Feb 05

500 Reasons We Love Colombia (Our 500th Post!)

We decided we needed something epic to celebrate our 500th post on this blog, and what could be more epic than a list of 500 reasons we love Colombia?

Colombia is a country that has given us all so much, and we’re grateful to be able to give something back with this blog; to spread the word about Colombia and, we hope, encourage some would-be explorers to take the plunge and come and visit.

For this post our team of collaborative international writers took it upon themselves to come up with 100 reasons each. Needless to say, there was quite a bit of repeating going on, but we did our best to keep that to a minimum. This took a lot of time, so we hope you enjoy it. The truth is, there are hundreds more reasons to come and thousands more reasons that we love the country, but we could also boil it down to just one: Colombia is our home.

So thanks, Colombia, for making us all feel at home, whatever corner of the world we’re from.


  1. The closeness of family
  2. San Gil, the adventure capital of Colombia, has spectacular countryside views
  3. The Ensenada de Utria National Park, in the department of Choco, is home to a number of unique habitats. The scenery is spectacular, with forest-covered mountains dropping steeply into the ocean
  4. Opportunities everywhere
  5. It feels like home for so many of us expats
  6. The whitewashed buildings and enormous cobbled square of Villa de Leyva
  7. Be blown away by the mesmerising landscapes as you catch the train between Cali and Buenaventura to San Cipriano
  8. Love is in the air, everywhere
  9. Progress is happening
  10. Bogota, obviously. Gritty and crowded, but with so much to offer
  11. Bahia Malaga, home to the greatest plant biodiversity anywhere in the world. It also hosts an impressive array of animals
  12. Hope
  13. The Amazon and Leticia. Colombia might only contain two per cent of the rainforest, but it is no less rich in flora and fauna than Brazil or Peru
  14. Surprises are around every corner
  15. Roots
  16. Diving the third largest barrier reef in the world near San Andres
  17. Spending some time in Pereira, the largest city in the coffee region
  18. New beginning
  19. Gratefulness
  20. Mongui, located high in the hills of Santander, is one of the most beautiful villages in Colombia, with its impressive cobbled square, green doors and windows and excellent basilica
  21. Kindness
  22. Most polite people ever
  23. Near Popayan is the small town of Silvia, which has a colourful market every Tuesday selling indigenous goods
  24. Rafting on the Ariari River
  25. Hiking in Purace, with its numerous waterfalls, lakes and trails
  26. A dip in the pool on a weekend away
  27. Novenas
  28. Relaxing on Playa Blanca, off the coast of Cartagena
  29. Stability, which is increasing all the time
  30. Spending some time escaping the Caribbean heat in Minca, set in the hills of the Sierra Nevada
  31. Visiting Pablo Escobar’s country retreat at Hacienda Napoles. Now it is a theme park with a wildlife reserve
  32. Salento, the gem of Colombia’s coffee region
  33. Calming walks outside the big cities
  34. Peace, which we hope is coming soon
  35. Zipaquira and its gaudy yet strangely appealing salt cathedral
  36. Final Destination – many people have come to settle in this country
  37. Cheese in Chocolate
  38. There’s so much still to do
  39. Potential
  40. Success on the world stage
  41. A place I can write about, every day
  42. So much still to see
  43. The sound of birds by my window
  44. My baby girl’s first Colombian words
  45. My lovely wife
  46. Entrepreneurship
  47. The way Colombians speak
  48. A sunset in Tayrona
  49. Medellin. Modern, warm, friendly and full of life and beautiful people
  50. Growth
  51. I can see the mountains from my room
  52. Running in the altitude makes me stronger
  53. Business
  54. Connections
  55. Not boring – at all
  56. La Guajira. Probably one of the most otherworldly regions in Colombia. The landscapes are stunning, with massive sand dunes falling straight into the Caribbean in a serene setting that really feels like the end of the world.
  57. Morning coffee
  58. Interminable beach walks
  59. Ipiales, close to the border with Ecuador, known as the ‘city of three volcanoes’
  60. We can still make a change
  61. Afternoons at the Park
  62. Breakfasts in Usaquen
  63. Picnics at Parque Choco
  64. Having an extended Paisa family
  65. Weekends at Santa Fe de Antioquia
  66. Watching the sun set over the Llanos
  67. Future
  68. Egg on steak
  69. Good Southern east food
  70. Barrichara, known as “Santander’s Villa de Leyva”. Enjoy the heat, the numerous beautiful churches and the symmetry of the red roofs
  71. The nice cheap pizza place 2 blocks from my apartment
  72. The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay
  73. You can walk to Panama
  74. Sleeping in hammocks
  75. “Que pena con usted”
  76. Arepas instead of bread
  77. Caldo for breakfast
  78. Paseo de Olla
  79. Chocoan Food
  80. I can buy everything down to shoelaces on the street
  81. Asados
  82. Birthday Parties
  83. Beers and snacks in La Calera
  84. Blogtrips
  85. Fellow Colombia Travel Bloggers
  86. Meetings at Juan Valdez
  87. Lunches at La Mar
  88. Enjoying the warmth of the people in Cali
  89. Medellin during the Flower Festival
  90. Guatape – a colourful little lakeside town near Medellin with a promenade and restaurants
  91. Chiglet
  92. “Con Gusto”
  93. “A la Orden”
  94. “Me Regalas”
  95. Arepa Trifasica in La Guajira
  96. Parque Nacional
  97. Chocolatinas Jet
  98. Valle Cocora’s ethereal landscape of 70-metre high wax pines soaring over the verdant landscape
  99. Milo everywhere!
  100. Chocoramo
  101. Deliveries!
  102. The stunning crying rocks of Cerros de Mavecure
