“In the United States, the Mafia makes witnesses disappear so they can’t testify in court. In Colombia, Pablo Escobar made the whole court disappear.” – This quote is real and explains pretty well how this city was about 30 years ago; violent.
It’s strange to think of that at the same time I learned to walk (late 1980’s) this place witnessed murder and bombs every other day. Now, 30 years later, I walk these streets myself and of course it’s another story today when it’s totally safe – or as safe as any big city in South America can be. It’s a poor continent with lots of drugs, so you always have to be vigilant and streetsmart. That being said, I’ve never felt nervous anywhere or at anytime so far.
Colombia and Medellín have got a lot of free “marketing” from Netflix’s Narcos which shows the country’s and city’s modern brutal history. I think that’s a good thing! The people are friendly and they need the tourism to grow their economy and I hope they will succeed in that. I read a travel survey the other day (don’t remember where so can’t quote it unfortunately) and Colombia is expected to grow a lot in the number of visitors in 2017. Today it’s still untouched by tourism, but more and more people discover it’s beauty and especially now when it’s safe. So if you want to experience the real Colombia, go now, before the crowds. Just as a curiosa also South Africa and the city Cape Town was on the list – which is one of my absolute favorite destinations! I can really understand why: they are both very affordable traveling in, beautiful, diverse and they have a rough history considered as dangerous – but that’s changing now.
So, Medellín is safe – but is it any beautiful or fun? Well, I probably can’t be a 100 % objective since I caught a cold arriving here. That kept my energy levels pretty low and then it’s never easy to enjoy yourself, no matter where you are. Still, I dare to say this is not a very beautiful city nor full of exciting attractions and things do to. It’s big, buzzy and noisy. Times like this reminds of how extremely lucky I am living in Scandinavia where it’s always safe AND beautiful. At the same time I’m lucky to leave it whenever I want to. Except blowing my nose 200 times per day I went on the Pablo Escobar tour, which I found very interesting. The whole story about Escobar, being one of the worst terrorists the world has ever witnessed and at the same time a Robin Hood for the poor people, is pretty unique I guess.
To be honest, these last days has been the first on my entire trip where I’ve been a little bored and not very excited, but I guess and hope it has to to with my cold. Before going to Colombia my expectations were really high, since everyone I’ve met that have been here say it’s amazing! I still believe it will be and now I’m off to explore, what I think and hope will be, more of the real Colombia; the coffee region.