Colombia trip report: Cali, Bucaramanga, Bogota
#1
This is from a little different perspective, but I’ve received a lot of good info from reading this site and wanted to pay it back to the extent I could. Getting women wasn't the primary goal for my trip; I was traveling with a male friend and hoped to find some women to explore the country with. I'm not in a relationship, so I could honestly tell the women there that a LTR was possible. The trip would have been different if I had prioritized meeting women. Completely different. 

Also, I'm old (mid 50s) and I’m attracted to older women compared to most of you in this group. I am 6'2" with blond hair and blue eyes, which no doubt helped me to stand out. I'm also friendly and do pretty well with women my own age here in the US. I studied Spanish for 15 months prior to my trip and can speak, read and write OK, but can't understand the language when it’s spoken at a normal rate of speed. 

At the end of this post, I have some generalizations about Colombia and Colombianas. These are based on my and my buddy’s admittedly limited experience. I don’t pretend to be an expert and your mileage may vary. 


CALI
I can't even imagine how great this city would be for a young stud. First, the women in this city are amazing, especially if you are into the stereotypical Colombiana: everywhere you look you see women with beautiful faces and great curves. Second, they are really friendly and very open to foreigners. 

I spent a lot of time on LatinAmericanCupid before my trip and had two women who were excited to meet me; I could have just as easily had a dozen. These women were in their early 40s (~15 years younger than me) and ranged from pretty to one of the most beautiful women I've ever met in that age range. Actually, she IS the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met who was in her 40s. 

The woman who was merely pretty was an OK companion for two afternoons of sight-seeing, but a little whiny. We did end up fooling around a bit in the taxi coming back from "la cascada," but I decided to concentrate on the other woman and didn’t see her again.

Maria, the better looking woman, could best be described as a 40ish version of Paola from the U.S. TV show 90 Day Fiance, except quieter and not nearly as crazy. She works out 5 days a week and her body is a curvy temple. We Skyped frequently before my trip and she was ready to go by the time I arrived in Cali. It was not to be, however, as I had a shared living accommodation the first night in the city due to a mixup on AirBnB. She came over the second night (after I switched apartments) and she was very friendly. After we made out for a short while, she asked to borrow a towel, adjourned to the bathroom, and came out 15 minutes later all showered up and ready to rumble. We ended up spending 4 nights together and ohhhhhhh that body. Unfortunately, the sex wasn’t really that great (ironic, huh?). By the time I left Cali, I pretty much knew I wouldn't see her again

There was one night I couldn’t see Maria due to her babysitter issues, and it ended up being a good experience. My buddy and I were staying in an apartment in Champagnat, a quiet barrio on the south side of Cali. During the day, I walked over to the local Centro Commercial to grab some lunch and kill time. I didn’t really intend to pick up any women, but I was getting some sly smiles from two of the women working in the food court. One of them was the very cute 27-year old assistant manager of a food stand who was happy to listen to my gringo spanish and stare into my blue eyes. It ended up that my buddy had a date fall through for that night, so she recruited her 21-year old morena roommate and the four of us went on a double date. My date had a beautiful face and a slim body; his date had an OK face and an incredible ass. We went to dinner and then back to our apartment. We both tried to get a little action, but it was pretty clear they weren’t doing anything on the first date. My buddy went out with the morena the next night and they screwed each other’s brains out; not bad for an almost 40-year age difference. 

Remember that my buddy and I are old and he knows even less Spanish than me. If he and I can get good looking women in their 20s in Cali, literally anyone can. 

I wish I could report that the city was amazing to explore, but I didn’t really find that. It’s a sprawling city of 2.4 million people. While I found that Bogota is built vertically, with lots of 10+ story buildings, Cali appears to be mostly 2 and 3 flats. Traffic-wise, it’s most similar to New York city, with almost constant gridlock and tons of taxis. I never felt unsafe, or at least no more so than other big cities I have visited in the US and Europe. I do know that women especially are the targets of muggings; out of nowhere there’s a knife at her throat and she hands over her cell phone. Still, common sense rules and I never felt unsafe when I was with someone else and really not even when I was alone (of course, I’m twice the size of the average Colombiano). 