  103. Centro Cultural Garcia Marquez
  104. The Pacific paradise of Ladrilleros
  105. Ana’s Cupcakes
  106. El Gato Gris
  107. El Perro Negro
  108. Madre Monte
  109. El Mohan
  110. Se va el Caiman
  111. La Pata Sola
  112. El Sombreron
  113. El Pasaje Hernandez
  114. A Canelazo in Monserrate in a cold day
  115. Surviving a Taxi ride
  116. An afternoon at Parque Explora
  117. Sierra Nevada el Cocuy – exploring the snow-capped mountains and enjoying the nearby Valle de los Cojines
  118. Orchids
  119. Roses
  120. Rafting in San Gil
  121. Replacing tea with coffee
  122. Hard Work
  123. The intensity of… Well, everything
  124. Flinging yourself off a mountainside and going paragliding in the stunning Chicamocha canyon
  125. Learning to be patient at trancones
  126. Sunrise in Bogota
  127. The smiling faces on small kids in small coastal towns
  128. Knocking back copious amounts of rum at Donde Fidel, Cartagena
  129. The sounds of children laughing and playing soccer in the streets
  130. The wrinkled smile of the woman cooking plantain for lunch
  131. Home-cooked meals shared with strangers
  132. Wallowing in the mud volcanoes of Arboletes
  133. New friends waiting to be met
  134. Family walking hand-in-hand down warm cobbled streets
  135. Being dragged onto your feet for the first time to timidly dance salsa with a local
  136. Later, taking a salsa lesson from a pro and feeling like you have two left feet
  137. Finally just sitting back and people watching at a salsa bar
  138. Making a toast with aguardiente
  139. La Piedra del Peñol, an enormous monolithic rock that rises menacingly above the surrounding lakes and islands
  140. Trying your first arepa
  141. Trekking through the country’s many incredible routes
  142. Finding out all the charms of local dishes
  143. Lending a hand to make a classic home-cooked meal
  144. Eating a whole bandeja paisa
  145. Learning to dance cumbia and shaking your hips like your life depends on it
  146. Falling in love with juices – blackberry, strawberry, lulo. Oh my!
  147. Learning the quaint differences between music of different regions.
  148. Learning to swear in Español, try not to offend anyone though ok!
  149. Eating freshly-caught fish with your toes in the sand on the Caribbean coast.
  150. Laughing at the mistakes you make with the language… I’m embarrassed, not pregnant!
  151. Playing Russian roulette with the menu and ordering soup with cow’s intestine. Yummy.
  152. Watching a football match at El Campin, in Bogota
  153. Playing chess with locals in Bogotá
  154. Roll your tshirt up and show off your carb belly
  155. You can ride a horse in the countryside, at night and watch the moon rise over bogotá, delightful
  156. Buy delicious street food from vendors who have been working on the same corner and perfecting their recipes for years. They’re not all good though, avoid the dogy ones unless you want gastro
  157. Watch the locals dance their traditional dances at street parties and watch with a bit of envy but a lot of love
  158. Visit the places you’ve read about in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books
  159. See Maradona’s signature on your chair in Andres Carne de Res
  160. The picturesque Caribbean islands of San Andres and Providencia
  161. Meet the locals and find out what it’s like living in the happiest country in the world
  162. Learn how to cook arepas from scratch
  163. Medellin’s Parque Botero
  164. Walk the streets of a colonial town and have a beer at the local tienda
  165. Buy a poncho and try to fit in with the locals, good luck!
  166. Try the plato tipico in every town you visit. Bandeja Paisa, Ajiaco, guinea pig!!
  167. Watch couples in love dance salsa in the hot streets of Cartagena
  168. Climb mountains, visit Suesca and learn about the climbing history of the region
  169. Deep in the south of Colombia is Las Lajas sanctuary, a stunning monastery seemingly stuck in a daunting canyon
  170. Spending a night under the stars in the Tatacoa desert
  171. Aracataca, home of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  172. Have lunch at hole-in-the-wall restaurants that don’t look like much to begin with but are full of love and great food past down from generation to generation
  173. Isla Gorgona, formerly a prison island in the Pacific. The prison has now been all but swallowed up by the jungle and the wildlife here is spectacular
  174. Watch kids dance to traditional music, the bare feet tapping the hard ground
  175. Meet up with old friends and make new ones as you discover the country together
  176. Become addicted to the amazingly horrible Tele Novelas
  177. Eat empanadas with aji
  178. Take a boat to the Caribbean islands and feel the air on your skin
  179. Get a massage from a local on the Caribbean beaches
  180. Listen to reggae, drink a beer and sink your toes into the Caribbean sands as you watch the sunset in San Andres
  181. Popayan’s whitewashed houses and the nearby hot springs
  182. Catching a small bus with the locals, getting lost then finding your way again
  183. Sombreo Vueltia’o!
  184. Eat pig off a spit in the street with the whole neighbourhood
  185. Dance on tables to music you’ve never heard of in the biggest clubs of Medellín
  186. Walk the cobbled streets of Cartagena in the afternoon heat while eating an ice-cream
  187. Sit on Cartagena’s old wall and watch the sun set
  188. Near the border with Panama is Capurgana, which is rapidly growing in popularity as a beach resort with both Colombians and foreigners
  189. Try food without asking what it is, if you find out what it is you might not try it
  190. Eat Lechona in Tolima
  191. Eat trout at a trout farm hidden in Colombia’s mountains
  192. Kea, in Bogotá
  193. Learn a Musica para Planchar (Ironing Music) song, visit Cabaret club in Cali and cry into your cocktail
