Colombia is Extraordinary

It’s been two hundred and three years, fifty-nine presidents, six world cups, and one Nobel Prize winner. To this day the country of Colombia continues to be a free and proud nation. Men and women looking to the future with enthusiasm, working hard to make the best possible spiritual, physical and intellectual development in modern civilization and at the same time discarding all complex stereotypes and discrimination. This aspiration and effort are well synthesized in the national motto “LIBERTAD Y ORDEN” (Liberty and Order) which is well inscribed in Colombia’s coat of arms.

Colombian Flag and Coat of Arms

It would be an impossible task to write about everything there is to Colombia or about any other spacious, surprising, and beautiful country. I initially attempted to write about some of Colombia’s features in one single post but decided against it. Therefore, this post will be the first of a two-part abstract. My aim is to show some attributes of this diverse country with the intention of giving a general impression of the promissory and extraordinary land: Colombia.

 

The Cities of Colombia

The historical impact of the colonial period that began with the voyages of Columbus was very deep. The powerful institutions of the Spanish Empire are reflected in the remains of military castles. The significant contributions of culture and religion are clearly evident in the colonial temples made with art and patience. A characteristic of this country,  uncommon in other Latin American countries, is the simultaneous development in several major cities and not an excessive focus on one or two urban cities. Most of these cities originate from the colonial urban system of the 16th century and some of them still conserve their distinct hallmark while others have transformed like any other modern metropolis.

Medellin is one of Colombia's modern metropolis

Medellin, Colombia

Zona Rosa, Bogotá

Zona Rosa, Bogotá

Cartagena

Walled city of Cartagena de Indias

Fort San Fernando - Cartagena de Indias

Fort San Fernando – Cartagena de Indias

 

Nature and wildlife

Nature has been lavish with this beautiful country and its landscape is a reflection of that generosity. From the warm beaches in the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans to the colossal shapes of the Andes, some crowned with snow. As a visitor it’s almost impossible not to feel at every step the greatness and the charm of this privileged land. Blue waters are beautiful and abundant in the country of Colombia. Its allure flows with the stream which rises in the frozen peaks, in bold leaps that carry them to placid rivers, until they are returned to the ocean.  Colombia’s fauna is of rare beauty and variety. Its birds form an exceptional group across the continent made of countless species including the majestic Condor of the Andes (which is still considered endangered). In terms of fish, reptiles, apes, and butterflies the richness of its wildlife is extraordinary.

A jaguar mother with her two cubs in a Colombian oil palm plantation.

A jaguar mother with her two cubs in a Colombian oil palm plantation.

Humpback whale watching is enjoyed by a relatively small amount of national and foreign tourists that take advantage of their trips to Colombia

Humpback whale watching is enjoyed by national and foreign tourists that take advantage of their trips to Colombia

Flowers of Colombia

Flowers of Colombia found in the Neusa Reservoir, Zipaquirá, Colombia

Flowers of Colombia, National Treasure

Flowers of Colombia, National Treasure

 

Sports

Colombians are fond of all sports in both active and passive; the most popular ones being soccer and cycling. However, in Colombia there are plenty of opportunities to practice many other sports such as golf, swimming, and tennis. At the 2012 Summer Olympics a total of 104 Colombian athletes competed in 18 sports and took a total of 8 medals, including the gold medal for the BMX event. When it comes to soccer Colombia’s national team is looking great. Yesterday, Colombia rose to third place – their highest place in history – in the global soccer raking of world soccer federation FIFA. Colombia’s outstanding performance in the qualifications matches put them above Argentina and The Netherlands. I am convinced next year’s World Cup will be one of the most thrilling years for Colombia as they watch their national team compete for the cup.

Colombia's National Soccer Team 2013

Colombia’s National Soccer Team 2013

Rafting in San Gil, Colombia

San Gil is the pioneering place for rafting in Colombia

Rigoberto Urán Urán during the Men's Road Race Road Cycling on day 1 of the London 2012 Olympic Games in London

Rigoberto Urán Urán during the Men’s Road Race Road Cycling on day 1 of the London 2012 Olympic Games in London

 

Hospitality and Tourism

In recent years Colombia has strengthened their product portfolio that appeal to today’s travelers and respond to global trends. In tandem with the increase of foreign tourists, the region and product coverage has also been expanding year after year. In 2011 ProExport Colombia promoted 15 destinations that also offer new attractions like diving, golf, bird watching, religious tourism and welfare, among others. In 2012 the inventory of areas with tourism potential grew at 17 and extends from the outermost points of the country such as San Andrés, Guajira and Amazon, plus Medellin, Valle del Cauca, Huila, Bogotá, Boyaca, Santander, Norte de Santander , Barranquilla, Cartagena and Santa Marta.

To illustrate the potential of the country in this sector, we can mention the arrival of chains like Marriott, Ibis, Radisson, Hyatt, Best Western, Holliday Inn, Iberostar and Hilton. In addition, Colombia has infrastructure in hotels and convention centers with capacity to serve large-scale events.

Occidental Grand Cartagena

Occidental Grand Cartagena

JW Marriot, Bogotá, Colombia

JW Marriot, Bogotá

 

Why Do I do This?

I am not Colombian but I do consider myself its adoptive child, especially since I now hold a Colombian visa and I’ve shared the last eleven years of my life with my beautiful wife who was born in Bogotá.  You may wonder why I speak about this country with so much vigor and passion, and I could give you a lot of reasons but ultimately it’s because I did not choose Colombia, but Colombia chose me.  I have received a great deal from this outstanding country and its people and I wish to publicly express my gratitude for the many blessings.  I hope that as I share a few of my experiences others can come to know this country as I know it: simply extraordinary.

