Reflections on a “Greening” Colombia: Changes Over the Years

My brother jokes that visiting Colombia is always the same shit just on a different day. I am here to tell you that he is utterly wrong. Maybe it is because we are different kind of travelers, and because I romanticize my travels like those passionate loves once found in novels. While I want to eat in hole in the wall bars and talk to locals, he is more of your frat boy kinda traveler who wants a pool and a beer. So he doesn’t see the changes every time we visit, I do. My brother is my best friend, so this is in no way a judgement on him. We just travel differently and that is okay. Each trip to Colombia I notice the changes, the improvements, the growth, and the progress.

Let’s be honest, Colombia has a tainted past and a drug influenced present, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot to offer in the realms of nature! And it certainly doesn’t mean that there isn’t always something new to do when you visit. Ecotourism here is growing! Known as one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, Colombia’s flora and fauna will leave you breathless once you see the magical wonderment it has to offer the world. The creatures, flowers, and natural settings you see are magical, so beautiful that they seem almost unreal. Do you have any idea how awe inspiring it is to see a snow peaked mountain range practically on the beach? Or hummingbirds so rare there are less than 100 in the world left?

My first experience with ecotourism was about 6 years ago, when my grandfather took me to Colombia’s Amazon region. I did canoe tours of the river, visited tribal villages, and while I did stay in a 5 star resort I got see first hand the ecotourism culture growing in Colombia. This trip while my brother saw the same little towns lost in time that haven’t changed, I saw recycle bins all over town, environmentally conscious construction, and green practices. I saw my cousins turn down straws in restaurants because of how horrible they are for the environment, something I do in the US but would have very easily been the butt of all jokes before.

Colombia is the land of Magical Realism and nature you can’t see anywhere else, so to see a country so rich in natural wonder take notice in its own beauty was inspiring. Just in flowers alone, it has over 50,000 species!

Everywhere I looked, I didn’t see the same thing. I saw change, progress, and a nation ready to protect its natural wonder. There are hundreds of species that are only found in Colombia, the gem of South America resting between to oceans so to see this being taken care of and appreciated more and more every year always gives me the feels. Even if you take the peace loving tree hugging hippie out of me, you have to admit, it is pretty cool to see people take ownership of their natural wonders with care and conservation in mind!

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