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| 4/16/2010 12:00:00 AM

Bogota moves beyond its bad-boy image

April 16--Strange and wonderful doings are afoot in this city that not so long ago was a touristic no-man's land.

In March in the otherwise staid Plaza Bolivar, hundreds of 3-foot-long ants appear to skitter up the imposing Colombian Congress building.

On a recent Saturday, feathered warriors, stilt walkers and dancers strut and gyrate and flash their way down one of the city's main avenues in a display of bawdy jubilance that rivals the most extravagant Mardi Gras parade.

And on Sundays, traffic on 75 miles of normally jammed thoroughfares miraculously vanishes, making way for thousands of free-wheeling cyclists.

The days when Colombia's bad-boy image as a land of narco-terrorist turmoil are waning. Officials are actively courting tourists with the slogan "The Only Risk Is Wanting to Stay." And nowhere is the transformation more apparent than in its capital city. An increase in flight arrivals from the USA makes getting here relatively inexpensive. A boom in international hotel chains (as well as budget lodgings) is beefing up a once-anemic tourism infrastructure. And an exuberant cultural, nightlife and dining scene is luring foreign visitors who previously considered a trip here as tantamount to scheduling their own kidnapping.

What a difference a decade makes.
 
Read more here.
 
Semana International delivers news about Colombia in English. Find more in our home.
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EDICIÓN 1855

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