As our plane touched down at Bogota’s El Dorado airport, excitement was tempered by trepidation. A vast, unknown continent lay before us and we wouldn’t see our friends or family again for 6 months.

My consultant (Sudan, 11th most dangerous country in the world) and registrar (Ukraine, 12th) had warned me of the perils of visiting Colombia (19th), while family members muttered darkly about drugs and kidnappings. We had heard nothing but good things from friends who had visited before us and were keen to discover the truth about this fascinating country.