Just Back From… Colombia With Alexandra Walker
Where have you been?
I went on holiday to Colombia.
Have you been before?
No, this was my first time visiting Colombia.
How did you get there?
I flew with Avianca (there's a direct service that started in 2015) – the fares were really reasonable and the flight times worked out well for me.
How long were you there?
I had one full day and one night in Bogota at the start of the trip then I flew to Santa Marta before travelling to Tayrona National Park for two nights. I continued on to Palomino for two nights and then headed to Cartagena before finishing off with another night in Bogota.
Which was your favourite…
Place: Cartagena. I loved it as it is a beautifully preserved colonial town, brimming with character and good restaurants but it is also not too far from Caribbean beaches if you are looking to get away from it all.
Excursion: I would highly recommend the graffiti tour of Bogota – it gives you a great insight into Colombia’s history and current affairs through the eyes of various graffiti artists.
Appeals to which type of traveller?
Colombia is a popular choice for the more seasoned and adventurous traveller, but as it opens its doors to tourism, I would recommend it to pretty much anyone! In many places you do not encounter many other tourists and most locals only speak Spanish but this only adds to its authenticity. It would suit anyone with an interest in history, food, beach and breathtaking landscapes.
What did you pack?
Given that most of my trip was on the coast, I took as little as possible: a couple of swimming costumes, summery dresses, shorts, t-shirts, a comfortable pair of trainers (for Tayrona National Park) and two pairs of sandals. The only place that I went to that was cooler was Bogota where you can get rain throughout the year and the temperature will drop noticeably in the evenings as a result of the altitude - you will be thankful for a light jacket there.
Any good food, drinks, restaurants or bars recommendations?
The food in Colombia is delicious and varied. It doesn’t have the same reputation as many other South American countries but they have fantastic meat, seafood and fresh fruit as well as many vegetarian options. Eating out is also excellent value.
Andres Carne de Res, Bogota has a huge menu, great value cocktails and a good atmosphere. There is one just under 30km outside the city in Chia which is great for a night out if you would like to try out some salsa. Words can’t quite describe this place – it’s like stepping into another world.
Dos Gatos y Simone, Bogota. Tasty Mexican restaurant in la Candelaria with a very varied menu, great for lunch or dinner.
La Cevicheria, Cartagena. An absolute must for seafood lovers, excellent cocktails too. It gets very busy in the evenings so I would recommend heading there for lunch instead.
How would you sum up your trip in a sentence?
During my trip I encountered a stunning country whose people are incredibly helpful and friendly - Colombia is climbing the ranks to become one of my favourite South American countries!
Any top tips?
If you are lucky enough to be in Bogota on a Sunday, there is a fantastic market in Usaquen that is really worth a visit. This is a pleasant, residential part of the city with lovely restaurants ice cream parlours and parks. I would recommend leaving this until the end of your trip if you can as it is a great place to pick up souvenirs and you don’t want to be carrying them all over the country!
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Ben Line - Travel Expert
Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert
Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.
Sally Dodge - Travel Expert
A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert
Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.