Colombia Travel Facts

By | March 30, 2022

Located on the northern coast of the South American continent, Colombia is the second largest country in South America. The country borders on Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador, among others, and is home to the highest coastal mountain range on earth: the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Although for decades marked by armed conflicts and drug wars, the country is still worth an exciting trip today.

Capital City Bogota, DC
Size 1,138,910 km²
Resident 48,258,494
Official Language Spanish
Currency Colombian peso
Time Zone UTC-5
Telephone Area Code +57

Source: Destination Explorer

Fast facts to know

  • Colombia is home to about 10% of all plant and animal species on our planet.
  • Public holidays in Colombia are usually postponed to the Monday after the weekend.
  • On Sundays and public holidays, many streets in Bogotá and other cities are closed to cars in favor of cyclists.
  • Colombia is the second largest producer of cut flowers in the world.
  • 98% of the population lives in the northwest, but large parts of Colombia are uninhabited.
  • Colombia is the country with the most kidnappings and murders in the world. Nevertheless, the country is now largely considered a safe travel destination with the usual level of crime.
  • The cocaine trade is still thriving in Colombia.
  • Although Colombia is named after Christopher Columbus, he never even set foot in the country.
  • All radio and television stations play the national anthem twice a day.
  • Colombians like to party and know how to enjoy life – despite widespread poverty.
  • Some species of ants are sold fried as street snacks.
  • The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the highest coastal mountain range in the world.
  • The isolated Pacific coastal region of Chocó is among the wettest regions in the world.
  • Spanish is spoken almost everywhere.
  • There are pink dolphins in Colombia.
  • 50% of Colombia is covered with jungle.
  • Vaccinations against typhus, meningitis, hepatitis B are recommended, malaria and the circadian virus also pose a health risk.
  • Colombia is one of the more advanced countries in South America.
  • Colombia is known for its excellent coffee and is one of the largest exporters in the world.
  • Entry is possible without a visa.

Exciting cities in Colombia

  • Bogota
  • Cartagena
  • Barichara village
  • Medellin
  • Village of Villa de Leyva
  • Cali
  • Armenia
  • Santa Martha

History of Colombia

  • As early as 4,000 B.C. settled by Indian high cultures.
  • 1499 Discovery for Europe by Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci and beginning of the colonial period, mainly under the rule of the Spaniards.
  • 17th Century: 80 percent of the world’s gold production comes from Colombia.
  • Many Indians die in the mines and from European diseases that were brought in, and then more and more African slaves are brought into the mines.
  • 1717 Viceroyalty of New Granada constituted with Bogotá as capital (includes present-day countries of Colombia, Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador).
  • 1830 Ecuador and Venezuela declared their independence. Panama and Colombia form New Granada.
  • 1863 United States of Colombia.
  • 1886 Republic of Colombia becomes Latin America’s first democracy.
  • 1900-1950 economic heyday mainly due to the export of coffee.
  • 1946 Civil war spreads.
  • 1953-1957 military dictatorship.
  • 1957 Women’s suffrage is introduced.
  • From 1974 Liberal election victory, drug mafia gaining strength and violent excesses in fights “left against right”.
  • 2016/17 peace negotiations with the leftist guerrilla movement FARC.

Climate & travel weather in Colombia

  • Tropical climate with different characteristics depending on the altitude.
  • average temperatures:
    • Flatland 24° C.
    • 1000-2000m: 17-24°C.
    • 2000-3000m: 12-17°C.
    • above 3,000 m: below 12° C.
  • 2 dry seasons (Dec-Mar / July-Aug) and 2 rainy seasons (April-June / Oct-Nov).
  • Most rain falls in the west, with little rainfall on the Caribbean coast.
  • Recommended travel time:
    • Bogota & Caribbean Coast: all year round.
    • The rest: make better use of dry times.

Ideas for trips in Colombia

  • Old town of Cartagena
  • Jungle Tour to Ciudad Perdida
  • Carnaval de Barranquilla
  • Trekking in El Cocuy
  • Visit to a coffee finca in the Zona Cafetera
  • Statues of San Agustin
  • Whale Watching on the Pacific Coast
  • Diver’s paradise Providencia

Eating & Drinking in Colombia

  • Street food is very popular.
  • Ingredients usually very fresh.
  • There is a lot of frying.
  • National dish Empanadas and Arepas.
  • Fruit and vegetables dominate.
  • Meat is usually grilled.
  • Lemonade is often made from limes.
  • Corn flat cakes are often served as a substitute for bread.
  • Fish & seafood popular in coastal regions.
  • Potatoes have their origins in Colombia and are accordingly varied and often processed.
  • Desserts rather rare.
  • Famous for its coffee.
  • Also delicious: drinking chocolate, often served with a slice of cheese.
  • Colombian national drink is the “Aguardiente”, a sugar cane liquor.
  • There are also good beers, wines are not so good.
  • Fruit juices tasty and widespread.
  • Be careful with drinking water, cooking & peeling is a must.
  • Typical dishes:
    • Churros.
    • Buñuelos.
    • Tamales (banana leaf stuffed with rice, vegetables and pork).
    • Empanadas (meat or cheese filled tamales).
    • Comida Corriente (beef or chicken plus vegetable side dish).
    • Sancacho (plantain and ground crop soup).
    • Bandeja Paisa (meat dish with cassava).
    • Sobrebarriga (baked or fried beef belly).
    • Lechona (gratinated or stuffed pork belly).
    • Ajiaco Santaferena (chicken stew with various other ingredients).

Particularly scenic

  • Tayrona Caribbean National Park
  • Tatacoa desert
  • Beaches in the Parque Nacional Natural
  • Amazon and Caño Cristales
  • Canyon de Rio Claro
  • Desierto de la Tatacoa
  • Rainforest Choco
  • Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta

Colombia Travel Facts