Colombia or El Salvador or ....?
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Oct 16, 2012 5:50 AM Last Post By: beerfree
Oct 2, 2012 7:06 PM
The last country we visited together was Ethiopia which we loved. That is just to say that we are not shy regarding unusual travel destinations. We have both traveled extensively in Asia but Central and South America have really escaped us. I have been to Mexico several times and Ecuador once and found both delightful.
So, which, of the two, is your favourite country? We are looking for exciting cities in a cultural and architectual sense (more than regarding nightlife), beautiful landscapes, great music, some horse-back riding, and perhaps a beautiful beach or two (neither of us surf). I am a little worried about safety in both countries but it seems one just doesn't venture out after dark or hike up a mountain unescorted and that deals with some of the dangers. (Also, what is the deal with malaria: do we need to take drugs or not? I find the info confusing on this matter.)
... Or are we looking at the wrong countries? Initially, we had wanted to visit Burma, but with the traveling involved (coming from the West Coast of Canada and the East Coast of the US, it just takes too long), so we looked south.
Oct 2, 2012 8:09 PM
1Colombia without a doubt, for scenery, history, architecture, indigenous and mestizo culture, varied ecosystems, activities, etc. etc. etc. The only trouble will be the fact that you don't have enough time there and will want to start planning your return.
I like El Salvador, but it's small; unless you like to relax a lot you'll tend to run out of stuff to do and see there. It does offer the possibility of visiting neighboring countries easily, notably Honduras.
Of course there are dozens of other possibilities in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and elsewhere. Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia are obvious choices.
Hope that helps.
Oct 3, 2012 7:30 AM
2I'd choose Colombia if you more time 'cause traveling by bus there costs lots of time. You may otherwise take flights but be prepared to pay much, much more than with the bus.
The special thing about Colombia is it's diversity: complete different cultures, climates and people in the Andes, the Caribbean and Pacific coast.
Don't stay too long in Bogota, it's only worthwhile for some museums and jazz-clubs but it's overcrowded and terrible climate.
My favoritepart there is the Zona Cafetera and Valle del Cauca and Medellin. Lot's of interesting culture-items to be seen.
El Salvador is small but also very authentic, much more than Costa Rica or Brazil. From El Salvador you may get easily to Nicaragua (Corn Island, Bluefields, Granada) and Honduras (maya temples!) and these countries are very interesting.
I'll be in Colombia myself during these months.
Oct 3, 2012 7:39 AM
3Concerning Colombia, you got the idea about safety.
I'm not a physician, so this is my own personal opinion: I know people who caught dengue fever but I never heard of anybody who caught malaria in Colombia (I go there regularly since 2001 and never took any pills). If you intend to go to tropical places (anywhere below 1000 meters) you should get vaccinated against yellow fever.
Oct 3, 2012 8:34 AM
4Thanks for the input. I think you have convinced me to go to Colombia. I was more attracted to Colombia from the beginning but started looking for something less traveled as we are going just after Christmas and over New Years and I thought perhaps El Salvador wouldn't be as busy. But, reading about the two countries, Colombia does sound more interesting so I guess we will just have to live with the crowds. Now to figure out where we are going in Colombia. I think you are right in that we should focus on a region rather than to try to go everywhere. We just don't have the time.
And I do have all my shots from when we were in Ethiopia in the spring so should be set on that front. I didn't want to go to a country where malaria meds would be required because they make me really sick.
Oct 3, 2012 10:01 AM
Oct 3, 2012 12:22 PM
Oct 3, 2012 12:45 PM
7From what I saw last year, it didn't feel like many things closed down, at least in cities and touristic places. But traffic congestion might be a problem if you travel by bus, and booking in advance (that is: now) your domestic plane tickets and hotels could be a good idea, especially when Colombian schools are on holidays.
Oct 3, 2012 1:38 PM
8I can very highly recommend Medellín, and during the period when you'll be traveling. All the Christmas lights will still be up, most museums, botanical garden, etc. have free admission, plus - it's an incredible city any time of the year, and with numerous day trips or interesting places to stay awhile around the Antioquia region. Here's a trip report from the 2009 holiday season, with photos also linked in my signature link.
A second, nearby region to easily explore with all your looking for is la Zona Cafetera - as others have recommended. I also agree that Colombia is so huge and diverse, you should probably focus on only one or two areas, considering skipping the coast/beaches where the bulk of crowds will all be, and - plan to plan on coming back!
I've also been to El Salvador; amazing little country but there's just no comparison.
Oct 4, 2012 4:35 AM
9Salento, Colombia is the place to go!! check out "liferemotelycom" Safe,small town feel,many things to see,also brunch salentocom
Oct 4, 2012 1:14 PM
Oct 5, 2012 6:43 PM
Oct 16, 2012 5:50 AM
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