Thanks to a mixture of scenic beauty, including natural wonders such as the Andes Mountains and the Amazon rainforest, historic cities and rich cultural heritage, Colombia has emerged as one of South America's top travel destinations. With coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific, it is considered one of the world's most biodiverse countries. The country is divided into 32 departments and over 101 languages are spoken here, with Spanish being the most commonly used. Colombia's economy is rich in natural resources and top exports include mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, fruit, sugar, metals, precious stones and more.
Though it draws primarily from Latin American culture, the country is home to a variety of cultural influences, including Native American, Spanish, African, American, Caribbean and Middle Eastern. The country is also famous for its contribution to literature: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and Nobel Laureate, is the country's most celebrated author. New voices, such as Juan Gabriel Vasquez, are also making significant contributions.
Delve into breathtaking Colombia with Luxury Gold and discover a land of unspoiled natural beauty, history and culture. Meet locals including a Comuna 13 survivor, the niece of literary great Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Cartagena and the owner of a coffee plantation in paisa country.
Colombia is home to some of the world's best coffee thanks in part to the "coffee triangle", located in the heart of the Andean Mountain Range. Travellers to this area can tour farms and taste an assortment of coffee beans.
The city of Cartagena, founded in the 16th Century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk down its cobblestone streets and enjoy the sight of colourful colonial buildings from one of the country's most historic cities. Bogota is Colombia's capital city and is known for its blend of contemporary style and historic roots. The city sits about 2,600 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest altitude cities in South America.
Zipaquira Salt Cathedral is well worth a visit. A Roman Catholic church that sits nearly 200 metres underground within a salt mine, it is known as one of Colombia's architectural wonders.
Colombia's cultural heritage and geography have influenced the country's cuisine. Common ingredients in Colombian cuisine are seafood, tropical fruit, rice, maize, chicken, pork, goat and beef. Signature dishes include aborajados (fried sweet plantains with cheese), ajiaco (potato and corn soup), bandeja paisa (a platter of red beans, cooked pork, fried egg and plantain) and cuchuco (soup made with fava beans, potatoes, ribs and peas).
Colombian coffee is famous throughout the world for its high quality and unique flavours, many locals enjoy a cafe con leech, which is a hot drink that is half coffee and half heated milk. Other popular drinks include champus (a thick drink made from corn, pineapple and lulo), lulada (a lulo-based drink with a smoothie like consistency) and salpicon (which means 'large splash' and is made from diced fruit and soda).
Landscape and wildlife
Considered one of the world's mega diverse countries in biodiversity, Colombia is home to six different natural regions; the Andes mountain region, the Pacific coastal region, the Caribbean coastal regions, the llanos, and the Amazon Rainforest region. The country has an incredible amount of birdlife and is also home to between 10 and 20% of the world's plant species. In all, Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world, only falling behind Brazil which is seven times larger.