December 2012-January 2013, August 2016, September 2016
Warm, biodiverse, and underrated.
When people ask me if I like Colombia (yes!) or if it's safe (yes!), I tell them I've been there four times. I love this country. The first time I went, I went alone with my camping equipment at 23 years old. I had no problems at all. I took buses and camped all throughout the northern half of the country, having some of the best times of my life. I particularly remember convincing a bus driver to let me board his overfilled 12-hour overnight bus route, and sleeping in the aisle, on the windy mountain roads, until someone dropped a kitten on my face. I was the only gringo in many places, but still met many backpackers in certain towns.
Arguably the prettiest mountains on the planet, as far as I can tell, are Colombia's Sierra Nevada de El Cocuy. Trekking El Cocuy was the highlight of my time, and one of the most amazing and beautiful adventures I've ever had. The jungles are also unparalleled, as are the beaches, volcanos, desert... and on and on.
Caving is still somewhat in its infancy in Colombia, with some major finds in a karst region only in the past few years. The jungle in this country is so thick that we may never uncover all the secrets in Colombia.