On its annual list of the top places to visit this year, the New York Times ranked Colombia second of all the possible locations on earth. New Orleans was the only spot that fared better on the “52 Places to Go in 2018” list, which offers one destination for each week of the year.
“After over a half-century of civil war coming to a close, Colombia is eager to become the adventurous, cosmopolitan hot spot it deserves to be,” wrote Nicholas Gill for the New York Times.
As is evident in the country, the editors noted the new, post-conflict phase of Colombia’s future will be marked by challenges and difficult efforts to reintegrate former FARC guerrillas into society not to mention mend the divisive political landscape that has developed during the peach process and is likely to heat up further during this year’s presidential election.
Nevertheless, the paper notes that foreign tourism is already up by 250% over the past 10 years with the “pulsating capital of Bogotá” now featuring “dozens of luxe hotel chains” and a rising gastronomical scene.
“Elsewhere, you will find coffee fincas turned into luxury hotels, eco-resorts on isolated desert peninsulas and colonial buildings transformed into spa retreats,” wrote Gill. “Once off-limit attractions like Pacific Coast rainforests and the rainbow-color river Caño Cristales are now in every guidebook.”
While the Places to Go list is an annual tradition, one new wrinkle this year will see a reporter actually making a journey to each location. Though not in ranking sequence, Jada Yuan was named as the new 52 Places correspondent and will be visiting one destination per week over the next year.
She will start in New Orleans before knocking off a few other U.S. locations then heading to the Caribbean and Latin America, according to the Times.
After Colombia, the Italian region of Basilicata came in third, followed by the Caribbean generally in fourth, and Vierwaldstättersee, of Switzerland, in fifth.
The top 10 are rounded out by Chile’s Route of Parks, the Gangwon Province of South Korea (which will host the Winter Olympics), Cincinnati in the United States, Bhutan, and Scotland’s second city of Glasgow.
Photo: Bogotá is the leading destination for Colombian tourism in terms of volume, but the Caribbean walled city of Cartagena remains its crown jewel. (Credit: Jared Wade)