Compass Blog

Noraly's Love Affair with Colombia

Locations: Colombia, South America

Noraly Barillas (our South American Destination Expert) grew up with a fascination for Colombian figurative artist, Fernando Botero. Her growing collection of books and posters of Botero’s artwork is a testament to her continued admiration for “the most Colombian of Colombian artists”. Noraly’s lifelong dream to stand among his work and witness it firsthand was finally realized during her recent tour of Colombia. She returned not only having fulfilled a personal ambition but unearthed other gems of a country she fell in love with. When asked what had captured her heart and imagination, she responded dreamily, “Oh, the art and the food… and the coffee! What more do I need?!”

(Left) This fruit breakfast was made up of fresh mango and papaya. A healthy and delicious alternative to the coffee and toast I usually eat at home. A perfect start to the day!

(Right) There are various types of fruit in Colombia that most travelers have never heard of let alone tasted. This drink is made from the Lulo fruit. It is found only in northwestern South America and has a citrus flavour. The drink was served in a wooden cup which added to the authenticity of the experience.

(Left) A delicious lunch I had at Hacienda Bambusa located in the southern part of the coffee region. Here, grilled shrimps and a seafood cutlet made for an unforgettable meal.

(Right) Club Colombia was usually my drink of choice. Crisp and refreshing, it was always enjoyable at the end of a long, eventful day.

(Left) This salad was like no other! The flavourful combination of star fruit, guacamole, pineapple and noodles made this an exotic treat.

(Right) I was delighted by the artful design on my first (of many!) cappuccinos I had while in Colombia.

(Left) The barista at Café Jesus Martin in Salento did a wonderful job in not only pulling perfect shots of coffee but educating us on the coffee process – from the bean to our cups!

(Right) Here I am at Café Jesus Martin enjoying yet another cup. I could have stayed here all day drinking coffee and talking to the attentive and entertaining owner!

The Museo de Antioquia houses a fine collection of Botero’s paintings. To view his paintings outside of books, to appreciate them up close and in his native Medellin was an extraordinary experience. Definitely a highlight of my time in Colombia!


A view of Fernando Botero’s square in front of the Museo de Antioquia in Medellin. Finally, after years of studying and admiring Botero's world-famous sculptures, I had the opportunity to touch and walk around them. It was truly an incredible experience. 

No trip to Colombia is complete without a visit to the coffee region. If you love coffee as much as I do, I strongly recommend a tour of a coffee plantation to learn about the process. Colombian coffee is recognized worldwide for its high quality and distinctive taste. Be sure to buy some coffee while you’re there – this way you’ll have a taste of Colombia at home!


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