With its beautiful landscapes, tropical beaches, vibrant cities and welcoming people Colombia is rapidly earning the title of a unique tourist destination that it deserves to have. It is a fascinating melting pot of people, culture, music, traditions and gastronomy.Destinations
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- The Legend of El Dorado20 April, 2017“El Dorado” is the legend of a hidden city in South America that is completely made of pure gold.The term was used by the Spanish conquistadores to define a tribal chief of the Colombian indigenous group Muisca, who during rituals covered themselves with gold dust and then dove into a lake. This old Muisca tradition became the origin of the El Dorado legend. When Spanish explorers reached South America they heard stories about this tribe in the Andes Mountains in Colombia. The lust for gold in Europe gave rise to the enduring tale of a city of gold. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans still believed that somewhere in the New World there was a place of great wealth known as El Dorado. The legend led to several unsuccessful expeditions in the late 1500s in search for El Dorado. In the pursuit of the legend, Spanish conquistadors searched Colombia, Venezuela, parts of Guyana and northern Brazil for this city and its magnificent king. El Dorado shifted locations until finally it simply meant a source of untold treasures somewhere in the Americas.The legend says that when a new chief rose to power, his rule began with a ceremony at Lake Guatavita (near Bogota). The new ruler was covered with gold dust and then he would dive into the lake, washing off the gold. Afterwards, trinkets, jewellery and ornaments made of gold and emeralds were thrown into the lake by worshipers to please the Guatavita goddess that lived in the middle of this sacred lake.Lake GuatavitaThe ceremony of El Dorado supposedly ended in the late 15th century when the Muisca were conquered by another tribe. But the Spaniards had already found so much gold along the continent’s coast that they believed there had to be a place of great wealth in the inland too. The Spaniards never found El Dorado, but they did find Lake Guatavita and tried to drain it in 1545. They lowered its level enough to find hundreds of pieces of gold along the lake’s edge, but the supposed fabulous treasure in the deeper water was beyond their reach.Nevertheless, El Dorado is still yet to be found. People say the legend still lives because “you want it to be true”, and some people never really stopped seeking it. In honour of the legend and the Muisca, the Bogotá Gold Museum recreated the ceremony in a special showroom as part of its exhibition of more than 6.000 pieces made of gold.Source: National GeographicSource: Museo del Oro Bogotá
- Top 5 Things to Eat when Traveling to Colombia31 January, 2017When traveling to Colombia, they are one of the first things of colombian culture you will get to know: Little stalls of street food selling all kinds of fried delights, creamy drinks or varieties of fruits. As a traveler, you might even not know what kind of food you are exactly buying. However, if you are in Colombia, street food is an essential experience – at the end, you only get to know a country‘s culture by eating its street food! So here are the top 5 must-eats when traveling to Colombia. What you have to try: Number one on the list: Arepas. You can find them anywhere in Colombia and there are at least ten different types in the country. The typical arepa is made of corn flour dough, mixed with water and salt. It is often served with cheese, but there are also stuffed arepas or arepas filled with egg. Did you know that according to roughguides.com arepas count as one of the best street foods on the globe? (See the map of the worlds’ best streetfood)A Latin American favorite: Empanadas. In contrast to many Empanadas, the Colombian ones are not made out of bread-based dough, they are made out of cornmeal. The deep-fried or baked little snack is filled with potato, chorizo or veggies.The all-day snack: Almojabana. The soft baked cheese bun tastes best when it‘s warm. You can see many Colombians eating it on the go, together with a coffee for breakfast or just as a snack during the day. On your journey to Colombia you should at least try them once!Source: Sarepa BlogThe sweet snack: Churros. This fried-dough pastry is sprinkled with sugar and eaten out of a paper bag. Although Churros originally comes from Spain, Colombians certainly know how to prepare them!Source: Sarepa BlogThe healthy alternative: Fruits. There is a huge range of different fruits in Colombia, many of which you might not even have heard of! Carambola, Chontaduro, Lulo, Tomate del Arbol… You can find sliced fruit almost everywhere, and don’t forget to try some of the freshly pressed juices on your trip. Delicious and healthy, the best refreshment on a hot day!This list could go on and on, there is so much tasty food to discover on the streets of Colombia. When traveling to this beautiful country, it is best to just give it a try and figure out your very own favorite street food. Best addresses for a street food tours by locals are Medellín, Bogotá or Cartagena, but every bigger city has a lot to offer. Combined in a travel package with Palenque Tours, you can walk down the streets and let your taste buds explore the culinary world of Colombia. What are you waiting for?