  194. Coming face to face with Colombia’s history and ancient cultures as you explore mysterious statues and primitive tombs in Tierradentro and San Agustin
  195. Visit Cali’s Petronio Festival and celebrate Afro-Colombian culture
  196. Watch kids on the coast fish with nets and catch their lunch for the day
  197. Go on a road trip and drive through the countryside, watching the landscape change as you go along
  198. Falling asleep in your hammock
  199. Watch live bands play original music that mixes traditional beats with up-to-date rhythms
  200. Eat sancocho from a pot on hot coals on the side of the road, you probably won’t regret it. You might though
  201. Learning that pretty much anything can be fried
  202. Eating a Cholao (a drink with fruit, condensed milk and ice) on a hot day in Villeta
  203. Playing with phosphorescents in the ocean
  204. Sit and watch the sun set over Bogotá from Monserrate with an agua panela in hand on those chilly evenings
  205. Try fritanga, go on, just give it a go. What’s fritanga? Fried animal parts, as far as I can tell
  206. Visiting a dance school and give the local dance styles a go!
  207. Learning the latest Michael Telo and Carlos Vives song and get ready to sing it on a big night out
  208. Meeting more and more foreigners as the country’s reputation improves
  209. Ordering an oblea off a street corner
  210. Visiting Andres Carne de Res and noshing n traditional Colombian food with an updated edge at the epic restaurant/night club
  211. Once you’re done eating it is time to dance and enjoy with the other 3,000 guests that frequent this place
  212. Visiting Mompos (sometimes spelt Mompox), a town which seems to be stuck in time, where locals spend their evenings chatting on their porches and watching the world go by in the stifling heat
  213. Visit a fruit market and spend next to nothing on a weeks-worth of fruit and vegetables
  214. Starting to putting aji on everything!
  215. Hearing the incessant backpacker chat of “it’s not that dangerous anymore”, and knowing that you’ve been privvy to this information for years
  216. Eat to Tamales for breakfast!
  217. Drinking a lulada in the hot Cali heat.
  218. Treat yourself by spending the day at the hairdresser – get a mani, pedi and your hair done without breaking the bank
  219. Learn that frijoles are a great accompaniment to… anything
  220. Climbing up to Monserrate and being rewarded with incredible views of Bogota (on a clear day)
  221. Reading about all the crises back in your home land and realising just how good you have it here
  222. Ordering seafood when you’re visiting the coast and enjoying the freshness with each bite
  223. Frying your own plantains
  224. Baranquilla. Colombia’s fourth city may be polluted and heavily industrialised, but come in February for South America’s second largest carnival and see the city come to life in an astonishing explosion of colour
  225. Stay for Christmas and enjoy all the Christmas food. Bunuelos, Natilla!
  226. Wake up to a load of eggs
  227. Find a bakery, take a seat and order a pandabon con boccadillo. Watch the world go by outside while you enjoy your sweet bread.
  228. Dance until 5am in the morning, learn what it means to say your hips don’t lie
  229. Learn the warm ways of Colombian families who invite you into their homes and let you camp in their front garden
  230. Make sugarcane juice from scratch and drink it in the summer heat
  231. Taking a ride up the mountain on Medellin’s metrocable
  232. The startling variety of towns within a short drive from Bogota. Worth a mention are Tabio, Tocaima, Chia, La Mesa, Melgar and Anapoima
  233. Cucuta is surprisingly nice for a border town and well worth wandering around before you head into Venezuela
  234. Tayrona National Park. Probably one of the most iconic images of Colombia, the huge imposing rocks lording it over the pristine Caribbean sands
  235. Lie in a hammock with no intention of moving with a view of the Caribbean ocean
  236. Braving the Darien Gap for the ultimate adventure in some of the densest tropical jungle anywhere in the world
  237. Walk the four-day trek to the Ciudad Perdida and wake up every morning to a cup of tea and the view of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
  238. You’ll learn to put cheese on EVERYTHING
  239. Ride a canoe down the Magdalena River spotting wildlife
  240. Drink a cold avena accompanied by a bunuelo.
  241. Dance, sing, eat and drink with some of the most friendly people you’ll ever get the opportunity to meet
  242. Bogota Beer Company‘s delicious selection of home-brewed beers
  243. Driving from Medellin’s airport down a mountain road with spectacular views of the city
  244. Nuqui and north along the Pacific coast. Sample the local marmalade and relax in beautiful ecolodges on the beach
  245. Wok‘s sushi
  246. The fact that there are pubs
  247. The love of football
  248. The incredible heat of Riohacha, the capital of La Guajira, might put you off, but this is a good place to stop off before you venture into the desert. You can also pick up some wonderful handmade wayuu handicrafts
  249. The fact that the National Museum was also once called El Panopticon. A bit spooky.
  250. Sharing a cheeky bottle of aguardiente with friends
  251. The fact that a doorman near my house plays the accordian every day
  252. Las mamacitas 😉
  253. The fact that my doorman always asks for a beer when I bring some home
  254. The fact that my doorman drinks said beer while working
  255. The fact that a blog like ours can get featured on TV
  256. Water comes in a bag
  257. Rum comes in a carton
  258. Whatever you need can probably be found less than a block away
  259. Drinking in “tienditas” that only actually sell beer
