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After being closed off for decades due to civil conflicts and unrest, Colombia is finally coming into her own. While crime has not disappeared completely, it is dramatically reduced and most travellers enjoy a relaxed and fun-filled trip without encountering any trouble.
Colombia is famous for many things — being the land of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Shakira, and some of the world's best coffee to mention a few, although not necessarily in that order! Now is the time to explore the rest of Colombia's attractions and relive Spanish colonialism in Bogotá or Cartagena, swim in the waters around the volcanic island of Providencia, and satisfy the adrenalin junkie in you at San Gil. With the Caribbean and Pacific coasts to choose from, Colombia's beaches are a paradise for anyone looking to catch a few rays without queuing for a spot on the beach. As breathtaking as the beaches may be, Colombia's mountains compete fiercely for attention. Visit Medellín to gaze over stunning vistas of the valleys below, or head to Cali and judge for yourself if its claims of producing the country's most beautiful women are justified!
Colombians like their desserts, so there's plenty to choose from after dinner. Natilla or Postre de Natas are always good bets if you're not feeling too adventurous. Try the famous Colombian black coffee or a drink of aguardiente (anise-based alcohol) — either one will give you a strong jolt and leave you hankering for more.
Colombia's main international airports are based at Bogota (BOG), Cartagena (CTG), Barranquilla (BAQ), San Andres Island (ADZ), Medellín (MDE), and Cali (CLO). Charter flights are most likely to head to Cartagena while scheduled flights on airlines such as American, Continental, British Airways, Copa, and TACA will land at Bogota. Air Canada has three direct flights per week from Toronto to Bogotá, but for cheaper fares fly to the US and take a connecting flight to Colombia.
Situated along the equator, Colombia's climate is hot and humid along the coasts, colder in the highlands, and frequently drops below freezing in the mountains. There is very little change in temperatures throughout the year, but the higher the altitude, the bigger the difference between night and daytime temperatures. The rainy and dry seasons vary across different parts of the country, but for most regions, it is dry between December and March as well as from July to August. Easter, Christmas, and the summer holidays from June to July are peak travel periods for Colombians so avoid these if you don't want to pay peak rates at hotels.
The country has numerous festivals and carnivals, most of which involve alcohol and general merrymaking. Try to plan your trip around at least one of them to celebrate like a true Colombian.