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Colombia (Bradt Travel Guide) Paperback – July 17, 2008

3.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


'I've been using Sarah Woods' Bradt Guide on many trips, now, to Colombia (and found it the best guide).' Matthew Parris

About the Author

Sarah Woods is a travel writer who divides her time between the UK, Panama, and Costa Rica where she supports conservation efforts.


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Product Details

  • Series: Bradt Travel Guide
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bradt Travel Guides; 1st edition (July 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841622427
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841622422
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,268,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I just got back from my first trip to Colombia. This book has a lot of breadth and helped us in the early stages of deciding where to go and what to do. We didn't have any security problems whatsoever, sticking to the author's recommended areas in Medellin and Bogota. We visited many of the places that the Bradt book recommended in these cities. I felt like the book was well-researched in general.

I gave the book only 3 stars because it wasn't sufficient on its own. There weren't enough maps to really be helpful to us. Often, I felt like the book pointed out that a destination existed, but didn't provide enough information to actually get there. I was also surprised to see no information on tipping (restaurants, hotel staff, etc). I don't really blame the author -- I think she had to choose between breadth and depth, and admirably tried to cover most of the country.

We supplemented the Bradt book with city and transport maps we got for free in Colombia from the tourism kiosks, and two Spanish-language guidebooks we bought in Bogota: El Tiempo's guide to Bogota (El Tiempo is a newspaper)"Guias El Tiempo Bogota" and "Medellin Turistica" (bilingual, but the Spanish section is better). El Tiempo's book was especially useful with excellent maps, pictures, etc. I highly recommend it and I think it would be helpful even if you don't speak Spanish. The Medellin guidebook we used was just okay -- but necessary considering the Bradt guide's short section on Medellin.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
just got back from colombia. i brought this and my friend brough the lonely planet. this book is horrendous, even compared to the LP. both are weak, but the LP is by far the better of the two. the most important thing about a guide is safety, in a place like colombia. this book, it seems, just copied the LP for everything but history. it's supposed to be the most recent guide, but has nothing really new on the LP. it recommended the same hotels in the area by the cathedral in medellin. so did the LP. no one happened to go there or check with the police, quite obviously, because it's one of the sketchiest neighborhoods i've ever seen. transexual hookers who mug people on the blocks all around it. one simple check with the police and they will tell you it's a critical zone. it also mentions how safe a city it is. i really wonder how much research was done. in the day we got there we saw and arrest, someone tried to get into my daypack while walking around, and then we were walking in in broad daylight, in the very crowded Parque San Antonio, and my friend and i, both having grown up in brooklyn, and being bigger than most colombians, were jumped by 5 guys with knives, who were going for my camera, and i was STABBED IN THE BACK! we talked to the police who said exactly where to go and where not to, and that it's not nearly as safe as the guides lead you to believe.

more specifically to this book. the maps are absolutely useless, the second most important thing a book can contain. and the recommendations are few and far between for both food and lodging, and are barely located on the useless maps, so they're really no help at all.
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Format: Paperback
Thank you, to Sarah Woods, for having brought this insightful, inspiring publication to the market. Beforehand, there was very little on offer, and this guide is crucial for travellers in this remarkable country. It is more than a travel guide. Right from the word go, this book draws you into Colombia, giving an invaluable historical synopsis which puts the current climate of renewed national confidence, passion and pride, into context. This is a publication which should be read properly, not simply flicked through for advice on which hostel to stay in. It gives detailed, descriptive accounts of places, and I absolutely love the local quotes which run through the guide, and the boxed sections which offer snapshots into a whole range of even more specific, localised traditions and knowledge...from folk-lore and explanations of peculiar cultural practices and sentiments, to descriptions of specific people you may encounter along the way, to conservation projects, to recipes and detailed descriptions of certain foods, and random anecdotes.... All this serves to create a book with a real and raw sense of depth of place. This book does not spoon feed, but tends instead to give varying options, and a lot of food for thought. It does not dictate your travel path, but educates. And all the information is there; clear and comprehensive. Naturally, things are constantly evolving and changing, and as would be expected with any travel publication, there are one or two minor inaccuracies. I think anyone phased by a restaurant going out of business after it has been featured in a guide, must have issues with travelling. I am a huge fan of this book, would recommend it to anyone, and whole-heartedly agree with its statement: it gives the tools to get 'under the skin' of Colombia. Thank you!
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Format: Paperback
I've been traveling for about 10 years, and this is easily the worst guide book I have ever had the displeasure of encountering. Where to begin? First, the author seems to have lifted much of her language from the older Lonely Planet guide. She "chooses" many of the same hotels, and describes them in almost exactly the same way...some of the restaurants she lifted from the LP are out of business...ooops.

The book is not user-friendly at all. Instead of listing an approximate price for a room or a meal, it uses an oh-so-annoying symbol ($) system that you constantly have to flip to the inside front cover to understand. And even once you figure out what $$$ next to a hotel listing means, it's usually wrong.

The maps? They look like they were drawn up by my five year old niece.

And the book is woefully inadequate in its information about several key areas of Colombia. For example, the section on Parque Tayrona, easily one of the most popular tourist sites in Colombia, is so devoid of practical information it's virtually useless.

We ended up relying on the Lonely Planet, which is from 2006 and is no great piece of work itself. The LP author reportedly did not ever even go to Colombia, and that book is STILL about one hundred times more useful than the Bradt.

This book is an absolute waste of money, pure and simple. If you are going to buy this book, you may as well just print out the Wikipedia entry for Colombia and go with that...at least you'll save some money.
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