It's finally May and you are days away from a refreshing new experience in travel. Now all you have to worry about is what to bring!

Un poquito de español

For this last month, we're going to learn about Colombian slang and some special phrases you might hear. 
Bacano - Cool.
Chimba - Cool. 
Berraco/Berraca - Someone who is a hard worker, go getter, or a really cool person.
Parcero/Parcera - Bro/dude, girl/friend.
Quiubo - What's up? (Contraction of Qué Hubo.)
El parche - The friend group, the squad.
Rumbear - To party.
Sapo/sapa - A snitch. 
Paila! - Too bad!
Chiviado - Bootleg. 
Mono/mona - A person with fair skin and light hair. I've been called that many times!
Cansón/Cansona - Annoying

A la orden - At your service. You'll hear this a lot in shops or restaurants. 
No des papaya - Literally means don't give papaya. This is basically saying don't ask for it. 
Ponte las pilas - Directly translated, this means put on your batteries. It's basically saying be alert and smart. 
Cuadremos - This is saying "Square up", but it actually means to schedule something. 
Parar bola - To stand on a ball. But it actually means to pay attention. 

Learning From the Past

Colombia’s rough past is no secret. It has been the topic of controversy, tv & film, and a stereotype that many Colombians carry wherever they go. As tough as it is to face, it is important we talk about it because the only way we can learn from the past is by facing it and moving on. As many know, Pablo Escobar was from Medellin and his rise as the king of cocaine greatly affected not just the city, but the entire country. At one point in the eighties Medellin had one of the highest homicide rates in the world. This is thankfully not the case today due to military crackdowns, peace treaties, and the government investing in the poor areas where much of the violence stemmed from. They have decided to keep the peace through education and community building.

The city worked to transform a mountainside of poor neighborhoods plagued by violent conflict with ski-lift style gondolas that carry commuters more than a mile down the steep slope to a metro stop, drastically reducing travel time and cost to downtown. Parks provide a place for children to play and neighbors to meet. New bridges run across canyons and streams that were once boundaries for turf wars, linking neighborhoods once torn apart. High on the hill sits one of Medellin's new "library parks," a large modern building that offers free computer centers, a comprehensive library and daycare, which has brought a continued ray of hope for Medellin. You’ll see bright orange signs and billboards all around Medellin proclaiming that "violence will not return to my city."

Last minute things:

Don't forget your reusable water bottle, sunscreen, a small, closed bag for going out, any medicine you might need, waterproof shoes or flip flops that can get wet for the beach.
Pack light! We are only allowed to take max 10kg of checked baggage per person to Nuquí. A backpack or duffel bag is recommended.
Waterproof bags for any valuables and electronics that can’t get wet.
Clothing that can get wet and that you’re ok with wearing in the jungle.
There is a recommended packing list for Nuquí by the owners of the private island here to help better prepare you!
Make sure you have your yellow fever vaccine and an up to date passport, and pack enough cash to cover your time in Nuqui (three days), there aren’t any ATMs! We’ve got you covered with food, workshops, tips, and where we’re staying. Extras such as massages, surfing rental, souvenirs, and alcohol is not included.

Check with your credit card to see if they charge you a foreign transaction fee, let them know you are traveling.

We recommend you bring a bit of cash to Medellin as well, just in case you want to purchase alcoholic drinks, gifts, artisanal wares, clothing, jewelry, art, etc. Make sure you bring small bills (no $100 bills.)
One of my regrets coming back from Colombia was not buying enough artisanal jewelry. It is so beautiful and inexpensive over there, so just a heads up!

If you are at a store that accepts credit cards, we recommend using your credit card. This is because the credit cards use the official exchange rate, which will give you the best deal. 

Most mornings will be kind of early (7, 8 ish.) We did this because we wanted to make sure we got as much done as possible while still keeping things relaxed. Medellin and Nuquí in the early mornings is it's most authentic.

We have an amazing group of adventurers and we are so happy you're coming!  As you prepare for the trip, remember why you signed up,  be honest and open with your fellow travelers, and allow yourself to be fully immersed in this experience! 

See you soon!