Brief History of Colombia

Colombia’s history is a complex tapestry of indigenous civilizations, colonial exploitation, and struggles for independence and stability. Before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the region was home to advanced pre-Columbian cultures such as the Muisca, Tayrona, and Quimbaya. In 1499, Spanish explorers led by Alonso de Ojeda and Rodrigo de Bastidas reached the Colombian coast, marking the beginning of colonization. Under Spanish rule, the land was exploited for its rich resources, primarily gold and silver, leading to the enslavement and mistreatment of indigenous populations.

On July 20, 1810, Colombia initiated its quest for independence, starting a series of battles and revolutionary movements led by figures like Simón Bolívar and Francisco de Paula Santander. On August 7, 1819, the famous Battle of Boyacá secured Colombia’s independence from Spanish rule, along with several other South American nations. The newly independent country joined forces with Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama to form the short-lived Gran Colombia, which eventually dissolved in 1831.

Throughout the 19th century, Colombia faced internal strife and territorial disputes, culminating in the War of a Thousand Days (1899-1902), a bloody civil conflict that further destabilized the nation. The early 20th century saw increased foreign intervention and exploitation, particularly by the United States in pursuit of its economic interests.

In the latter half of the 20th century, Colombia confronted a period of intense violence with the rise of drug cartels, guerrilla movements like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and paramilitary groups. This conflict resulted in countless deaths, forced displacements, and human rights abuses, leaving scars on the nation’s social fabric.

In recent years, Colombia has made significant strides in establishing peace agreements and addressing social issues, although challenges persist. The peace deal with the FARC was signed in 2016, leading to the group’s demobilization and transformation into a political party. However, other armed groups and organized crime still pose threats, and issues like inequality, corruption, and drug trafficking continue to be obstacles to the nation’s progress.

Despite its tumultuous history, Colombia boasts rich cultural diversity, breathtaking landscapes, and a resilient spirit among its people, offering hope for a brighter and more stable future.

About Colombia

Country Code: +57.

Crime: Crime in Colombia has been a longstanding issue, influenced by a combination of factors such as its history of conflict, drug trafficking, poverty, and social inequality. For much of the late 20th century and early 21st century, the country struggled with high crime rates, particularly related to violent crimes like homicide, kidnapping, and extortion.

One of the most significant contributors to crime in Colombia has been the presence of drug cartels and illegal drug trade. Colombia has been a major producer and exporter of cocaine, which fueled violent conflicts between rival cartels and guerrilla groups vying for control of drug trafficking routes and territories. The Medellín and Cali cartels, in particular, were notorious for their violent tactics and influence on the country’s criminal landscape.

During this period, Colombia also faced a protracted armed conflict involving guerrilla groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN). These groups engaged in kidnappings, extortion, and attacks on civilian and government targets, contributing to the overall insecurity in the country.

The government of Colombia, along with international cooperation, made significant efforts to combat crime and bring stability to the nation. The introduction of Plan Colombia in the late 1990s, which received considerable financial aid from the United States, aimed to counter drug trafficking and strengthen the country’s security forces.

In recent years, there have been notable improvements in Colombia’s crime rates and security situation. The peace agreement signed between the government and the FARC in 2016 led to a significant reduction in violence and the FARC’s transformation into a political party. However, challenges remain, with other armed groups, such as ELN and criminal gangs, still involved in illegal activities.

The Colombian government has also focused on social and economic development to address the root causes of crime. Initiatives to reduce poverty, improve education, and promote social inclusion have been implemented to prevent vulnerable populations from being drawn into criminal activities.

Tourism has flourished in Colombia in recent years, but travelers are still advised to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings due to some lingering risks, particularly in more remote and less developed regions. Major cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena have seen significant improvements in safety and security, but petty crimes like pickpocketing and theft can still occur.

Currency: Colombian Peso.

Electricity: Type A (2-pin flat), Type B (2-pin flat, with ground pin).

Language: Spanish.

Latitude and Longitude: 4.5709° N, 74.2973° W.

Population: 51.52 million (2021).

President: Gustavo Petro.

National Parks

Colombia is home to an impressive array of diverse landscapes and ecosystems, and its national parks showcase the country’s natural beauty and biodiversity. There are currently 59 national parks in Colombia, covering more than 11 million hectares of land.

These protected areas are vital for preserving the country’s unique flora and fauna, as well as promoting ecotourism and sustainable development.

Tayrona National Natural Park: Located on the Caribbean coast near Santa Marta, Tayrona is one of Colombia’s most famous national parks. It features stunning white sandy beaches, lush rainforests, and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains.

Visitors can hike through the jungle to reach secluded beaches like Cabo San Juan, which offers breathtaking views.

Los Nevados National Natural Park: Situated in the Central Andes, this park is characterized by snow-capped volcanoes, high-altitude wetlands, and páramo ecosystems. Los Nevados is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts, with opportunities to summit several peaks, including the iconic Nevado del Ruiz.

Cocuy National Natural Park: Located in the Eastern Andes, Cocuy is known for its stunning glaciers, crystal-clear lakes, and rugged mountain landscapes. It’s a popular destination for trekkers and mountaineers seeking adventure in a high-altitude setting.

Sierra de La Macarena National Natural Park: This park, located in the Meta Department, is famous for its unique natural wonder, Caño Cristales, often referred to as the “River of Five Colors.” The river’s bed is adorned with vibrant shades of red, yellow, green, and blue during the blooming season of aquatic plants.

