What comes to mind for most people when they hear the word Colombia, is usually other words…. words like women, cocaine, Pablo Escobar, coffee, hot etc. Much to the countries dismay this is the unfortunate perception many people still have. Hell, they even have “Narcos” themed tours. Hopefully, thanks to Lonely Planet’s 2017 Top Destination list, Colombia will get the positive attention that it so deserves. The infamous Netflix hit, Narcos, showed the life of Pablo Escobar getting the world interested in a country that to be honest we hadn’t thought much about.

Colombia has a dark past that can’t be ignored, but in a world focused on the negative let’s take a look at what makes Colombia a must-see for 2017.

  1. The value of Colombia

Colombia can be cheap cheap cheap. I’m talking $25 a day cheap, including accommodation. Thanks to Air BnB, there are many rental properties up for grabs in big cities like Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena. If you prefer a more quaint experience, then head over to a Finca (think a Colombian ranch house). Of course, I am not a budget-friendly type traveller so found myself staying at a super bougie apartment with a rooftop pool and modern style furnishings. You get what you pay for and I know that many people are loving the budget friendly options. I’m just not one for shared living. 

  1. The weather in Colombia

Medellin, a popular space for Digital Nomads/ expats, is affectionately known as the land of eternal spring. Not too hot, not too cold making Goldilocks super excited to wear denim shorts and leather boots all in the same day.  

Colombia

  1. The Food of Colombia

Colombia is a haven of fried, greasy, and delicious foods. Think empanada’s, blood sausages, and bread for every meal. That being said, the country is also super health conscious. Fresh juices are everywhere, and the abundance of avocado is enough to make any Instagram star’s heart sing. A popular choice for budgeters and foodies is the Menu Del Dia, served at most restaurants, it’s a four course daily special at a super low price. Medellin (where I am staying) is by no means a world food destination, but it’s cheap and versatile, and hell if you get bored of local delicacies you can saunter over to Md Donald’s or HOOTERS. ‘ MERICA. I will be creating a lil’ food guide for Medellin soon!

Right now I am still reminiscing over my meal at Bonhomia, a local charcuterie restaurant where all the meat comes from Colombia. Super authentic, and damn delicious. 

Medellin, Colombia Street Art

  1. The Colombian Women

There is a stereotype that men worldwide, fly to Colombia for the women. While this is an accurate observation, the women here offer so much more than being a man’s eye candy. Women here are lovely, they are kind, and they are fun! As a traveller who isn’t always sure how to keep social, in Colombia, all it takes is striking up a convo with a local woman and basically, you are friends for life. The women here are so friendly, helpful, and protective over each other. In a country that CAN be quite unsafe the local women band together and conscious of each other’s surroundings. GIRL POWER!

  1. The Shopping

Local business is huge in Colombia. The people take pride in their own product and it’s not unusual to find streets of cool boutiques that you’d expect from a street in LA. Trendy, well made, and uniquely Colombian, designers are plentiful! I’ll admit that I was ignorant in thinking that Colombia would have terrible shopping options. Shame on me. My favourite way to shop is to hit up Instagram and look at the gorgeous curated shop feeds. I came across @Etniaboutique and fell in love with the handmade pieces that are super Colombia-chic. If you fancy some window shopping head to Medellin’s La Zona Rosa where the options are plentiful. 

Post – election blues? Book a trip, escape and enjoy the diversity that should be part of everyone’s world. Colombia is calling, and you may want to hurry before everyone else arrives.