Over the years the media has portrayed Colombia as a country riddled with bad people, drug cartels, and criminals. Although there indeed was a time when Colombia had tremendous problems with guerrillas and drug cartels, times have improved. The days of Pablo Escobar have passed, and Colombia has now transformed into one of the safer countries in Central and South America.
One of the largest misconceptions of Colombia concern kidnappings. From the news concerning Colombia it is very surprising to learn that there are very few foreign kidnappings. In fact, almost all foreign kidnappings are drug related. Simply stated, the touist has involved himself in something outwardly dangerous and brought this trouble upon himself. The fact of the matter is tourism is growing exponentially in Colombia right now due to the governments massive campaign to bring peace and security to promote international tourism. The most common report from the international tourist in Colombia is they had a wonderful time and made many friends.
Another misconception of Colombia concerns the people; Colombians. The world has it in mind that Colombia is populated by a people ready to do harm. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The general population of Colombia is a very outgoing, proud people more concerned with entertaining and protecting their foreign guests than anything. Upon leaving Colombia most travelers and backpackers report they can’t believe how friendly the people are and how they felt safe and well received. The last several years Colombia has made enormous gains in security and the friendliness of the people is becoming widely known and renowned.
In Colombia many travelers are reporting how they were actually protected by total strangers from potential threats. As a result, tourism in Colombia continues to grow and is now one of the safer countries to visit. Basically, these days it appears that Colombia and Mexico are changing places. Colombia continues to become safer for the tourist while Mexico is becoming increasingly dangerous. It looks like maybe it’s time to change countries.
One of the most significant differences between Colombia and most other Latin countries is the police. The police in Colombia are actually some of the most helpful, polite, and concerned peace officers in all Latin America. Countries such as Peru are currently gaining fame as to how bad the police are. One traveler reported that he went to the police about being mugged in Cuzco, Peru. While in the police station the police removed his camera from his shoulder and stole it. Colombia on the other hand is the opposite. The Colombian police force is well trained and constantly watching out for the safety of tourists in their plan to bring economy to the country inviting foreign tourism.
There are some things to watch out for concerning the police however they are all related to crimes the tourist may be tempted to commit. Mainly, in places such as Cartegena the police are famous for setting up foreign tourists wishing to purchase drugs. The setup is simple. Send someone to offer the tourist drugs. When he buys, grab him. As long as the tourist is smart enough to not involve himself in drugs, there are basically few worries. What the media has never broadcasted is almost all major problems involving foreign tourists in Colombia are drug related.
The only serious, pending alert for Colombia are pickpockets. It is common to arrive back to the hotel and find the camera is missing. These are not muggings or assaults, these are sneaky, professional pickpockets who can get in and out of a backpack while the tourist is walking. This however is not unique to Colombia as pickpockets are bountiful in every country, including the United States. The difference is always location. Basically, it is common sense. While in cities, be aware!
The best way to avoid problems and have a nice trip is hire a professional guide. With a good guide the tourist will not only have a safer trip, he will get to see many more sites in a shorter time frame. A guide can take you from place to place quickly and efficiently keeping you out of harm’s way. In addition, a guide can bring you the experience of cultural immersion which is one of best and most overlooked aspects of traveling to a foreign country. Although at first glance a guide may appear to be an expense, he is actually a money saver. A guide saves time, can show you more, and can keep you safe. Traveler’s insurance is a must for cameras however it doesn’t save time. It costs time dealing with police to get your paperwork to file your claim. In the meantime, you are missing your vacation for a needless hassle.
Traveling Colombia can be one of the most amazing trips of a lifetime. The country offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world as well as some of the friendliest people. While in Colombia there is no shortage of sites to see and things to do. Along with its own unique lost cities and cultures, the country has coffee tours, old colonial towns, rainforests, beaches, extreme sports, ecological tours, and amazing waterfalls. For those contemplating a visit to Colombia, now is the time!
Visit Colombia now.
Article submitted by Jeremy Wine
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jeremy_Wine/1004605