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Colombia - Coffee, the Andes and the Amazon River

The green country of Colombia lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean in the far north-west of South America. Aromatic coffee plantations, snowy peaks in the Andes and the branches of the Amazon River make Colombia a true natural adventure.

Coffee farming in Colombia

Geography - Between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea

Colombia in South America is surrounded by two great bodies of water. It borders on the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Caribbean Sea constitutes a natural border in the north. It is surrounded by the countries of Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. The country itself is divided into 32 departments and the capital district. Besides the capital of Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Cartagena de Indias are the country's biggest cities. The climate is mostly tropical but it can differ considerably from region to region. The Caribbean coast, for example, is much drier than the rest of the country. At a height of 3,000 metres and higher in the mountainous regions, you find high alpine glacial climate. The rainy season lasts from May to July.

The Colombian capital of Bogotá

Nature - Unbelievable diversity

Regarding the diversity of flora and fauna, Colombia is a first-rate destination. There is hardly any other country which has such a variety of animals and plants. In fact, ten percent of all species on earth live in Colombia. These include 50,000 kinds of plants and 3,500 orchids. The wild landscape is definitely worth exploring. The Western Andes with their high mountains and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Martha, the world's highest coastal mountain range, lie directly at the marshy coastal lowlands of the Caribbean. The pacific coastal area, on the other hand, is hot, humid and very fertile. In addition, the country is dominated by two vast river systems: the Orinoco and the Amazon Rivers. The river systems are vegetated by thick rainforests, which constitute a paradise for jaguars, tapirs, sloths and hundreds of bird species. The heights of the Andes do not only offer snow and cold but also large lake districts and numerous active volcanoes such as Nevado del Huila (5,750 m) or Nevado del Ruiz (5,215 m).

Colombia's lakes - Guatapé

Natural sights - Stunning beaches and excellent coffee

Of course, a country which is this rich in nature contains a number of impressive biosphere reserves and national parks. One of the most beautiful parks is the Caribbean Tayrona National Park near Santa Marta. White and golden sandy beaches, palms, rainforest and the mountain range of the Sierra Nevada in the background create a wonderful panorama for all lovers of nature and animal lovers. If you go on hikes in the jungle, you should follow an experienced guide who knows the area. Sturdy shoes and mosquito repellent should also be part of your luggage. Another highlight in Colombia is a visit to the traditional coffee finca. Colombia prides itself on producing one of the best coffees on earth and where could it tastes better than in the place of its production? Several fincas open their doors in the Zona Cafetera and grant visitors access to the old tradition of coffee growing and the production of the popular drink.

Colombia's beaches - Tayrona

Culture - From the advanced civilisations to the present

Colombia was developed and settled long before the invasion of the Europeans. Various advanced Native American civilisations lived in the area and traded goods with each other. They were particularly skilled at goldsmithery. The discoverers Vespuccí and Ojeda were impressed with the craftsmanship of the goldsmiths in the late 15th century too but that did not stop the Spanish from occupying. Their colonial rule lasted for a long time. In honour of the great discoverer Christopher Columbus, the country was names "Colombia". From the 16th century on, the Spanish expanded their power in the country and the long and painstaking struggle for independence lasted until the 19th century. The establishment of a stable government was not easy either. Power relations are still not resolved and there are riots by different groups.

Cartagena - historical city in Colombia

Cultural sights - Colombian cities

The capital of Bogotá lies in a valley before the Andes. The city's mountain Monserrate and the famous gold museum "Museo del Oro" make Bogotá a popular tourist destination. Other attractions are the cities of Cali and Medellín, which offer leisure activities and exciting nightlife. You can relax in Barichara, a quaint village in the Andes. Cartagena's old town is historically significant. The colonial settlement is located in the middle of the big city of Cartagena and has been preserved in colonial style. Travellers who are interested in the pre-Colombian time and architecture should visit Ciudad Perdida in the deep jungle. Las Lajas Sanctuary, which is positioned over a deep gorge, is worldwide unique and definitely worth seeing.

The Colombian pilgrimage church of Las Lajas

Experience - South America as the new popular travel destination

Holidaymakers who want to travel the South American continent will most probably stop by Colombia. The country in the north-west has become a popular tourist destination. Colombia's stunning landscape attracts more and more lovers of nature and culture enthusiasts. The country's traditional dishes and aromatic coffee are popular too. The cuisine displays Spanish influences to the present day. However, the local specialities are also worth tasting. Examples are arepa (a maize pancake) and fried plantains. Visitors should try the mariscos ("seafood") in coastal cities such as Cartagena. You find shopping centres in Bogotá. The Zona Rosa is a particularly suited location for a long shopping tour. Gold jewellery, the latest fashion and coffee are the most popular souvenirs. In addition, traditionally produced textile goods such as colourful cloth bags play an important role. The nightlife mainly takes place in the capital and in Cali. Hot-blooded Colombians ask you to dance salsa and merengue here.

Colombian souvenirs

Activities - On expedition

Since there is no mass tourism in Colombia yet, travellers can discover the country in their own way and without any stress. Visitors can go surfing, swimming and sailing in two oceans. Anglers can go fishing at the sea or in the vast river landscapes. The volcano Azufral or the sandstone cliffs of Suesca are great destinations for mountaineers and climbers. In addition, you can do winter sports in the alpine glacial world of the Sierra Nevada de Cocuy National Park. Whale watchers can pursue their hobby from July on. Over 1,000 humpback whales pass the Pacific coast until October and are not bothered about the small whale watching boats.

Having fun at Colombia's Caribbean beaches

Information

Because floods regularly occur during the rainy season, holidaymakers should visit Colombia between August and April. You get along well if you know Spanish.

Colombia is full of adventures and natural diversity. Culture enthusiasts enjoy the treasures of the pre-Colombian culture and the colonial architecture.

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Information

Flag of Colombia
Region:
South America
Size:
1,138,784 km²
Population:
47,840,000
Capital:
Bogotá
Timezone:
UTC-5
Currency:
Colombian peso (COP)
Languages:
Spanish