The tourism industry in Colombia, for decades, has been affected by unsafe conditions resulting from social unrest. The civil conflicts, guerrilla warfare, and frequent outbreaks of violence has rendered this country as one of South America's most dangerous regions to travel to. The situation is however, slowly changing.
The number of tourists visiting this country rose from 0.5 million in 2003 to 1.4 million in 2010. The efforts taken by the government for promoting peace are mainly responsible for this change. Before getting into the information about tourism and related aspects, let us find some general information about Colombia.
The main language spoken in Colombia is Spanish. Population of this nation is over 46 million. Mestizos (people of mixed Native American and European heritage) form around 50% of the population of Colombia, white people from European descent form 26% of the population. The remaining people are American and Afro-Colombian. Let us find some useful information regarding travel to Colombia.
Travel Guide for Columbia
It is said that travelers to Colombia need to be vigilant, as the crime rate in this country is quite high. Kidnapping and homicide are the crimes that take place frequently. However, if the tourists visiting Colombia take some precautions, they are less likely to get into any kind of trouble. Let us keep aside the issue of violence for now, and look at the brighter side. Colombia is a country known for its rich natural resources and scenic beauty.
The mountainous region in the vicinity of Bogota, Cali and Medellin are known to attract tourists. The Caribbean beaches of the east coast possess a great potential for development in the tourism sector. It is observed that elder citizens of this country blame the activities of drug trafficking and violence for the underdeveloped tourism industry. According to the people of Colombia, this region has great potential for the development of tourism.
Travel Tips for Tourists
Tourists from Europe and America can use Colombia's national airline, Avianca (AV) for traveling to this country. The Bogotá (El Dorado International Airport) (BOG) is situated 8 miles to the east of this capital city of Colombia. One can make use of buses and taxis to travel to the heart of Bogota.
- The banking services in Bogota and Cartagena take care of tourists' needs . The tourists can use ATMs which, in most cases, are located inside the banks (for safety).
- The country telephone code for Colombia is +57. Along with telephone centers, travelers can communicate via Internet cafes too. Hotels in the major cities also provide Internet services to their customers.
- Tourists can purchase gold, platinum and other precious items, however, they have to present the proof of this purchase at the time of leaving the country. It is not allowed to take away pre-Colonial artifacts from this country.
- It is important to take precautionary measures pertaining to healthcare before leaving for any foreign country. The environment in Colombia doesn't pose any major health problem for tourists. However, getting a tetanus and hepatitis booster is always recommended.
- The mannerism and etiquette of Colombians are greatly influenced by the Europeans. A handshake is commonly used for greeting. While traveling in public transport, people give up their seats for elderly citizens and women.
Popular Tourists Destinations
This place lies in the downtown of Bogota. It is famous for the Baroque and Colonial architectural buildings. Important places to visit in La Candelaria are the Botero Museum, Colon Theater, Gold Museum, etc.
This place is famous for its beaches. The Walls of Cartagena too are worth visiting. Construction of these walls started in the 16th century, and was completed by the end of 18th century. Thickness of these walls is up to 20 meters.
The knowledge of dos and don'ts during a trip to Colombia should make you aware of the precautionary measures to be followed. Colombia is a beautiful country with all the natural resources it possesses. With a little bit of caution and vigilance, you can make your Colombia traveling experience risk-free and very enjoyable.