During my six weeks trip throughout South America, I have met some incredibly warm people and some things that I had no idea that existed. I started my journey in Chile and ended it in Colombia. From all the countries I passed through, I loved Colombia the best. I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant to add it on my itinerary, given the stories I heard about it.
Most of my friends warned me not to go there; some even begged me to change my mind, saying that they were fearing for my safety. Knowing that I am pretty stubborn they asked me to be extra caution while travelling through this country.
I am glad I decided to visit it. Its people are the friendliest and open hearted Latins. They would go out of their way to make your stay more enjoyable and pleasant. The prices are not bad either!
As for my safety, to be honest, there was never a moment when I felt worried or concerned about it. On the contrary! I felt I was surrounded by loving people, friends and family. I didn’t have to take extra measures to be safe. Compared to Ecuador, where I never went outside alone after dark, here I felt safe on the streets.
I speak solely of Medellin, because that’s where I spent most of my time. Yes, there were bad neighbourhoods, the “favelas”, where I have been warned not to venture in, but let’s be reasonable, Montreal or New-York city have their own areas where you wouldn’t walk alone during night time!
For most of the people, Colombia equals drugs and prostitution. Its dented reputation doesn’t do justice to its beauty, charm and hospitality.
While I was going by bus from Medellin to Guatape, I met a Canadian couple from Alberta. Both of them worked for a company doing blacktop paving Edmonton. They were travelling with their four years old son. We were the only “gringos” (foreigners) in the bus. All three of them were speaking Spanish fluently. Seeing their kid chatting in Spanish with the locals kids, made me think of my niece who lived in Spain for one years and she couldn't learn a word.
The Edmontonian couple was as impressed as I was by the Colombians’ friendliness and their hospitality. They revealed they had visited over forty countries, but nowhere had they felt as loved as in Colombia.