I have always been wanting to visit South America since I was a child. Maybe that's because South America is too far from China, the place I was born. Until last year, I decided to step into this land of mystery.
But why did I choose Colombia? Last year, Colombia waived the visa requirement for Chinese citizens who has a US visa or permanent residency, this is a pretty smart move, since many neighboring countries already have the similar policy, like Mexico, Chile, Panama, Costa Rica and most of the Caribbean countries. Visiting the Amazon river and rainforest are also on my plan, the reason I chose Colombia over Brazil is because it's relatively less commercialized and the cost is also less expensive.
Is Colombia safe? Isn't that country full of drug dealers and guerrilla forces? Don't you worry about being kidnapped there? After telling my friends my travel plan, I got lots questions like this. So, I have to say, back to 10 years ago Colombia may not be considered a safe country, now the safety is significantly improved, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be cautious. As a photography enthusiast, I've always had my camera in hand just in case of missing a shot. I met two different people in Bogotá, they come to me, point to my camera and say "Cuidado!" which means "Be careful!" in English, so I believe robbery is still a common concern here in Bogotá, just be cautious when walking around.
I personally haven't had any safety issues during my stay, Colombian people are quite friendly and willing to help, English is not widely spoken, so be prepared to learn some basic Spanish phrases before coming here, that could be hugely helpful.
In Bogotá, almost all of the historical attractions are walking distance from each other. I like walking, especially in a place that I've never been to. Sometimes, I purposefully get lost, to observe the people, to see how they interact with each other, you'll never know what's going to happen next.
You can see police everywhere in Bogotá, especially in tourist sites, I can see the Colombian government is trying very hard to make tourists feel safe.
A woman is selling corns to tourist for feeding pigeons at Bolívar Square (Plaza de Bolívar).
La Candelaria is a historic neighborhood in downtown Bogotá, It's full of colorful buildings in Spanish Colonial and Baroque styles. La Candelaria is a great area for strolling, it has many small restaurants and coffee shops.
Mount Monserrate is also a must-go, It rises to 3,152 meters (10,341 ft) above the sea level. You can either climb up to the top or take the funicular to see the cityscape of Bogotá.