You can now find one of the hidden jewels of South America located split between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Colombia is a land of enchanting rainforests, beautiful beaches, spectacular mountains, a producer of extraordinary emeralds, and of course Colombian rich coffee.
Colombia is a country which is located in northwestern South America bordered to the east by Venezuela and to the north by the Caribbean Sea. With a population of over forty-six million people, Colombia is now the third largest population of any Spanish-speaking country in the world. Internal armed conflicts deterred tourists from visiting Colombia for many years however in recent history numbers have raised sharply thanks to improvements in security with significant increases in military strength and police presence throughout the country which pushed rebel groups further away from the major cities, highways and tourist sites.
Colombia is now safe for travelers with lot’s to discover. The diversity of this country may astonish you with Colonial cities, archaeological ruins, gorgeous Caribbean beaches and even skyscrapers in ultra modern cities.
It has been suggested that the most pleasant time to visit Colombia is in the dry season, between December and March.
Our Airport landing destination is a large beach resort city named Cartagena which has been an important port on the Caribbean since it was founded in 1533 and is said to be the most beautiful city in Colombia, if not all of South America. The average annual high temperature is 32 degrees Celsius or 89 Fahrenheit.
Taking just over five hours by plane to get to Cartagena from Montreal I’ve decided to stay at a Holiday Inn Hotel the night before our departure.
For the price of one room between the four of us I get to park my vehicle safely for two weeks and our breakfast is included before taking the Hotel shuttle to the airport and a ride back upon our return. Just the parking at the Airport would have cost more and I get to start my vacation one day sooner without the hassle and worries of arriving at the airport on time.
First of all if someone in the family doesn’t like the heat I don’t recommend you go to Colombia since it’s even hotter than Central America from my experiences. I was careful by staying two weeks in the shade except when swimming and still got a great tan. The Caribbean Sea is warm and the pools are easy to dip into. We took a city bus tour excursion in Cartagena arriving by boat from the resort and did not feel threatened at any time but the people are always trying to sell you something in the streets. The Isla Del Rosario boat tour was interesting since you get to visit a marine park with a Dolphin show and later get time to walk on another beach called playa Blanca.
We chose the Baru Royal DeCameron all inclusive Beach resort in Colombia costing us under two hundred dollars each per day for 14 nights. Considering the package deal for all you can eat, all you can drink, room, entertainment, airfare which are all included, I figured it was a pretty good deal compared to other destinations.
The Baru Royal DeCameron was built in 2009 and should be considered a four star resort much like the one in El Salvador. It is a two hour trip from the airport and the road just before arriving to the site get’s very rough and seems quite like something out of the stone-age. The rooms are spacious and clean and the food is good but the meal selection begins to repeat after just one week.
The evening shows are mediocre but the New Year festival with a live band and DJ was very entertaining. The entertainment team did a good job with what they had unfortunately the manager seems satisfied in presenting every week the Miss hotel named contest that was perhaps funny more than twenty years ago with busting balloons and drinking games but now is completely out dated for those who have travelled somewhat abroad. Almost all the tourists that I met had been to several other destinations including myself. Many vacationers were staying at the resort for two weeks, some three weeks and surprisingly more than a couple of our new travelling companions would be there a month. I enjoyed the trip but could not see myself staying at this complex for more than two weeks and would not recommend three weeks or more to my friends.
Colombia seems to be back in business for tourists but they still have some catching up to do as far as normal services that we travelers have grown accustomed to especially at the Cartagena airport which are undergoing much-needed renovations.
Author: Phil Claeys