Colombia is set to be the third Latin American country in the Paris-based economic group. President Juan Manuel Santos praised the membership as key to the country’s efforts to modernize.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) announced on Friday that Colombia would be officially invited to join the group.
The Paris-based economic organization was founded in 1961 and has traditionally included industrialized nations, though in recent years it has extended its membership to emerging economies.
“The accession of Colombia will contribute to our efforts to transform the OECD into a more diverse and inclusive institution, which will ensure our relevance in the years and decades ahead.” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said, welcoming the new addition.
Five years in the making
Colombia began its applicaiton process in 2013. As part of the requirements, 23 OECD committees conducted an in-depth evaluation of the country. Additionally, the Colombian government had to introduce major reforms to align its legislation, policies and practices to OECD standards.
The OECD entry marks a new achievement for outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos, whose administration undertook the challenge during his first term in office.
While different versions of paradise are dotted along ports of call in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, none are as glamorous, colorful and exotic as Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas and Cartagena.
Known as the queen of the Caribbean coast, Cartagena is oozing with old-town Colombian charm thanks to its preserved 19th-century architecture and monuments, cobblestone streets and romantic ambiance. The city’s Old Town area is a UNESCO World Heritage site and contrasted with modern restaurants, vibrant nightlife and scenic beaches, makes a visit to this centuries-old city a magical experience.
Take a drive through the residential area of Manga’s Republican-styled mansions or visit Cartagena’s iconic (and most popular) San Felipe de Barajas Castle. Dating back some 480 years, it is considered one of the greatest Spanish fortresses ever to be built and boasts some of the best hilltop views of the city and sea. History buffs and tourists will also enjoy the charming green-and-white wooden Rafael Nuñez Museum which is the home of the former president, poet, lawyer and co-author of the country’s constitution.
Bogota and Cartagena showcase just a bit of what this wildly biodiverse and rich gem of a country has to offer
Colombia’s shrugging off its troubled past and fast emerging as South America’s must-see destination thanks to increased safety, the appeal of exploring new places and the country’s rising cool quotient.
It’s been more than a year since President Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Prize for the peace agreement, which aims to put an end to Colombia’s half-century-long civil war. Since he accepted the award in December 2016, more flights and people have started flocking to the country.
With everything from snow-capped mountains to jungles and two ocean coastlines, there’s plenty to see. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse places in the world and it boasts a dazzling array of plants, birds and riches (this is, after all, the land the Spanish pilfered for gold and emeralds starting back in the 1530s).
In our two previous installments, in which we explored the top cities for history buffs in Asia and Europe and Africa and the Middle East, we demonstrated that history is a huge draw for tourism. As we come to our final article in our series exploring top cities for history buffs on a Goway vacation, we face a different challenge than we did before. Instead of having a surplus of cities that would make great entries on the list, we have a deficit. This is understandable, as South America and the South Pacific don’t have the historical continuity of Africa or Asia. Both regions were colonized and the cities that were present there thousands of years ago were destroyed or abandoned.
Thus, don’t expect to find thousand-year-old entries on this list like you did on the past two. That being said, South America and the South Pacific are still home to cities with rich, fascinating histories that will prove delights to any history buffs lucky enough to visit them on a Goway vacation.
Dutch carrier KLM flies to the northern city via capital Bogota.
The Plaza de la Trinidad is buzzing. Music and laughter suffuse the sultry air.
Within the amber-coloured walls of 17th century Iglesia de la Santisima Trinidad mass is being said, the sizeable congregation in fine voice, the hymns far from traditional.
Outside the bohemian plaza bustles as locals decamp outdoors moving their living rooms onto the street. Food carts vie for business and the tantalising smells of arepas and empanada waft through the square. Children play football and grown-ups drink beer.
It’s Thursday night and the streets of Getsemani are alive.
Cartagena is a port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Its walled, colonial old town – a merry maze of brightly-coloured buildings and bougainvillea-filled balconies – was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984.
Do not underestimate the power of the graves and carved stone statues at the San Agustín Archaeological Park in Colombia which still hold many secrets.
The San Agustín Archaeological Park in the town of San Agustín, Colombia is home to a collection of stone statues with a secret that makes this archaeological site even more compelling than most.
The stone statues of San Agustín
In 1995 the San Agustín Archaeological Park (25,000 COP, about US$8.50, for a ticket that’s good for two days and includes other sites we talk about later in this post) was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s home to what’s been called the biggest collection of pre-Columbian religious monuments and sculptures in South America. It’s also considered the largest necropolis in the world.
The Tierradentro National Archaeological Park is home to what is believed to be the greatest number of cave tombs in Latin America. There are dozens of them, some dating back 1,400 years. It’s a highlight for many travelers to Colombia and the place is unlike any other archaeological site in the country. However, we were a little distracted by the firefights between Colombian soldiers and FARC rebels in the surrounding foothills when we were there…
FARC guerrillas near Tierradentro
During the more than 18 months we spent traveling in Colombia we heard many personal stories about the FARC and the ongoing violence associated with the rebel group which has been operating in the country for decades. These stories brought the grim reality of living in a country that’s been essentially fighting a civil war with guerrillas into stark relief.
You have to be slightly crazy to build a ten-story hotel with 60 rooms here. Migele Cinque stands in its unfinished shell, with the sounds of the sea in the background. “To the left is a cemetery. That means it can’t be built up because the view must remain unobstructed.” Then he points to the seaside promenade. “I’ve heard that back there a marina is to be built, so I secured the beachfront property for myself.” Cinque is a German of Italian descent – his father comes from Naples. He’s counting on a new gold rush mentality, because up until now Riohacha on the Colombian Caribbean coast, near the border to Venezuela, has been a sleepy place. There are many unfinished buildings, and unemployment is high.
With peace, tourists will come
Until recently, the dreaded Farc guerrillas were active here, and that scared off tourists.
The coastal city of Cartagena is the quintessential, idyllic Colombian destination. Whether you’re looking for a sunny beach vacation, a cultural immersion, or a quick history lesson, Cartagena’s well-preserved Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is the perfect place to stimulate your senses. It’s the kind of city where visitors actually enjoy getting lost — one of the top things to do is to wander through the streets and stay awhile at whatever draws your attention. From its colorful buildings to its unbeatable cuisine, white-sand beaches to boutique shops, there’s something for everyone in Cartagena. Here, we’ve rounded up six of the top reasons why you should put it on your bucket list.
Enshrouded in the cloak of Mother Nature, Colombia’s bountiful central coffee region is South America at its greenest. But 1,900 bird species mean there are plenty of other colours on view, too.
Drip, drip, drip. The process is agonisingly slow. Drip, drip, drip. There are more entertaining ways of brewing coffee — the bubbling, vacuum syphon that we used for my first cup, complete with laboratory beakers and Bunsen burner, was like a chemistry lesson in the world’s most verdurous classroom. But, the Chemex method is, without a doubt, a labour of love.