and helpful people who are very proud of their country.
3. Colombian coffee is the best
As Colombia is a major coffee exporter, unfortunately it means that their best beans get shipped abroad. Colombian coffee outside Colombia might taste better than inside but rest assured you can still get great coffee here, only thing is – you will have to pay for it.
4. All Colombian women are beautiful
Some are hot, some are not, just like everywhere else in the world. They may have an overall above average looking female race, but it’s worth keeping in mind that going under the surgeon’s knife is quite popular in Colombia. It would be ridiculous to assume all the women look like models – here like elsewhere you will find women of all shapes and sizes with different looks.
5. For tourists there is not much to see or do in Colombia
Another popular misconception and again one that could not be further from the truth. There are interesting cities to visit – Bogota, Medellin and Cali with their first class shopping, cultural attractions, restaurants and nightlife.
There is the Caribbean coast with its beautiful beaches, breathtaking national parks and laidback towns. There is the enchanting walled city of Cartagena with its amazing restaurants, hotels, shops, charming cobbled streets and historic buildings, quite unlike anywhere else in the world.
You can trek to the Lost City or stay in a lodge in the Amazon. And of course there is the simply stunning coffee area where you can stay on old colonial haciendas drinking lots of coffee, enjoying the serenity and basking in the mesmerizing Andean vistas. For inspiration on where to stay have a look at www.historichaciendas.com