Solo Travel vs. Taking Tours in Colombia Uncover Colombia
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SOLO TRAVEL VS. TAKING TOURS IN COLOMBIA

June 20, 2024, 9:47 pm

If you’re planning a trip to Colombia, you may be wondering whether you should take a tour or just explore the beautiful country alone. As someone who has done both in Colombia before deciding to live here, I hope my experiences can give you some guidance.

Solo Travel

It sounds so cliché because everyone has written about it, but travelling alone is so fulfilling. When I travelled around Colombia alone, I had time to think and reflect on the experience.

I felt accomplished when I solved a problem such as Where the heck is my hostel, and how do I use this confusing payphone? I had no one else to rely on, which was both exhilarating and scary. But if we are being completely honest – constantly problem-solving alone in another country gets exhausting. There were times during my trip when I wished someone would have figuratively held my (probably sweaty) hand and guided me where I needed to go so I could just relax.

Even though I started the trip alone, it doesn’t mean I didn’t find companionship along the way. In general, Colombians are very warm and welcoming. Numerous people offered to help me if I was lost or had a question while travelling in Colombia, which put me more at ease during my trip.

Tours

I wish I had taken more tours while travelling in Colombia. I did some day tours, but only a couple of hours. The reason I regret not signing up for longer tours is that I think I missed out on learning about the history and culture of the Colombian cities I opted to explore on my own.

The tours I did take in Colombia were incredibly enriching and helped me grasp some of the country’s complexities in ways I wouldn’t have been able to on my own. It was on a coffee tour where I saw first-hand how the stuff I drink every day is produced. I learned about wildlife and visited a beautiful park in Bogotá while on a birdwatching tour. A tour in Medellín guided me around a neighbourhood with a fascinating tale of improvement that I would never have heard if I decided to head to that neighbourhood on my own.

The winner?

There is no winner. Both travelling alone and travelling on tour have benefits and challenges. Travelling alone allows you to be flexible and independent. Still, sometimes it can be lonely and stressful trying to figure everything out on your own, especially if you don’t speak the language. Travelling with a tour group allows you to learn about a country’s history and culture while someone else takes care of all the annoying details, but it’s sometimes nice to go off on your own.

I get that not everyone can afford a 2-week tour of Colombia, but consider taking a day tour to get to know a particular area or region in Colombia, especially if you don’t speak Spanish.

There is no right or wrong way to travel. If you’re not hurting the environment or taking advantage of local people, all methods of discovering different parts of the world should be accepted.

Share with your traveller friends!

Chris Bell
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Bell

Chris Bell is a British travel journalist who has been exploring Colombia for four years as the editor of the award-winning Colombia Travel Blog. He has visited 30 of Colombia's 32 departments (those last two are just around the corner), and was named by El Espectador newspaper as "the Englishman who teaches you to travel in Colombia." His main passion, aside from exploring Colombia, is birding - his Colombia list is already approaching 800 species. Chris' 2017 goals: 32 departments and 1,000 species! 

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