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Tourism in Colombia
The Colombian Ministry for Industry, Trade and Tourism noted that Colombia received approximately 2.3 million visitors in 2008 — 1 million more than in 2007. In 2010, the Colombia Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism is expecting an increase to 2.65 million tourists.
Colombia's democratic security strategy — launched by Colombia's President Álvaro Uribe — has made Colombia a very safe and enjoyable country to travel and live in. In fact, Lonely Planet, a well known international travel guide, picked Colombia as one of its top ten world travel destinations for 2010.
Tourism in Bogotá
Colombia's capital, Bogotá, is full of charm. It is known for its variety of stunning architecture, modern hotels, lively entertainment and wonderful cuisine. Downtown Bogotá is filled with shops, business offices, cafés and the banking district; overall, it is a safe and beautiful area to stroll around. Most of the best hotels, restaurants, cafés, and boutiques are located in the northern end of the city — the location where you will be staying. It is located in the center of the country at an altitude of 8.600 feet. Travelers may require some time to adjust to the altitude, which can affect blood pressure, digestion and energy level. Persons with medical conditions related to the circulatory or respiratory system should ask their physician if travel to Bogotá or other high-altitude locations is advisable.
In the past, Bogotá was known as one of the most dangerous cities in the world; however, today, this is clearly untrue. Bogotá is safe and welcoming now due several reasons, one being Álvaro Uribe's democratic security strategy and the second being, the "people first" urban planning strategy initiated in the late 90s by Bogotá's former Mayor, Enrique Peñalosa. These remarkable changes are now drawing hundreds of thousands of new tourists each year to Bogotá.
Possible day trips in and around Bogotá include:
- Zipaquira - where you will find a whole cathedral built inside salt mines.
- Monserrate - where you will find a modest and inspiring church with a marvelous panoramic view of the city.
- The Banco de la República Gold Museum, where you will find an extraordinary selection of pre-Hispanic gold work collection — the biggest in the world. Together with other pottery, stone, shell, wood and textile archaeological objects, these items testify to the life and thought of different societies which inhabited (what is now known as) Colombia before contact was made with Europe.