Some of Colombia‘s most outspoken and enthusiastic fanatics are expats, which is hardly surprising considering most of them came here for a simple Colombian vacation and ended up staying. We at Colombia Travel and Living have decided that it’s important to give you, the reader, an insight into the mind of an expat here in Colombia, in order to gain an insight into the country from an international perspective. Our first interview is with Paul, a 25 year old writer from London who’s currently working with Rio Urbano Fundacion – an NGO looking to raise awareness about the appalling conditions of Bogota River.
What brought you to Colombia?
I’ve always been interested in South America and I’ve visited the continent during my time as a backbacker. I felt, though, that South America deserved more of my attention than just a few days or a week here and there, and so I set about looking for work on the continent. I’ve worked for NGO’s in London before and so when I saw the opportunity to work for Rio Urbano and live in Bogota, I knew I had to do it.
What were your first impressions of Colombia?
Well, when first arrived in Bogota I have to confess I wasn’t swept away in the way you might be when you arrive in, say, Rome, but the thing about Bogota is that it really grows on you. The more you walk around the streets and sample the galleries and culture, the more you begin to really fall for the city. It’s an incredibly fun, lively place with a non-stop selection of things to do. Right now I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else – when I went back to London to visit my family I missed those mountains so much!
What’s your favourite place you’ve visited?
Well, clearly I’m a huge fan of Bogota but in terms of tourism I really loved Cocora Valley. Honestly, there’s so much here in Colombia to see and fall in love with, but Cocora Valley struck me as the most unique attraction in the country. It was really just awe-inspiring. To be honest, though, I hear so much from locals and fellow travelers about places that I should go to, I’ve barely scratched the surface!
What advice would you give a tourist coming to Colombia for the first time?
Basically, don’t be worried and be prepared to enjoy yourself. Colombians are some of the warmest, most accepting people on earth and they know how to have a party. Take all the normal precautions when traveling but remember above all else to just relax and enjoy yourself – if you do you’ll fall in love in no time.