Colombia is an unforgettable land of music, coffee, friendships, diversity and stunning landscapes. It’s not to be missed. While what you will find below is not comprehensive, but it is a good start for beginning to understand the country you are about to visit. If you need more Colombia travel information, be sure to look through our travel resources! Happy travels!
Colombia is the only country in South America to have both a Pacific and Caribbean coastline. It is located to the west of Venezuela, and shares a border with Brazil, Peru, Ecuador,and Panama. As the second most bio-diverse country on the planet, second to Brazil which is 10x its size, Colombian geography covers a wide range of ecosystems. The main regions are the Andean highlands, the Caribbean coastal region, the Pacific lowlands, the great plains to the east, and the Amazon Rainforest. This vast array of ecosystems means the weather and scenery vary greatly from location to location. Read our blog about traveling to the Pacific Coast to spot some humpback whales!
What began as a land of tribes and indigenous civilizations consisting of three main groups, Taironas, Quimbayas, and Muiscas. The Muisca Confederation, who lived in present day Bogota, featured the one of the most developed political system in South America, second only to the Incas. During the Spanish colonization of the area, many towns were founded including, Cali, Santa Marta, Cartagena and Bogota. Simon Bolivar lead the fight for independence from Spain and finally won in 1819 and formed the Republic of Colombia. La Violencia would become a defining moment in Colombian history and the beginning of an era of violence. In the 1980s, Pablo Escabar took advantage of warring factions and the world-wide demand for cocaine to make Colombia the largest producer and exporter of cocaine in the world, all the while leaving behind a trail of broken cities, bloodied people, and an aggravated civil war. Since the 2000, Colombia has begun a radical transformation, some dictated by an iron fist and other changes.
In a land rich in music, coffee, friendships, and diversity it’s hard to be bored. Colombian culture is rich and influenced by various peoples. Family is of the utmost importance to most Colombians and a defining facet of the culture, you’ll be welcomed to dinner with open arms. The cuisine varies by region, from Antioquia’s famed Bandeja Paisa, to ajiaco – a hearty chicken soup – in Bogota and the freshest fish on the Caribbean, but you’ll never be short on snacks or hearty meals. Don’t miss the often political, but always thought-provoking graffiti in major cities because a lot of the artists are now being commissioned by the local governments to create murals that showcase different parts of the culture.