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DEPARTURE to Colombia. Jungles, gigantic cities, deserts, Caribbean beaches and mountains.

We went to one of the most colorful countries I have ever visited. Passionate dances, beautiful scenic landscapes, hidden treasures from past civilizations, and plenty of tequila, aguilla, and aguardiente.

On February 12, 2022, I got up at 3:00 am according to the UTC time zone, packed my last 7 things into the car and drove off towards Vienna Airport - Schwechat. From there, after a four-hour layover in Frankfurt and an exhausting first long-haul flight, we continued to Bogota, the capital of Colombia.

Although it's not that long ago, I can't exactly remember or describe what was going through my mind when I got on the plane and took off. I've never been on a plane before (except for one trip to Hamburg when I was 15). To the dismay of my parents, I didn't choose the immediate vicinity of Wiener Neustadt, or at least Vienna, as my first place of residence, but a place a few kilometers further away in South America.

The country has always been in my dreams. I just had to visit it. I didn't actually do much research before I started the trip. If I go into detail about everything I did (or rather didn't do) in preparation, it would probably blow some people's minds. A lesson in Spanish on Duolingo, then it got too boring for me, and I read something about the biggest cities, that's it.

I wanted to start a new life. My first destination after a week in Bogota was the city, Santa Marta. Everything was booked, flight, Airbnb, bought a new suitcase, everything was prepared. Fortunately, two nights before departure I noticed that I hadn't booked any accommodation for the week in Bogota. Quickly into Airbnb, it was one of the first 5. Had no idea of the good or bad sectors. 4.5 stars with 20 ratings, it doesn't matter, good enough... Book! And already I booked one of my current favorite apartments in the old city center of Bogota.

Many residents of Bogota would say that it is perhaps the most dangerous and worst neighborhood. I have seen and experienced different things. Going a little further south of Santa Fe can get very rough. I've experienced and seen all sorts of things there (phew), but right in the center, there were police officers on every corner and I felt safe all the time. They cleaned up there quite a bit, just a couple of years before I arrived, seems to have been a really rough patch there. Anyway, this apartment was my starting point for that week, as well as several times later that year.

city view
View from my apartment in Bogota

The country of Colombia

Where should I start here? I've seen a lot of rural areas, around Bogota, Antioquia and pretty much everything (except the southern part) in Departmento Magdalena.

Shortly classified: Bogota is a huge metropolis with almost 11.5 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area and Medellin has around 3.5 million inhabitants, but in these cities it makes a big difference in which sectors / districts you are. Some sectors are very sparsely populated or real residential areas, other districts are more similar to the favelas in Brazil (although not as hardcore).

Santa Marta is a very quiet and relaxed city. In the long run more for pensioners or people who are very quiet and only want to drink a beer every now and then. The club selection is very modest, but there are all the more places and beaches where you can retreat.

Kilometer-long beaches near the Parque de Tayrona, scattered beach bars by locals. The beer 50 Cent, the fish the best I've ever eaten, the cocktails dangerously mixed.

I recommend Santa Marta solely as a vacation destination, as well as for relaxation, inspiration and some adventure. Life and work is very difficult, at least for me, with so many nice distractions, this is a great place to pass the time and relax.

In Santa Marta itself, I was 2 months. I went on motorbike trips, met native people in the jungle, and was alone in the jungle for a few days on my motorbike. Lots on the beach and trips to Palomino (an insider tip ;)).

sunshine bay
View of the bay in Santa Marta at sunset

Next time it will be about my trips and a few experiences. I wish everyone reading this a lot of success and happiness.




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