When I mentioned we are leaving to go to Colombia in two weeks, nearly everyone replies, “Is it safe to go there?” The Lonely Planet starts its section on Colombia by saying, “Colombia’s back. After decades of civil conflict, Colombia is now safe to visit and travelers are discovering what they’ve been missing.”
Pete Gomez wrote about his amazing adventure in Colombia, for the November 2010 NEXT magazine in the Travel section. He reports that “friendly and enthusiastic, Colombians are eager to point out that the dark days of ‘la violencia’ and warring drug barons are firmly in the past.” I am thinking it’s a go!
Adam Seper wrote for Bootsnall, “After learning more about Colombians and their culture, I think they are just embracing the chance to be happy. After living under so much violence, after their country was torn apart over the last several decades by drug cartels and paramilitary groups, they are rejoicing.” His month long journey included many friendly people and no issues and he was warmly welcomed by all locals. I want to meet friendly locals!
An expat friend of ours who lives in Thailand said, “Are you only going to Colombia? Are you going to be traveling near the Darien Gap? if so, BE CAREFUL! I am jealous of you as that is a country on my top 10 list!” Yes, we are going and no, we are not going to Darien Gap near Panama. While many first think of kidnappings, murder and drug lords as the norm for Colombia, Gomez continues his article by saying “Colombia is safe to visit and rewards travelers with a fascinating mix of vibrant cities, white-washed colonial villages, steamy Amazon jungle and Caribbean Islands and palm-fringed beaches.”
In early 2011, I will report back on the World Heritage site of Cartagena’s old town in the heart of the city which is the location for Gabriel Garcia Marquez’sLove in the Time of Cholera. I personally prefer Isabelle Allende’sThe House of Spirits, but cannot wait to see Cartagena and all Colombia has to offer.
Since Anthony Bourdain and his show, No Reservations, visited, many want to try out his choices of eating at La Cevicheria and enjoying the market, Basurto Market. I think they will be at the top of my list!
It will be amazing to compare the beaches of Playa Blanca with the other Caribbean islands and to enjoy Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona. Ringing in the New Year in Cartagena, I hope will be a memorable first wedding anniversary for only good reasons.
So should we go to Colombia? Yes!
But we are taking suggestions for what to do and for where to go next !
Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is a speaker at the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Dallas Travel and Adventure Shows for 2023. Her podcast, “Make Your Own Map,” has been watched in more than 11 countries on 4 continents. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster.
You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have nearly 2 million views.
With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club.
As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries.
For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.
Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals
including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo.
National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards
2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out”
2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver”
2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art
Southern California Journalism Awards
2022 Finalist: Book Criticism
2021 Winner: Technology Reporting
2021 Finalist: Book Criticism
2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt”
2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature
2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway”
2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile
2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers”
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10 responses to “Colombia: To Go or Not to Go?”
Thanks for sharing your experience.I also have a wish to travel to Columbia and most probably next year during my vacations.My friend had his travel to Columbia this year he didn't face any problem during his travel.
Thank you for your comments! I hope you will visit Colombia! We will write all about our journey after we get back!
I just can say they you made a excellent choice! I am sure you will have a great trip. Colombia is becoming a great travel destination. Parque Tayrona will be wonderful i think. Still i ve to see a lot of places in Colombia.
I came here for the first time in 2005. Soon after, I chose to move to Medellin and never looked back. We would love to syndicate your travel stories on our site so that more people can see that Colombia is a great place to visit and live!
Dear Ernesto and Discover Columbia, Thank you for your comments and YES we want to share more stories!
Thanks so much!
Hi Lisa and George!
I'm so thrilled you decided to come visit my beautiful country!! Please dont hesitate to send me any question you'd like to get answered about travelling in Colombia, I'm a Trip Advisor Expert in many Colombia destinations and my passion in life is to tell the world about all the beauties of my homeland.
Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.
Daniel wrote: "It appears that you are an expert in this field, your remarks are very interesting, thank you."
Thank you Daniel! We hope you keep reading and traveling!
Lisa and George
Go go go! Colombia is such a great country. We have a very rich and diverse culture. It is a modern city where you can find everything you would in any other touristic spot. Bogota tours has lots of museums, parks, and universities, thus it is called “The Athens of South America”. And at the same time you can visit the wild part of Colmbia with a rich natural environment and lovely beaches. ¿My advice? Come! 🙂
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