Rio de Janeiro is known for its golden beaches, dramatic mountains, and football athleticism ingrained as a part of the city’s culture. It’s already one of South America’s most visited cities and the 2016 Summer Olympics further elevated Rio as a top travel destination. In August, I got to spend three days in Rio to see the city myself.
When I visited Medellin in March, I booked a day tour to Guatapé to climb one the world’s tallest monoliths and visit Colombia’s most colorful city. It was a good change of scenery from Medellin’s historic neighborhoods and a chance to see one of the best views in Colombia.
I have never traveled to South America and last month I spent about one week in Colombia, of which three days were in the city of Medellín. Before my trip, I had no expectations since I had nothing to anchor on (maybe besides the Netflix show Narcos, but I knew better than to rely on a dramatized show) so my goals were to see the city and learn the culture, as I do with every new destination. I liked the openness of Latin American culture, hearing reggaetón music everywhere, and learning about the city’s history of politics, drugs, violence and transformation.