- Learn why Colombians are so happy22 December, 2016Why are Colombians so happy? One of the things that strike most international travelers going to Colombia is the happiness and joyfulness of Colombians. Colombians are famous for being really friendly and happy people. According to several investigations and surveys Colombia was named the happiest country in the world in the years 2013 and 2014, and this year earned the second place. You might be wondering why they are so happy? Referring to several blogs (http://bananaskinflipflops.com/2014/10/26/why-are-colombians-so-happy/) and articles, we are pointing out a few major reasons why Colombians enjoy their life to the fullest with a wide smile on their face.Struggle to survive In Colombia things don’t just flow to you; you have to achieve it. Whether it’s a political negotiation or an everyday issue, like ensuring your personal security or a homeless man working for pennies and food. Colombians have had a rough history with violence, which forced them to struggle through every day being grateful for their and their families’ lives, and celebrate it. The more work you have to do for your achievement, the more you enjoy when it’s achieved.There’s no defeat In Colombian culture you don’t wave the white flag if you struggle with your achievement. Or at least, you don’t admit the defeat. Things can go very wrong and seem very impossible, but a Colombian reassures you and themselves by saying “things are good, no problem” until they have fought to the last point, figured out a solution and succeeded. On the other hand if a Colombian has to admit defeat, he also understands that life’s never fair and doesn’t expect too much.You are never alone Colombians are not lonely people. They avoid being alone and enjoy the most being surrounded by a lot of people with a lot of interacting. The relationship with the family is very tight, and they have a lot more respect to each other than in many other cultures. A Colombian is filled with love and happiness to spend time with the family, and never takes it as a chore that has to be done every once in a while. For a Colombian it is very normal to live with your family even the rest of your life. Besides family, Colombians always have a one to rely on: God. They are strongly catholic and lean on their religion every day.Improvement Colombia is raising from the bottom and the only way is up. Life and its conditions are improving, economy is improving, cities are growing and more and more tourists are coming to discover Colombia. These improvements impact people as well; they are feeling the change and getting more possibilities. At the same time they don’t expect too much, which why Colombians are easy to make positively surprised. And now with the signing of the peace treaty between the FARC and the Government, future looks even brighter !Surrounding things that makes one happy….Sun Colombia doesn’t have different seasons like winter, fall or spring; just a dry season and a rainy season. This means, that mostly all around the year Colombians enjoy warm weather and sunny days and get a lot of energy and C-vitamin. Who would be unhappy when you have sunshine all day and can walk around in light clothing while eating fresh Colombian fruits?Salsa & Music Music and dancing is in every Colombian’s heart. When a Colombian hears music, he doesn’t hesitate to enjoy it, whether it’s in a bar or metro. It’s just a natural instinct of a happy Colombian who enjoys life, not a cause of alcohol.Holidays & Festivals Colombians believe in resting every once in a while in their hectic life. There are a lot of holidays during the week (usually on Mondays), which gives Colombians a chance to enjoy longer weekends. Besides holidays, Colombians have many festivals to celebrate, for example the Black & White Festival in Pasto, the Barranquilla Carnival or the Flower Festival once a year in Medellin. It is an amazing festival with a big, colorful and dancing parade, and the whole city gathers to enjoy it. This kind of festivals are very popular all over Colombia, and they really make an effort to make it epic and beautiful.Biodiversity & Beautiful places Colombia has an amazing nature with the second largest biodiversity in the world. Colombia offers a lot of different areas to explore, whether you are seeking for a beach holiday with turquoise sea, jungle adventure and exploring the wilderness in the Amazon, or spending a relaxed country weekend at a finca in the countryside of Antioquia’s coffee region. Colombians do even have to exit the country to travel; they have it all.These are just few things out of many, many others that make Colombians happy. Now you understand that it is not a lie, when you hear people talking or read articles how Colombia is the happiest country in the world. You don’t need material to be genuinely happy; you just need good energy, an open mind, social skills and salsa lessons. Be happy like the Colombians ! 🙂