I had dates in the evenings, so I can’t comment on the night life. 


BUCARAMANGA
If Cali is a fast muscle car, Bucaramanga is a Ford Taurus. The women aren’t nearly as sexy as in Cali and everything is just a slower pace. Still, it’s worth a trip. The city itself has a population of ~half a million, but that’s a bit deceptive as the metro area including Floridablanca, Piedecuesta, and Giron is roughly 1 million. There’s not as much traffic and nowhere near as many taxis (although it’s not tough to find one, either). Bucaramanga is known as the City of Parks and there is some pretty cool artwork spread around the its green areas. They are also wiring all the parks with WiFi. 

I found Elena on LACupid and we texted frequently before I arrived. She is in her early 40s, blonde, kind of cute and very sweet. Befitting a woman from Bucaramanga, her body is OK, but nothing like a curvy Calena. We spent one evening exploring Ecoparque Cerro del Santisimo in Floridablanca, a version of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro; and one full Saturday at Parque Nacional del Chicamocha (aka Panachi, to the locals). Chicamocha is a must-see and just over an hour away by taxi. It’s kind of a mini version of the Grand Canyon. There is a teleferico that takes you across the canyon on an almost 30 minute ride where the views are amazing.

Elena was not nearly as “eager” as the two Calenas; and frankly I wasn’t really hot for her, either. She came back to my apartment after our full day exploring Panachi and I’m pretty sure I could have slept with her if I had been inclined. Frankly, we were both tired and I’m sure she would have put up a lot of LMR; overall it didn’t seem worth it. She left my apartment around midnight and I departed for Bogota the next day. 


BOGOTA
I stayed at an AirBnB in the Candalaria barrio for three days. It’s near major universities and I saw all types of young women as I’m sure it’s a hub for people from all over Colombia and the rest of Latin America. 

Before I arrived, I had found a woman through networking. I have several women with whom I do language exchange and one of them lives in Aruba and knows a Venezolana living in Bogota. I figured this was a sure thing. I figured wrong. She turned out to be a flake and we never connected. At the last minute, I found Luz, a curvy dark-skinned woman in her early 40s on LACupid. She wasn’t in the same league as Maria from Cali, but she was fun;  we took a salsa lesson, went to the Museum of Gold, and the top of Monserrate. She came back to my apartment after Monserrate and I thought we might have sex, but there wasn’t really any chemistry and she left an hour later. Sex with her would have been fun, but I’m still glad I had someone to share the day with.

I don’t have much to add to what has been written on this site about Bogota: it’s big and the weather is colder than most anywhere else in the country. There are a bunch of museums and I managed to stumble into a few decent restaurants without trying. 


A few things I wish I had known before my trip . . . 

In the U.S., malls (known as Centro Commercials in Latin America) are dying. In Colombia, they thrive. I think it’s a function of the Colombian focus on security. It’s cheaper to have your business in a Centro Commercial and share the cost of putting a guard at each entrance with a few dozen other stores and restaurants than it is for each business to hire its own security guard. Even nice restaurants are commonly located in a Centro Commercial. 

If a man and woman are going out to a restaurant, It seems to be common for the woman to take a taxi to the man’s apartment, then the two of them continue in that taxi to the evening’s destination, with the man paying the whole fare. Of course, it’s even better if the apartment is the destination. 

Uber exists in Cali, but it's not any cheaper than a taxi from what I could determine. Not sure if it's in Bogota and Buca. 

At first, I was hesitant to suggest going back to my apartment after a date. Then I realized that’s pretty much the only thing to do in Colombia. Unless you’re going to a nightclub, there really isn’t any place to hang out later in the evening. In the U.S., you might go to a bar or coffee place, that’s just not a thing in Colombia. Basically assume she is going back to your apartment with you after dinner and you’ll probably be right. 

