Colombia is surging in popularity with Americans right now, and numerous countries in South America are eager to host visitors and long-term travelers.
Though it’s got quite a bad rep due to a conflict in the 90s which resulted in thousands of civilian deaths, and the rise, and eventual downfall, of one of the 20th-century’s most polarizing figures, Pablo Escobar, it has come a long way since then.
It’s now an incredibly trendy destination, up there with Brazil, Argentina, and the like, and its robust tourism sector looks set for further growth this year as millions of North Americans and Europeans flock to its Caribbean beaches and vibrant cities.
The question is: what’s so special about Colombia that keeps them coming back for more?
This Is Why Tourists Love Combia
As the data states, the South American giant has grown by a further 14% in 2023, and experts were quoted saying, ‘the outlook for Colombia in 2024 appears positive’, with its flight connectivity boost and improvement of safety measures.
This year, numerous U.S. airlines have added or increased service to Colombia, including Spirit, which launched a spate of new nonstop flights to a number of destinations in the country.
One of those is Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest and arguably most vibrant city break.
Vibrant City Breaks And A Lively Nightlife
An up-and-coming vacation spot, Medellin is part of the reason why Colombia has proven to be such an undeniable hit with travelers, with its lively social scene, fascinating street art, Bohemian districts, plethora of night bars and youthful atmosphere.
Medellin is a popular backpacker hub and a starting point for travelers exploring Antioquia, a region famous for its jungle reserves, picturesque lakes, and colorful, sleepy towns dating back to the colonial period.
Straddling the North Colombian coast, Cartagena is not to be missed, either, and it can also be reached from the mainland U.S. on ultra-low-cost fares.
Beautiful Coastal Areas
Cartagena is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of fortified walls, established by the Spanish upon their conquest of the territory in the early 1600s, and encompassing several colonial-era civic buildings and a landmark cathedral, it stands among the prettiest European settlements of the Americas.
Cartagena is also the gateway to the wider Caribbean province, home to a coastline where sandy beaches are hugged by teal-colored waters, interspersed with small seaside settlements, and dotted with tropical islands, such as the paradisaical Rosario archipelago.
On the other hand, Bogota may not have the beach or the Colombian Caribbean’s laid-back lifestyle, but it is a sprawling high-altitude capital city recognized for its world-class museums, traditional La Candelaria district, and sweeping mountain views.
Colombia’s strength lies in the diversity of its tourist offer, but also in its affordability.
Colombia Is Incredibly Affordable
The low consumer prices have played an equally important role in catapulting Colombia to stardom in the post-crisis scene.
Now that travelers are more budget-conscious than ever, considering the latest economic upheaval, the Global South has become their new go-to vacation, especially Colombia, where only an average of $43 per day is required.
The Colombian peso has severely weakened against an ever-stronger dollar, which means the purchasing power of Americans traveling in the country increases four-fold or higher.
This means cheaper luxury hotel rates, lower daily expenses, and cheaper prices for food.
Is Colombia Safe?
Colombia has not been exactly famous for its strict security.
It may have a relatively stable, functional government, and the streets may be somewhat safer today compared to the eighties or nineties when the country was essentially on the brink of a civil war, but it’s still plagued by crime.
Major cities like Bogota, the Colombian capital, and especially Medellin, the cultural heart of the Antioquia Department, have developed a reputation for being unsafe, with high rates of pickpocketing and, in the latter, even violent crime affecting tourists.
Still, this does not seem to keep tourists from flocking to the South American gem, as detailed here.
To them, the benefits far outweigh the risks, and looking at the bigger picture, few visitors are affected by crime during their trip: the vast majority return home with nothing but unforgettable memories of the ‘Tierra Inolvidable’.
It is worth noting that safety advice still applies when vacationing in Colombia, such as avoiding flashing valuables in public unnecessarily, maintaining a high level of awareness, keeping belongings on you in crowded spaces, and avoiding zones considered dangerous for foreigners.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com