Currency: Peso (COP)
Calling Code: +57
Colombia (Spanish Colombia), the official name is the Republic of
Colombia (Spanish República de Colombia [reˈpuβlika ðe koˈlombja]), is a
state in northwestern South America, with territories in Central
America. The capital is Bogota. It borders with Brazil and Venezuela in
the east, in the south with Ecuador and Peru, in the west with Panama.
It borders by sea with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is washed by the Caribbean Sea in the north and the Pacific Ocean in the west. In terms of population, the country ranks 2nd in South America after Brazil, 28th in the world and 3rd in terms of the number of Hispanic population.
The territory of present-day Colombia was once inhabited by indigenous peoples, the most developed of which are Chibcha, Quimbaya and Tayrona, the country is one of the richest in the world in terms of the number of peoples living and the languages they use. The modern Colombian people appeared during the mixing of Europeans, Africans and the indigenous population, a significant number of people from the Middle East live in the Colombian Caribbean. Colombia is home to the Amazon rainforest and the Llanos Orinoco. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world. 54,871 species have been recorded here. However, it is among the eight countries with the greatest environmental damage.
For the first time, Spanish colonialists entered Colombian soil in 1499, and the first half of the 16th century saw a period of active conquests, which resulted in the creation of the Viceroyalty of New Granada with its capital in Bogotá. In 1819, independence from Spain was recognized, but already in 1831 the federation of Great Colombia collapsed. On the territory of modern Colombia and Panama, the Republic of New Granada was formed (1832), which was then transformed into the Granada Confederation (1858), and even later - into the United States of Colombia (1863). The final name of the Republic of Colombia was received in 1886, in 1903 Panama withdrew from the country.
The Colombian economy ranks 4th in Latin America, is part of the CIVETS and a member of the UN, WTO, OAS, the Pacific Alliance and other international organizations.
Amacayacu National Park is a nature reserve situated in the Amazonas Department in the Southern Colombia. It covers a total area of 2,935 sq km.
Cueva de los Guácharos is an underground system situated in Huila and Caqueta Provinces. It is protected by Cueva de los Guácharos National Park.
Los Estoraques Unique Natural Area is a protected area with natural geologic formations in the Cordillera Oriental mountain range.
Los Nevados National Park is a nature reserve situated in the Cordillera Central of the Colombian Andes in the Quindío and Tolima departments.
Serranía de la Macarena or Macarena mountains are covered by virgin forest is protected by La Macarena National Park.
Sumapaz Paramo or Páramo de Sumapaz is an unique biosphere located in a Altiplano Cundiboyacense mountain range in the Cundinamarca Department.
Tourists from Europe receive a visa-free residence permit for 90 days upon entry. This can be extended for a maximum of another 90 days at any Migración Colombia branch. The small fee (around €20) can be paid by card on site or into the account of the nearest Banco de Occidente. “Case number” means “trámite.” The paperwork takes half a day in smaller towns, but in the big cities you can wait a week. It helps if you arrive early to take your number; in Bogotá it opens at 7:30 a.m. Since October 2021 it has been possible to extend a tourist residence permit online (Spanish only). The corresponding point is “Permiso Temporal de Permanencia para Prorrogar Permanencia.” This procedure is free for citizens of the Schengen states.
Since the reform of the long-term visa categories on December 15, 2017, there are around thirty types of residence permit with or without a work permit. Anyone who goes overboard pays a fine that amounts to at least half the legal monthly minimum wage.
A customs form must be filled out upon arrival by plane. This also applies if the baggage has been checked through for a connecting flight.
Duty free quantities
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 50 grams of tobacco.
2 bottles of alcohol.
There is a duty-free shop in the arrivals area of Bogotá Airport. The prices there are not very attractive for Central Europeans.
The only direct flight from German-speaking countries is offered by Lufthansa from Frankfurt. In 2022, cheaper connections will be offered by Air France/KLM with a change in Paris or Amsterdam or Iberia or AirEuropa via Madrid. If you use US companies, the flight time is significantly extended by changing in the USA. In addition, you have to endure the harassment of Homeland Security, as there are no transit areas in the USA.
Colombians and foreigners who have been in the country for more than 60 days pay an airport tax of US$ 32 (Apr. 2022) for international flights, which is not included in the ticket price.
There is no train connection to Colombia or within the country.
