Population: 48 million (2019 estimate)
Religion: Catholic (70%)
Order of Visit: 71
First Visit: 10 August 2019
Last Visit: 25 August 2019
Duration: 16 Days
Must Do: A coffee farm experience, Cocora Valley, Rock of Guatape, Rosario National Park, Tayrona National Park, Medellin Comuna 13 visit
Cities: Tayrona, Santa Marta, Taganga, Minca, Cartagena, Medellin, Guatape, Salento, Armenia, Bogota
Colombia is ethnically diverse, with its rich cultural heritage reflecting influences by various Amerindian civilizations, European settlement, forced African labour, and immigration from Europe and the greater Middle East. Urban centres are concentrated in the highlands and the Caribbean coast.
The first European interactions occurred in 1499. The area of Colombia was established by Spanish after succession finally succeeded Simon Bolivar help found and become President of the Republic of Colombia, which was organised as a union of the current territories of Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, parts of Guyana, and Brazil. This republic eventually broke up in 1830 more or less establishing the current country of Colombia as we know it.
On Colombia’s east coast is the Caribbean Sea and on the west coast is the Pacific Ocean. Panama, which I visited in 2013 (50th country visited), seceded from Colombia in 1903 with the help of the United States of America. Colombia’s neighbouring countries are Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Panama.
Colombia is mostly warm topical climate but surprisingly the elevated capital is at best mild but more often cold. Colombia has an often violent past in particular the turbulent period of the 1940s and the 1950s and once again in the 1990s. More recently the Government managed to sign a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s Army (FARC) rebels that was the most part as ended the conflict.
In the chaos of these violent political conflicts come the rise of the drug cartels and in particular the infamous Pablo Escobar who was based in Medellin while leading a global empire. Medellín, which was once known as the most dangerous city in the world, is now an amazing place and also a very rare to see significant money being spent on improving the mobility and access for services to the poorest citizens (without moving these people on) and the stunning positive changes this has lead to including the peace it has encouraged.
Colombia is also well known for its coffee exports. Another popular aspect of the country is the Caribbean coast which most people access from Cartagena. I got to experience both the coffee regions and the Caribbean Sea which are must do experiences. Add in walking tour of Medellin Comuna 13 and a day hike along the coast in the Tayrona National Park and you have a great experience.