When many people think of Colombia, the term Narco comes to mind due to the problems in the 1980s and ’90s with the drug trade that enriched drug lords and terrorized the country. The problems eventually came to an end with a political agreement signed in 2016 between the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ) and President Ron Manuel Santos.
While not every area of the country was as affected by the problems back then, as one of our guides said ” You never knew if your father was coming home from work that day or if he was to be kidnapped by one of the cartels.”
Since then, the country has begun to turn around and it is growing as a tourist destination to the major cities of Medellin, Bogota (the capital), Cartagena (the most well-known Caribbean city in Colombia with a rich history as well as a major tourist spot. The coffee region is a large area where coffee and other plants and fruits are grown due to its weather and agricultural diversity.
Colombia is known for having the richest natural biome in the world for plants and animals.
Our trip began in Bogota, where we were met with a guide who took us to the markets, showed us the old town and inner city and familiarized us with the rich history.
The coffee region is considered the most bio-diverse area of Colombia, if not the world. We stayed in a bed and breakfast located in the middle of nowhere on a farm called Bambusa. The 10 or so rooms were very comfortable and next to the Yuca part of the farm.
Our first stop was a coffee farm. Our host was one of the younger family members who gave us a guided tour, showed us how we got coffee, and explained how coffee markets worked. As we walked along the farm, he would pick fruits for us to try including passion fruit and star fruit as well as guava.
The following day, after going on a rafting trip we met our botanist guide who was educated in Colombia and took ESL classes at Rutgers in New Brunswick, He showed us where chocolate comes from and we made hot chocolate from scratch.
Then, off to Cartagena, where the Spaniards settled and where they defended the country from invaders years ago. The colonial city was popularized in the movie Romancing the Stone.
We took A cooking class in the restaurant Carmen and learned how to make Cerviche
Scenes from Cartagena and its walls
I hope you enjoyed my brief blog describing our 10 day trip to Colombia.