Colombia, Mi Encanto

The last time that I visited my home country, Colombia, was in 2018; back then, as a cannabis enthusiast, I looked for the best flower I could find. However, my quest for some of the best green ended up being just like a regular deal on an empty parking lot; although quite decent and fun, I was not aware of what kind of weed I was smoking, just whatever my dealer had in stock. In that same year, recreational cannabis was being legalized in Canada. This event opened a new path in my professional life, and after having walked that path for the past three years, I knew that one destination was calling me back—pleasant surprises were awaiting me back in the land of Cumbia.
Cannabis has become an integral part of Colombia, both on the legal and illegal ends of the equation. The plant became legal in 2015 for medicinal and therapeutic purposes, seed production, and oil exports. For instance, Canada alone imports close to 300,000 seeds-per-year from the South American country. Since 2016, the Colombian government has issued close to eighteen hundred licenses for cultivation. In 2021, medicinal cannabis exports brought in US$ 2.2 million between January and May. As expected, alongside the exponential growth in the regulated medicinal cannabis industry, the Colombian “legacy market” also has grown, but with a different approach from the one I got back in the day.
One of these new takes on weed comes from Medellin—yes, that Medellin, the one many still associate with its Pablo Escobar past, but are not really aware of its amazing present. Here, Santo (as we are going to call him to protect his identity), a 27-year-old Cannaprenuer, has decided to combine two of his biggest passions: cannabis and food. He is a fully trained chef from one of the most prestigious culinary schools in the country. Being an avid user of the plant, he decided to start a new trend in Canna-Cuisine; by request, Santo and his small team of collaborators put together tailored and elevated cannabis-infused dinners. Everything begins with a couple of questions for the customer: What would you like to eat? And how would you like to feel about it? Once these questions are answered, he proceeds to elaborate a 3-course meal (entrée, main dish, and dessert) that will obtain approval from the client on both the menu and the amounts of cannabis to infuse the food with. Once the big day arrives, Santo has fully decorated his large and already exuberant house, a 70’s six-bedroom dwelling located in one of the classic and most prominent neighbourhoods of Medellin. A sophisticated and elegant table awaits for the excited guests; Santo opens the evening with a fancy cocktail or some hor d'oeuvres that may or may not be infused. Then as each one of the courses comes to the table, Santo proceeds to describe its preparation process along with a detailed description and information on the cultivar he used. The whole experience is unique, Canadianesque and aims to change the view on how recreational cannabis is perceived.
Of course, Colombia also has some of the most beautiful beaches on its Caribbean coast: Rosario islands, Cabo de la Vela, and Taganga Bay are some of my favourites to recommend. This last one, Taganga bay, a small fisherman town, is located 25 minutes away from Santa Marta, the capital city of the Magdalena Department; its surrounding mountainous areas are some of the most desired lands for cannabis cultivation in the country. In fact, one of the biggest Canadian cannabis companies, Avicanna, has their growing facilities here. Santa Marta and the region have a deep and historical connection with the plant. In the ’60s, during the marijuana boom, large quantities of the product were trafficked from and through the Caribbean coast of Colombia then into the United States, therefore the biggest cultivation fields were located here; in fact, the cultivar Colombian Gold, comes directly from the lineage of the Santa Marta Gold, a classic sativa of extreme and powerful uplifting effects. In the search of this mystical strain, I came across “Ari” (also a nickname to protect an identity). He operates independently as a liaison between indigenous organic growers and whoever wants to try some of their amazing ganja. This is something that Ari does for fun and to connect with people, not as his main source of income. As part of the adventure, he took me to enjoy some of the majestic beaches, views, and classic Santa Marta vibe. We went to the Mendihuaca sands, an area where a strip of luxury beach hostels offers a variety of attractions and activities that range from yoga to independent music festivals.
After a week of sandy beaches, hot weather, mind-blowing landscapes and some of the best organic weed I had smoked in a while, my trip took me to Bogota, Colombia’s capital and the country’s biggest city. This is where I’m from; the memories of my past still live on these streets … here in Bogota, is where for the first time in my life I got in trouble with the authorities for smoking marihuana, four years ago. This time around, I had already done some research about whom to connect with in order to procure some weed, however, as these things happened, I wasn’t able to meet with my contact; I felt frustrated, almost defeated, but then the city reminded me why its sordid chaos was one of its biggest appealing factors: its beautiful randomness was going to be my salvation.
Bogota, as my friend Ari put it, is completely “tattooed,” a reference to the immense amount of street and graffiti art that covers the city. Almost every week there is a new piece, and the majority of these street art pieces are located in the downtown core and nearby the historical neighbourhood. As I was approaching the La Candelaria neighbourhood (the historical area which dates from the 16th century), I heard a voice mildly yelling: “Cannabis delights!” “Cannabis chocolate, candy, and Brownies!” “Cannabis bread and baked goods!”
When I turned to see who was tempting my ears, I saw this skinny young fella walking his bicycle. I decided to inquire about the price of his goods. A full brownie: $3. Two pieces of infused chocolate: $1.50. One small loaf of cannabread:$3.50, and, just because he had some extra Rastafarian ganja, he sold me four grams of super fresh weed for $2.50.
He totally made my day.
After enjoying a delicious blunt of that fresh weed, I continued my walking trip around the painted streets of Bogota. While on my walk, I bumped into Grower’s Culture, a headshop owned by the guys who organized one of the biggest Cannabis Cups in Colombia: “La Copa del Rey” (The King’s Cup). In Colombia, a joint made out of the leftovers of other joints—the roaches—is called “The King of Kings.” Advocating for legalization in Colombia like we enjoy in Canada, the King’s Cup is celebrating its seventh birthday this December.
What started as an escape from winter and time to reconnect with my family turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences in my adult life. I not only revisited some of the places that have always made me happy, but also met amazing people, people who, like me, understand the importance of bringing recreational cannabis to a legal ground in Colombia.