The Transamericana, a road supposedly leading from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska, is interrupted between the two countries. There is no road crossing. However, travelers often cross the border between Puerto Obaldía (PAN) and Capurganá (KOL) on foot. The Panamanian border police, near the port in Puerto Obaldía, keep a photocopy of the passport (which you must bring with you). Compared to multi-day jungle trails through the Darién National Park (PAN) and Los Katíos National Park, this is a comparatively safe and less difficult route. The footpath goes over the hills behind La Miél (PAN) to Sapzurro (KOL). There is a police station there, but it does not carry out any border clearance. To do this you have to go to Capurgana, which is about 3km away.
There are also small motor boats that travel between these places and also land in Playa Blanca (PAN near La Miel) and Sapzurro (KOL).
Between Ipiales (KOL) and Tulcán (ECU) is the Puente Internacional de Rumichaca. This is the most important transition between the two countries.
A little more remote is the Puente Internacional, which leads over the Rio San Miguel in General Farfán - the place is called that in both countries. The next larger towns are Nueva Loja (= Lago Agrio; ECU) and San Miguel in Putumayo (KOL).
Paraguachon in La Guajira. Between Maicao (KOL) and Paraguaipoa (VEN), continue to Maracaibo.
Between Cúcuta (KOL) and Ureña (VEN):
Heavy traffic is not allowed to cross the Puente Francisco de Paula Santander.
A few kilometers south is the Puente Internacional de Tienditas. Completed in 2019, it was initially only opened to pedestrians in 2021.
Important for trucks, connecting the Venezuelan N1 to San Cristóbal, is the Puente Internacional Simón Bolívar bridge between the municipalities of Villa Rosario (KOL) and San Antonio del Táchira (VEN).
This border area, which is secured on the Colombian side by thousands of soldiers in the surrounding area, has been repeatedly closed for more or less long periods since the beginning of the crisis in Venezuela in 2015, or the opening times are severely limited. There were still reports of violent acts by (uniformed) armed people in 2022.
In Arauca (KOL) is the Puente José Antonio Páez. The security situation in this area can be precarious.
Brazil and Peru
In the border triangle of Peru-Colombia-Brazil you can cross the land border in Tabatinga/Laetitia. You have to cross to Peru by boat. This place can be reached by boat from Iquitos or Manaus. There are no land connections in Colombia, only flights.
There are no regular ferry connections to neighboring countries (anymore). Cruise ships mainly dock in Cartagena.
Sailboats operate fairly regularly on the Cartagena – San Blas Islands (PAN,
Colombia is actually divided into three areas: in the northwest the
coast with a flat hinterland, from southwest to northeast the three
Cordilleras (mountain ranges up to 5750m high) and in the southeast
virtually unpopulated flatland. Most cities are in the Cordilleras -
which are not particularly suitable for building highways and railway
lines. Most of the roads are winding mountain pass roads - including the
connections between the big cities.
Some towns in the Amazon region, such as the Leticia border post or Puerto Nariño, can only be reached by air or by river boat.
In Colombia you can go anywhere by bus. Every larger city has a central long-distance bus station (terminal de pasajeros), although it is rare to find one in the city center. They usually run hourly between larger cities. Hmm, not much rarer anywhere else. Most of the time you can just drive to the bus terminal and find the right bus there and then you don't have to wait long for it to leave. You actually only need to make a reservation around Christmas/New Year and Holy Week. Some buses simply run when they are full. Taking the bus is pretty cheap, especially if you bargain. If you get on on the way, you pay the Ayudante.
Medellín - Barranquilla: ~8 hours
Medellín - Cali: ~7 hours
Medellín - Pereira: ~4 hours
Medellín - Santa Fe de Antioquia (just on the other side of the mountain): ~3 hours
Bogotá - Pereira: ~9 hours (~38 km/h)
Bogotá - Medellín: 9 hours (~49km / h)
Bogotá - Barranquilla: 20 hours (~50 km/h)
Bogotá - Cali: 12 hours (~40 km/h)
Bogotá - Ipiales: 24 hours (~40 km/h)
Bogotá - Manizales: 8 hours (~37 km/h)
Bogotá - Tunja: 3 hours (~50 km/h)
So it fundamentally depends on how many and high mountains there are between the start and destination.
Bus companies: Rápido Ochoa, Expreso Brasilia, Empresa Arauca and thousands more.
As in Southeast Asia, on long-distance routes the air conditioning is set to “ice cold” and there is also loud music or television. Don't forget a blanket, pillow and earplugs. WiFi is often touted, but whether it works is another question. If the bus is too slow or too dangerous for you, take the plane.
Colectivos are minibuses that are as uncomfortable and cramped as the Marshrutki of the successor states of the Soviet Union. Busetas are small buses used in cities and on routes with a journey time of less than four hours. Air-conditioned, normal buses travel long distances. If there are ones with “business class” you have a little more space.
