10 Kinds of Food to Eat when in Colombia

10 Kinds of Food to Eat when in Colombia

Colombia is known for its coffee, emeralds, football and even its beautiful women, but this country has way more to offer than just that. How much do you know about its cuisine, for example? Here are some dishes that are worth mentioning, and definitively worth trying, while you are in this beautiful country.

1. Empanadas

Whether it is empanada de carne, de pollo, mixta, de queso or de pipián, this is a little snack that you should absolutely try. An empanada is like a little pocket of dough that is filled with different things depending on the region where it is made. In the central regions of Colombia it is filled mostly with rice, meat or chicken (or both) and potatoes.
If you go for the empanada de pipián, which comes from the south-west region of Cauca, you should definitively add some ají de maní (peanut hot sauce) and drink a cold lulada (a beverage made of lulo and piñuela) to make this culinary experience even better!

2. Patacón con hogao

Patacón con hogao

Have you heard of the banana that is not a banana and you should cook before eating? Yes, that’s it! Plantain is the main ingredient of this delicious dish. After being squashed and fried, the patacón is served with a sauce made of onions and tomatoes (hogao) or sometimes with suero costeño, a sort of sour cream which is an important ingredient of many dishes in the Atlantic coast of the country.

3. Arepa

Just like the empanadas, there are many kinds of arepas. The ones you should definitively not miss are, however, the arepa con queso and the arepa de choclo. Made with corn flour, this delicious food can accompany your breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is also one of the important components of the Bandeja Paisa.

4. Bandeja Paisa

bandeja paisa
Paisa is an adjective used to describe the people from Antioquia, the region where this dish comes from. It is served in a big plate or tray (bandeja) where you find rice, red beans, grinded meat, a slice of avocado, a couple of chorizos, plantain and one or two small arepas. Can you believe paisas eat this for breakfast sometimes?

5. Ajiaco

This chicken soup typical from Bogotá and its surroundings has a unique taste to it. Made with different kinds of potatoes, swiss chards, capers and milk cream, this dish makes for a perfect lunch in the Sabana.

6. Lechona

Do not freak out if you see the whole pig in front of you! Filled with yellow rice, peas, onions and spices, this pig is cooked for about 10 hours in a brick oven before it gets to your table.

7. Cuy

If you do not feel like eating your pet when trying out this guinea pig, you will definitively enjoy it. Cuy is a typical dish from the south region of Colombia, as well as other countries like Ecuador and Perú.

8. Hormigas Culonas

If you are feeling more adventurous, try the Hormigas Culonas. These nutritious ants are collected in the region of Santander, where only the queens are picked out. Their legs and wings are stripped before the ants are soaked in salty water and roasted. Up for the challenge?

9. Manjar blanco

manjar blanco
It is very similar to arequipe (something like caramel) and made of the same ingredients: sugar and milk. However, the consistency of the manjar blanco is a little bit harder. It is great to eat with buñuelos or cheese, but it is just as good if you simply deep your spoon in the totuma and have it without anything else!

10. Cocadas

A typical dessert of the Colombian coast, this dish is made of a delicious mix of arequipe and shredded coconut.

Feel free to add more if you like. Be sure to bookmark this so you know what foods to eat when in Columbia.

maria lucia venegas otoya
Author Bio: Maria Lucia Venegas Otoya is the latest contributor of this blog. This girl from Colombia spent many months traveling around the Philippines. She is currently in Cambodia and is set to travel the world.

Top destinations for a budget beach holiday this summer

If you adore beach holidays, even if your wallet isn’t always so keen, you can still get some amazing bargains depending on where you choose to go, as well as the transport you pick. So, if you’re like me and want a break without the huge price tag, read on for some handy tips on where to go. Take note that I haven’t been to some places indicated, but of course they are on my bucket travel list. ^_^

1) Greece

Greece is currently one of the most affordable places for a balmy beach holiday. Not only does the country have an absolutely stunning coastline and a lovely Mediterranean climate, but its prices are also extremely tempting. In fact, while the country has long been seen as one of the best destinations for a budget break (provided you choose the right location and accommodation of course) it is perhaps even cheaper now than it has been in recent years.

You see, like many countries across the world, Greece has been hit by economic difficulties,  but this nation is one of the more seriously affected. While this is not good news in a broad sense, it does mean that holidays here are particularly cheap at this time.

One of the best places to visit in terms of prices, beaches and attractions is Corfu, which is one of the Ionian Islands. Corfu is perfect if you want to have a decent mix of things to do – when you’re not hitting the beach, that is. With its rich history (which you can discover in the capital’s Archaeological Museum and Byzantine Museum) and great walking routes, this island certainly has a lot to offer tourists.

2) Malta

A small country nestled in the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is made up of the tiny islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino and is a wonderful place for a relaxing beach holiday that won’t break the bank. Among the most popular beaches to visit here is Golden Bay, though it’s important to remember that thanks to its strong currents, you can only swim in the shallowest waters.

Malta is a beach destination with a difference in that this country has an incredible 7,000-year history that’s a joy to discover. Even if you plan to spend most of your time here on the sand, it’s worth taking at least a few hours to view some of the most interesting local attractions.