If you want to drink wine, bring your own corkscrew. I bought a bottle of wine in Colombia and couldn’t find a corkscrew in any store and none of my AirBnBs had one. 

The social structure of Colombia is a complete mess. It’s common that men get women pregnant and then disappear without consequence. Single mothers are as common as arepas in Colombia. Like women everywhere, Colombianas value security and don’t get it from the men there. 

Because Colombianos are so poorly thought of, American men are highly valued by comparison (this might be true of Europeans, Asians, etc., I don’t know). 

I did not talk with a woman that was interested in a U.S. green card. The all wanted to visit the U.S., but none mentioned wanting to live here. In fact, my buddy had a lot of success by (honestly) telling women that he was traveling to different countries because he wants to retire outside the US. The prospect of being able to marry an American, but still live in Colombia was very appealing to these women. Being near their families was more important to them than any improved economic prospects in the U.S.

In Cali, I’m not saying you can’t get a SNL, but you’ll probably have to work for it. On the second date, sex is pretty much inevitable. She’ll probably think you’re gay if you’re not bending her over the couch on the second date. Women in Bucaramanga appear to have more traditional views on sex, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t sexual. Bogota is like any megacity; the women are always on guard. 


Again, your mileage may vary. 
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#2
Great contribution Shaky, repped!
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#3
Nice report. I'm very interested in Bucaramanga, there are a ton of cheap monthly Airbnbs, and the weather is perfect. Can you talk about how safe it felt? Especially compared to Cali. Are there any neighborhoods in Bucaramanga and Cali that you recommend basing yourself out of?
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#4
Thanks for the write up. I've tried getting with Colombianas online but they aren't biting. I have met one about a year ago while commuting and unfortunately we never hooked up. Maybe it's a different story when I land and do day approach as well as know how to dance. WallStreetPlayboys empasize these women have an enhanced sense of smell and I can accomodate them. I'm on the fence about renouncing my citizenship so knowing women will be down to date with an age gap is refreshing.

I'm spending a couple minutes per day studying Spanish and am not trying to be a master at the language. I'm shooting for the cute foreign traveler with potential stereotype.
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#5
(11-25-2019, 03:12 PM)Aero Wrote: Nice report. I'm very interested in Bucaramanga, there are a ton of cheap monthly Airbnbs, and the weather is perfect. Can you talk about how safe it felt? Especially compared to Cali. Are there any neighborhoods in Bucaramanga and Cali that you recommend basing yourself out of?

Keep in mind that I was only in Bucaramanga for a few days, so I'm claiming no expertise . . . 

I stayed in an AirBnb in Nuevo Sotomayor, which appeared to be a pretty quiet, upper middle class barrio. There's not any real nightlife there, but it's a cheap taxi anywhere in the city. I haven't seen others give specifics on AirBnb listings, so I'll refrain for now, but I'm happy to provide specifics if that's appropriate. You're right about there being deals in Buca: the place we stayed is 4 bedrooms and is renting for $27/night in December. The owner is also renting out the place as private bedrooms, hostel style, for ~$9/night. It's a big place: good sized kitchen, 3 bathrooms, front deck overlooking Calle 51, huge back deck. Even though there's no nightlife, there is a pretty good bakery located a one minute walk away and some OK takeout food places. 

Locals told us that THE neighborhood is Cabecera del Llano, which was a pretty easy walk from our AirBnb. Elena, (the woman I was hanging out with) insisted we eat in this barrio one night and she picked a place that has the vibe of an American style sports bar, but with better food than you'd find at a BWW in the states. From what I could tell, people dressed casually, but nice in this neighborhood. I'm not sure what nightlife there is in Buca, but you'd start looking for it in Cabacera del Llano. 

