Did you know that the Colombian peso has depreciated against the dollar by 40% within the last year? This is a BIG deal. In fact, the peso has been one of the (if not the) worst performing currencies in the world this year. It’s so bad that it’s got a lot of international attention. It’s now associated with words like ‘record low’, ‘worst’, ‘plunge’, slump’.. *cry*
Well, in the past I wouldn’t have cared about emerging markets turmoil that much. But now I’m ACTUALLY living through one! I tell you it’s not pretty. I felt pretty miserable 2 months ago, when it hit the worst place (though I’m glad to announce that I’m now going through the ‘acceptance’ phase). I felt pretty stupid, since I never did anything soon enough and now it’s too late. Going on holiday (anywhere pretty much, even debt-ridden Argentina, since they haven’t been as exposed to the oil price drop as much as Colombia has) is now more 50% expensive to me than before! I think the only nearby country (funny enough flight ticket prices haven’t gone down despite oil price plummeting.. This is when I’m totally upset about how airlines keep all the upsides to themselves) that I would benefit from going to at a lower exchange rate is now Venezuela, a country led by ‘donkeys’ (this is how Colombians see Maduro‘s leadership) and deeply troubled by hyperinflation.
Well, the point I’m trying to make, is that although it’s pretty horrid for middle class and above Colombians who want to travel (the currency devaluation doesn’t affect ordinary people who don’t buy imports or have a car), importers (like cars and consumer goods) and Ecopetrol, the state-owned oil enterprise, this is the best time for YOU to come visit! Imagine, a hotel that cost US $60 a night last year is now $40, that’s A THIRD down! A michelin style dinner that cost $125 for two in the past is now $80! Many foreigners have asked me where to go in Colombia. For me, the coffee region is really the magic of Colombia. A coffee farm, Valle de Cocora and Salento. Not Taganga, the Amazon, or even Cartagena (why does everyone rave about it? I don’t understand.. It’s just colonial, hot, full of mosquitos and expensive! Well actually now it may be the time to go since it’s no longer expensive to you! Maybe my expectation had been too high before.. I need to go back again and give it another chance I guess).