  260. Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast is a lively and bustling city with incredibly friendly locals. The nearby beaches, however, are the biggest draw
  261. Being told you have to try what is effectively tripe soup (mondongo), knowing it’ll be disgusting but trying it anyway
  262. Corrientazo
  263. The fact that my friends think I’m brave and treading new ground when really Bogota is a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis
  264. The fact that macho men get manicures and don’t see any irony in that.
  265. A weekend away in a finca
  266. There are buses about the size of a car
  267. The mountains that surround Bogota
  268. The self-belief of Paisas
  269. Costeño humour
  270. All the things on our list of weird Colombian cultural quirks
  271. The warehouse parties of La Candelaria
  272. La Villa
  273. Beer for less than a dollar
  274. El Bistro in Cartagena
  275. A fridge full of Poker
  276. Fernando Botero
  277. Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  278. La Estrategia del Caracol
  279. The underground music
  280. Cracking out some dutty grinding to reggaeton and it being socially acceptable
  281. Learning Colombian slang
  282. Pasto, near the border with Ecuador is a pretty city overlooked by green hills on one side and a volcano on the other. It is perhaps better known for its festival of los Blancos y Negros
  283. Nick’s sandwiches in Bogotá
  284. I can watch all Saturday’s Premier League games as they happen
  285. The array of colourful trousers worn by old men
  286. The Bogotá Graffiti Tour
  287. The fact I see more British flags here than I do in Britain
  288. That even in Bogotá, you’ll still find there’s so much more to learn, as evidenced by this post from Richard McColl
  289. Colombia is the only South American country to have both a Pacific and a Caribbean coast
  290. Villavicencio and los llanos. This is home to the country’s cowboys, where the great, sparsely inhabited plains stretch some 800 km east of the city
  291. The media attention Colombia has received recently
  292. Parque Bolivar
  293. Lago de Tota, Colombia’s largest natural lake
  294. The Botanical Gardens in Medellín
  295. Casa Amarilla, Mompox
  296. Bucaramanga, the capital of Santander, has a small colonial centre and some great parks, squares and restaurants
  297. Sapzurro
  298. The bus signs that you can’t actually read but look great on your wall
  299. The masks from all over the country
  300. The fact that I found salt & vinegar crisps in Carulla recently
  301. Aromaticas
  302. The colourful handmade blanket I got my niece
  303. Refajos
  304. Churches, churches and more churches. Any style and size you could possibly imagine
  305. Pink dolphins
  306. The fact that people eat ants, even if I find them pretty disgusting
  307. The fact that no matter how small the pueblo is, there’ll still be a fiesta on the weekend
  308. El Dia Sin Carro
  309. Who could fail to love a country that worships Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon?
  310. Paying as much rent for an entire house as I would for a tiny room in London, and still being in one of the best neighbourhoods in the city
  311. Karaoke in Colombia is something you really have to get into. The absolute, unbridled enthusiasm with which you, as a foreigner, will be cheered along with is something to behold
  312. Santa Fe de Antioquia, north of Medellin, retains much of its colonial charm, with beautiful cobbled streets and an attractive main square
  313. Squeezing far too many people inside a taxi on a night out
  314. The regional pride everyone feels about their own particular corner of Colombia – and the fact that this infects the expats, too
  315. Colombinglés
  316. People still think the English are erudite, polite and pronounce words properly. If ya fink abou’ i’, I s’pose we do speak qui’e well, innit?
  317. Every time I eat a Milky Way, I think to myself “wait, this is actually a Milky Way!”, but then I realise no, it’s still a Mars Bar.
  318. Strolling along Cartagena’s old walls
  319. Colombia’s pool halls are full of character and kitsch
  320. Empanadas from the market at Usaquen
  321. Helados de Paila
  322. Enjoying the climate of Girardot, the Bogotanos’ escape from the big city
  323. For a completely different kind of night out, you can explore Primero de Mayo in Bogotá
  324. The fact that I can say “helados de paila” and chop my neck and it never gets old or not funny
  325. I’m going to a wedding on the beach this weekend, and that’s something I never really thought I’d get to do
  326. Falcaaaaoooo!
  327. Bogotá Bike Tours
  328. Paloquemao Market, where they have more fruit than I’ve ever seen in my life
  329. The country has an ability to shock, surprise and completely do away with preconcieved expectations – my own included
  330. The ginger peoples of Boyaca
  331. The English-style buildings that pop up around Bogotá – particularly those around Chapinero
  332. That I hear this sentance so much: “Sorry I don’t really speak very good English,” coming from people that are pretty much fluent
  333. The frankly outrageous plethora of national parks
  334. Monkeys
  335. The Universidad Nacional campus
  336. The characters you meet on your travels, particularly eccentric tour guides in Tatacoa Desert and wise old Paisa dudes in Santa Fe de Antioquia
  337. When a taxi driver tries to overcharge you and you tell him no, he just accepts it and charges you the correct amount. No arguments, no hustling, just a quick “que pena”
  338. The fact that snow-capped mountains can be only a couple of hours from semi-desert or humid, tropical towns
  339. Sloths!
  340. Old men on buses swigging aguardiente to help them sleep through the journey