28 Responses to Colombia is Extraordinary

  1. Pingback: American Boys Have a Romp in Cartagena: So What Else Is New? | Tucson Progressive

  2. Hi Will -
    I enjoyed this post. May I share this (reblog) with my readers?

    http://cindamackinnon.wordpress.com July 7, 2013 at 6:00 PM Reply
    • Thank you Cinda. Of course you can reblog it. It would be an honour!

      Will Castillo July 7, 2013 at 6:44 PM Reply
    • Thank you Cinda. Of course you may reblog it. It would be an honour!

      Will Castillo July 7, 2013 at 6:46 PM Reply
  3. Pingback: The main cities in Colombia | Travel, Discover, Experience

  4. Love Colombia. I was lucky to have been a CFO of a public company ( If not i would be bankrupt by now). Cannot wait to move to Colombia.

    Jeff July 25, 2013 at 10:04 PM Reply
    • Hi Jeff, When and how did you fall in love with it? How are your moving plans coming along? Would love to hear from you. Cheers!

      Will Castillo July 25, 2013 at 10:14 PM Reply
  5. Pingback: Rural Tourism in Colombia | Travel, Discover, Experience

  6. Just a question, I am Colombian but I do not understand what do you mean when you say ” six world cups”, can you explain me? thanks, nice and lovely post, thanks

    Mospel July 29, 2013 at 3:41 PM Reply
    • Hi thank you for reading my post. What I mean by that was the number of times that Colombia has qualified for the FIFA World Cup. You make a good point and I should include FIFA so that it’s clear. :) Thank you for the feedback and thanks again for reading! – Will

      Will Castillo July 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM Reply
  7. Thanks. Your words about my country make feel so proud to be Colombian

    Katerine July 29, 2013 at 4:23 PM Reply
    • Katerine, it is my pleasure. Colombia is truly a country to brag about. Cheers! – Will

      Will Castillo July 29, 2013 at 5:44 PM Reply
  8. My beautiful Country!!!!!

    Nancy July 29, 2013 at 5:39 PM Reply
    • Nancy, beautiful and extraordinary! :) Thank you for reading it. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Will Castillo July 29, 2013 at 5:45 PM Reply
  9. realmente toda Colombia es belleza, es hermosa pero lo mas importante es que su gente e
    s extraordinaria. GRACIAS POR TU BLOG Y CON TODO EL GUSTO LO COMPARTO

    her July 29, 2013 at 6:21 PM Reply
    • Tienes toda razón. Su gente es lo mas importante y la razon por la cual yo me enamore de tu pais. Muchas gracias por leer y compartir.

      Will Castillo July 29, 2013 at 6:29 PM Reply
  10. Beautiful words and thank you for seeing my country for what it truly is…BEAUTIFUL!!!

    Sandra July 30, 2013 at 12:22 AM Reply
    • Thank you for reading Sandra. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Will Castillo July 30, 2013 at 12:32 AM Reply
  11. Thank you very much for taking the time to explore and know my beautiful country Colombia and make up such a great article about it. We sure are blessed to have a wonderful land that even with all the struggles keep the happiness and the enthusiasm about life!! Because we are the only people in the planet able to laugh from our sadness and keep going… Thank’s again…

    Johanna Sanchez July 30, 2013 at 12:56 AM Reply
    • Johanna, thank you for your comment. I have yet to see so much more of Colombia, I’ve only seen 1/3 of it but my hope and wish is to see it all. You are right, you are blessed to have such a beautiful land and people. It’s the warmth and attitude of the people that make the country stand out from the rest of Latin America. Thank you!

      Will Castillo July 30, 2013 at 2:21 PM Reply
  12. Hi Will,

    thank you very much for promoting my country in the way you did in your blog. It was warm, honest and very well put. These words mean a lot to me because as a Colombian living in a another country it is really difficult, and always annoying when you meet someone they ask you for Pablo Escobar, drugs and those sort of stuff. They do not realise that it is rude to ask questions like that especially when you do not know the real situation over there and you based your question in news from 30 years ago. Colombia is more than that, it is a beautiful country and we feel blessed to have been born there.
    With this article, you are helping to improve our international image. For that reason, and with your blessing I am going to take the liberty to re-post it.

    thank you very much and God bless you Mate!

    Carlos

    Carlos July 30, 2013 at 4:08 AM Reply
    • Hi Carlos, that’s exactly my point and what upsets me the most. The fact that some people are very ignorant and don’t bother to learn more about it. It’s the reason why I decided to dedicate an entire month on my blog for Colombia. Like you said, some people don’t understand that Colombia is so much more than coffee, and all the Hollywood stereotypes. Thank you for your comment and for reposting the blog. Feel free to do so.

      Cheers back!
      Will

      Will Castillo July 30, 2013 at 2:24 PM Reply
  13. Thank you for your post. We are going to Colombia next year and plan to stay as long as we can, Colombia certainly does sound extraordinary.

    Rob November 17, 2013 at 6:27 AM Reply
    • It’s always my pleasure to write about Colombia. Which city will you be going to?

      Will Castillo November 17, 2013 at 1:25 PM Reply
  14. wow im colombian and it makes me very happy to see someone share the same love i have for my beautiful country, its also great to show people that Colombia is safe and a great place to visit.

    Veronica Miller December 2, 2013 at 5:40 AM Reply
    • Thanks Veronica. Colombia is beautiful and it did not take very long for me to fall in love with it. What part of Colombia are you from?

      Will Castillo December 2, 2013 at 4:26 PM Reply
  15. Proud to be Colombian!!! :D

    David Parra Jimenez December 3, 2013 at 4:14 AM Reply

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