5 Luxury Tourism Options while in Colombia

The country is experiencing a significant increase in the tourism industry, and although this boom is new, it’s been developing for the past 20 years. The luxury option is slowly getting a good injection of creativity and mind-blowing options, and here are five that I think you will love in Colombia.


The Bethel Bio Luxury Hotel gives you a unique stargazing experience. Located in the middle of the Tatacoa Desert, the Bethel is worthy of a Bond movie, with sophisticated villas that balance modern and fifteenth-century design.


Just 45-minutes off the Coast of Cartagena, lie the Rosario Islands. And although one has the option to rent a luxurious hotel room, why not rent out the whole island instead? At prices that range from US$1,500 to US$3,000 per night, live the Richard Branson dream for yourself or one of your lucky guests! Each island comes with all the amenities and services including, if you’re really balling, your own yacht.


Coffee is an integral part of Colombia and its culture; and the countryside estates and properties are stunning and maintain a classic look of the 18th Century Spanish villa while offering state of the art and modern amenities and accommodations. These massive pieces of land are known as FINCAS and when their business is coffee, they are called FINCAS CAFETERAS. Each Finca comes with a full detailed tour of how the family coffee is produced from bean to cup. Prices range from US$500.00 to US$700.00 a night for the entire state.


Colombia’s Capital city is a metropolitan giant, and its gastronomic landscape is marvellous. The most refined and exclusive restaurants, bars and bistros are found in “Zona G,” Italian, Moroccan, Arabic, Spanish and Colombian gourmet cuisines are just a few of Zona G’s gourmet cuisines. 5-star establishments like “Castanoyles,” “Criterion” or “Nazca” are mouth-watering. Prices vary, but start from US$75.00 per person for a 3-course meal.


These tours not only cover the metropolitan area of Medellin, but also have destinations within the nearby towns like Guatape, one of the most Instagramable places on Earth. Some tours include an ecotourist trip on land with 5-star accommodation in a boutique state (finca). Prices range from US$1,000 to $3,000—enjoy.