Colombia Vacation Guide
Even though Colombia has been plagued with scary Travel Advisories because of the danger of drug related crime, kidnappings and guerilla activity, it has continued to attract more tourists every year. This is in part because of the current hard line approach of President Alvaro Uribe called "democratic security", aimed at pushing rebel groups farther away from the major cities, highways and tourist sites that may attract international visitors. Since President Uribe took office in 2002, he has notably increased Colombia's stability and security by significantly increasing military strength and police presence throughout the country. This has apparently achieved fruitful results for the country's economy, particularly in the important and growing market of International tourism.
In 2006, tourist officials are expecting approximately 1.5 million international visitors to come to Colombia, an astonishing increase of about 50% from the previous year. Even Lonely Planet, a world travel publisher, has picked Colombia as one of their top ten world destinations for 2006. The World Tourism Organization reported in 2004 that Colombia had achieved the third highest percentage increase of tourist arrivals in South America between 2000 and 2004. Only Peru and Suriname had higher increases during the same period. Due to the improved security, cruise ships will being returning to the beautiful and historic Atlantic city of Cartagena in October 2007.
Unspoiled and deserted coastline, coral reefs, islands, mountainous areas, tropical jungle, volcanoes and spectacular waterfalls sooth the soul and delight the eye, while the fascinating remains of ancient civilizations absorb both anthropologists and adventurous travelers.
During the most famous festivals such as the Cali Fair, the Barranquilla Carnival, the Bogota summer festival, the Iberroamerican Theatre Festival and the Flower Festival is when most tourists come to Colombia. Many people visit during Christmas time when the celebrations surrounding the Independence of Colombia.
Gambling is available in Colombia and casinos are located in Bogota, Cali, Cartagena, Cucuta, Medellin, Palmira, and San Andres.
Although many countries publish travel advisories to their citizens regarding visiting Colombia, it seems that these are being largely disregarded by adventurous travelers in search of new experiences and an inexpensive vacation. Colombia's beauty, historical sights, unspoiled beaches and stunning interior forests, lakes and rivers will ensure that as long as the political remains relatively stable, this richly diverse country will continue to draw ever increasing numbers of International visitors.
There are seven UN World Heritage Sites located in Colombia:
Los Katíos National Park
Santa Cruz de Mompox
San Agustín, Huila
Attractions in Bogotá
Muisca raft in the Gold Museum
Bogotá Botanical Garden
Luís Ángel Arango Library
El Yipao, or "Jeep Parade"
Colombian National Coffee Park
Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá
San Andres island
Remnants of Ciudad Perdida, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta
Doña Juana-Cascabel Volcanic Complex
Gorgona and Malpelo islands
Los Katíos National Park
Munchique National Park
Serranía de la Macarena
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park
PANACA SABANA Park
Tayrona Park (Santa Marta)
Desierto de Tatacoa
Chicamocha Canyon National Park