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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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.