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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2009
Having just come back from a three week vacation to Colombia using this guide, I'm really disappointed. Lonely Planet's previous Colombia guide was written by someone who later admitted to never having set foot in the country (search 'Lonely Planet Colombia scandal' if you wish to know more: it was featured in the UK Times, April 15th, 2008). It feels like this edition has been rushed out to protect the brand's reputation - the overall production and quality of the title feels hurried.

Information is up-to-date enough, but it feels lightweight and incomplete. Reading this guide and you would be forgiven for thinking that Cartagena doesn't have a beach in the city (it has numerous); that the Parque Nacional Tayrona is open whatever the weather (if it's windy, the entire park shuts and travellers are frequently turned back from its gates); that you have to pay a departure tax when leaving after short stays (you don't).

Of course, it's not the Lonely Planet's fault when places change: good hotels become bad and bad become good, but we found (almost comically) that most recommended places were quite poor, and vice versa. Occasionally though it seemed like the Lonely Planet writer must have been on an entirely different planet to the Colombia we visited: one example is there is no reason to stay in Finca El Pariaso in Parque Nacional Tayrona which is by far the worst value campsite/hammock ground, although the Lonely Planet describes it as 'nicely done'. In a different universe, maybe, but all the travellers we spoke to there felt universally ripped off.

The proofing of the book is just poor: it's not the end of the world if web addresses are frequently wrong, but it just looks like it's been shoved together when you see impossible URLS like 'domain.com/path/specificpage.com'. The indexing is frequently out at the back of the book. The whole thing is stuffed full of typos. As an additional criticism, there are just a few short pages of photos at the front - more wouldn't go amiss!

But the saddest thing is the book is just empty of the insider tips and tricks you expect from guides like this - from people and locals who really know the country. One such tip is never buy a bottle of water - only travellers shell out COP$1500 on a bottle whereas locals always buy water in bags (funny to use at first) for COP$300. It's stuff like this the guide is really lacking.

The kindest thing I can say is it's better than nothing.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2010
i have used lonely planets guides for 20 years it is obvious that this one is really bad..remember the last person to write it openly admitted that he did not go to many of the places he reviewed so LP had to quickly get 3 people to do this guide book. i think they threw 3 of them together and said lets do this thing fast. one bit of advice about aksing for discount on a bus made my colombian friend laugh. in bogota the prices are displayed on the bus and there is only one charge and no one asks for discount.
they did not say where you could meet other travellers in bogota apart from places you stay at, they use to say more about that. other people have said they have got many things wrong in their reviews again this all sounds like a rush job..but this also shows that LP has become a big business selling maybe millions of guides every year and big always turns out to be ugly. small is beautiful because the people that run it can control it but when it gets to a certain size they have very little control. the genuine feel of LP is dropping form the first guide they made in a kitchen to an international company. very sad
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2009
If compared to the Footprint guide for Colombia, which my buddy had, this Lonely Planet is NOT up to the standard I am used to for their South-East Asia, Africa, etc. editions. I don't know how much fear they have of Colombia, but this country deserves better. In the Footprint, you will see that the author has checked every little village, every little corner of the country. In LP, they just say things like: It's not safe there, you shouldn't go there, so we don't write anything about, blablabla. Maybe they were just plain lazy?
I just want to state that what's in the LP, is DECENT info and probably SATISFYING for those only visiting big cities. But there is a lot missing for those who are willing to spend more time in this beautiful country, and go off the beaten track (not the "off the beaten track" LP is talking about!). I hope they have a more 'open' vista and mind the next time they wander away from the (relatively) safe areas...

I merely hope this review triggers them to keep the (high) LP up!
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on 8 August 2013
Nice and complete as usual . I strongly recommend it if you want a guide with a good blend of informatiion and practical tips
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 8 August 2012
I travel quite a lot and have been a fan of the Lonely Planet guides for their simplicity. They're good to get you started and on your way. That said, this Colombia book was shockingly bad. We found quite a few errors with maps, contact details for accommodation recommendations, travel and connections info etc. Just to illustrate how poorly thought out the book is, San Gil is one of the places the authors highly recommend but there was no street map offered.

This book was published in June 2009 (so probably researched in 2008), so it is long overdue for an update. Lonely Planet should update the guides more frequently if it hopes to compete with the likes of Rough Guide (its Colombia guide was excellent and very useful for our Nov 2012 trip).

Don't bother getting this Colombia guide. A quick DIY web research would yield better results.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2009
The news that one of the writers of this edition, hadn't actually gone to Colombia,'because Lonely planet hadn't paid him enough for the trip' was a little off putting.
I have been living in Colombia for a few months now, and have just completed a month long road trip which the book covers and as far as the travel advice goes, it was pretty good. The recommendations for places are great.

The articles in the front of the book seem a little conflicting, for example the honesty of the dire political situation here, was written about quite honestly, however the arrogance and narrow minded western values placed on comments such as the poor of Colombia now have middle classes to look to for aspiration and can now see they too may aquire a washing machine or car! The poverty and displacement I have seen as a result of goverment fuelled para military, is far from aspiring to a car! Maybe living, or to just be able to stay with their family and eat.. is a realistic aspiration.
So, while I would recommend this book for a trip here, keep an open mind on the information you read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2012
I have just spent six weeks in Colombia as part of a year long backpacking trip to South America. I was not expecting full accuracy on prices as the guide is several years old. My main disappointment is that it contains very little additional information not included in the Lonely Planet South America on a Shoestring guide so is not worth buying in addition to it. The conversion to kindle format is lazy and severely impedes the usefulness of this guide, with maps unable to zoom but dividing into quarters, and the navigation button skipping between chapters not towns resulting in a lot of scrolling. This is a shame - the LP Chile kindle guide did not have these issues. Given LP's woeful history on Colombia guides it really should have been more careful with this one.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2011
Hopefully this will be just what I need for my forthcoming trip to Colombia. Unfortunately the new edition will be printed too late for me, but this edition is sufficient for my planning needs. I always find Lonely PLanets useful.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2012
I like the Lonely Planet guides in general because they have all necessary information. The rate is only 4 because it is my personal problem with small font :-). But with this book I am doing a good planning for my trip.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2009
Was delivered promptly and was everything that it said it would be and in Great Condition. Thank you.
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