  341. Weird little differences you can’t explain, such as the frequent use of Caps Lock when typing
  342. The blaring reggaeton and vallenato that people play on the Coast through huge speakers attached to their bikes
  343. Beirut’s delicious bread and actually spicey dip for said bread
  344. Calling everyone ‘vecino’
  345. Stunning bus journeys on winding mountain roads, impressive plains or through dense forests
  346. La Candelaria, Bogota’s historic centre
  347. Colombia’s selection of flowers
  348. The amount of creative people we’ve come to know here in the country, including alejandrawing
  349. Our Colombian drinking buddies, that stick it out regularly until 5am with their house parties
  350. Mochilas
  351. Marveling at the remarkably well-preserved dinosaur fossil, just outside Villa de Leyva
  352.  Champeta!
  353. The absurdity of a group of Colombians singing a rendition of “Happy Birthday”
  354. Random shouts of English words at foreigners, particularly “bye bye”, “hello”, “thank you” and “I eh don’eh espeak eh Engleesh”.
  355. Caño Cristales, known as the rainbow river, does exactly what the name suggests. Owing to the microorganisms living there, the river changes colour in a spectacular fashion
  356. Listening to vallenato in Valledupar
  357. Cycling around the country, especially in the spectacular coffee region
  358. The number of undiscovered colonial towns that, in many other countries, would be considered tourist hot spots. Here, they’re pretty much just towns
  359. Immersing yourself in the tranquility of Sapzurro, the last sign of civilisation before Panama. There are no roads and only about 1000 inhabitants
  360. Seeing how many times I can use the adjective “sassy” when talking about Cartagena
  361. That I can blankly stare and nod at someone speaking Spanish and, even though they know they’ve lost me, they’ll keep speaking just as fast and fill any potential awkward gap with more of their own conversation
  362. The Andes. The imposing and majestic mountains dissect the country and are awe-inspiring to say the least
  363. Open discussions and open emotions – this is heart on your sleeve territory people
  364. The Colombia national football team’s potential – they just ranked higher than England in the FIFA World Rankings
  365. Valderrama’s hair
  366. Higuita’s scorpian kick
  367. Dapper Old Gentlemen. Enough said.
  368. The Transmilenio Mosh. No really: I still enjoy how ridiculous the frantic press of human bodies is. I think it reminds me of the good old Grunge days. I also enjoy farting on packed buses.
  369. Taxis: TROPICANA! TROPICANA! 102.9!!! How they love that salsa radio station!
  370. Punk Chicks with Dyed Red Hair. Swoon.
  371. Puerto Nariño, a village on the banks of the Amazon where motorised traffic has been prohibited
  372. The San Andresito Show: I love how all the vendors at this tax-free haven are consummate performers. It’s hard to keep your head and not get swept along with their acting skills.
  373. The fierce pride and love exhibited by many Colombians about arepas, which I can generally take or leave.
  374. Street callers, particularly Minutos Ladies.
  375. The way the kindly and majestic Monserrate looms above my house, never failing to shed its aura of magic, no matter what the weather’s like.
  376. Telling people not lucky enough to be here that, “Yes, I live in Bogota. Colombia. That’s right: Colombia.”
  377. How even simple things here can turn into intense emotional experiences: getting a haircut, catching a bus, working for a blog.
  378. Women perched atop ridiculously high heels cutting it up on the salsa floor without as much as a single miss-step.
  379. Bathing in the hot springs of Iza and Paipa
  380. Learning about coffee production whilst staying at a finca in the coffee region
  381. Bahia Solano, on the Pacific coast, is great for diving, marveling at exotic fish and exploring a sunken naval vessel
  382. Who doesn’t love a tienda (little local store with everything)? Fools, that’s who!
  383. Being warned that quite tame food is very, very spicy. I tend to ignore this warning these days; and I usually find this act justified. It makes me feel tough, somehow. OK; I’m a loser, I admit it.
  384. The amount of hot-dogs and hamburgers I eat here. Way more than I ever would back in Australia.
  385. Watching soccer being played in parks with flair, passion, and sneakiness
  386. Soldiers and policemen armed with AKs and mobile phones. Being grateful that I’ve only ever seen them use the latter.
  387. Obleas: the brash friendliness of their vendors; their comprehensive list of available ingredients; their tooth-hurting goodness; and the way you can never eat one of these wafers without part of it getting on your shirt. I dare you to try.
  388. There’s so much arty, and so little farty (except for when I’m on the Transmil)
  389. Horse-riding in an amazing variety of landscapes
  390. Pamplona, located in a beautiful, green valley, surrounded by rugged mountains
  391. Todo Ricos. Totos Amazeballos.
  392. Hipsteros y hipsteras. Naaaaaaaaaw.
  393. Flea markets. I love the flea markets. That doesn’t make me a hipster.
  394. Ciclovia. The opening of main roads to bikes and feet makes every Sunday a bit of a festival
  395. Chicken buses. Adventures that bring you closer to your fellow passengers.
  396. Owning the term, gringo, good-naturedly.
  397. Palomino offers a more peaceful alternative to some of its neighbours, with beautiful Caribbean beaches to rival those of Santa Marta and Parque Tayrona
  398. How many outrageously good things have happened to me when I’ve been open to them.
  399. When people get on at the back of buses and pass their fare forwards for the driver – everyone gets involved
  400. Shopping districts. Current favourite: the Hat District; just down from Plaza Bolivar.
