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Travel Tips for Specific Groups


Women Travelers

Colombia is a good country for the lone woman traveler. They are hassled less here by the stereotypical Latino whistling and cat-calling. However, if you do experience any such treatment, the best course of action is to ignore it and carry on walking. You may be considered a bit of an oddity, though, as most Colombians of either gender travel in groups. If it makes you feel more comfortable, use the old ploys: say your partner is near-by, carry a photo of your “partner,” wear a wedding ring or travel with a companion. Wearing a cross or Star of David (which many Christians wear) does wonders to change people’s attitudes, as well, as they seem to believe you are a “good girl.” Birth control and tampons (expensive) are difficult to buy outside the major cities, so stock up before you leave.


GLBT Travelers

Colombia has one of the more accepting scenes for gays and lesbians—at least legally. In 2007 the National Legislature passed a law guaranteeing equal rights for same-sex couples in issues of finances, insurance and inheritance. It is estimated that 300,000 same-sex couples live in this country. This having been said, society in general is yet a bit up-tight about the open expressions of love. The large cities, like Bogotá, Cali and Medellín, and Caribbean port towns have quite large GLBT communities that celebrate annual Gay Pride Day. A source of information about gay-friendly businesses is:



Senior Travelers

As Colombia becomes safer, more retirees are heading to this country to explore the jungle, trek to Ciudad Perdida or just relax on the beach. Senior citizens—those of the tercera edad or “third age,” as they say in Colombia—will find Colombia to be quite enjoyable. Discounts on everything from bus fares to museum entries are given to those over 65 years (and in some places, even younger). As in Latin cultures, much respect is shown to older adults.



Disabled Travelers

Travel for disabled persons is a mixed bag in Colombia. Much understanding is lent to these travelers, as quite a high percentage of the nation’s population is disabled, due to land mines and other incidences of the civil war. However, the infrastructure is not quite designed for persons with disabilities. Newer constructions and more upscale businesses are trying to be more conscious of this population’s special needs. If you are sojourning in a wheelchair, keep an upbeat attitude. Travel with a companion who can help you get over that doorstep or wherever you might need a hand. Phone hotels and restaurants beforehand to inquire about their accessibility.



Traveling With Children

Because families are the center of Colombian society, you will find you receive different—if not better—treatment when traveling with children. When Colombians travel, the whole family goes. It is common that mid-range and above hotels have a kiddies pool, playground or other special amenities for the children. Some of the more upscale inns even have suites with a bedding area just for the young ones. Often the Banco de la República cultural centers have story hour or other programs for kids. On buses, fares for children are cheaper if they ride in a parent’s lap. At hotels, ask about the children’s rate or bargain for one. It is acceptable to share a meal with a young one. Teach your kids to say simple niceties like gracias and por favor.


Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Colombia: Responsible Tourism in Colombia, Safety, When to Go to Güicán, When to Go, When to Go to El Cocuy, When to Go to Eastern Colombia, Don't Get Bitten!, Tourist Information, Before You Go to Colombia and Safety.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

28 Sep 2011

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