Dispelling negative tales they had heard about this country, this adventurous couple discovered instead a colourful Colombia that is every bit as charming in this land of camaraderie as can be
After committing to our goal of travelling the world on our trusted bike, my lovely wife Allyson Yik sportingly agreed that Colombia was not to be missed and was next on our bucket list of countries to travel to on our trusted hardy bike. So after enduring an 18-hour journey from Cristobal Pier, Colon in Panama, we finally reached the shores of South America. And finally, we landed at Puerto de Cartagena, which conveniently lies on the northeastern side of the Caribbean Coast.
Being our first visit to Colombia, a country coloured by stories of dangerous drug cartels and the like — we were naturally a little apprehensive. However, we took a calculated risk only to be rewarded beyond our wildest expectations with a truly awsome experience dispelling the shroud of fearful negative perception covering the country.
After all, what we perceived of the country was mainly restricted to what we had read or heard and seen from the news and media coverage. Well, one thing that we can say is that though Colombia is perceived to be one of the world’s most dangerous countries due to its chequered past, we found it to be surprisingly a peaceful country bequeath with wonderful scenery, delicious cuisine and warm people whom we were happy to include in our list of friends. Over here, we got to also indulge in Colombia’s national dish called Bandeja Paisa.
Among the places we had the opportunity to visit included Cacora Valley, famed for its unique species of enormously gigantic wax palm trees. This type of palm trees can grow to a height of 60 metres, we weretold. Cacora, situated near the small mountain town of Salento in central Colombia was a region we also got to explore and which we had great delight travelling to.
Colombia, intertwined with its shady past association with drugs, coloured further by the infamous celebrity Pablo Escobar as well as the Cali and Medelin drug cartels seems to be buried in the past. We were glad to discover for ourselves a peaceful country far removed from the unsettling tales we had previously heard of the Colombia Government’s street war with the drug lords. Indeed, all our fears and reservations dissipated in the light of the country’s friendly people as we mingled with the natives there and indulged in their colourful celebrations while partaking of their staple cuisine with gusto. Camaraderie is indeed not lacking in Colombia!
We can testify to the positive vibes as we spent no less that 94 glorious days there, forming new friendships and collecting memories in this beautiful land with its contrasting geographical beauty filled with serene white sandy beaches besides its deserts and green tropical settings. Equally spellbinding is its majestic Andes towering in all its full glory for the world to appreciate.
Would you believe it — we actually lost our passports in Bogota. But, our experience here testifies that if one had a choice of losing one’s passport — Colombia would probably be the best country in the world to lose one’s passport. After the glorious days spilled into months, we realised that it was time to part ways with this colourful country. In fact, the biggest risk is not wanting to leave Colombia and stay on. Long live Colombia — till we meet again!