Archive for the ‘Colombia’ Category

Santa Marta

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

In the north of Colombia lies Santa Marta, a city and municipality by the Caribbean sea and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains. Some historians say Santa Marta’s actual name is “Santa Marta de Astorgas” as a Spanish conqueror Rodrigo de Bastidas was the first to discover the city, he would have named it after the Spanish city he visited earlier. As of latest measurement the Santa Marta has a population of 430 thousand people.

From most destinations within Colombia it’s recommended to fly to Santa Marta through Simón Bolívar airport, there are non stop flights available from Bogotá, Cartagena and Medellín. Once landed at the airport it takes a 20 minute taxi ride into town, when staying at a beach resort the ride shouldn’t be longer than 10 minutes depending on traffic. The bus station is out of town, if going there it’s recommended to take the mini bus for the price of 1000 pesos (about $0.50 US).

The city of Santa Marta is an important maritime port and hub for history, culture and sightseeing. Everyday cargo ships import and export products worldwide, and there actions are visible. From El Rodadero (Santa Marta’s main beach) you can view the Caribbean Sea, which at night times have breathtaking sunsets. The beach is of decent quality, it’s quite wide and you find yourself a place to sit, though people, vendors and music break the silence. Vendors are rather aggressive and/or try jacking up the price for tourists. The high season starts in December till April, months after up till November are considered low season.

Sightseeing and other tourist activities are mainly done near the beach area of Santa Marta include scuba diving at the coral reefs, jet ski’s can be rented in increments of 10 minutes (life jacket’s provided) or rent a boat for the day to tour around on the Caribbean Sea. A day at the beach gets you hungry easily, luckily enough Santa Marta has a nice variety of restaurants and cuisines available. Their specialty seems to be roasted and grilled chicken, the Colombians defiantly do a good job to make the food flavorful and tasteful. Another local special on the menu is seafood caught in the Caribbean Sea, it’s inexpensive and usually served with a shrimp cocktail.

Tourists staying in Colombia for up to 90 days will not need a visa, but tourists planning on staying longer can get a permit for an extra 120 days of stay. Business travelers are required to have a business visa and a return ticket is required for anyone traveling to Santa Marta, Colombia. Unlike other big cities, taxi’s in Santa Meter do not run on meters. You have to negotiate the price with the driver before getting in.


Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

On a less than 2 hour flight from Bogotá, the capital of Colombia lies the most popular tourist resort town Cartagena facing the Caribbean Sea, unlike most beach resort towns it has a rather large population of about 1 million inhabitants. It’s the fifth largest urban area in Colombia. Today its the city center of economic activity in the Carribean region, the city is divided into two parts, Ciadad Antiqua (Old city) and Ciudad Nueva (New city).

Whether it’s the Caribbean Sea, the heat or the perfect location on the northern coast of Colombia. Cartagena is the most visited city by tourists in Colombia. The city gets crowded during December holidays and the holy week when Colombian locals take their holiday. The most popular part of the city is called “ciudad amurallada” which means “walled colonial city” which has an amazing nightlife with clubs and restaurants for fine dining. A whole strip of hotels and resorts known as Bocagrande make the scene complete.

If you wish to make a little side trip, have a look at the Castillogrande, an exclusive neighborhood with fancy condominiums, spacious parks to have a picnic or jog and a quiet beach to spend some quality time with the sun as your best friend.

From almost any of the narrow streets of Cartagena is the over 6 miles long fortress walls are visible, once built to defense the city from unwanted visitors, today only captured by tourist camera’s. Taking a walk in town is pleasant and shows the colonial architecture, passing by the cathedrals and palaces in between shady shopping plaza’s its recommended to sit down and watch the world go by drinking a tinto (small cup of coffee).

You can stay in Colombia up till 90 days before needing any type of visa, if you plan to stay longer you can extend your stay with an extra 120 days. Travelers arriving for business purposes require a visa, a valid passport and a return ticket is required for anyone traveling to Cartagena, Colombia.


Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Bogotá is located in the central region of Colombia, in South America. With an estimated population of over 675,000, Bogotá is the most populous city in the country. The city has earned the nickname “the Athens of South America” because it has numerous universities and museums. With a land area of nearly 670 square miles, Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia.

The city of Bogotá is well-known for its beautiful parks, which number close to 4,6 thousand in total. Bogotá also has numerous attractions that bring in tourists from around the world. Aside from the many universities and museums in the city, Bogotá is also famous for having beautiful architecture, a lively art scene, and some great shops and restaurants to enjoy. Bogotá cuisine is a mix between Pre-Columbian times and Spanish cuisine, which is a testament to the country’s mix of indigenous and Spanish influences. Tourists can enjoy the historic center of the city, La Candelaria, or the more modern aspect of Bogotá, its vibrant night-life.

The main international airport servicing travel to and from Bogotá is El Dorado International Airport. Bogotá’s transportation infrastructure has been upgraded throughout the city and it is now better than ever. With a transportation system called the Transmilenio, it can be quite easy to get around the city. Aside from the Transmilenio buses, other public buses and private taxis cruise the streets of Bogotá as well. Colectivos are small buses that run routes all throughout the city, making them a viable choice for any tourist. Finally, tourists can also rent bicycles to experience the everyday life along the streets and around the parks.

Another popular destination a lot of travelers tend to see after quality spend time in Bogotá is Cartagena, Colombia’s best and most popular beach resort town. The best to travel to this destination is by airplane, a flight takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes from Bogotá.

Tourists staying in Colombia for up to 90 days will not need a visa, but tourists planning on staying longer can get a permit for an extra 120 days of stay. Business travelers are required to have a business visa and a return ticket is required for anyone traveling to Bogotá, Colombia.