July 20 marks Colombia’s independence from Spain. Sadly, Colombia’s recent history of leftist guerrilla war combined with the illegal production of narcotics sold primarily to the U.S. made Colombia the token corrupt Hispanic nation, producing villains for TV shows like Miami Vice and movies like Romancing the Stone. What was a difficult and violent time for the people living in Colombia, has indeed kept travelers out.
What travelers have been missing all these years is a place of incomparable physical beauty, presenting a variety of tropical sub-climates (from desert to rainforest), their flora and fauna, and a people so cheery, fun loving, and hospitable that the civil war they’ve endured almost seems like a Hollywood fantasy. According to the 2014 WIN-Gallup Barometer of Happiness & Hope, Columbia is the happiest country in the world for the second year in a row. Here are 18 reasons why we think you’ll fall in love with Colombia.
1. Rare Fruits You will get to sample taste bud-blowing fruits and vegetables, like lulo, zapote, maracuyá, and plátanos. Even “regular” fruits like a mango or banana taste fresher in Colombia.
Read Related: Mamiverse Guide to Cartagena, Colombia