Travel

Columbia beyond the drug trade

Columbia is nestled between Central and South America. It is largely considered to be a corridor leading to all of the South American ‘must sees’ with its location acting as a gateway to the Amazon Rainforest and the Pacific coast-line and the Caribbean coast-line. A country that has been disturbed by civil war for years has now finally been deemed safe for travellers and tourists alike, opening up the door to its rich cultural and natural landscape.

Sunset on the Amazon

Nature Tourism is ripe in Columbia, as it boasts access to the famed Amazon Rainforest. Statistically, Columbia is home to the largest number of different types of Palm trees in the world and holds twenty percent of the world’s bird species. What this means to the curious Columbian visitor, is that Columbia is abundant with wild-life landscapes that are just waiting to be explored. One particular natural site of interest can be found in the El Tuparro National Park in the Amazon region. The park is home to rapids, rainforests and indigenous tribes, and as a consequence, is home to something entirely different and in contrast with Western Culture.

Whilst Columbia is host to an array of exotic plants and wildlife (with the latest discovery of a new carnivorous mammal – the Olinguito – being found in Columbia), visitors can enjoy an adventure and adrenaline rush. White-water rafters have a host of white waters to paddle into; a particular favourite for tourists is the Magdalana River in San Augustin. Due to Columbia being sandwiched by two great oceans, the Caribbean and the Pacific, divers too have an abundance of choice. Columbia’s Pacific coast offers sandy beaches, coral, swamps and even cliffs, with its Caribbean coast boasting diverse marine wildlife. Columbia’s Caribbean is a beautiful mesh of the South American exotic rainforests and the Caribbean’s laid back beach lifestyle.

Amidst Columbia’s tropical vibrancy, is the dark and harsh reality of drug trafficking, that the country has become notorious for. The warm climate has been abused by criminal gangs for decades to grow and produce illegal drugs, predominantly Cannabis and Cocaine. These substances have then been illegally trafficked internationally.

Whilst many may consider Columbia’s thriving illegal drug trade as a reason not to visit the country, it is important to debunk the myths and explore what else the country has to offer. Just as many other countries, Columbia has both a rich cultural history and a scarred past. There will never be a country totally safe or free from historical faux pas, and Columbia is no exception. Embrace Columbia and find the adventure in exploring its sins.

11/03/2014

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jodiesnow Jodie is a second year English Literature student who appears to be the only section editor without a strong liking for tea. When she is literally not drinking tea, you will find Jodie making the most of her season pass to the LCR and trying her luck at writing editorial bios.