I would guess that the two best places for day game would be Parque de los Ninos and (probably moreso) MegaMall Centro Commercial, both of which are in the north part of the city. There are two main roads in Buca: Hwy 66, which runs E-W in the north part of town and Carrera 27, which runs N-S down the middle of the city. Parque de los Ninos is at the point where these two intersect. It's a big park with some notable artwork. I would guess you could find cute local women there on weekend days. MegaMall Centro Commercial is located northeast of Parque de los Ninos, off Hwy 66 at Carrera 33a. I would think this is the primary spot for day game (keep in mind that I'm old and have no game, so what do I know?). Elena lived just north of Megamall Centro Commercial, in a barrio called San Alonso. It was remarkably quiet there at night (it was probably 11pm when I was dropping her off), basically I was the only one on the street, so it certainly doesn't have a nightlife, even though a busy commercial district is just the other side of Hwy 66. Elena told me her barrio is safe, but it's always eerie to me when NO ONE is out. In any case, if you want to position yourself for day game, I would be somewhere in the vicinity of either Parque de los Ninos or MegaMall Centro Commercial. 

In terms of safety - or at least the perception of safety - Bucaramanga seems a LOT more safe than Cali. There isn't much comparison.

(11-25-2019, 03:12 PM)Aero Wrote: <snip> Are there any neighborhoods in Bucaramanga and Cali that you recommend basing yourself out of?

The question of where to stay in Cali is more complicated than Bucaramanga for a few reasons. First, it's not easy to get around in Cali. Yes, there are taxis everywhere, but the gridlock is pretty bad. It would be preferable to make your base near things that are important to you. Second, perception is important in Cali and the women perceive that the south part of town is safer and safer = nicer. A lot of places in the nicer neighborhoods are basically prisons, with security at a central point of entry. Good for safety, bad for discretion (basically, you're at the mercy of a security guard for letting you bring a woman back to your place). 

As I said in my write-up, our AirBnb was in barrio Champagnat and we liked it, but I can't claim it's any better than anywhere else. I would guess that it's a middle-class barrio on the way up (it might even be gentrifying). We were near a great bakery and lots of cool little restaurants. I'd stay there again if I were going back for a week. For several months, well . . . it's not really within walking distance of anything big. 

I mentioned briefly in my initial write-up that my first night there was a mixup at an AirBnb. This was in barrio El Ingenio. I had reserved this place after talking to the two women I was planning to meet in Cali because they thought the neighborhood was really nice. The place didn't work out due to a mix-up, but it ended up being a good thing for me. There were 2 elevator buildings (8-10 floors each???) behind a security fence, with a central entry point. Some people feel safe in a place like that, I feel like I'm in prison. 

The other possibility is to locate yourself near a centro commercial, an especially good strategy if you're into day game. I think the choice would be Ciudadel Commercial Cosmocentro off Calle 5 near carrera 50. I was only there once, but it was big, pretty nice, and seemed to have a lot of foot traffic. I can't really say anything about the surrounding area. I believe that women will be more impressed with a barrio east of Calle 5 (they seem to think that the area between Calle 5 and Calle 25 is nicer than the areas outside those two main arteries. 

Again, I'm not an expert on Cali, but those are my thoughts.

(11-25-2019, 06:21 PM)ChicagoFire Wrote: Thanks for the write up. I've tried getting with Colombianas online but they aren't biting. I have met one about a year ago while commuting and unfortunately we never hooked up. Maybe it's a different story when I land and do day approach as well as know how to dance. WallStreetPlayboys empasize these women have an enhanced sense of smell and I can accomodate them. I'm on the fence about renouncing my citizenship so knowing women will be down to date with an age gap is refreshing.

I'm spending a couple minutes per day studying Spanish and am not trying to be a master at the language. I'm shooting for the cute foreign traveler with potential stereotype.

