Colombia is a land of Salsa, carnivals, and coffee. The country is rich in natural beauty and natural resources such as oil, gold, emeralds. Yet for all its benefits, it has been plagued with problems, crime, poverty, and political struggles. The good news is the country is much safer than in times past, and it is getting better with each year that passes. One of the main draw cards for visitors coming to Colombia today is that you feel like one of the first to visit, because it is has been off limits for travellers for a long time. Visitors who do venture here find a country with welcoming people with landscapes that are virtually untouched and cities that are alive with festivals.

The country is divided into thirty three departments which are in turn bundled into six regions. Each of these regions are unique. They include: The Amazon, Andes, Caribbean, Insular, Orinoco, and The Pacific. Such is the variety of landscapes here that Colombia is considered one of the richest countries in the world for bio-diversity especially in the regions of The Amazon and The Pacific, but also in a smaller area called the Magdalena Valley.

The stats say it all. Colombia has more bird species, frog species, and butterfly species than any other nation. It has more rivers,  the richest part of the Amazon, the wettest place on Earth, and is the only place in South America that shares the Pacific Coast and the Caribbean. Even the Andes that run the length of South America are different. Rather than one main range, they split into three ranges giving the country a wide range of altitudes and allowing a myriad of crops such as coffee that prefer certain altitudes.

Colombia has a rich history too. The country was originally inhabited by the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. These people's were conquered and colonised by the Spanish after their arrival in 1499. The Spanish used Colombia to send gold back to Spain during their occupation. To this day, many rich colonial buildings and fortifications still exist, especially in Cartegena. After a period of unrest, wars, losses, and victories, the Spanish were finally defeated in 1822. Following that, Colombia became the first constitutional government in South America.


Top 10 cities by population

  • Bogotá is the most populous city in the country, the nations capital, and third largest city in South America;
  • Medellín is the country's centre of innovation and commerce;
  • Cali is the sport centre of the country and is renown for it salsa;
  • Barranquilla near the Caribbean Sea is famous for the Carnival of Barranquilla;
  • Cartagena on the Caribbean coast is famous for its UNESCO World Heritage listed colonial walled city;
  • Cúcuta is a tropical city close to the border of Venezuela.
  • Bucaramanga near Venezuela is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and old colonial towns;
  • Ibagué is known as the “Musical Capital of Colombia”.
  • Pereira is situated in the coffee area at the foothills of the Andes;
  • Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast is the oldest city in Colombia. It is famous for its beaches, and Tayrona National Park.

Top 5 things to do in or near Bogota

  • Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is an underground Catholic church built in a salt mine 200 meters underground.
  • Museo Nacional de Colombia is the National Museum of Colombia with artistic, historical and cultural collections.
  • Monserrate is a mountain near the center of Bogotá. With unparalleled views of the city you can enjoy the view from some restaurants and cafes too.
  • Museo del Oro is a museum that houses the biggest collection of gold works in the world.
  • Plaza de Bolívar is a square in the historical section of Bogota. It is dedicated to Simón Bolívar and is surrounded by beautiful colonial buildings.

Top 5 natural sites

  • Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park is the highest coastal mountain range on Earth. This UNESCO World Heritage Site rises as high as 5,770 meters {18,930 ft} and  also has a number of archaeological sites.
  • Tayrona National Natural Park on the Caribbean coast rises up as high as 900 metres (2952 ft). It has great beaches and is rich in biodiversity.
  • The Coffee Triangle is a large area where coffee is grown. It has scenic landscapes, the tallest palms in the world, and some of the best coffee you will ever taste.
  • Caño Cristales is dubbed the “The River of Five Colors” and is often called “the most beautiful river in the world”. The yellows, greens, blues, blacks, and reds are caused by a riverweed that is visible through the crystal clear water.
  • Amazonas is a department that lies in the upper Amazon, the richest area of the Amazon for bio-diversity. This area is also better preserved than the Amazon in neighbouring Brazil.

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