Picture yourself in Colombia with Elsewhere


I’ve never been to Colombia. Such a failure, I know. But for months now, Colombia has been on my mind.

Last fall I read this New York Times article about Morat, a band from Bogotá. It was one of those stories that made my antennae go up. Suddenly everything was Colombia. I had this feeling, in my gut, that I need to make a plan and go – and soon. My DoorDash app was offering Colombian takeout. I did a deep dive on Instagram #colombiatravel. 

Then, right after the new year, my friend Melinda texted saying she was going to Santa Marta and Alupo with her family and would I join them? Hmmm. Let me just check my schedule. Maybe I can make it work. No, wait. I can’t. Too busy with work. Too much to do. That, my friends, is the ballad of the moron who said no. 

Here’s a lesson: ALWAYS SAY YES.

To get an even clearer picture of what I missed, I spoke with Laura Jana,  who is a local expert with Elsewhere by Lonely Planet, our travel-planning outfit that crafts trips all over the world, including Colombia, where Laura is based, as well as other far-flung destinations like Nepal, Costa Rica and South Africa. 

I caught up with Laura while she was on an adventure of her own, learning about community tourism. Her appetite for adventure, her intelligence and experience (she’s a botanist, by the way), her passion for her home country and her expertise in crafting one-of-a-kind itineraries make her an ideal ambassador for Colombia. 

Check out some excerpts from our conversation, and get a taste of what you can expect when you book a trip with Laura.

Itinerary: The Amazon, Medellín and Cartagena


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