Colombia, A Beautiful Jewel - United Hub

Colombia, a beautiful jewel

By The Hub team

By Honolulu-based Remote Reservations Sales and Service Representative Kathy Bair

A few years ago, I was very fortunate to facilitate a training in Mexico City with a colleague from our North Houston Contact Center (NHC) Lisa Perry. When she learned that I was from Colombia, she had me promise that one day I would take her and earlier this year I made good on that promise.

Last February, Lisa and her travel companion Keith, my husband Carlos and I took off on a beautiful trip to my motherland.

We landed in Bogota, Colombia - 8,860 feet above sea level, with a mix of modern and colonial architecture -- so many places to see in so little time. My country is a mix of culture, nature and welcoming arms everywhere. I know in the past it has had a stigma of being a dangerous place but, really, the only risk you take in visiting is wanting to stay here forever.

On our first day in Bogota, we visited the Gold Museum, which contains more than 34,000 gold pieces from pre-Hispanic societies in Colombia.

The following day, we made our way over to the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, one of the most unique cathedrals in the world. It is an underground Roman Catholic Church built within the tunnels of a salt mine 200 meters underground - this place is truly fascinating.

Have you heard of the famous legend of El Dorado? We were able to visit La Laguna de Guatavita, where the indigenous people used to give their gold to the gods. We also explored the nearby town of Guatavita, -- a perfect replica of a Spanish colonial town, with buildings in white facades, rustic stucco and clay tiles. You feel very much at peace in this town.

United employee, her husband and friends infront of Cartagena sign.

We headed to Cartagena next. Oh, Cartagena, the beauty. The energy, the colors, the hospitality and the flavors are overwhelming here. The cobblestone streets and the beautiful, colorful colonial buildings give the city a unique charm, where the music never stops. We visited the San Felipe de Barajas castle, surrounded by a wall built to protect the castle from pirates and enemies of the Spanish crown in the 1700s.

We danced in the streets, laughed until our bellies hurt and then relaxed in the white sands of Baru, a small island off the coast of Cartagena with beautiful beaches and clear water.

Lisa and Keith loved everything about Colombia, and they were the perfect travel companions. Because our trip was short, we only had time to do so much, but Colombia has so many more beautiful places to see and explore.

The bright green hills of Valle de Cocora

If you have the time during your trip, visit Antioquia, in the central northwestern part of Colombia, where you'll discover the most beautiful coffee fields you've ever seen. Many coffee farms offer tours and allow you to learn how to pick coffee beans. The green of its mountains is a breathtaking site. Valle de Cocora is another must, a great destination for eco-tourists. It's set so high you feel like you can touch the sky. The little town of Salento nearby looks like a town out of a fairytale book. This Spanish colonial mountain town seems like it stopped in time, making it surreal and striking. Here you will find the slender wax palms, which are native to the Andes of Colombia and are also the world's tallest palm trees.

No matter which city you choose to explore, Colombia is a beautiful place that everyone needs to add to their bucket list. It's no surprise that Lonely Planet ranked Colombia second on its list of best countries to visit in 2017.

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