Another season in Colombia has come and gone, with more adventures and photos to display. This year focused again on architecture, as a great deal of exploration taking place throughout the streets of Bogota, in the historic center of La Candelaria to the old pueblos of places like Guatavita and La Calera.

Previous years have shown great improvements in the country and its capital, with growth in construction and a decrease in crime. This year was no different, particularly after a landmark peace agreement being reached between the guerrilla rebels of the FARC and the country’s government. Yes, there are still issues of crime and danger in various parts of Colombia, but I am continually impressed with the overall feeling of fun and safety that I personally feel as I traverse this beautiful place.

The colors, the colors

One of the biggest visual cues of any Colombian city or town are the intense usage of color. This is a culture that does not shrink from vibrant hues, whether it’s an electric blue wall with fiery yellow accents or the shockingly talented graffiti work that adorns many of the alleyways and highways, Bogota is a city of rainbows.

A deep culture

This year’s adventure was marked with a deeper look into the country’s culture and art. My travels allowed me the luxury of visiting two of Colombia’s bullfighting arenas, in both Guatavita and the Plaza de Toros in the capital. Not without its controversy, the art of bullfighting has a history spanning centuries and oceans, and this interesting story can be seen and felt in the various stadiums throughout the land. There is a substantial push to end this bloody sport, but I tried my best to put this discussion aside and try to photograph these buildings for the historical relevancy that they possess.

I was additionally lucky to have the opportunity in exploring the Teatro de Colon, which serves as the nation’s official opera house. Having been recently restored, this theater is awe-inspiring in its Italian architecture and ornate design. The intricate beauty in its murals and the historical significance of everything from the furniture to the lobby is truly fascinating.

Beautiful and safe

I can’t recommend a visit to Colombia enough. Through years of (deserved at times) bad publicity through films and television programs, it is a country that has not been without its problems and controversies over the years. There is no denying that. However, this is a place that has turned around many of its issues and now stands as a dominant economic power in South America. Any tourist can visit the country, from Bogota to Medellin to the tropical coast of Cartegena, and thoroughly enjoy him or herself. There is a culture and respect for art that rivals anywhere in the world. There are options for restaurants and adventures around every corner. Most importantly, it’s safe. Sure, there is trouble to be foundĀ if you are looking for it. Like any city, there are bad neighborhoods and good ones. But a tourist who is looking for a fun, peaceful sightseeing trip will easily find it in Bogota and around much of the nation.

The images included here are the first set of two that will be posted. Also, feel free to check out my book, BOGOTA, for more than two-hundred pages of the colors, culture, food, and people of the Colombian capital.