There are a few things in which Colombia ranks first in the world:
Flowers (over 85% of all flowers sold in the US for St. Valentine are Colombian)
Children’s books in 3D
Exotic birds (over 1800 species)
Beautiful women… (You need to take my word for his)
Then, this country ranks second in the world in:
Fresh water fishing
Butterflies (300 families and 14,000 species)
Agricultural exports from LatAm to the US
Other famous Colombian facts: Lingerie, biodiversity, bananas, mammal species (over 450 species), fresh water sources and many scientists and high-ranked professionals such as the Director of Neuroscience at NASA.
OK, since I already have your attention, let’s begin our trip to the North West corner of South America. Shores on the Pacific and on the Caribbean and green all the way from the seashore up to over 5,000 meters where the snow begins.
We will visit a few cities, beginning with Cartagena on the Caribbean, sort of a St Augustine with its stone walls built by the Conquistadors, but with the tropical flair, the music, the flavor and the good living much like the islands. The beach is the main attraction, but the old city inside the stone walls is gorgeous and filled with gourmet restaurants and the best ice cream in the world, made from actual fruits, not from artificial flavors. Food is based mainly on fish –of course- prepared in countless ways and always served with coconut-rice (not rice from coconuts, but rice cooked in coconut cream), fried plantains, yams, cassava, etc. The music is fast, happy and loud. Refusing to dance may be considered an offense.
Other city in the Caribbean coast is Barranquilla, more industrial, more commercial and a bit more serene than Cartagena except for the days of the Carnival on the same week as the Mardi Gras.
Then there is Santa Marta, the oldest city in South America, with beautiful beaches on a placid bay and the house where Simon Bolivar died.
Every region in the world has its own everything-goes soup, such as minestrone. In Colombia it is the sancocho and each region has a different version. In the coastal cities, especially Cartagena, it carries meat, pork and fish, yucca (cassava), name which a tuber like between a yucca and a yam, pumpkin, green and ripe plantains and mixed herbs, mainly cilantro.
Flights from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and NYC are not expensive and daily.
Check the photos, Google these places and right after you fall deeply in love, we will continue our trek inland.
The real danger in Colombia is wanting to stay longer… or to return sooner.
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