Just as Colombia is re-emerging as a tourism destination, its capital of Bogotá is also on the cusp of a new era, rich with history, culture and the excitement and promise of rebirth.
The fourth largest country in South America, Colombia is home to one of the most ethnically diverse cultures in the Western hemisphere, thanks to its 85 different ethnic groups. It’s also geographically diverse, bordering two major bodies of water (the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea) and containing 10% of the Amazon Rainforest. It’s known worldwide for its coffee beans, soccer fanatics, emerald supply and, unfortunately, troubled past. Political unrest, civil conflict and a world-renowned drug trade have left many fearful of Colombia, but it’s re-emerging as a popular and, yes, safe destination.
However, that being said, some countries, including Canada and the U.K., have issued travel advisories warning against non-essential travels to certain areas of Colombia. Monitor the situation before you travel and note any areas recommended as off-limits.
Language: Spanish and English
Government: Presidential Representative Democratic Republic
Did you know?
- 75% of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia.
- Colombia is the second largest exporter of freshly cut flowers in the world.
- Colombia is the size of Portugal, Spain, and France combined.
- Weightlifter Maria Isabel Urrutia, winner of the country’s only Olympic gold medal, is now an elected member of the House of Representatives in Colombia.
The variations of elevation make the climate of Colombia as diverse as its population. In the warmest portions of the country, however, the climate ranges between 24°C and 38°C. The colder portions, in higher elevations, typically range from 10°C to 19°C, rarely dipping below 2°C or 3°C.
- Dry months–December, January, February, March, July and August.
- Wet months–April, May, June, September, October and November
Colombia was originally inhabited by indigenous people, including the Muiscas and other tribes, and was discovered by the Spanish in 1499. Alonso de Ojeda, an explorer associated with Christopher Columbus (for whom the country is named), was the first European to set foot on the land. Until the mid 19th century, the region, which also comprised modern-day Venezuela, Ecuador, parts of Brazil and Panama, was known as New Granada. Colombia won its independence in 1819, but it wasn’t until 1886 that the country finally became a republic as we know it to be today.
The Amazon Rainforest is an absolute must when visiting any country in the northern half of South America. The rainforest contains over 50% of the world’s animal and plant species, and those who visit will witness the sights and sounds of one of the lushest regions in the world.
Colonial, historic and vibrant, the city of Cartagena should be on the itinerary of any Colombia traveller. With historic buildings, beautiful beaches, family activities and an active nightlife, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this essential destination.
BOGOTA GOLD MUSEUM
The story of the golden city of El Dorado may be just a legend, but a visit to the Gold Museum in Bogota will give you the next-best-thing experience. Started by the Banco de la Republica in the mid 20th century, the museum houses the largest exhibition of pre-historic gold in the world.
Take a virtual six-day trek through the remote Sierra Nevada del Cocuy Range in Colombia via these spectacular photos.
Taking a trip to South America? If so, you’ll want to check our round-up of the cheapest airports to fly into–so you can save your money for once you’re back on the ground.
Thirsty? If you’re in South America, opt for one of these authentic national drinks that will give you the true tastes of their home countries.
Looking to learn Spanish abroad? Our picks for the top destinations to practice your skills will have you booking a flight and perfecting your español in no time.
While most visitors head to Colombia’s major cities, Jasmine Stephenson finds a warm welcome and great beauty in the country’s small towns, known as pueblos.