Here’s a story that I wrote about over the weekend on Gadling, but thought some would find interesting here as well. The New York Times posted a really interesting story about Colombia opening back up for travel after years of turmoil from drug lords, high crime rates, and crazy guerilla activity. The gist of the article is that there are a lot of opportunities for adventure travelers to enjoy remote regions of the country before the mainstream crowds start to show up on the tourist buses.
The spotlight is placed squarely on El Cocuy National Park in particular and Ritacuba Blanco, a 17,749 foot peak that resides there. The park is an off-the-beaten-path wilderness some 1000-square miles in size that falls near the Venezuelan border. It is home to a number of animal species, including pumas, tapirs, condors, and more. It also happens to have its fair share of tall mountain peaks as well.
The author of the story compares Ritacuba Blanco with Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua, and while it doesn’t quite have the altitude of those two peaks, it is a similar climbing experience, minus the crowds. That seems to be the main point of the story, that for now, Colombia remains an untapped resource for anyone looking for a little outdoor adventure. There is plenty to see and do, and few visitors to take advantage of it all. But the author warns that this is changing quickly, as El Cocuy saw nearly as many tourists in January of this year than it did for the entirety of 2008.
If you’re looking for a new travel experience, and the opportunity to visit a place that remains off the tourist radar for now, you could do far worse than Colombia. There are still some areas of the country that remain dangerous, but for the most part, it has become a great place for travelers once again, and at least for now, it is a bit of a hidden gem.
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