  401. My pride and relief in finding the Second-hand clothes district in Chapinero. That doesn’t mean I’m a hipster: I was wearing them before it was cool. Oh…
  402. Piranha fishing in the Amazon
  403. The builder at my house who sings vallenato with much enthusiasm and apparently little training. Like, almost nearly too much…
  404. Ex-pats here. I generally find them passionate about the country they’ve made home. Also, they’re usually fluent in Spanish, which is an infinite source of inspiration for new expats.
  405. Tunja, en route to Villa de Leiva from Bogota, has some fantastic colonial mansions
  406. Being disappointed to discover I wasn’t particularly tall in Korea; not being short here is quite special.
  407. Dogs. There are lots of praise-worthy canines in this country. Real dogs; not little rats that got ambitious.
  408. Mango with salt, chilli and lemon. OK, so, fresh fruit and juices in general. So many kinds. So much. So good.
  409. Plantain. Naaaaah – just kidding. Alright, so sometimes it’s OK. Doesn’t mean I’m going to marry it or anything.
  410. The game show phenomenon that is Do Re Millones. Handsome, but humiliatingly cheesy host; live music; and a Korean model who is somehow OK with being given a quasi-Japanese name. A constant source of bemusement.
  411. While on the topic of television: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!
  412. Whale watching on the Pacific coast
  413. Bogota’s museums, including the Botero Museum, the Gold Museum and the National Museum
  414. Skateboarders. The longboard seems to be favoured here.
  415. Metal-heads. Colombia loves its heavy metal, and I love that it does.
  416. Sitting down to lunch menus at cheap little local restaurants, and wondering what exactly I’ll get. I’m usually happy with the outcome.
  417. Playing up my Aussie-ness. I swear that I swear more here than I ever would back home.
  418. Intense debates about which is better; Aguila or Poker. It’s just the same beer in the same bottles with different labels, guys.
  419. How this country’s magic has grabbed hold of me, and won’t let me go. I’m not even supposed to be here still…
  420. Amacayacu National Park in the Amazon region has an astonishing array of wildlife
  421. The salt flats of Manaure, past which there are some lagoons that are home to flamingos
  422. Jose Asuncion Silva. The poems; the name; the 5,000 peso note. The beard. Something to aspire to. Maybe not the early death thing, but otherwise…
  423. How cheerfully and brazenly helpful so many Colombians are. Even if they don’t really know how to help you.
  424. Moustaches. Colombia is a Facial Hair Friendly Zone.
  425. Visiting Medellin’s Pueblito Paisa to sample some local delicacies and spend a lazy afternoon enjoying the views of the city
  426. The word, “chevere.” Bonus Round: “superchevere.”
  427. This is going to make me sound like a creep, but… Public Displays of Affection. I find it hilarious, if a little disturbing, about how much of it goes around
  428. Knowing the difference – and having a preference – between  Andean and Paisa ponchos. I prefer the brightly coloured Andean sort; but the Paisa ones are pretty boss as well.
  429. The usage of other country’s names here. Not only do we have a city called Armenia; but tiendas called Ghana, and bakeries called Ireland. I don’t get it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it.
  430. The intense politeness of people; especially in the capital: “Si, Señor;” “Con gusto, Señor.” Makes one feel special, don’t it?
  431. Music. Everywhere.
  432. For a different view of Bogota to that you might get from Monserrate, head up the Colpatria Tower, Colombia’s tallest building
  433. Cali’s fantastic contemporary art museum, ADN
  434. Mullets and mullet-related hairstyles. Look around you: they’re everywhere!
  435. The stripes on security guards’ pants. And their sharp hats. Makes them look pretty official; even if all they might be doing at the time is having an ice-cream or taking a bit of a nap.
  436. The Sunday markets in Usaquen. Funky funky.
  437. AC/DC are gods here. It’s good to see these Aussie lads getting the recognition they deserve. They are dynamite, after all.
  438. Flying over dense, seemingly-endless jungle from Bogota to Leticia
  439. The use of the adjective “Swiss” as a marker of quality. I understand it when it’s related to precision watches; but… fried chicken? Really?
  440. Similarly, the use of “gourmet”, when talking about fried goods
  441. While we’re on the subject of fried chicken: Yum. And, the surgical gloves utilised while chowing down on a drumstick. And, honey on fried chicken. That’s right. Honey.
  442. How you can see a brand-spanking new BMW behind a donkey, behind a Chiva party bus, while waiting to cross the road.
  443. Neiva, gateway to the Tatacoa desert, is a pretty city, with a number of charming little squares and overlooked by the snow-capped Nevado del Huila
  444. The little extra bit of juice you get after your freshly-squeezed orange juice has already been filled up.
  445. The white doctor’s coats orange juice squeezers and other street vendors don.
  446. Books. Everywhere. Particularly in Bogota; and the high literary quality of a lot of them. It’s not so much Fifty Shades of Crap being sold at the supermarket; more like Noone Writes to the Colonel.
  447. Christmas: how all of December just becomes one big party.
  448. How I can blame my poor level of fitness on the altitude. I tend to blame a lot of things on the altitude, actually. That, or society.
  449. The new life prams and shopping trolleys get here as curiously effective street vendor carts.
  450. The pig’s head that never fails to attract me to the lechona shop. Mmmmmm so much pigfat. Lechona light?? But why? Next you’ll be trying to sell me non-alcoholic beer!
