Sihanoukville — ColPas (Picture “Medellin downtown in the night” by Wooden). Things like these were unthinkable ten years ago. Tourist guides used to put aside Colombia in the Latin America destinations. It was too risky. But now, National Geographic in its National Adventure, features Colombia as one of its six top destinations for 2008. “DiscoverÂ why these countries garnered our highest praise and thenÂ find out how to experienceÂ them forÂ yourself“, said the page that points out Colombia as “Mountain: Columbia” beside the other top destinations like Albania, Senegal, Norway, Mongolia and India. Even National Adventure compares the country with its neighbouring Venezuela: “While Venezuela’s Hugo ChĂˇvez has been busy stealing headlines, his once crazy Andean neighbor is quietly settling downâ€”and tourism is heating up.”
What is underlined of Colombia to be an ideal destination for one of the most important world magazines is its colonial cities, the whitewashed mountain villages, the mist-laden coffee country and the rapidly developing tourism infrastructure. The recommended cities are MedellĂn and Cartagena, the ones that have been at the center of the tourism revival of the country in the last decade. While MedellĂn is an Andean mountain city with a population of about three million inhabitants in its Metropolitan Area, Cartagena de Indias is the queen of the Caribbean Sea with stunning beaches and historical colonial centers. But those two cities are only two within a list of many destinations that go from the coffee fincas along mountainous highways to natural ecology reserves of endemic species.