Borneo. Greenland. Bhutan. These incredible assignments should be in any adventurer’s short list of amazing destinations. Having had the opportunity to travel to them all with the focus of evaluating them for future Natural Habitat Adventures destinations was literally a dream come true. Each exceeded expectations in the arenas of excitement, cultural immersion and the exotic—and as a team, we have successfully created fantastic trip itineraries in each destination.
Columbia was my most recent opportunity, and it did not disappoint. My small team had the chance to explore beach forests and cloud forests, low rain forests and mangroves, indigenous villages and the fertile highlands of the coffee growing district. Each was an adventure unto themselves, revealing a fascinatingly diverse culture and a potential ecotourism infrastructure in its infancy to draw upon. Columbia is noted in various domains as having more mammals than Brazil as the world record holder (depending on your source), and competes among the world’s most diverse countries in terms of unique species of insects, reptiles and birds. How could Columbia NOT be on the horizon for Nat Hab, The Nature People?
The short answer is that we are not ready to take on Columbia as a new destination. Sometimes saying NO despite evidence and facts to the contrary is just as important as moving full steam ahead to incorporate new destinations that sound perfect on paper. This is exactly why we travel—to vet potentially exciting new areas of the world carefully, to ensure that we are offering only the best trips that live up to the quality our brand guarantees. Columbia is stunning—but in actuality, we found the roads very rough, the beach forest trails well-worn by donkey-laden luggage trains, not a single successful sighting of a mammal of note, and villages that were not as welcoming as one might hope. We may revisit Columbia in 5 or 10 years and find it to be the PERFECT spot for us—time will tell. At this point in time however, patience and discretion are the better choices than simply adding a trip on the merits of its bird list but yet ignoring its challenges.
This story was written by Rick Guthke, Vice President of Nat Hab Headquarters.