Pack Your Bags: Colombia is home to delicious coffee, soaring skyscrapers, elegant port towns, late-night salsa clubs, high-end shopping, and miles of white, sandy beaches. Throw in the fact that the Amazon rainforest covers one-third of the country and you'll understand why tourists are now flocking back. It helps that a hard line approach by President Alvaro Uribe has reduced crime and drug-related violence. Last year tourist arrivals in Colombia were up 14% from 2006, with 2008 predicted to be even better according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Rain Check: Leftist rebel groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have targeted foreigners for kidnapping for years. Though FARC are on the run government soldiers freed French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages just a few months ago the rebel group still hold an estimated 700 hostages. Colombia's cocaine industry the country is the world's biggest producer of the drug continues to fuel street violence.
Tourist Blurb: "This country has moved from terrorism to tourism", Uribe told the United Nations World Tourism Organization recently. "It is a great joy to see that the tourists are back."
by Patrice Poltzer