They drive like maniacs! Everyone keeps asking us if we feel safe or are afraid to be here, but the only time (so far) that we have not felt safe is when we are in traffic! They somehow manage to squeeze 2 lanes into 3 and there are tons of motorcycles maneuvering their way to the front of traffic. There seems to be no rules. You just do what’s best for you with no consideration of anyone else on the road and with no worries about the consequences. You would think with driving tactics such as this that you would see a lot of road rage, but it’s not like that at all. It’s almost as if the ability in which you can dominate traffic is a respected trait. On top of that people are waling around in the middle of the street to either clean cars for money or sell something.
“Cuidar de telefono. Cuidar de money. Cuidar everything you have” My Uber driver told me before letting me out: take care of your things. Later that day a man in a suit got on to me for having my camera out. He said it was ok here, because there were a lot of tourist and police there, but we have heard several times by locals to keep our valuables at home. Even still, we have felt very safe when walking around the city.
Heavy military and police presence everywhere. Colombia and it’s people have worked really hard to make it a safer place, and one way they have done this is by setting up military and police posts throughout the country. Fortunately, this has become quite the boring job for the armed forces.
Dogs. There are dogs everywhere here. You see them at the mall, on the street, in the car – Colombians love their dogs.
Thank God for Lonely Planet’s Phrasebook! Finding someone who speaks English is few and far between. We walk around with our phrasebook and google translate app in hand. Even though they don’t speak English, they are really patient and try to communicate and teach us Spanish.
Bring a Map! Except for at the hotel there is no internet. Anywhere.
There is a gym on every corner! Worried you are not going to get to work out while on vacation in Bogotá? No need! There’s yoga, crossfit, spinning centers, anything you want!
You thought Americans were the world-leading doughnut eaters? Wrong! To balance out the gyms, Colombians LOVE sweets. I think there are more Dunkin Dountus here than in America! There are also many popsicle shops and they have McDonald’s Colombia: Postres where they only sell the ice creams and Mc Flurries.
Not only are Colombians friendly – they smell amazing! Colombians enjoy using perfume/cologne and nearly every person seems to have a nice scent on.
Bogotá Ciclovia (cycleway) – Every Sunday and public holiday from 7 am until 2 pm, Bogotá closes an entire motorway and some municipalities to cars to let pedestrians and cyclist enjoy some stress free exercise. We had heard this is the best way to see the city, but unfortunately we were leaving Sunday so we didn’t get to experience it. The practice of this has now become popular all over the world, but it first started here in Bogotá, Colombia. Thousands of people are out running, skating, and biking around Bogotá.