Couchsurfing in Colombia is huge!
If you still don’t know couchsurfing.org, go check it right now.
It’s a community of people for hospitality exchange: hosts and guests meet each other on the website, check their respective profiles, and if they like it, bingo, one has the accomodation for free with a local person, the other has a fancy guest with hopefully interesting stories directly at home.
In Colombia, as well as in many parts of Latin America, Couchsurfing is very popular, and I found out in my trip that many many backpackers are using it.
Not only to find an accomodation, but even more important to meet cool people and participate to events and activities with them, while staying in a hostel.
No need to hook up strangers at the bar anymore, yuppie! 🙂
Thanks to the Groups for specific cities in fact, users can participate in forums to receive help, share info and organize events and gatherings.
You wanna check what’s going on your upcoming destination? Just join the group page of the city and you’ll see what people are talking about.
Why is it so big in Colombia, and Latin America in general? Well, most Colombians never had chance to travel outside their (beautiful!) country. So for many people, getting in touch with foreign travelers is a great way to discover the World through someone else eyes.
I’ve meet people with friends all around the globe, very open minded, and they never been abroad!
Does it seem like a win-win situation, right? It is – Couchsurfing is really the best tool to meet locals and do as they do!! (I’d like to remember, best only second to Salsa dancing :D)
So if you’re planning your trip I suggest you to:
- Join couchsurfing.org (No Vero, you don’t need a credit card! [inside joke, sorry!])
- create your complete, interesting and honest profile. Mine is here, I don’t think is a model but works well
- find your friends, now it can be done checking your Facebook friends, and spend some time giving/asking for references (positive of course). This is very important. Couchsurfing is not Facebook, your friends are not just 1 click away. In Couchsurfing the friends you add and the reference you write them, and they write you are fundamental to build a trustable identity.
Without any positive reference, there are little chances that a stranger will host you in his home, what do you expect?
You need a rich profile with friends and nice references to be trusted, so spend some time on this.
- if you can, start hosting people in your house. It was a very interesting experience for me and great fun.
- Join the groups of the cities/areas/countries you’re going to visit and check what the communities are up to… cinemas, free events, festivals, escursions, I found too much to do it all, really.
I had my first Couchsurfing experience as a guest in Bogota’, and I used the group in Cali to participate to different activities. Both very positive experiences! I’ll blog about it soon…