Did you know that Colombia has over 3500+ species of butterflies. In fact Colombia has one of the most diverse range of ecosystems in all of South America. And like those butterflies Colombia is going through somewhat of a metamorphosis.
Until recently Colombia was not really on the tourist trail. 10 years ago you probably would never have thought about booking a flight to Colombia and backpacking around the country. Medellin was touted as the most dangerous city in the planet. But for anyone who has visited in the past 5 years, they will be able to tell you a totally different story. Colombia is a safe and relatively undiscovered treasure as a destination for travel in South America. Eco tourism is taking off. Former dangerous barrios are becoming tourist attractions such as Comuna 13 which is featured in the Toucan Cafe's Medellin Graffiti Tour.
What all this means is that unlike some other centers of South America, mainstream mass market tourism has not quite hit Colombia, perhaps with the exception of the cruise industry in Cartagena. In general Colombia is not overrun with tourists and walking down the main street in any city you're much less likely to hear an English accent than, for example, in Buenos Aires, Lima or Santiago. And for the Spanish learner this is great . . . more opportunity to practice Spanish.
In fact Colombia is quickly becoming the most popular destination to study Spanish in South America. This is in part due to the secret of Colombia being revealed to the world like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon, alongside the well known fact that the Colombians speak with a clear accent and purer form of the Spanish language. It's not hard to understand why people prefer to learn Spanish in Colombia.
These videos give you an idea of what to expect.
Is Colombia Safe?
"Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Colombia each year for tourism, business, university studies, and volunteer work. Security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, including in tourist and business travel destinations such as Bogota and Cartagena..."
The US Department of State are generally very conservative but it's great to see that they are now declaring Colombia as safe for tourists and those planning on studying in Colombia. Of course there is concern about certain activities in rural areas and parts of large cities, but you're not likely to go anywhere near these places. Like all big cities you need to exercise the usual precaution and not go to zones that you have been warned not to visit. Staying safe is common sense.
You can also read up on the current situation in Colombia on the website of Colombia Reports - the leading online newspaper about Colombia. Most of our students agree with the Colombian government's promotional campaign which says "Colombia - the only risk is wanting to stay!" Or consult Wikipedia for a country overview.
To anyone who is wondering if Colombia is safe to visit. Let me tell you I have found it one of the safest countries in Latin America to travel in. You do have to be sensible (leave the flashy jewelry at home) but as a women travelling alone I have had no problems at all – as all the tourist information says about Colombia – the only danger is wanting to stay.