  451. You said, beer? With my lunch at a burger joint? While I’m at a beach with no shop in sight? While I’m walking down the road? Yes, thank you, Señora.
  452. Juan Valdez. It’s 10 in the morning, and you’re offering me a shot of whiskey in my latte? Just watch yourself, now, guys.
  453. The gargantuan size of pizza slices at Wilder’s Pizza, La Macarena. Yabba dabba do.
  454. Sneaking into one of the hundreds of universities; having a coffee, and pretending I’m a visiting Professor. I think the elbow patches on my jacket help.
  455. Sweet on sweet. Figs in syrup just scream out for some caramel on top.
  456. Carbs on carbs on carbs. If you’ve got some rice and arepas on your plate, you better have some chips as well; just to make sure.
  457. The studied indifference of waitresses at bars. They’re just playing hard to get, you know.
  458. Oregano as a condiment on the tables of pizza/pasta restaurants.
  459. The little trinkets made out of wire: frogs, birds, bikes: the guys that make them do it in a wink of an eye and with consummate flair.
  460. The street performer “statues” – Michael Jacksons, Coal Miners, Soldiers, Weird Forest Sort of Guy. They may be a little creepy, but they’re kinda cool, too.
  461. The old guys that set up karaoke machines out on the street and then bellow along to old classics. I’m not sure whether they think they’re busking; performing a public service; or what. And I don’t care, either – I love it
  462. Thirty-six hours by boat from Buenaventura on the Pacific coast is Isla Malpelo, a beautifully isolated island, which is one of the best places in the world to see hammerhead sharks
  463. Being told I should go to Medellin. When I ask why, it’s always the same formula: “it’s a beautiful city; beautiful weather; they have a Metro. And beautiful women.” All that other stuff was merely useless preamble. They really just wanted to say that Medellin is populated with beautiful women
  464. Hippies and hip-hop hopefuls busking on chicken buses and restaurants. They’re often surprisingly good
  465. Learning about Colombia’s rich heritage of indigenous people that are scattered throughout different regions in the country
  466. Miami is considered Colombia’s “back garden”
  467. Feeling like my neighbourhood has adopted me as their own personal foreigner. I feel a little like a special boy whenever I head to the local restaurant, bakery or tienda.
  468. Walking home from a night out like a zombie while people are exercising on Ciclovia
  469. Checking out other people’s blogs, and seeing all the different takes of life in Colombia
  470. How many pretty parks and plazas there are around the place. Pretty pretty parks and plazas
  471. Jumping, sliding and abseiling down Villeta’s seven waterfalls
  472. Being told to “take care” by pretty much every Colombian I meet. It’s nice to be worried about.
  473. Trying to explain the sport of cricket to locals. Getting baffled looks that communicate: “I don’t think I understand. You say you love it; but it sounds so weird and boring. You sure?”
  474. Getting less and less worried about being on time to things. Just take it easy, guys: this is Colombia!
  475. Talking about the weather. I’ve always enjoyed talking about boring things with an incommensurable level of enthusiasm; and I feel that many other people in this country do too.
  476. Being given little bits of string to wear around my wrist. Now I feel like a part of something bigger. It sure beats a tattoo of the Southern Cross on my neck.
  477. The lack of maps in Colombia, and discovering the reason behind this. If you don’t know, just ask somebody. Why bother carrying around an awkward, confusing lump of paper anyway?
  478. Bumpy boat rides
  479. Proudly explaining to ignorant friends how Colombia is actually spelt. A “U,” indeed!
  480. Calling Bogota “the Bog,” and the untold hilarity that ensues.
  481. Getting to write about all the silly things that I get up to in this country, and being able to say it’s actually my job.
  482. Coffee Cowboys. I think I want to be a cowboy.
  483. The phenomenal array of flora
  484. The phenomenal array of forna
  485. The warm-heartedness of everyone I’ve got to know over here. Youse guys are the real reason I keep on saying, “I think I’ll stay one more month.”
  486. Trying to help someone with an itinerary and every time falling short, since you can’t do everything you need to do in just one trip. Then smugly smiling to yourself because you live here, and you can do it
  487. The fact that Colombus never set foot on this country named after him
  488. There’s a British cemetary in Bogotá
  489. Acandi, a quaint fishing village with a spectacular bay and calm waters
  490. Seeing a Japanese dude playing a didgeridoo on Septima. That really happened
  491. Little three-wheeled delivery vehicles
  492. Chickens on the roof during a beautiful sunset in La Guajira
  493. The way Shakira is reviled here almost as much as Bono is in Ireland
  494. Tattoos: quality that ranges from works of art to those seemingly done with biros
  495. How people from different regions are fiercely unique, yet somehow distinctly Colombian
  496. The freshness and spirit of people here that comes as a total shock to anyone expecting doom and gloom after the previous difficult decades
  497. People on buses offer to carry your bags if they’re sitting and you’re standing
  498. The diversity of Colombia’s unforgettable, outrageously beautiful landscape
  499. Learning about Colombian history and putting into context the violence and troubles, only to become more impressed and vicariously proud of what this country has achieved, and continues to achieve, in such a short space of time
  500. Being able to come up with 500 completely distinct things that we love about Colombia, and not even cheating on the last one

