Once Upon a Time in Colombia…

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was afraid to visit Colombia…

She thought it would be too dangerous.  Too scary.  Too many drugs.  After all, that’s what Colombia’s known for, isn’t it?

But her travel plans changed, & all of a sudden she found herself on a flight to Cartagena.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia.

From the moment she stepped off the plane, & saw swaying palm trees, she began to think that maybe ~ just maybe, she’d gotten Colombia all wrong.

She began to feel excited.  She couldn’t wait to get out & explore ~ a sure sign that this place just might be made for her.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia

Outdoor plaza in Cartagena, Colombia.

And so it was.

She came across friendlier taxi drivers than she’d ever found, anywhere in the world.

She met some of the most beautiful women she’d seen anywhere in the world ~ & loved how they dressed, so she copied their style.

She started to feel that maybe ~ just maybe, there was a little bit of Colombian in her.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia

Once upon a time in Colombia, she found islands in the middle of the sea, with nothing but shacks, snorkels, & sunshine.  They had exotic names like Isla de Providencia, the Rosario Islands, & Isla Baru.  Here, time did not exist.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

In the Rosario Islands, an hour from Cartagena.

Once up on a time in Colombia, she found herself in pools by the ocean, wearing monokinis she wouldn’t have the guts to wear in the States.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia

She ate ceviche everywhere.

She stopped at Juan Valdez Coffee, then sipped it with a penthouse view.

Penthouse condos that would’ve cost a fortune in the States ~ in Colombia, cost $30 US dollars per night.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia

Once upon a time in Colombia, she saw landscapes that blew her mind ~ that made her stop, & stare, in awe.  With wonder.

Could this place be real?  And could this place really be Colombia?

Once Upon a Time in Colombia

The famous rock in Guatape, Colombia.

Surely not.  How could it be?  For it is like something out of a dream… 

Walking around Guatape, Colombia, was like walking onto a magical movie set.  Guatape was one of her favorite places in all of Colombia….giving her photo after photo of dreamy, magical surrealism.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia

Guatape, Colombia.

Once upon a time in Guatape, she crossed bridges that swayed & heaved in the wind, causing that thrill of excitement in the pit of her stomach: pure exhiliration.
Once Upon a Time in Colombia

Bridge between to the town of Guatape, & the famous “rock,” El Penol.

Once upon a time in Colombia, she felt like “Indiana Jane,” having the most grand & wondrous adventures.

She stood at the edge, & looked out upon the vast countryside.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia

On top of El Penol, in Guatape.

She was by herself, yet she had never been happier.

She discovered a new side of herself.  The Latina started to seep into her bones.  She felt more relaxed, & less afraid.  Sexier.

She found a new name for this side of herself.

Once upon a time in Colombia…she was no longer “Noelle.”  In this place, she became “Noelia.”

Once Upon a Time in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Noelia.

She watched sunsets dissolve into nighttime.

And found landscapes that thrilled her to the very core.

Solo Female Travel in Colombia, Once Upon a Time in Colombia

She saw great rocks looming in the distance, like something out of a fantastic dream.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Guatape, Colombia.

And stunning Medellin sunsets.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia

Medellin, Colombia.

Once upon a time in Colombia, she found that Medellin nightlife rivaled that of any major city in the world.  People were chic.  Fancy.  Impeccably dressed.  She couldn’t just wear her comfy yoga pants anymore.

In Medellin, she found people & stories that moved her.

And she began to think that she’d been entirely wrong about Colombia.

The amount of strength that existed here was breathtaking.  Their country & the people in it had survived more horror, more violence, & more atrocities than most.  And yet, they still smiled.  They still  danced. 

In fact, they made it a point to do so.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Street dancers in Cartagena.

I love this place, as so many other traveler do.  This wondrous country called Colombia.

One day, I will return to this magical place where “magical realism” exists.  After all, the magical realist himself, author & Nobel Laureate, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, was born here, & wrote many books inspired by his country: Colombia.

Once Upon a Time in Colombia, Girl Who Travels the World

Guatape, Colombia.

One day, not too far away, I will be back, Colombia.  I will be back. 

xoxo Noelia

Noelle Bertram is a restaurant owner, former fitness coach, Huffington Post writer, & all-around entrepreneur who travels full-time now & writes all about it! Catch up with her on Instagram or @ her website about being the ultimate, fearless travel girl: GirlWhoTravelstheWorld.com.

Why I Use World Nomads Travel Insurance

Whenever I travel ~ especially if I’m traveling solo, I always get travel insurance.  It gives me the peace of mind to go out and have all kinds of adventures, because I know someone’s got my back.  Who do I use? World Nomads. They cover you whether you’re sky-diving, spelunking, or volcano-boarding in Nicaragua: they’re not your average insurance company.  Read more about travel insurance here.

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