Have you ever consider traveling to Colombia? Read this text and change your mind!

“Que rico!” (How rich!) Wherever you go in Colombia, you’ll hear locals exclaim this – describing basically everything about this country. Colombia is positively rich with gorgeous nature, year-round summers, the friendliest people, wacky fruits I’d never seen in my life, and epic adventure.

What surprised me most about Colombia is its striking diversity in landscapes and cultures. From the vallenato beats and turquoise coast of the Caribe, to the vivacious “paisa” region of Medellin, to the lush valleys of the coffee triangle, to the never-ending salsa fiesta in Cali, to the dense jungles of the Amazonas… here you’ll find all sorts of crazy places to explore! Locals are loud and proud about their country, and for good reason; there is so much more to Colombia than history paints.

I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to scout out some awesome new Worldpackers hosts in Colombia, a little off the well-trodden “gringo trail.” Especially here in the Colombia’s coffee-cultivating region, as a Worldpackers volunteer you’ll get sucked right into local life and find it pretty impossible to leave! At least, I sure did: Something about the little city of Pereira has kept me chilling with locals and sipping cafesitos (little coffees) endlessly!

While this is just the beginning of a long list of wonderful hosts in Colombia, let me introduce you to my current casa: Parceros Hostel, a super vacano (“cool”) pad in Pereira, the heart of Colombia’s coffee region. (Parceros means buddies or bros in paisa slang!) Parceros is a brand-new hostel with so much potential for epicness – just needs a little Worldpackers power behind it! The coolest feature is a sprawling terrace overlooking the cityscape, where you can crack open a Club Colombia cervesita and let the time go. Enrique, the owner, will teach you all the best paisa slang, and in no time you’ll be mingling with locals — which is especially fun in a city with so few tourists!

Pereira’s little catchphrase is “Te Acerca,” which basically means that it’s close to everything. Pereira is right in the middle of three important Colombian cities: Medellin, Bogota, and Cali. Also, it’s just a quick bus ride away from getaways like La Florida park (just 20 minutes outside of the city and you’re hanging with howler monkeys), the quaint pueblo of Salento, the Valley of Cocora, Santa Rosa’s thermal pools, tons of coffee farms, and the Nevada Ruiz volcano. People call Pereira a mini-Medellin because of its bold paisa character and reputation for being “sin puertas” — without doors! You’ll feel this immediately from the warmth of the locals.

As a volunteer at Parceros, you’ll have complete liberty to bring all your artistic visions to life. Have you ever wanted to help create a hostel? In my time here I’ve graffitied the front door, painted a jungle mural on the walls, sketched with chalk to my heart’s content… and there’s plenty more creative projects to be done! How’s that for a job?! I’d never imagined myself adorning the stairway of an actual business with two giant monkeys in sunglasses. But now I have. If that’s not an item on the bucket list, it should be!

And in your time in Pereira, don’t forget to check out the most adorable café right across the street from the hostel… Meet Jorge, owner of a tiny little café farm, who roasts his freshly cultivated beans every morning and prepares the most rico espresso I’ve ever had! (And coming from Seattle, I’d say my standards are pretty high.)

Karol postSo whatcha waiting for, mochileros? Come experience a paisa city as a local, and start greeting your fellow parceros like so: “Que mas, pues? Bien o que?” (Roughly translated: “What else, then? You good or what?”)

 

About Cammy Quaife

Cammy is an American nomadic English teacher that makes the world her own classroom. She’s been travelling for about one and a half years. Now she is scouting and volunteering around Colombia, showing people that it is better “to be” rather than “to have.”

Don’t know what a Worldpackers Scout is? Discover here.

 

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