Colombia

Colombia has so much more to offer than just Bogota - so it would be a shame not to be able to stay a good while and really enjoy it.

As always it is best to stay with or even simply get to know a local who can advise on safety issues. Of course you should always obtain official security information – even though the situation has improved in the last few years there are still danger-zones and it is seriously recommended to be cautious and stay clear of these, especially for foreigners.

Having said that, Colombians are very warm and hospitable and take it upon themselves to show you a good time and put all the negative stereotypes to rest!


Image courtesy of http://math.univ-lyon1.fr/~moreno/MTBogota2005/

The country’s capital has undergone a phenomenal transformation in the last decade and despite the safety concerns Bogotá is fast becoming an exciting and interesting place that has tourists coming back for more; many even deciding to settle down there!

The climate in Bogotá is ideal for those who dislike extreme heat or cold. It is pretty much the same all year round, like spring (e.g. 65F/18c) though cooler at night. The sun gets stronger and temperatures rise slightly from November through to the beginning of February (this is when most schools and universities have their longer holiday break), while rainfall is most common during European spring and autumn.

Located in a high plateau at 2.600m above sea level and surrounded by dramatic mountains (actually part of the Andes mountain range!), the contrast of the savage, lush landscape with the colonial/modern city is breathtaking.

Architecturally, this sprawling city has a bit of everything; poor areas crammed full of settlers from all over the country setting up little shops on every road, to stunning old “Tudor” houses, the traditional Bogotá red-brick buildings and impressive sky-scrapers. And amidst the modern housing and office complexes, you might still find random fields with grazing cows!

The city is organised into numbered streets. Addresses however are difficult to translate because the two main words used, although different in Spanish, both mean ‘street’ in English. Confusingly for Anglos, “Calle” means street in east-west direction and “carrera” means street in north-south direction. In addition, you will find avenues, transversals and diagonals. Pretty straightforward once you’re there. For your comfort and safety, as they say on planes, ChI provides addresses in Spanish to avoid confusion.

 

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