Are you looking for the next land of opportunity? Does talk of massive government debt, bankruptcies, foreclosures and unemployment have you singing the blues? Escapeartist is about to provide you with an insider tip to the next ‘in’ location. We are talking about a location where all the smart money is moving to, a country vast with resources, a beautiful culture and probably the most attractive women on planet earth. (It’s true) –
Names like Sam Zell (Billionaire) and Carlos Slim (Billionaire) and many others are investing in Colombia right now. Why are they investing? Why are tourism rates in Colombia skyrocketing? Why is the Colombian stock market returning double digit returns? Why is Colombia leading the Latin American rim in attracting foreign direct investment?
Escapeartist has the insider scoop on Colombia and we are going global with it! – We were on the front lines of Costa Rica, Belize, Dominican Republic, Argentina and NOW Colombia!
Escapeartist has partnered with Investment Group Colombia to provide our readers with authoritative articles that are written by Escapeartist readers who actually live the Colombia Escapeartist Dream right now. Escapeartist over the next few months will be providing special coverage of Colombia and we will be getting the truth from the ‘frontline’ early adopters, the market mavens, pioneers of the international Colombia lifestyle!
Our intention is to create a tsunami of awareness for Colombia over the next year and you are getting the very first newsletter that we have published on Colombia – Nothing like being at the right place at the right time… right before 15 million people learn about this beautiful country – Colombia is Passion!
Please enjoy the first of three Special Edition Colombia Ezine – This month we covered Bogota, in March we will cover Medellin and in April we will feature the romantic ciudad of Cartagena.
Now, go on and get your insider tip and learn more about Bogota – The Entertainment capital of Colombia
During the past few years, and during the past year in particular, Investment Group Colombia has been witness to the rapidly growing phenomenon of strength, stability, and security taking place in Colombia. We have witnessed a people—a country—who with grit, determination, and a dream of being better, being stronger, being more prosperous, have literally pulled themselves from the quagmire of world disdain and criticism.
The changes taking place in Colombia have been enlightening, inspiring, encouraging, and, for this North American, even a little embarrassing as one realizes what can be accomplished when complaining and blaming is replaced by determined tenacity and focused action. We at IGC applaud not only the efforts, but the success of Colombia… a success that has only started, but that is sure to continue long into the future.
A strong evidence of Colombia’s success is that in a period of world financial difficulties, global recession, and collapse of the commercial and residential building industries, Colombia has been experiencing a construction boom. Condos, apartments, high-rises, fine custom homes, and planned communities seem to be rising from the proverbial ashes of vanishing crime, violence, and fear. In the hotel industry alone there have been nearly 5,000 rooms added in the past year. For us at IGC, this is just one more fact that further emphasizes and confirms what a wonderful investment opportunity Colombia is. While this flurry of construction activity seems to be well distributed nation-wide, the largest and most aggressive changes are taking place in the capital of Bogota.
Located on a high Andean plateau at an elevation 8661 feet, Bogota is the third highest capital in the world behind Quito, Ecuador, and La Paz, Bolivia. With over 8 million people, Bogota is the largest city in Colombia and one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in South America. Serving as Latin America’s Mecca for artists, writers, intellectuals, and architects, Bogota is home to the National University of Colombia as well as several other universities making it the primary educational centre in the country and giving it the moniker of “the Athens of South America.” Bogota is also home to the National Museum and the National Cathedral, only two of numerous grand museums and churches located throughout the metropolis.
Already renowned for its “high-energy” atmosphere, Bogota’s economy, as for all of Colombia, has been super-charged by rapidly growing international business and investment interests. Attractive business incentives and opportunities in the natural resources fields in particular—from gold and coal and petroleum exploration and production to coffee and exotic tropical fruit production and marketing—has lured new business interest, both domestically and from abroad. Along with a new emerging middle-class, increased direct foreign investment (DFI) dollars has spurred economic growth to previously unseen levels. With current President Juan Manuel Santos’ continued efforts and support, Colombia’s future is one of ever-increasing prosperity, security, and self-determination. With the increased security and the substantial reduction in crime and violence, international tourism has steadily increased over the past decade, rising by 17% last year alone, surpassing 1.7 million visitors… a sharp contrast to world tourism growth of just 2% for the same time period!
With the steady increase in tourism and international business interests, the need for facilities and services has also grown. A Proexport Colombia sponsored business incentive of a 20-year income tax exemption for new hotel and room inventory has both encouraged and facilitated the increased development of Bogota’s hospitality industry. Of the 5,000 hotel rooms added to Colombia’s room inventory in the past year, nearly half of those are located in Bogota. The international chains of Marriott, NH Hotels, Sonesta, Hilton, and Inter-Continental have all joined in the rush to increase room inventory. “Colombia doesn’t have the image it once had,” said Rodolfo Guillioli, vice president of Grupo Poma, a corporate conglomerate who just this past September opened a new Marriott Hotel in Bogota. “Occupancy and room rates are high in Bogota, which makes it interesting. We expect many competitors to follow us,” said Guillioli.
