When I tell people my husband is Colombian I am always greeted with the same question. I don’t even have to write it here because I know you’ve already thought of it and with shows like ‘Narcos’ trending on Netflix, it’s no surprise. But what is surprising is how shocked people are when I go on to tell them the truth of travelling to Colombia with kids: That it’s friendly, kind-hearted, visually stunning and a haven of adventures for young families.
So please read on and challenge your assumptions on Colombia. That’s Colombia with an ‘o’, never a ‘u’ (remember that!).
Colombia with Kids: The people
It is a strange fact of my life that whenever I’ve been having a rough time, a Colombian has been brought into my world. It’s like my heart goes ‘hey you’re a bit sad, have a dose of happiness in the form of this friendly, open person’. Because Colombians are a joy to be around and will go out of their way to make you and your children feel at home.
Colombia with Kids: The biodiversity
Colombia is the 2nd most biodiverse country in the world. Let that sink in for a second. That means that the wildlife is spectacular and rich in learning for children. There are so many places teeming with natural beauty and top of most people’s list will be the Amazon rainforest. There are some fantastic ‘ecotourism’ stays here and Lodge Tanimboca is a great option for the brave-hearted families amongst you. If you’re not so keen on possibly coming face to face with a tarantula, Bogota boasts a stunning botanical garden where you can see the incredible array of plant life Colombia has to offer.
Colombia with Kids: The beauty
It’s always been a bugbear of mine that ‘top 10’ type articles about Colombia invariably mention the beautiful women as a selling point for visiting travellers. Not only is this wildly chauvinistic, it ignores a much more important agenda, the beauty of the country. Whether it’s the Caribbean beaches, the sweeping coffee farms or the street art in the city, (instagramable) beauty is everywhere and your children won’t be able to tear their eyes away from it.
Colombia with Kids: The kid-centric attractions
A massive win for Colombia is how child-friendly it’s sites are. If you’re in Bogota your kids will love the bizarre Parque Jaime Duque : what would you like to do first kids? Climb inside a dinosaur, go on the log flume or check out the Taj Mahal? If you’re in the coffee region, Parque Consota, the ‘Centre Parcs’ of Colombia, is an incredible place to stay and so far, perhaps due to its Spanish only website, undiscovered by tourists. Watch this video to convince yourself it should be on your wish list and if you need help with translation, just let me know!
Colombia with Kids: The juice and fresh food
Going to Colombia for the first time was a little like going back in time to my own childhood! Our shopping takes place on the local parade of shops and we get to visit the butcher, baker and grocer in turn. The food here is so fresh and your children will love the lengthy variety of ‘jugos’ (tropical fruit juices) as well as the delicious pastries and breads. A big crowd pleaser if you’re fancying a treat, is Crepes & Waffles… you can imagine why.
Colombia with Kids: The coffee
One for the parents! Coffee is a huge part of Colombian culture and the coffee triangle is so full of activities that you’re going to need some heavy fixes of caffeine. There are a few beautiful finca’s on AirBnB where you can get to know the coffee culture and disconnect your family from modern technology completely. This gorgeous yet humble guest house is only £10 a night and comes complete with a nearby waterfall, but no wifi.
Colombia with Kids: The pirates
Cartagena is a colonial town on the Caribbean coast of Colombia! It is famous for the bright colours of its houses, cobblestone streets and live music. The Castillo San Felipe de Barajas is a 16th-century fortress where you and your family can learn about the battle between the Spaniards and the British pirates. The kids will love imagining themselves in the battle and winding through the castles many hidden tunnels. Just make sure you take plenty of water and hats to battle against the sun.
Colombia is so many places in one. You can visit beaches, cities, mountains, plains, jungle and rivers without once having to leave the country. So if variety is what you’re craving, Colombia is truly the option for you. If you want someone else to organise the planning, travel company ‘See Colombia travel’ offer a range of tours to help you take it all in. They also have great guidance on their website on any travel and safety precautions to take before you leave.
Colombia with Kids: The peace
I have taken four trips to Colombia between 2011 and 2015 and I did not once feel a threat towards mine or my family’s safety. At the end of 2016 a historic peace agreement was signed between the FARC and the government, so arguably, it’s now even safer to visit. This doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t think about how to ensure a safe trip, you should do that any time you’re in an unfamiliar land. However what it does mean, is that you should not let safety concerns put you off the adventure of a lifetime, in a country that has so much to offer. ¡Viva Colombia!
(Bio): Caroline Rodriguez is a new blogger over at ‘Londoncitos’. She is a Mum, Stepmum, coffee loving, travel dreaming, London exploring, list enthusiast. Find her on:
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