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In the last few decades Colombia has become a bourgeoning travel destination. There are a wide variety of reasons to explain the transition from a country long considered to be fraught with danger and inhospitable locals.

The big cities are a great place to start an adventure by exploring and learning what is modern Colombia. Bogota and Medellin are simply incredible international destinations. Compared to other big cities around the world in developed countries, it is quite a thrill to see a metropolis like Bogota in the midst of its rise. The vista of Monseratte offers a panoramic view of the city that cannot be beat.

A taste of some ultra-modern cuisine and a locally sourced cup of coffee at one of the incredible restaurants or cafes are a must. Walking tours are a great way to experience both Bogota and Medellin as the climate is quite comfortable. Despite their proximity to the equator, the cities’ positioning in the highlands keeps things cool.

Continuing with the big city vibe, Cali is a thriving destination with friendly locals and vibrant night life. It is a place where you definitely don’t want to forget your dancing shoes. A salsa night cannot be missed, whether you dance or not. (Although chances are the locals will not let you just sit back and observe!) Grab a glass of aguardiente, Colombia’s booze of choice, and hit the floor.

Once you’ve exhausted yourself, it is time to visit the vast coastline of Colombia. A bus ride from the central parts of the country allows you to experience the wide range of environments, from the cool mountain jungles to the sweltering beaches. Palomino is a beautiful Caribbean city with seriously laid back vibes and a nice little community of travelers. Don’t be afraid to camp out on the beach for a night under the stars.

Cartagena is another magnificent coastal gem. The city itself is the attraction here, with its interesting blend of colonial history and modern culture. A short bus ride from Cartagena gets you to Playa Blanca, one of the more pristine and popular beaches to be found in this area.

It is time to toss the preconceived notions to the side. Don’t be afraid to visit Colombia and take in all it has to offer, or you will certainly feel left out.