After deciding on a which destination I will travel too, I do extensive research on blogs, Google and TripAdvisor. When researching activities to do on TripAdvisor, I came across Colombian Buddy. It is is a service provided by local people who live in Colombia. Most people look to book tours but they pride themselves on creating experiences.
I arrived at the airport and Paolita was there holding a sign with my name on it. Outside the terminal, we got rail transport cards for about $1.50. Although a taxi would have gotten us to our destination quickly, I enjoyed taking the rail. It allowed me to see the city and use transport like a local.
Initially, Paolita and I were going drop off my luggage at my Airbnb before going sightseeing. We didn’t receive a quick response from the host, so we dropped my belongings off at the Colombian buddy headquarters.
I was so hungry after my flight our first stop was lunch. Paolita attempted to have me try local Colombian food but I choose to eat Mexican food. Of course, it was not good at all. Paolita teased me because she said, “why would you want to eat Mexican food in Colombia”. Needless to say, I didn’t try any more Mexican food during my stay in Colombia.
Our next stop was the Mount Monserrate in the center of Bogota. You can climb to the top or use the tramway, I opted for the tramway which was about $15 for two people.
If you are afraid of heights, it may scare you. Don’t fret, I felt very safe going up and down. When you arrive at the top, you can visit the church, eat at one of the two restaurants, see the gorgeous views below or shop for souvenirs.
Mount Monserrate rises to 3,152 meters (10,341 ft) above the sea level, so be mindful of the altitude. I did have a slight headache but it was not ongoing and didn’t prevent me from doing any activities while in Bogota.
Unfortunately, while enjoying the views of Monserrate, I received news that my Airbnb was no longer available due to an insect issue. Of course, I was highly upset, annoyed, irritated and anxious because I had nowhere to stay for the next two nights while in Bogota. I am extremely thankful for my Colombian Buddies. They helped me searched for additional Airbnb’s, hotels and even offered to allow me to stay in their apartment. Although I didn’t take them up on their gracious offer, I’m not sure what I would have done without them. Imagine being a solo traveler in another country, no access to WiFi, limited comprehension of the local language and no idea of additional places to stay. After heading back to there headquarters, Paolita was able to find a small hotel in Bogota. Even after leaving my Colombian buddy, Paolita contacted me the next day to make sure that everything was going well in Bogota for the duration of my stay.
I know the biggest question on your mind is how much do they charge? They suggested price is $15 an hour. In addition, you pay for both the buddy and yourself for meals and entry fees to attractions. Although there is suggested Colombian Buddy fee, it is paid based on how happy you are with the services provided. At the end of the trip, I asked how much should I pay and Paolita responded, “We don’t tell you how much to pay” and she handed me an envelope to put my money inside.
Overall I recommend Colombian Buddy especially if you are new to the city, you want to see Colombia from a local perspective.
Things often go wrong while traveling, what has been your experience with lodging gone wrong while traveling?