Colombia is often referred to as the “Gateway to South America”. This is the only South American country whose coast is washed by the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The amazing Colombian nature, including the Amazon jungle and the Andes mountains, will surprise the most sophisticated tourists who have already visited many countries of the world. In addition, Colombia has some of the best beaches in all of Latin America. In recent years, the country’s government has made great efforts so that tourists who come there do not have to worry about their safety.
Geography of Colombia
Colombia is located in the northwest of South America. Colombia borders Panama to the northwest, Brazil and Venezuela to the east, and Peru and Ecuador to the south. In the north it is washed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Colombia consists of several islands. Total area – 1,141,748 sq. km., and the total length of the state border is 6,004 km.
In the west of Colombia there is the Andes mountain system, in the east – a plateau with savannah, in the southeast – the jungle, and low plains stretch along the coast, but there is also the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range. The highest local peak is Mount Cristobal Colon, whose height reaches 5,775 meters.
In the southeast, the Amazon River flows through the territory of Colombia, and in the east, the Orinoco River.
Capital of Colombia
According to simplyyellowpages.com, Bogota is the capital of Colombia. More than 11 million people now live in this city. Bogotá was founded by the Spaniards in 1538 on the site of a Chibcha Indian fortress.
The official language is Spanish.
About 95% of the population are Christians (of which about 90% are Catholics).
State structure of Colombia
According to diseaseslearning.com, Colombia is a presidential republic, headed by a President elected by popular vote for a term of 4 years. He is both head of state and head of government.
The bicameral Colombian parliament is called the National Congress, it consists of the Senate (102 senators) and the House of Representatives (166 deputies).
The main political parties are the Social Party of National Unity, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the National Integration Party, the Radical Change Movement.
Administratively, the country is divided into 32 departments and one metropolitan area. Departments are in turn divided into municipalities.
Climate and weather
Colombia is located almost on the equator, but due to the difference in altitude, it has four climatic zones (the main ones are subequatorial and equatorial). 83% of the country’s territory is below 1,000 meters of sea level (average air temperature +24C). 9% of the territory is located at an altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 meters above sea level (average air temperature +18C). Approximately 6% of the territory is located at an altitude of 2,000 to 3,000 meters above sea level (average air temperature + 12C).
On the Caribbean coast, the dry season is from December to March, and the rest of the time is the rainy season. There is practically no dry season on the Pacific coast.
Seas and oceans of Colombia
In the north, the country is washed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. The total length of the sea coast is 3,208 km (the Caribbean coast is 1,760 km and the Pacific coast is 1,448 km). The average annual water temperature near the shore is +26C.
Rivers and lakes
The Amazon River flows through Colombia to the southeast, the Orinoco River to the east, and the Magdalena River to the west. It is the Magdalen that is the largest river in Colombia (1,600 km).
The culture of Colombia was formed under the influence of the traditions and customs of the local Indians, as well as immigrants from Europe (Spaniards) and Africa. Thus, Colombia is a multicultural country, where each region has its own characteristics.
Therefore, we can talk about the culture of the Andes, where European influences are strong; about the culture of the Caribbean, which is a mixture of Indian and African heritage; about the culture of the Pacific coast with African roots; as well as about the culture of the Amazon basin, where the basis is the customs of the Indians.
Each Colombian region has its own grand celebrations: Carnival of Blacks y Whites in Pasto (at the beginning of the year), Manizales Fair, Barranquilla Carnival (February), Medellin Flower Fair (August) and Cuadrillas de San Martin (November).
Colombian cuisine is very diverse and varies by region. In some regions of this country, for example, they eat fried ants. In other areas of Colombia, such dishes will not even be touched.
Colombia cannot be called a paradise for vegetarians. there is a big emphasis on meat dishes. The coastal areas are dominated by fish, lobster and seafood dishes, often cooked with coconut milk sauce.
Tourists are advised to try “Ajiaco” (chicken soup with potatoes, corn, capers, avocado and sour cream), “Arepa” (cornmeal flatbread similar to pancakes), “Arroz con Coco” (rice cooked in coconut milk with water), “Changua” (creamy soup with eggs and green onions), “Frijoles con Garra” (red beans with pork), “Fritanga” (fried meat with potatoes, cassava and fried bananas), “Arroz con Coco” (coconut rice pudding ).
