Colombia is a country in northern South America. It borders both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, and on the mainland it is surrounded by Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. The country's name derives from the famous explorer Christopher Columbus. In Colombia you'll find steep Andean peaks, unspoiled shores of the Caribbean Sea, mysterious Amazonian forests, mystic ruins and colonial towns with cobblestone streets. In short, the country offers everything that makes South America so tempting, and much more... Colombia's position on the equator results in a variety of different landscapes, as found only in a few countries. A small change in altitude may give you a huge change in scenery, climate or vegetation: from the blazing sun of Caribbean beaches to the peaks of the Andes until the green mountains of the Coffee Axis.
Bogotá is the capital as well as the economic and cultural center of Colombia. The city, with its almost 10 million inhabitants, is located in a fertile plateau of the Andes, the Sabana de Bogotá, 2,6 40 meters above sea level at the foot of the two Cordillera mountains Guadalupe (3,317 meters) and Monserrate (3,152 meters). Bogotá offers about 58 museums and 62 galleries. In addition to the National Museum and the Museo de Arte Colonial, the Gold Museum, opened in 1938, is one of the most important museums of the city. It houses 38,000 exhibits of the world's most important collection of pre-Columbian gold works of art. Another highlight of Bogota is the Botero Museum where you can see the works of Colombia's most famous artist, Fernando Botero, who is famous for his paintings and sculptures with an exaggerated and disproportionate volumetry. Moreover, the museum exposes several works of Picasso, Chagall, Monet and Dalí. All in all Bogota is a vibrant capital with an extraordinary cultural diversity and constant activity.
Villa de Leyva
The lovely colonial town of Villa de Leyva is built at an altitude of 2140m. It is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Colombia as it enchants visitors by its typical white buildings, wooden doors and its Hispanic charm. Villa de Leyva also has the largest cobbled square of South America. The huge main square measures 14,000 square meters. At the time of the reconquest it was used as execution area to behead the freedom fighters. Today, the space is used for festivals and competitions. Near Villa de Leyva you can find the El Fósil Museum where you can see an impressive skeleton of an extinct marine reptile that lived during the Cretaceous period. The skeleton is unusually well preserved which makes it an attractive tourist magnet.
The Cocora Valley is a valley in the department of Quindío, about 180km west from the capital Bogota within the Central Cordillera of the Andean mountains. The "Valle de Cocora" is known for its 60m-high wax palm trees that can be found here. This wax palm was declared the national tree of Colombia and is moreover considered to be the highest palm on earth. The Cocora Valley forms part of the National Park Los Nevados, which is crossed by the snow-capped Andes. Many beautiful little villages can be found in the valley, such as Filandia or Salento, that are characterized by their narrow alleys and the bahareque architecture of the typical "Paisa" towns in the Colombian coffee region.
After Bogota, Medellin is the second most important city in Colombia that attracts tourists by its year-round spring-like weather, and its gorgeous flowers and mountains. Over the last decades Medellin gained economic importance due to the steadily growing demand for Colombian Coffee. In Medellin you can find a lively mixture of different cultures and styles to be found in arts, architecture, people and food. The main sights in the historical city center are the Basílica of Candelaria, La Gorda, the Cathedral Metropolitana and the Plaza Botero, a square full of sculptures donated by the famous Colombian artist.
The coffee zone of Colombia, also called Triángulo del Café (Coffee Triangle), is located in the heart of the Andean highlands, about 250 km west of Bogota. It consists of the three provinces Caldas, Quindio and Risaralda with their capitals Manizales, Pereira and Armenia. All three cities have their own airports and are modern city centers which are perfect for strolling. The region owes its name to the cultivation and production of coffee, which is known all over the world and that is a key factor of the Colombian economy. A lot of Coffee Haciendas are located here that produce the world famous Highland Coffee, regarded as one of the best in the world due to its balanced taste.
Cartagena is a city in northern Colombia directly on the Caribbean coast. It is the capital of the department of Bolívar and counts 952 036 inhabitants. The name of the city comes from the Spanish city of Cartagena. When visitors enter the walled old town of Cartagena through the official entrance, the Puerta del Reloj (clock gate), they are suddenly transported back by 400 years. When you stroll leisurely through the streets you can admire the pastel-colored balconies of the bougainvilleas and the charming streets, which are filled with beautiful churches, historic buildings and inviting food stalls offering Spanish-themed courses. The old historical center forms its own vibrant city in which much still looks like centuries ago.