Colombia

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About

Carnival Parade in Barranquilla

  • The capital of Colombia is Bogotá
  • Colombia is located in the northwestern corner of South America
  • It is located alongside the Caribbean Sea between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the Pacific Ocean between Panama and Ecuador.
  • The country was named in honor of Christopher Columbus, following the Italian version of his name, Cristoforo Colombo. Although Columbus never actually set foot on the current Colombian territory, in his fourth voyage he visited Panama, which was part of Colombia until 1903.
  • Colombia is divided into 4 regions: the central highlands, the Caribbean lowlands, the Pacific lowlands, and Eastern Colombia (east of the Andes Mountains).
  • One important feature of Colombia is the 3 chains of high mountains (Cordilleras) that cut the country from south to northeast.
  • In Latin America, Colombia ranks fourth in overall population and tenth in population density.
  • Population distribution is highly uneven. Three-fourths of the population lives in the Central Highlands in the temperate and cool zones and the remainder in the Caribbean lowlands.
  • Colombia is a country composed primarily of young people, with 63% aged between 15 and 64 years, 32%below the age of 14, and 5%of the population older than 65.
  • Colombia produces more than 90% of the world’s emeralds; it is the second-largest South American producer of gold and the most important coal producer in Latin America.

 

HISTORY

  • Colombia became independent from Spain in 1810.
  • Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama formed the first Republic of Colombia.
  • Ecuador and Venezuela declared their independence from Colombia in 1830. And Panama declared its independence from Colombia in 1903.


FACTS

    • Bogotá is the capital city of Colombia. This city remains to be the largest and the most populated city in Colombia. The high altitude has also given it the position of the third highest major city in the world.
    • It holds a position in the 17 most mega-diverse countries seen all over the world. This is because; the Colombian territory consists of highlands as well as rainforests and tropical grasslands!
    • 12% of the world’s coffee is produced in Colombia
    • Bogotá’s airport in Colombia is the largest and also the most expensive in Latin America.
    • The residents of Colombia have suffered due to various earthquakes and volcanoes. Colombia has 15 major volcanoes and certain instabilities in the area have caused many devastating earthquakes.
    • Colombia is the world’s third-leading producer of women’s lingerie.
    • Experts believe there are 14,000 species of butterfly in the world: about 3,000 of them, or 20%, are found in Colombia.
    • Colombia has the world’s greatest diversity of orchid species (3,500) and birds (1,754 species). It is also #2 in amphibians and #3 in reptiles.
    • 95% of the world’s emeralds come from Colombia.
    • There are 80 different indigenous tribes in Colombia, and they speak 64 different languages.
    • Colombia has been to the soccer World Cup four times.
    • It is estimated that 55% of Colombia’s population lives below the poverty line.
    • Some experts estimate that Colombia can produce 545 metric tons of pure cocaine annually. The country is the world’s largest grower of the coca plant.

Avg. Costs

Cabo San Juan, Tayrona National Park

  • Large pizza 23,000 COP
  • Newspaper 1200 COP
  • Pair of jeans 55,000 COP
  • T-Shirt 45,000 COP
  • Bus ticket 1100-1500 COP
  • Meal in shopping centre/restaurant 20,000 COP
  • Meal 5 star restaurant 40,000 COP
  • Movie ticket 6500-12,000 COP
  • Coffee 800-1500 COP
  • Beer 1100-3000 COP
  • Backpackers should expect to shell out 15-25 US per day on average

 

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Currency

Information is coming soon.

Safety

Las Lajas Church

  • Colombia has suffered from a terrible reputation as a dangerous and violent country but the situation has since improved a lot in recent times. In the last five years safety has improved significantly and Colombia no longer has the highest rate of kidnappings in the world.
  • As of 2010 Colombia has the second highest amount of landmines in the world, only Afghanistan has more. Therefore it is appropriate to not walk around in the countryside without consulting locals first.
  • Although crime rates have significantly reduced, major urban centers and the countryside in Colombia still has very high crime rates, and crime has increased dramatically in 2009 and 2010 compared to earlier years. If you just take common travel precautions you should be fine.

 

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Climate

  • The climate is tropical along the coast and eastern plains, and cold in the highlands.
  • Colombia is an equatorial country, so there are no seasons, what Colombians normally refer to as winter is the rainy season.
  • Cities such as Bogotá, Tunja, and Pasto have been known to reach temperatures below 0°C
    .
  • Cities along the Atlantic coast such as Cartagena, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, are hot and humid, while some cities at mid-altitude in the Andes have continuous spring weather.

Places to See

Cocora Valley

San Agustin Statues

  • 500 mysterious pre-Colombian stone statues and tombs located in one of South America’s most fascinating archaeological sites, San Augustín.
  • It is the largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures on the continent.

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Nevado Del Ruiz

  • Climb the snow-capped Nevado del Ruiz: the 5,400m (17,717ft) peak is one of five permanently white-tipped volcanoes in Los Nevados National Park.
  • Guided treks are available from Manizales.

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Zipaquirá

  • Travel to Zipaquirá and enter the famous Salt Cathedral, an underground church built within a salt mine, in the body of a mountain.

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Tayrona National Park

  • The popular Tayrona Park lies at the Caribbean coast near Santa Marta in Colombia.
  • It has some of South America’s loveliest coastline.
  • Located about 30 minutes from the city of Rodadero, with beautiful beaches, hammocks to rent for the night, food, water and surf.
  • Additionally, you can get a guide to take you to a native village in the nearby mountains.

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Etiquette

Country Customary Information:
• If you are 18 years or older you may bring the following into Colombia
– 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars – 500g of tobacco
– 2 bottles of an alcoholic beverage
– Reasonable quantity of perfume

Communication Etiquette:
• Upon first meeting men will shake hands with direct eye contact
– Use the approiate greeting for the day in Spanish
– Buenos dias (good day)
– Buenas tardes (Good Afternoon)
– Buenas noches (Good Evening)
• Always refer to people by the appropriate honorific titles and surnames
• Men should wait for women to extend their hand
• It is polite to leave a small amount of food on your plate
• Don’t use a toothpick at the table

Business Etiquette:
• There may be an agenda, meetings do not always stay on path
• Colombians value relationships
• Spend time establishing trust between each other for first few meetings
• Can be very indirect – more information comes through their body language
– They do this to save the relationship and to save face
• Avoid confrontation at all costs
• Can be classified as a hierarchical society
• Treat business cards with respect

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