COLOMBIA (December 2013)

In the States, Colombia is known for its cartels, guerrillas, and coffee. As such, it's not often thought of as a tourist destination and there are still regions one is advised to avoid. That said, it has lots to offer the more adventuresome traveler, though they may have to forgo double-glazing and, sometimes, hot water.

We fly from LAX through Panama City to Bogotá and arrive at our hotel around midnight. Bogotá at midnight is a little daunting, filled with dark streets and odd people lurking around. Or maybe that's just one's imagination, considering it is a bright and inviting city in the morning light.

Along with being Colombia's capital, Bogotá is also the largest city in Colombia, and one of the biggest in Latin America. It figures among the 30 largest cities of the world and it is the third-highest capital city in South America at 2,625 meters (8,612 ft) above sea level, after Quito (Equador) and La Paz (Bolivia). As such, it has a moderate climate with frequent clouds and periodic short-lasting rain.

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