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Colombia

Background

Colombia

Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A four-decade long conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups, principally the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) heavily funded by the drug trade, escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large areas of the countryside are under guerrilla influence or are contested by security forces. More than 31,000 former paramilitaries had demobilized by the end of 2006 and the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) as a formal organization had ceased to function. In the wake of the paramilitary demobilization, emerging criminal groups arose, whose members include some former paramilitaries. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its administrative departments. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders. In January 2011, Colombia assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-12 term.

About

WARNING: Travel in Colombia outside metropolitan areas, especially in the south, is considered dangerous. Guerrilla movements including FARC and ELN guerrillas are still operational in 30 out of the 32 departments of the country, and especially in rural areas of the south, southwest, southeast and northwest. Jungle regions near the Ecuadorian, Peruvian, Brazilian and Venezuelan borders are also base areas for guerrillas. These groups frequently target locals and occasionally foreign visitors, sometimes for attacks but especially for kidnapping. In November of 2010 The U.S. State Department, U.K. Foreign Office and the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have renewed their annual travel advisory for Colombia, and continue to recommend against all non-essential travel to large swaths of the country. According to the U.S. state department there is also an increase in crime, kidnappings and "terrorist activity" in urban centers. See also the Stay safe section of this article and War zone safety.

Colombia is the only country in South America with coastlines on both the North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Lying to the south of Panama, Colombia controls the land access between Central and South America. With Panama to the north, Colombia is surrounded by Venezuela to the east, Brazil to the southeast, and Ecuador and Peru to the south west. The country was named in honor of Christopher Columbus, following the Italian version of his name (Cristoforo Colombo). Although Columbus never actually set foot on the current Colombian territory, in his fourth voyage he visited Panama, which was part of Colombia until 1903.

Read more about Colombia in our Colombia travel guide »

A travel warning has been issued for Colombia

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Featured journals from

Colombia

One Lucky Lady off to see the World!

by Natreadtravels

Let the Adventure begin.............thank you Edwina and Cruise Portfolio for allowing me this wonderful opportunity.

Mar 2014 - Jun 2014  »  United Kingdom | Vietnam | Chile | Argentina | Bolivia | Colombia | Peru

Featured hotels in

Colombia

ColombiaWyndham Garden Villavicencio 

Kilometro 3 5 Via Quisqueya
Vereda Brisas de Upin
Restrepo 500001
Colombia

Price (US$): $192 - $281 / night

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Location. Located in Restrepo, Wyndham Garden Villavicencio is in a rural location. Hotel Features. Dining options at Wyndham Garden Villavicencio include 3 restaurants. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Recreational amenities include 3 outdoor swimming pools. Also located on site are a golf course, outdoor tennis courts, and a sauna. This 4.5 star property has a business center and offers small meeting rooms. Complimentary wireless Internet access is… more »

ColombiaInterContinental Cali 

Avenida Colombia No 272
Cali 7457
Colombia

Price (US$): $111 - $197 / night

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Location. InterContinental Cali is a business friendly hotel located in central Cali, close to San Antonio Church, Plaza de Caicedo, and Cali Cathedral. Additional points of interest include Iglesia de la Ermita and Dog Park. Hotel Features. InterContinental Cali features a restaurant and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves a complimentary breakfast. Recreational amenities include an outdoor pool, an indoor pool, a spa tub, a sauna, and a fitness facility… more »

ColombiaHotel Charleston Bogota 

Carrera 13 No 85-46
Bogota 46
Colombia

Price (US$): $279 - $329 / night

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Location. Hotel Charleston Bogota is a business friendly hotel located in Bogota's Zona T neighborhood, close to Virrey Park, Nemesio Camacho Stadium, and National University of Colombia. Additional points of interest include Andino Commercial Center and Park 93. Hotel Features. Dining options at Hotel Charleston Bogota include a restaurant and a coffee shop/café. A beach bar and a bar/lounge are open for drinks. Room service is available during limited hours. The hotel serves full… more »

ColombiaHotel Spiwak Chipichape Cali - A Preferred Hotel 

Av 6D 36 Norte 18
Cali
Colombia

Price (US$): $119 - $159 / night

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Location. Hotel Spiwak Chipichape Cali A Preferred Hotel is a business friendly Cali hotel connected to a shopping center and close to Iglesia de la Ermita, Plaza de Caicedo, and Cali Cathedral. Additional points of interest include San Antonio Church and Cali Zoo. Hotel Features. Hotel Spiwak Chipichape Cali A Preferred Hotel features a coffee shop/café and a bar/lounge. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves hot and cold buffet breakfasts each morning in the restaurant… more »

ColombiaSofitel Bogota Victoria Regia 

Carrera 13 No 85-80
Bogota
Colombia

Price (US$): $177 - $382 / night

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Location. Sofitel Bogota Victoria Regia is a business friendly hotel located in Bogota's Zona T neighborhood, close to Virrey Park, Nemesio Camacho Stadium, and National University of Colombia. Additional points of interest include Andino Commercial Center and Park 93. Hotel Features. Sofitel Bogota Victoria Regia's restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar/lounge is open for drinks. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel serves buffet breakfasts each morning in the… more »

Browse more hotels in Colombia »

Colombia

Full name
Republic of Colombia
Capital
Bogotá
Location

Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

Geographic coordinates

4 00 N, 72 00 W

Area comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Border countries

Brazil 1,644 km, Ecuador 590 km, Panama 225 km, Peru 1,800 km, Venezuela 2,050 km

Coastline

3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)

Climate

tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Terrain

flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains

Lowest point

Pacific Ocean 0 m

Highest point

Pico Cristobal Colon 5,775 m

Natural resources

petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower

Population

44,205,293 (July 2010 est.)

Ethnic groups

mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-Amerindian 3%, Amerindian 1%

Religions

Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%

Languages

Spanish (official)

Government type

republic; executive branch dominates government structure

Independence

20 July 1810 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 20 July (1810)

Chief of state

President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President Angelino GARZON (since 7 August 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government

Head of government

President Juan Manuel SANTOS Calderon (since 7 August 2010); Vice President Angelino GARZON (since 7 August 2010)

Internet country code

.co

Internet users

22.538 million (2009)

Airports

990 (2010)

Ports and terminals

Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Puerto Bolivar, Santa Marta, Turbo

Other countries in the region