OK, I know I'm supposed to be blogging about Costa Rica  and Cuba , but I can't help but write about my forthcoming 10-week trip to Colombia  . Why? Well, because I can't recall the last time I got so excited about a major research trip.
I've been commissioned to author and photograph the Colombia guidebook in the National Geographic Traveler  series. Awesome!
Last year I made two brief journeys: the first to Bogotá  to visit the annual travel trade show and set the wheels in motion with ProExport , Colombia's tourism promotion board, for financial support for the project; and later to Cartagena , Colombia's Caribbean colonial gem.
Wow! Was I blown away. I got a taste for the country's unexpected sophistication (think fine dining, great boutique hotels, and cultured people) and an amazing diversity that combines the very best of everywhere both Costa Rica and Cuba have to offer. Costa Rica? Think volcanoes (Colombia's are snow-capped) and rainforest (in Colombia you have both the Amazon  basin and coast), plus TWICE as many birds as Costa Rica. Cuba? Think untouched colonial cities, for example, and sizzling salsa and other forms of Latin music and dance. It's a long list.
Tourism to Colombia is booming. Visitors, like myself, are amazed to discover all that’s best throughout South America packed into one country. Its terrains range from Amazon rainforest to glacier-capped Andean peaks. Physically stunning, ecologically astounding, and culturally vibrant sums it up. Add the contemporary sophistication of Bogotá, Calí , Medellín , and Cartagena. Plus, most of the country is now safe thanks to a brass-knuckle crackdown initiated a decade ago. In the words of the Colombia Tourist Board’s clever ad: “The real risk is wanting to stay.”
For further information about travel in Costa Rica, buy Moon Costa Rica 
For further information about travel in Cuba, buy Moon Cuba 
For further information on Havana, buy Moon Spotlight Havana .
Disclosure: I occasionally accept free or discounted travel when it coincides with my editorial goals. However, my opinion is never for sale. The opinions you see in Cuba & Costa Rica Journal are my unbiased reflection of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Copyright © Christopher P. Baker