What age range are you looking in? I invested in a subscription to LatinAmericanCupid and it hasn't been difficult for me to find women who are interested in a balding, overweight man in his mid-50s with limited language skills. If I can find women there, literally anyone can. 

By the way, love Chicago. I lived there for 10 years before to moving to the paradise we call San Diego.
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#6
(11-25-2019, 11:46 PM)Shaky Wrote:
(11-25-2019, 03:12 PM)Aero Wrote: Nice report. I'm very interested in Bucaramanga, there are a ton of cheap monthly Airbnbs, and the weather is perfect. Can you talk about how safe it felt? Especially compared to Cali. Are there any neighborhoods in Bucaramanga and Cali that you recommend basing yourself out of?

Keep in mind that I was only in Bucaramanga for a few days, so I'm claiming no expertise . . . 

I stayed in an AirBnb in Nuevo Sotomayor, which appeared to be a pretty quiet, upper middle class barrio. There's not any real nightlife there, but it's a cheap taxi anywhere in the city. I haven't seen others give specifics on AirBnb listings, so I'll refrain for now, but I'm happy to provide specifics if that's appropriate. You're right about there being deals in Buca: the place we stayed is 4 bedrooms and is renting for $27/night in December. The owner is also renting out the place as private bedrooms, hostel style, for ~$9/night. It's a big place: good sized kitchen, 3 bathrooms, front deck overlooking Calle 51, huge back deck. Even though there's no nightlife, there is a pretty good bakery located a one minute walk away and some OK takeout food places. 

Locals told us that THE neighborhood is Cabecera del Llano, which was a pretty easy walk from our AirBnb. Elena, (the woman I was hanging out with) insisted we eat in this barrio one night and she picked a place that has the vibe of an American style sports bar, but with better food than you'd find at a BWW in the states. From what I could tell, people dressed casually, but nice in this neighborhood. I'm not sure what nightlife there is in Buca, but you'd start looking for it in Cabacera del Llano. 

I would guess that the two best places for day game would be Parque de los Ninos and (probably moreso) MegaMall Centro Commercial, both of which are in the north part of the city. There are two main roads in Buca: Hwy 66, which runs E-W in the north part of town and Carrera 27, which runs N-S down the middle of the city. Parque de los Ninos is at the point where these two intersect. It's a big park with some notable artwork. I would guess you could find cute local women there on weekend days. MegaMall Centro Commercial is located northeast of Parque de los Ninos, off Hwy 66 at Carrera 33a. I would think this is the primary spot for day game (keep in mind that I'm old and have no game, so what do I know?). Elena lived just north of Megamall Centro Commercial, in a barrio called San Alonso. It was remarkably quiet there at night (it was probably 11pm when I was dropping her off), basically I was the only one on the street, so it certainly doesn't have a nightlife, even though a busy commercial district is just the other side of Hwy 66. Elena told me her barrio is safe, but it's always eerie to me when NO ONE is out. In any case, if you want to position yourself for day game, I would be somewhere in the vicinity of either Parque de los Ninos or MegaMall Centro Commercial. 

In terms of safety - or at least the perception of safety - Bucaramanga seems a LOT more safe than Cali. There isn't much comparison.

(11-25-2019, 03:12 PM)Aero Wrote: <snip> Are there any neighborhoods in Bucaramanga and Cali that you recommend basing yourself out of?

The question of where to stay in Cali is more complicated than Bucaramanga for a few reasons. First, it's not easy to get around in Cali. Yes, there are taxis everywhere, but the gridlock is pretty bad. It would be preferable to make your base near things that are important to you. Second, perception is important in Cali and the women perceive that the south part of town is safer and safer = nicer. A lot of places in the nicer neighborhoods are basically prisons, with security at a central point of entry. Good for safety, bad for discretion (basically, you're at the mercy of a security guard for letting you bring a woman back to your place). 