Among the absolute must-sees are the Ggantija Temples, which you’ll find on the island of Gozo. These are one of the world’s most important historical sites and are most famous for their size, with some of the monoliths used to build them a huge 5 m long each. In fact, the stones and temples are so vast that locals once believed the temples to have been built by giants.

3) Morocco

Third, we have Morocco. Located in north Africa, this destination’s coastline sits on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Perhaps one of its most famous cities and certainly top tourist hotspots, Casablanca, is situated on the former.

Come to Casablanca and you can have a real cultural adventure in between relaxing on the local seafront. Among the top sights to see here are the Hassan II Mosque and the Arab League Park, which is an excellent place for a stroll. You should also keep your eyes open to spot the city’s interesting blend of Moroccan and French colonial architecture.

Just as a quick note, it’s worth bearing in mind that you can visit all of the above destinations on a cruise. Now, I know at first a cruise will sound expensive – and I admit that this kind of holiday can carry a high price tag – but this won’t necessarily be the case. The first trick is to look out for discounts, which are frequently offered in the cruise world.

The next is to think about what you want from your holiday. If your goal is to be away for several weeks and visit multiple destinations, a discounted cruise can be a good and affordable way of achieving this – particularly if you’re keen to relax as much as possible on your trip.

4) Philippines

Simply because I hail from this part of the world.. you can choose numerous remote beaches to begin with.. from white sand, black sand, pink sand.. there are always varieties to choose from. I have to admit the world famous Boracay is a bit expensive, although lots of people still go, there are still equally stunning scenes that are off the beaten path and that requires far less money.. Just always be careful to observe local cultures and contribute to the community if possible like volunteering in a school while you enjoy the serenity of the beautiful country.


6 Ways to Make Your Mobile More Secure

6 Ways to Make Your Mobile More Secure

Mobile devices are frequently becoming the target of scams and malware attacks. What does this mean though? Well, let me just put it this way. Being a victim of a malware attack basically allows a stranger direct access to all of your data, contact information, as well as messages (possibly your emails too) without you being aware of it.

This could be via installing that new game, or app that seems to be all the rage. Not great, especially if you have some very important information contained on your smartphone. Sadly these kinds of mobile attacks are becoming more common the world over, but can be prevented. Below are a few tips on making your mobile experience more secure…

App downloads

Be wary of the applications you download. Fortunately with Apple, there is a very stringent review process that goes into getting an app into the iTunes Store, so you should not be too worried if you are an iPhone user as the apps available in store are of a high quality. Sadly for Android users, there is not much of a review process at all so this allows developers who are deploying malicious software to have a field day.

The best way to ensure you download legitimate apps on Android is to verify that the setting which enables the installation of non-Market apps is set to ‘off’. Also ensure that you do not download apps that appear to be illegitimate. Facebook and Twitter apps from their official developers with a few thousand reviews, great, download away. But do not download that dodgy looking app which may just be malware in disguise.

Pass code/pattern

There is nothing worse than losing a phone, and then getting a bill from your carrier informing that you have used a few hundred pounds extra worth of calls and data in the time you lost your phone to getting the SIM card deactivated.

Ensure that your phone always has a pass code, so should it be lost, whoever comes across it has a hard time getting to your information. Also, a simple yet effective method is having a pass code or unlock pattern. Yes, it is an extra step and it can be exploited, but you’ll be glad you did it should your phone get lost or stolen.

Disable Bluetooth

Not only does it waste your phones battery life, but if your phone has its Bluetooth enabled, it allows for the opportunity for other Bluetooth users to push content to you. Now should you unwittingly accept the information (in the guise of a contact for a special offer in a mall), this can lead to them being accepted as a contact, and allow for further hacking options. So to be safe, only enable Bluetooth when required and only pair with people you may know, even if that discount offer seems too good to refuse.

Do not connect to unfamiliar Wi-Fi hotspots

A few minutes of free Wi-Fi may sound great at the time, but connecting to an unknown network may lead to unwanted access from hackers. If you are not sure of the network, go by the golden rule of not connecting to it, as it may be a hacker in waiting who is guising themselves as the “Free MacDonald’s Wi-Fi” connection, waiting to attempt to gain access to your phone should you connect.

If you are not sure about a hotspot, speak to staff or people in the know to ensure if Wi-Fi hotspots are legit and not a scheme. Also disable your Wi-Fi when you are not around familiar networks to save battery life.

This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds…

Should you lose your phone, there are applications out there that allow you to remotely wipe the data from your phone. Apple uses the iCloud functionality, and the Find My Phone app lets you do just that, along with removing all the data. Android, Windows and BlackBerry phones all have similar apps and functionality, and should be installed should you have sensitive data that cannot end up in the wrong hands. Sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry.

Protect your mobile

Just like you protect your PC against viruses and malware attacks, the same precautions should be taken on your mobile phone. Ensure you have an antivirus protection for your phone – you can get free protection for your Android device here.

I would not call these protective steps as being overkill, as I use them on a day-to-day basis and have been fortunate enough to not lose any information. Not only do these steps save on battery life via disabling unnecessary phone resources, it helps in protecting your contacts and private information. The last thing the contacts in your phonebook would want is to be put onto a spam mailing list due to you feeling the urge to connect to an unsecure Wi-Fi network.

Of course, staying safe on your mobile is just one part of good practice in today’s digital culture. Make sure your home computer is protected against malware by downloading the latest antivirus software. You can even get free trial versions.