Chiribiquete National Natural Park: Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chiribiquete is a vast wilderness in the Amazon rainforest. It is renowned for its striking tepuis (tabletop mountains) and rock paintings left by ancient indigenous cultures.

Gorgona National Natural Park: Situated on Gorgona Island in the Pacific Ocean, this park is a haven for marine life and provides protection for humpback whales during their migration season. It also has archaeological remains from pre-Columbian indigenous cultures.

Amacayacu National Natural Park: Located in the Amazon rainforest near Colombia’s border with Brazil, Amacayacu is known for its incredible biodiversity.

Visitors can explore its dense jungles and winding rivers, encountering a vast array of plant and animal species.

Paramillo National Natural Park: This park, located in the Cordillera Occidental, is home to the Paramillo Massif, which includes Colombia’s third-highest peak, Cristóbal Colón. It boasts a range of ecosystems, from cloud forests to páramos, providing refuge for many endangered species.

Top Tourist Attractions

Colombia has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years, offering a diverse range of attractions that cater to different interests. From stunning natural landscapes to vibrant cities and rich cultural heritage, here are some of the top tourist attractions in Colombia:

Cartagena: This coastal city on the Caribbean Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Colombia’s most iconic destinations. Known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, colorful streets, and historic fortifications, Cartagena offers a unique blend of history, culture, and beach vibes.

Medellín: Once infamous for its association with drug cartels, Medellín has undergone a remarkable transformation and is now a modern, innovative, and dynamic city. Visitors can explore its vibrant neighborhoods, visit cultural institutions like the Botero Plaza, and take in stunning views from the Metrocable.

Bogotá: As the capital and largest city of Colombia, Bogotá is a bustling metropolis with a rich cultural scene. The historic La Candelaria district is a must-visit, featuring colonial architecture, museums, and the impressive Gold Museum.

Salento and the Cocora Valley: Salento is a picturesque town in the heart of Colombia’s coffee region (Eje Cafetero). Visitors can explore the charming streets, enjoy local coffee, and venture into the nearby Cocora Valley, known for its towering wax palm trees.

San Agustín Archaeological Park: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to a remarkable collection of ancient stone sculptures and tombs dating back to pre-Columbian times. It offers a fascinating glimpse into Colombia’s indigenous history.

Ciudad Perdida (Lost City): Located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, Ciudad Perdida is an ancient archaeological site of an indigenous city, believed to have been built around 800 CE. The trek to Ciudad Perdida is a challenging but rewarding adventure for travelers interested in history and hiking.

Villa de Leyva: A beautifully preserved colonial town, Villa de Leyva is known for its cobblestone streets, white-washed buildings, and a massive main square, one of the largest in South America. It’s a great place to experience Colombian traditions and enjoy a laid-back atmosphere.

Amazon Rainforest: The Colombian Amazon offers a unique opportunity to explore one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. Visitors can embark on jungle tours, spot wildlife, and learn about the indigenous communities that call this vast rainforest home.

Caño Cristales: Located in the Sierra de La Macarena National Natural Park, Caño Cristales is often referred to as the “River of Five Colors” due to its vibrant aquatic plants. During the blooming season, the riverbed displays mesmerizing shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and black, creating a breathtaking natural spectacle.


Colombia’s weather is incredibly diverse due to its unique geographical features, including its location near the equator, its varying altitudes, and its proximity to both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. As a result, the climate in Colombia can vary significantly from region to region.

Lowland Coastal Regions: The coastal areas along the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean have a hot and humid tropical climate. Temperatures in these regions usually range from 24°C to 32°C (75°F to 90°F) throughout the year.

They experience distinct wet and dry seasons, with the wet season typically occurring from May to November. During the dry season, temperatures can be higher, and there is less rainfall.

Andean Highlands: The Andes Mountains run through Colombia, creating cooler temperatures at higher elevations. Cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali are located in the Andean region.

Due to their altitude, the climate in these cities is known as the “eternal spring,” with average temperatures ranging from 12°C to 20°C (54°F to 68°F) year-round. However, temperatures can drop significantly at night, so it’s advisable to bring layers when visiting these areas.

Amazon Rainforest: The Colombian Amazon, located in the southern part of the country, experiences a hot and humid tropical climate with consistent rainfall throughout the year. Temperatures usually range from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F), making it one of the wettest and most humid regions in Colombia.

Orinoco Plains: The eastern part of Colombia, known as the Orinoco Plains (Los Llanos), has a climate characterized by a wet season and a dry season. During the wet season (May to October), heavy rains lead to extensive flooding.

In contrast, the dry season (December to March) brings drier and hotter weather.

Pacific Rainforest: The western region of Colombia, near the Pacific Ocean, experiences heavy rainfall throughout the year. Cities like Buenaventura and Quibdó in this region are among the wettest places on Earth.

The climate is hot and extremely humid, with temperatures ranging from 22°C to 29°C (72°F to 84°F).

Desert and Peninsula: La Guajira Peninsula in the northeast of Colombia and the Tatacoa Desert in the south experience arid and semi-arid climates, with dry and warm conditions prevailing throughout much of the year. Temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F) in these regions.

Due to Colombia’s diverse weather conditions, the best time to visit depends on the specific regions you plan to explore. The dry seasons are generally the most popular times for travel, but each region has its own unique attractions and experiences to offer year-round.