The Cruz Family
Travelers: Elizabeth and Daniel Cruz, and their daughter Aurelia (8 months)
Destinations: Bogotá, Colombia and San Andrés Island in the Caribbean
Travel dates: July 2014
Travel plans: The Cruz family flew from Beijing to Bogotá via Paris with Air France. They stayed with family in Bogotá, then took a side trip to San Andrés, a coral island in the Caribbean. They flew with Copa Airlines and stayed at the Hotel Royal Decameron Marazul. They booked their San Andrés trip through the Decameron travel agency.
Cost: The flights to Bogotá cost RMB 18,000 for two adults and one baby. In Colombia, the Cruz family spent about RMB 6,000. Their all-inclusive trip to San Andrés cost around RMB 11,000 in total, including flights, hotel, all meals for five days and four nights, entertainment, and airport transfers.
Bogotá is my husband Daniel’s hometown. Although we have both been there before, on this occasion, we were impressed with a sense of contrast coming directly from Beijing: the city is green and civilized and the mountains are beautiful. Bogotá is a great destination for travelers of any age. The people are warm, friendly, and helpful, and transportation is fast and easy. Bogotá has all the facilities an international traveler requires.
We did a lot of sightseeing and day trips. We visited the National Gold Museum, Montserrate Mountain, the salt mines of Zipaquirá, the lagoon of Guatavita, and the area of Usaquén. We especially enjoyed the view of the city from Montserrate. Our favorite shopping find was a handicraft market called Artesanías de Colombia, which we discovered in the city’s Las Aguas neighborhood. Despite all the cultural, architectural, historical and geographical gems Bogotá has to offer, the best part of the trip was still introducing our daughter to her family and her Colombian heritage.
Our first impression of San Andrés was one of awe – it’s a paradise! It’s a small island close to Nicaragua and administered by Colombia. The island was made famous by Pirate Captain Henry Morgan, who made it a base for privateering and attacking the Spanish ships that sailed Caribbean waters.
It was wonderful to experience the culture of San Andrés. The islanders look very different from the Colombians in Bogotá, and speak English, Spanish and Creole. We spent most of our holiday relaxing on the beach and by the hotel pool. San Andrés is hot and humid all year round, so it’s great to get in the water and cool off. Aurelia had the opportunity to swim for the first time. There is no better place to swim than in “the sea of seven colors” around San Andrés Island.
We took a private tour around the island to visit Captain Pirate Henry Morgan’s cave, a small geyser called Hoyo Soplador, and other attractions like La Loma and its Baptist Church. We were pleasantly surprised by the comprehensiveness of our travel package; even dance lessons, water aerobics, water polo, and windsurfing lessons were included in the price.
The worst part of the trip was the late night music at the resort. Each night, there was an event on the beach that included loud music from 10-11pm. I’m sure it’s great fun if you don’t have to put a baby to bed!
The weather in Bogotá can change very quickly from one minute to the next; it is chilly in the morning and evenings and warm in the afternoons. The best preparation is to wear light layers.
This article originally appeared on p38-39 in the November 2014 issue of beijingkids. To view it online for free, click here (insert the link where the word-here- is http://issuu.com/beijingkids/docs/beijingkidsnov2014) To find out how you can obtain your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.