Colombia is a country of laid back, happy people, beautiful and diverse nature and fascinating and exotic wildlife. While it is usually associated with negative stries in the media centred on the drug trade, there are certainly plenty of reasons to visit Colombia.
Here we present you with 19 interesting facts about Colombia together with further links to accessible adventures, mountains and ranges in this spectacular South American country. We hope you are inspired to find places to go and things to do...
1. Columbia has five geographical regions: the Andean mountains, the Pacific Ocean region, the Caribbean Sea coastal region, the plains, or so-called Llianos, and the Amazon Rainforest.
2. Colombia is the only country in South America that coasts both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans.
3. The Andes mountain range consists of two chains: the Western mountain range and the Central mountain range. The so-called Pacific Belt of Fire located in the Central mountain range is a place where you can find a great number of volcanoes, including The Galeras volcano, the Nevado del Ruiz, that have been active in the recent years.
4. The highest mountain in Colombia is the Pico Cristobal Colon with an altitude of 5,775 m (18,950 ft). The second loftiest mountain in the country is no more than 1 m (3 ft) lower – the Pico Simon Bolivar (5,774 m / 18,497 ft).
5. The legendary city made out of gold – the El Dorado, is actually a mythical city in ancient Colombia. Spanish conquistadors were looking for this city for years, yet the only thing they found out is that there is no golden city, only the tradition of a king covered in gold dust jumping in the river to honor the gods.
6. Colombia is a country that comes second on the list of countries that have most national holidays. The only country to exceed Colombia is India, with 21 days, while Colombia has 18 national holiday days every year.
7. Colombia is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world, well, in fact, the only more biodiverse country is considered to be Brazil, which is completely understandable as it is 10 times Colombia‘s size. One of the facts that prove this is that one out of every five butterfly species in found in this country.
8. It is nothing to be proud of, but Colombia has a name of the country of drugs. One of the most famous drug dealers of all times – Pablo Escobar was Colombian. What is little less known fact about Pablo Escobar is that he actually had been elected as the government official, and even after that did not quite work out, he remained very influential in a country. In fact, he was so influential that he got himself a deal to serve time in his own built prison that was watched by guards of his own choosing.
9. The Colombian Andes would not be the same without its valleys. There are three major valleys: the Cauca River valley, between the Western and the Central mountain ranges, the Magdalena River valley which lies between the Central and the Eastern mountain ranges and the Atrato River valley which is located between the Western and the Pacific mountain ranges.
10. Even though Colombia has a rich history, it has not always been an independent country. At the beginning, it was the Viceroyalty of New Granada, which pretty soon declared independence and became the Republic of Colombia. After that its international status kept changing, it had been called Nueva Granada, the United States of Colombia, until 1886 when the Republic of Colombia came into being again.
11. The second highest coastal mountain range on planet Earth is located in Colombia and that is the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. The mountain range reaches the altitude of 5,700 m (18,700 ft) no more than just 42 km (26 mi) from the Caribbean coast. The only mountain range to top the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is the Saint Elias Mountains in Canada.
12. The Ring Fire is not only the Johnny Cash song but also a region that goes along the basin of the Pacific Ocean and is known for the high risk of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Colombia is located within the territory of the Ring of Fire making it vulnerable to these natural horrors.
13. One of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in modern history occurred in Colombia after the Nevado del Ruiz erupted in 1985. The volcanic eruption known as the Armero tragedy resulted in over 23,000 deaths, including more than 20,000 of Armeros total 29,000 inhabitants.
14. The majority of non-Spanish speakers are mistaken in pronouncing the name of the country as Col-u-mbia. In fact, the correct pronunciation is Col-o-mbia.
15. As it was already stated before Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, this is mainly due to the fact that the Amazon region lies to the south of the country. It covers an area of 403,348 sq km (155,733 sq mi), that includes such national parks as the Amacayacu, the Cahuinari Park, and the Nukak Nature Preserve, which are perfect to go out and experience the Amazonian rainforest.
16. Nevado del Ruiz is the highest volcano in Colombia, it takes up the land of more than 200 sq km (70 sq mi). The most prominent peak reaches an altitude of 5,311 m (17,424 ft), while the crater of the volcano is 1 km (0,6 mi) wide and 240 m (787 ft) deep.
17. The national tree of Colombia is the Quindío wax palm and there is no better place to see it than in the highlight of the Los Nevados National park - the Cocora valley. The valley is a beautiful location to hike and admire these tall palm trees as well as enjoy other flora and fauna.
18. In the province of Serrania de la Macarena, you can find the Crystal Channel – the marvelous “River of Five Colors”. Through the clear water, you can see quartzite rocks that formed approximately 1,2 billion years ago appearing in yellow, green, blue, black and especially red colors.
19. Colombia is located on the equator, as the result, it has no seasons. On the other hand, the temperature varies in different parts of the country because of altitude difference, so while it is quite cool in Bogota, which is the fourth highest capital city in the world (2625 m / 8,612 ft), it is nice and hot on the beaches.
ADVENTURES IN Colombia
MOUNTAINS & RANGES
- The Andes