I remember the exact moment I booked a ticket to Colombia. After traveling through Southeast Asia for seven months – traversing the region from Laos to Indonesia – my boyfriend and I felt like we’d reached the end of the line. Aaron and I were sitting in our bungalow on the tiny island of Gili Trawangan, Indonesia, staring intently at the screen of our laptop. Aaron hit the “Purchase” button and then we looked at each other in that did-we-seriously-just-do-that type of way.
Colombia had been on my travel radar for years. Growing up in the States, I was always intrigued by stories of Pablo Escobar, drug cartels, and FARC kidnappings. But more recently I became enraptured by stories of other travelers who preached that – despite the country’s tumultuous past – Colombia is a top South American destination. It has it all, from a vibrant capital city to treks to ancient cities to remote Caribbean islands. But despite the myriad things this country has to offer, I have to confess that as I was booking my plane ticket to Colombia, I was suffering from a serious case of tunnel vision. And I spent my first weeks in Colombia focused on getting my butt to Cartagena.