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To many people, Colombia is a dangerous country because of drug trafficking and kidnapping.  However, it has improved significantly and is now safe to travel in most areas.  Colombians are aware of the image their country has abroad and sometimes find it funny someone might be scared to come.  After all, over 40 million people live a normal, peaceful life and any problems are confined to some remote areas.  I found transport to be a little expensive, but overall it is a cheap country to travel.  There is a lot of potential for adventurous backpackers who want to discover this beautiful country of sun and emeralds.


This colonial city is as touristy as ever, but there is a good reason.  It´s beautiful, romantic and full of history.  The old town is surrounded by a wall, inside it narrow cobbled streets with beautiful colonial houses.  As any touristy place, it is a magnet for conmen.  I was walking with a friend through the park, and we were approached by a man changing currency.  It was a Sunday so the banks were closed and my friend decided to sell $20.  The guy paid good rate, asked him to count the money and then took a taxi and disappeared.  When my friend checked the money again he realized he was given 1000 peso notes instead of 10,000.  He didn´t loose much but it was a valuable lesson for the future.

Tayrona National Park and Carnaval in Barranquilla

After a few days, we went to Santa Marta and then to Tayrona National Park.  It is a beautiful stretch of the Atlantic coast, full of palm trees and huge boulders.  Angel smuggled his spear-fishing equipment to the park and in the evenings we were frying fish in a fire.  Delicious.

On the 3rd day I went with Marius to Barranquilla, where the biggest carnival in Colombia was taking place.  It rivals carnivals in Brazil and was worth a visit, despite the crowds and the heat we had to endure.  It was very colorful and loud, and it seemed to be all about woman´s beauty.  A lot of it was on display!

After  the carnival I crossed the border into Venezuela, looking for the mountains at last.  Actually, the highest mountains in Colombia are right next to Santa Marta, but the Indians living there consider them sacred and do not let anyone in without a guide.  I think the coke growing on the slopes is even more sacred than the mountains themselves.  Anyway, I decided there are other mountains where I can do what I want.   photos