Facts about Colombia

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Colombia street scene
Colombia is a megadiverse country.
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Explore Colombia virtually with these facts about the country.

Capture the true spirit of the country with these interesting facts about Colombia. Did you know, for example, that the official name of this country is "The Republic of Colombia" and that Columbia is a constitutional republic? It's capital is Bogotá D.C.

Below are some facts about Colombia that will help with all your trivial pursuits.

Facts About Colombia

  • Colombia is located in northwestern South America.
  • It is bordered by the Caribbean Sea, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil.
  • It is the second-largest country in South America. The largest is Brazil.
  • Along with the neighboring countries of Ecuador and Venezuela, Colombia emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830.
  • There are more than 43 million people living in Colombia. Most of them speak Spanish, the official language. Only Mexico and Spain have more Spanish-speaking citizens than Colombia. Colombia's population is ethnically diverse.
  • The two leading political parties are Liberal Party and Conservative Party. Other major parties include: Alternative Democratic Pole or PDA, Radical Change or CR, and Social National Unity Party or U Party.
  • Colombia is one of only 17 "megadiverse" countries, which means it is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. The country encompasses Andes Mountains, Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, tropical grasslands and Amazon rainforest.
  • CIA World Fact Book indicates Colombia is the "world's leading coca cultivator," acting as supplier for nearly all cocaine traffic in the U.S. and internationally.
  • Colombia has the fourth-largest economy in Latin America.
  • The elected President acts as both Chief of State and Head of Government. There is also a vice president, cabinet, senate, house of representatives and a judicial branch.

Tourist Sites and Major Attractions

More than 2.5 million tourists visit Colombia annually. Your Colombia tour should include visits to well-known attractions that pertain to important historical and cultural facts about Columbia, such as:

  • Cartagena - Featuring a walled historic city and beaches, Cartagena is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within Colombia.
  • Arrecifes Beach - This natural area is a major eco-tourism attraction.
  • Bogotá D.C. - The capitol building and the city itself are key Colombian attractions.
  • Famous cathedrals, such as Las Lajas and the Salt Cathedral.
  • Festivals - Medellin's Festival of the Flowers, Barranquilla Carnival, Carnival of Blacks and Whites, Ibero-American Theater Festival

History of Armed Conflict

One of the facts about Colombia is that the country has a history of armed conflict and violence. Since the 1960's, conflicts have arisen between right-wing paramilitary groups, government forces and left-wing forces. Conflicts are usually attributed to the strong cocaine trade in the country. In recent years, this conflict has subsided somewhat and encountering armed guerrilla groups is no longer as common as it once was. The homicide rate decreased substantially since 2002, although tension between the above forces remains.

The CIA World Fact Book names Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as one of the largest "anti-government insurgent groups" in Colombia. The National Liberation Party or ELN is the second-largest "insurgent group." In 2007, there were estimated to be between 1.8-3.5 million "internationally displaced persons" from Colombia living in other countries, mostly attributed to unrest at home. Improvements in security were recognized in 2008 by British Foreign Office travel advisories. Cruise ships now make stops in Cartagena and Santa Marta. However, some attacks against civilians are still reported.


If you travel to Colombia, you will most likely arrive and depart at the El Dorado International Airport, in Bogotá. It is serviced by major and smaller airlines. The country has a well-developed road system. The Pan-American Highway connects Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.


National Geographic Colombia Guide
CIA World Fact Book: Colombia

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