20 thoughts on “500 Reasons We Love Colombia (Our 500th Post!)

  1. m88 on

    I blog often and I really thank you for your information. The article has really peaked my
    interest. I’m going to bookmark your blog and keep checking
    for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS
    feed too.

  2. Claudia. on

    Wonderful list. You missed the very cheap manicures, pedicures and haircuts. I live overseas and I cried my eyes out reading your list. Thanks for loving my country.


      Chris on

      Thanks Claudia! I never thought I’d be happy that our blog made somebody cry 🙂 Thanks for following us.

      PS. You’re completely right about the haircuts, can’t say I’ve tried the manicures and pedicures yet…but there’s a first time for everything right!?

  3. Azzam on

    Thanks Sheri, we aim to please!

  4. Azzam on

    Thanks for your comment! We are glad you found this useful

  5. Alex Gallo on

    Scraped the barrel early with ‘spending time in Pereira’! really? for most visitors 20 mins is more than enough there.

  6. Manqueca on

    Porqué no hacerlo en español igualmente. Los felicito por el blog.

  7. Paola on

    oh my God, it’s so awesome to find something like this online, I’m Colombian, and it’s an honor to me and to all the people here, know that our country is that special for you, you’re welcome here, always, this is your house, and as a recent quote says, in Colombia, the risk is you will want to stay


      JL on

      Muchas Gracias, Paola!

  8. natalie on

    This is probably my favorite thing I’ve read about Colombia. Composing this year’s to-do list starting….now.


      JL on

      Wow Natalie, thanks a lot for such a compliment! Un abrazo!

  9. Bmurillo33@hotmail.com on

    Great post! However I believe you forgot some.

    “The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá”
    “el Verde” and the largest fan following in all of Colombia.
    Dinner and people watching en “La Plaza de Santo Domingo”
    Candies from “La plaza de la duana”
    Boutique shopping en el “lleras”
    Sushi at “Tabetai”
    Referring to your friends as “Parceros”
    Sofia Vergara

    These are some of the reason I love Colombia


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