Traditional non-alcoholic drinks – “Aguapanela” (water with the addition of cane sugar and lime juice), fruit juices, coffee.
Traditional alcoholic drinks – Aguardiente liqueur (from sugar cane with the addition of anise, strength – 29 percent), Canelazo (Aguapanela or fruit juice mixed with cinnamon), Chicha (fermented drink with rice, milk and sugar).
On the territory of modern Colombia, you can still find historical monuments of the mysterious and powerful civilizations of the Andean Indians. Tourists are advised to visit the archaeological parks of San Agustin and Tierradentro. Ancient Indian necropolises have been discovered in these archaeological parks.
We also recommend visiting the ancient Spanish cities, which have preserved magnificent monuments of medieval Spanish architecture to this day. These are, first of all, the cities of Tunja (founded by the Spaniards in 1539), Villa de Leyva (1572) and Santa Cruz de Mompox (1540).
Colombia has many national parks and reserves where you can meet amazing exotic animals and birds. First of all, these are the National Parks of Sierra Macarena, Chiribikete, Tayrona, Paramillo, Farallones de Cali, Ensenada de Utra and Gorgona Island National Park. According to official data, by the way, more than 1.7 thousand species of birds live in Colombia.
Cities and resorts
The largest cities are Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Cucuta and Bucaramanga.
On the Caribbean coast of Colombia there are several large seaside resorts – Cartagena, Santa Marta, Barranquilla. Near the coast are the islands of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, which are visited by a large number of tourists for their magnificent white sand beaches and beautiful coral reefs. All these beach resorts have a well-developed recreational infrastructure with clubs, restaurants, shops and hotels.
As for the coast of the Pacific Ocean in the west of the country, it is still little developed by tourists. However, its potential is great, given that the beaches there are no worse than those on the Caribbean coast. In addition, there are many beautiful lagoons and islands. But it often rains there.
Tourists in Colombia are offered very interesting excursions, during which you can get acquainted with the life of local Indians, or, for example, visit the homeland of the famous Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Crafts (ceramics, baskets, leather goods), Indian clothes, hammocks, wool blankets, Mochila bags (they are preferred by Colombian students), Molas wall carpets, bags, belts, wallets are usually brought from Colombia as souvenirs., jewelry, traditional Colombian sombreros, coffee.
Ukrainians need to apply for a visa to visit Colombia.
The Colombian peso is the official currency in Colombia. Its international designation is COP. One Colombian peso = 100 centavos. Credit cards are accepted by hotels, prestigious restaurants and shops.
Foreign and local currency can be imported and exported without restrictions, but amounts over $10,000 must be declared.
It is forbidden to import firearms and ammunition without special permission from the police. You can not import vegetables, plants, meat and products of animal origin. When carrying cats and dogs, they must have an international veterinary certificate. The following breeds of dogs are prohibited: Staffordshire Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier.
You can not export archeological, antiquities and art objects. It is also forbidden to export the skins of wild animals from the country.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
Consulate of Colombia in Ukraine:
Index: 01001, Kiev, Khreshchatyk St., 50 V
T: (044) 234-10-63
The interests of Colombia in Ukraine are represented by the Embassy of Colombia in Poland:
03-936, Warsaw, Zvicenzcuw st., 29
Т: (00 22) 617-09-73
112 – Emergencies
119 – Fire brigade
125 – Ambulance
156 – Police
Behind Kyiv for 8 hours. Those. if, for example, in Kyiv 13:00, then in Bogota – 05:00.
Tipping in Colombia is optional, but always welcome. In restaurants, they usually leave 10% of the bill for “tea”. Taxi drivers do not expect tips – they work according to the meter (only on Christmas and New Year, taxi drivers are given a tip). In hotels, they give small tips to the porter, concierge, maid.
Before traveling to this country, doctors recommend making preventive vaccinations against malaria, typhoid, yellow fever and hepatitis A.
The crime rate in Colombia is high, but for many tourists this is not an obstacle. Indeed, if you follow reasonable security measures, then a trip to this country will pass without problems.