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TRAVEL


« I’D SAY THE FUTURE LOOKS PRETTY BRIGHT. » – Former U.S. president Bill Clinton on Colombia


Bogotá’s Club de Golf La Clima.


Colombia Championship to play in the pro-am with Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos. “You have a lot of friends for which to fight the enemies of your freedom and of your children’s future—people who prefer violence and quick and easy money as opposed to hard work and long-term prosperity and happiness. I’d say the future looks pretty bright for you.” Bogotá is the capital for the country whose population is 45 million with a land mass nearly twice the size of Texas. Colombia spans from the Caribbean Sea to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the borders with Central America and Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. The lower the elevation, the warmer the climate—ranging from the snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains to a tropical climate along the coast. Bogotá is located in a valley on the equator at more than 8,000 feet. The resulting weather is glorious, with low humidity, highs in the mid-70s and lows in the high 40s year round. The only variation is rainy parts of the year. With a population of 8 million, Bogotá is also thwarted with


traffic issues and driving is not recommended for tourists. Take a driver who knows the best shortcuts, driving techniques and safe areas to travel. Safety has improved tremendously in recent years, still it is recommended that you use a reputable travel agent, have a knowledgeable guide and visit recognized


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destinations, just as you would when visiting any large United States city. Religion also plays a huge role in tourism, with 90 percent of Colombians raised Roman Catholic. Monserrate is the large mountain overlooking Bogotá, with a shrine at the top. A scenic cable car ride carries visitors up and down, with the most awesome view coming at night when the city is lit up below. Just outside of Bogotá is the Salt Cathedral, an expansive, awe-inspiring church built 700 feet underground by salt miners many years ago. Today, it depicts the life of Jesus and welcomes thousands on Sundays and even more making pilgrimages during Holy Week. Food is also a spiritual experience for Colombians. Most of


the food is naturally grown, with a focus on beef, chicken and fish, fresh vegetables and fruit. A favorite breakfast item is Caldo de Costilla, a rib broth similar to beef stew in the States. The recuperative power of the stew is so strong that many restaurants located near bars stay open late on weekends for those who need respite from hangovers—therefore the Americanized name, “Death’s Awaker.” Additionally, a popular restaurant, Andres Carne de Res, has two locations with all types of Colombian food combined with a dance-party atmosphere. One of the restaurants even has four distinct levels to entice the diner— Hell, Earth, Purgatory and Heaven. ➤


PGA TOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE 2012 93


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