As I said in my write-up, our AirBnb was in barrio Champagnat and we liked it, but I can't claim it's any better than anywhere else. I would guess that it's a middle-class barrio on the way up (it might even be gentrifying). We were near a great bakery and lots of cool little restaurants. I'd stay there again if I were going back for a week. For several months, well . . . it's not really within walking distance of anything big. 

I mentioned briefly in my initial write-up that my first night there was a mixup at an AirBnb. This was in barrio El Ingenio. I had reserved this place after talking to the two women I was planning to meet in Cali because they thought the neighborhood was really nice. The place didn't work out due to a mix-up, but it ended up being a good thing for me. There were 2 elevator buildings (8-10 floors each???) behind a security fence, with a central entry point. Some people feel safe in a place like that, I feel like I'm in prison. 

The other possibility is to locate yourself near a centro commercial, an especially good strategy if you're into day game. I think the choice would be Ciudadel Commercial Cosmocentro off Calle 5 near carrera 50. I was only there once, but it was big, pretty nice, and seemed to have a lot of foot traffic. I can't really say anything about the surrounding area. I believe that women will be more impressed with a barrio east of Calle 5 (they seem to think that the area between Calle 5 and Calle 25 is nicer than the areas outside those two main arteries. 

Again, I'm not an expert on Cali, but those are my thoughts.

(11-25-2019, 06:21 PM)ChicagoFire Wrote: Thanks for the write up. I've tried getting with Colombianas online but they aren't biting. I have met one about a year ago while commuting and unfortunately we never hooked up. Maybe it's a different story when I land and do day approach as well as know how to dance. WallStreetPlayboys empasize these women have an enhanced sense of smell and I can accomodate them. I'm on the fence about renouncing my citizenship so knowing women will be down to date with an age gap is refreshing.

I'm spending a couple minutes per day studying Spanish and am not trying to be a master at the language. I'm shooting for the cute foreign traveler with potential stereotype.

What age range are you looking in? I invested in a subscription to LatinAmericanCupid and it hasn't been difficult for me to find women who are interested in a balding, overweight man in his mid-50s with limited language skills. If I can find women there, literally anyone can. 

By the way, love Chicago. I lived there for 10 years before to moving to the paradise we call San Diego.

Colombian Cupid (sister site to LACupid) has provided me a nice pipeline option over the years.  I met another gringo (shocking revelation) in Medellin this past weekend and he was getting solid leads using Tinder.  I met one of the girls on a night out; not a stunner but very cool down to earth cute chica.  The gringo was definitely dating up (him - late 30's, overweight with nice guy/provider game and very limited Spanish, her - 22, spinner-type bod).
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#7
Repped. Really appreciate the trip report both because of the location and because it's from the perspective of someone a bit older, as that's starting to apply to me, too. Would like to hear about your experiences back home in the U.S. or in other locations, as well.
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#8
Nice report. I didn't like Bucaramanga much as a city, but it could be a good place to stay for a while (several months) if you want to put your head down and work. It's inexpensive, and within a 2 hour bus ride there are cool places like San Gil and Chicamocha Canyon. I spent about a week In Bucaramanga. I thought it was terrible at first, but on my last day I spent some time in the mall in Cabecera del Llano and saw plenty of cute girls. Cabecera del llano is definitely the area to stay in in Bucaramanga.
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#9
If you're in your mid-50s, how much older do you like them? 60s? 70s? Rolling coffins?
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#10
(11-28-2019, 04:44 AM)Cattle Rustler Wrote: If you're in your mid-50s, how much older do you like them? 60s? 70s? Rolling coffins?

lol - no, I was spending time with women in their early 40s while I was in Colombia; somewhat older than most of what I read about on this site, but 10+ years less than my age.

(11-27-2019, 01:14 PM)mike Wrote: Nice report. I didn't like Bucaramanga much as a city, but it could be a good place to stay for a while (several months) if you want to put your head down and work. It's inexpensive, and within a 2 hour bus ride there are cool places like San Gil and Chicamocha Canyon. I spent about a week In Bucaramanga. I thought it was terrible at first, but on my last day I spent some time in the mall in Cabecera del Llano and saw plenty of cute girls. Cabecera del llano is definitely the area to stay in in Bucaramanga.