Along with the increase in the hoteliers room inventory has come a host of posh new boutiques, elegant eateries, and stylish nightclubs. Along with the tourist, business, and investment influx of people, throngs of university students and the new emerging middle class locals flock to these night spots. Here, the parties start at sunset and continue right on through until sun rise. Colombians typically begin arriving at the clubs in numbers around 10:00 to 11:00 pm, but have often already begun to party at home or at the many small barrio bars and cigarrerias. Between the early evening bar hopping and the serious clubbing, many people opt to go to dinner at one of the many fine restaurants. Bogota has a tremendous number and variety of restaurants and cafes, with prices often being quite reasonable. Bogota being truly cosmopolitan, you can satiate your appetite with incredible local cuisine, traditional specialties from around the country, endless international delicacies, or something as simple and “down-home” as a hamburger or pizza. Most bars and clubs close at 1:00 am, and ALL bars must close by 3:00 am, so after-parties are very popular in Bogota, with cover fees ranging from 5.000 to 25.000 pesos ($2.50 – $12.50).
Bogota’s Entertainment Zone
Bogotá’s entertainment zone is basically divided into four sectors. The beautiful colonial barrio of La Candelaria, where numerous governmental offices, museums, churches and other buildings of historical and architectural significance are located, is known as the central sector. The northern sector, where many cultural activities are held, is considered to be part of the more modern, commercial area of town. Next is the southern sector, which consists primarily of industrial and middle class barrios. And lastly is the western sector, location of Eldorado Airfield, numerous city parks, and sports centers. Within these sectors lie the more specific entertainment areas; the ever popular Zona Rosa region, the ritzy and trendy Zona T, the Zona G, etcetera, all vibrating with energy, swaying sensually and rhythmically with live music, wafting with the aromas of both local and international cuisine, and filled with laughter and good times.
For first-time visitors, it really pays to connect with a local or someone who is intimately familiar with “the lay of the land” until you yourself become more familiar with the local venues. Typical cover fees at most clubs range between 10.000 and 25.000 pesos ($5.00 – $12.50). Longtime favorites such as Quiebra Cantos, Escobar Rosas, and Maria Mulattos are always popular hotspots, full of enthusiastic partiers. Electronica club, The End, has gained a lot of attention and fame as of late for its quality night life and its location on the 30th floor of a high-rise. For food and dance, and to see how important both food and dance are to Colombians, Andrés Carne de Res is not to be missed! Salto del Angel is another place to see beautiful people and enjoy wonderful food and dance. Pravda’s, Cha Cha’s, Andres D.C.’s (De Corazon), Escobar y Rosa’s, Gato Gris’, and Kukaramakara’s are a few other local and international favorites that should not be missed.
A recent addition to the Bogota night life scene is that of Speed Dating. Brian Wilson, owner of Speed Dating in Colombia, sponsored the event and has plans for several more in the very near future. Popular in the United States, speed dating is a structured event having themes “that target individuals based on age, religious affiliation, social interests, business, etc. The participants rotate to each other’s tables having 4 to 6 minute dates. This is an efficient, time managed way to meet 15-20 people in an hour and a half,” according to Wilson. “The setting for the Speed dating events is a local, upscale bar/restaurant, which has a quiet, romantic ambience in which the participants feel comfortable. They rate each other on a score card provided by the event host. The event host collects score cards at the end of the event and calls each participant to give them the contact information of their matches- absolutely no contact information is exchanged between participants at the event. This ensures that everyone has the right to their privacy and that they are under no pressure to give out their personal information,” says Wilson.
While each club has their specialty, most Colombian clubs actually play a variety of Salsa, Meringue, Techno, Cumbia, Vallenato, Bachatta, Hip Hop and Reggaeton. In the U.S one thinks nothing of going to a club alone. Colombians, however, always go in groups and typically stick with their group at clubs. And although times are changing, it is still considered an insult to dance with someone outside your group, especially for women. Etiquette and custom varies from city to city. For women in Bogota, stylish, fitted denims, high heels (always, it seems!), and a classy flowing blouse, perhaps accessorized with a waist-accentuating belt are the norm. Cleavage is rarely present, something that DEFINITELY cannot be said for Cali, Cartagena and Medellin! Hair is straightened, usually long and make up MUST BE PERFECT! For men, it is simply a nice dress shirt and dark-washed denims or khakis with dress shoes—no athletic shoes!
A very endearing quality of Latin American culture and life, contrary to most people’s first thoughts, is that the young and the old party together…..and “party hearty” together I might add! In the US young people think, at the very least, that having adults (old folks!) around quenches the party spirit. But in Colombia, this isn’t the case at all. Many of these “old folks” are actually more agile, energetic, and enthusiastic than their often much younger counterparts! And folks, I must say at this point, Latino’s, young AND old alike, move their bodies in ways that are just not possible for their North American counterparts! And to quote my old friend, Forrest Gump, “…that’s all I have to say about that!” And I don’t know, but maybe it is because I am now becoming a part of that “older” club myself, I find it wonderfully touching, encouraging and even exciting (not in THAT way!) to see two seniors obviously enamored, if not in love, gazing at each other starry-eyed, swaying to the music, laughing, and just generally having a good time. …that is life and love as it should be!
As evidenced here, Bogota is not just about politics and business. Investment Group Colombia’s message here is that Bogota provides a vast array of stimulating cultural variety for pleasure and entertainment as well. So come to Bogota and have fun! And keep in mind that Bogota is just one of many wonderful, beautiful, opportunity-filled cities in this exciting land called Colombia. That Bogota leads the country by way of being the governmental seat is clear. That it leads the country by way of its super-charged growth and by example is becoming ever more clear. Our counsel at IGC is to keep an eye on Bogota. What you see happening there is an indicator of what is to come for the rest of the country. And we at IGC whole-heartedly believe that vision is one of promise, prosperity, and the passion that IS Colombia.
If you would like more information about the exciting and rewarding opportunities of visiting, living, or investing in Colombia, please request our Investors Guide to Colombia by CLICKING HERE.