All of that is pretty consistent with what I found. 

As long as you brought up San Gil . . . my buddy and I spent a few days there so we could do a little river rafting. We had a fabulous time doing the rafting and we really liked the city, but it's probably not much for finding women. It's the kind of tourist town that young people come to work, but quickly learn not to bother with the tourists (who are mostly men, by the way). My buddy met a really cute Venezolana working selling tours, but she had seen the likes of us dozens of times over and he had no shot with her. 

I highly recommend spending a few days there for some rafting (or other extreme sports), but I would doubt it would be the place to find women.
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#11
#raft game

(11-28-2019, 04:44 AM)Cattle Rustler Wrote: If you're in your mid-50s, how much older do you like them? 60s? 70s? Rolling coffins?

if she cant self lube shes too old for me
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#12
Nice data sheet man +1 from me. Interesting choice of cities to visit, was this your first trip to Colombia? Normally a guy would visit Medellin instead of Cali and especially Bucaramanga, I’m writing this from the Bucaramanga airport en route to Bogota. I spent a few days in a small pueblo in Santander which was really nice, I needed a break from the bigger cities they can get really annoying, especially Bogota with the traffic/pollution and the protests over the paat week or so.
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#13
(11-25-2019, 06:21 PM)ChicagoFire Wrote: Thanks for the write up. I've tried getting with Colombianas online but they aren't biting. I have met one about a year ago while commuting and unfortunately we never hooked up. Maybe it's a different story when I land and do day approach as well as know how to dance. WallStreetPlayboys empasize these women have an enhanced sense of smell and I can accomodate them. I'm on the fence about renouncing my citizenship so knowing women will be down to date with an age gap is refreshing.

I'm spending a couple minutes per day studying Spanish and am not trying to be a master at the language. I'm shooting for the cute foreign traveler with potential stereotype.

Are you talking about dating Colombian women in Chicago?  Even if a girl doesn't speak English and just landed in Chicago she's going to be considerably worse than your average girl in Colombia.  From there on out, they steadily get worse and worse with some very rare exceptions.
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#14
(11-30-2019, 04:10 PM)Scotian Wrote: Nice data sheet man +1 from me. Interesting choice of cities to visit, was this your first trip to Colombia? Normally a guy would visit Medellin instead of Cali and especially Bucaramanga, I’m writing this from the Bucaramanga airport en route to Bogota. I spent a few days in a small pueblo in Santander which was really nice, I needed a break from the bigger cities they can get really annoying, especially Bogota with the traffic/pollution and the protests over the paat week or so.

That's a great question. I mentioned briefly in a prior post that I was travelling with a male friend; he had been to Colombia a few years ago and visited Bogota, Medellin, Cartegena, and Santa Marta. He didn't want to repeat any of those cities, so we came up with the Cali/Bucaramanga itinerary (my buddy did not join me in Bogota). I'm happy with the cities we chose, however, and can't imagine there is a better place to find women than Cali (again, I can't claim expertise). I went back and read up on what people have said about Cali on this site (and a few other places) and I think the safety angle has been overblown. I felt safer in Cali than I feel in a dangerous US city like New Orleans. Your mileage may vary. 

I would like to return to Colombia and hit Medellin, Cartegena (especially), and probably Baranquilla and Santa Marta. I would have preferred to spend at least some of the trip in a beach town, so I'm sure I wouldn't have chosen the Cali / Bucaramanga itinerary if I had been travelling solo.
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#15
(11-30-2019, 04:10 PM)Scotian Wrote: Nice data sheet man +1 from me. Interesting choice of cities to visit, was this your first trip to Colombia? Normally a guy would visit Medellin instead of Cali and especially Bucaramanga, I’m writing this from the Bucaramanga airport en route to Bogota. I spent a few days in a small pueblo in Santander which was really nice, I needed a break from the bigger cities they can get really annoying, especially Bogota with the traffic/pollution and the protests over the paat week or so.

Years ago, Cali was the only place gringos went.  There were dozens of marriage agencies there and they would have pool parties in the villas in the south of town.   Then there was a big recession and the agencies all went out of business.  The switch to Medellin seems to be driven by the Internet and remote working.
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#16
Medellin is popular because it's cheap and the weather is good, if you go to the nicer areas you can find all the comforts of gringolandia.

The nightlife in Bogota is a million times better than Medellin but Medellin beats it in most other categories. I like Bogota but coming from a place where it rains and is dark and cold for 8 months a year sometimes you don't feel like travelling to Bogota.
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#17
One thing I forgot to mention about Bucaramanga: availability of hot water is not a given. Unless the AirBnb listing says it has hot water, it probably doesn't. Our AirBnb actually installed an electrical heating system at the showerhead that worked on a switch. The water didn't get that hot, but it wasn't cold, either.

It seemed that availability of hot water on AirBnb's was almost assumed in Bogota and Cali, but it's obviously worth asking about to make sure. I'm not a fan of cold showers.

How is it in other cities in Colombia? Do most of the AirBnb's have hot water?
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#18
Great report and thank you for keeping it real. Good to see.

Not to get too much off topic, but I just came back from Medellín. Uber is the way to go if you can wait 3-5 minutes for the driver's arrival. It is, technically, not legal, so sometimes you have to jump through some hoops, but it's still cheaper than a taxi--the only time this did not apply was going to/from the airport. FROM the airport, it's difficult to find an Uber because of the police/taxi presence (Uber is illegal because the taxi mafia is leaning on the government, so forget it). If you don't have a strong command of Spanish, you are going to have major problems getting an Uber from the airport. Going TO the airport is a different story. I took an Uber, thinking it was going to be cheaper, but it really wasn't. If you're familiar with the drive, you know you have to pass a few toll booths. In a a regular taxi, the driver assumes the cost and it is included in your fare. In an Uber, the driver added the toll costs to the fare and it came out to be almost the same price as it would have been to take a taxi.

But, around town, Uber was the way to go--prolly 30-40% cheaper than a taxi (which is cheap to begin with, but whatever). That's in Medellín, I can't really speak for Cali or Bucaramanga, but can't imagine it being easier in either place.

There is also an app named "Cabify" that you can download and it props up taxis like you would see on the Uber app, showing their location and such. I was traveling with a friend and he used it with great effectiveness--for whatever reason, I could not get it to work well on my phone, but that's another alternative to Uber and/or calling a taxi service and having to break out your limited Spanish. It works just like the Uber app if you can get it to work on your phone.

In regards to hot water... If you are traveling on a budget and staying at budget places, it should be assumed they do not have hot water if they don't implicitly say it up front. In Bogotá, yeah they prolly have it, but in Cartagena, it's not even thought of unless they are renting to foreigners who expect it. If it's important to you, it should be listed on AirBnB's site. If it is not specifically stated that they have it, then I would assume no hot water. If you stay in a moderate to nice hotel, it will have hot water for sure, unless there is something weird going on.
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#19
It's pretty common in smaller pueblos to have one of those crappy plug in shower heads that heat the water up. The trick when using them is to keep the pressure on really low. If the water is coming out twice as fast the water will be half as warm. I'm not really sure why, I guess it's just that Colombians are extremely cheap. I just bought a higher end water heater yesterday and it was only $200 USD. They probably also figure it will use more electricity/gas (still cheap).
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#20
In Mexico, I have one of those new water heaters that automatically switches on when you turn the faucet on and instantly heats the water.  So, you aren't using gas to keep a tank of water always warm.  One gas tank lasts a long time.
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