On the street
There is right-hand traffic. Gasoline costs about a third of the German price. Gas stations sometimes charge in gallons, which is the US standard of 3.8 liters.
Maximum speeds: in built-up areas 30 km/h, in inner cities 60 km/h, country roads 80 km/h, motorways 100 km/h. Many highways require tolls. Outside town you can also drive with lights on during the day. Wearing a seatbelt and using hands-free systems is mandatory. Likewise helmets on motorcycles.
Even Colombians who own a car usually only drive within a 100km radius of their city. Everything else is usually done by bus or plane. Of course you can also go by car. The road quality is okay. There are almost exclusively country roads - which can be quite winding in the Andes due to their nature. The bus drivers have a very sporty driving style, so you won't be much faster by car. Guarded, paid parking spaces are called “parqueaderos.”
Car rental companies require a minimum age of 23. An international driving license under the Geneva Convention is required in addition to the home driving license.
Note: You should request a taxi from the hotel reception, especially at night or in unsafe areas. This will then tell you the license plate number of the car you are expecting. There are many “fake” taxis. “Paseo Millonario” is the name given to the practice of crooks who kidnap a passenger at short notice, force them to withdraw money or otherwise exploit them by threatening violence.
Municipalities set taxi prices annually. You should find out more about these on the internet. It doesn't hurt to have the route shown on Google Maps. The driver's license must be clearly visible on the back of the passenger seat. Since there are hardly any taxi meters except in Bogotá (which you use in conjunction with a tariff table), you still have to negotiate the costs in advance. Anyone who can speak Spanish has a clear advantage here. Luggage is included, the price is per car, not passenger. Small surcharges for telephone orders, (working) air conditioning, night trips from 8 p.m./9 p.m. to 5 a.m. are normal. There is also a surcharge for airport taxis. Large bills cause problems with change. Usually you round up to the nearest full thousand.
If the bus is too slow for you, you can take the plane - but that is usually really expensive (at least for Colombian standards).
For those with a slightly smaller travel budget, there are also low-cost airlines such as Viva Air Colombia and Wingo. However, you should be careful when booking as there are hidden costs. Booking is not as regulated as in the EU.
But you can actually fly anywhere that has an airport. Since June 1, 2020, flights to Puerto Carreño will be charged a tourist tax of COP$36000 upon check-in.
Airlines: Avianca, Copa Airlines, LAN, Satena, the low-cost airlines Viva Air Colombia and Wingo (both also to nearby countries) and many smaller ones that only offer short routes.
One euro was worth 4,430 Colombian pesos (COP$) in July 2022, a drop in
value of 15% since the previous year. As everywhere in Latin America,
the dollar sign ($) stands for peso.
Images of valid banknotes and coins at the National Bank.
When changing cash in exchange offices (“casas de cambio”) you only get a reasonable rate for US$.
The maximum amounts that can be withdrawn from ATMs are comparatively small. 300,000 or 400,000 is the norm, plus the local fees and COP$ 10-15,000 for the local bank. Only BBVA and Davivienda do without it. The latter also has machines that pay out up to COP$800,000. In order to avoid having to immediately get rid of the money you have withdrawn with a gun held in your neck, it is advisable not to use ATMs on the street, but only in shopping centers or similar. If necessary, you can also withdraw credit cards at the counter (with a PIN). Banks open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You always need your passport and a thumbprint is also often taken.
Those who pay by credit card are sometimes asked: “¿En cuantas cuotas?” d. H. “in how many installments?” which is possible for Colombians up to 24. As a foreigner you answer “una” (“one”).
Cigarettes are significantly cheaper than in Europe, 2019 COP$ 2500-3500. A quarter of the market is even cheaper contraband.
The metric system is in use, although fresh food is also sold by the pound (libras).
Anyone who as a tourist has collected receipts for tourist services or clothing, leather, handicrafts, etc. (but not food and drinks) over a certain minimum amount can have the 19% VAT refunded at the airports, which requires a certain amount of paperwork and a passport copy. Details on the customs website (DIAN). The minimum rate corresponds to 10 “tax units” (UVT) and is set annually. In 2018 it was COP$330,000 (approx. €80), the upper limit is 100 UVT. When it comes to accommodation costs, you have to book from abroad or complain directly to the hotel so that you don't have to pay the tax. Another catch is that only services paid for with a card issued abroad will be reimbursed.
Inexpensive lunch menus are called plato del diá or comida corriente. In
better restaurants, the waiter asks when cashing out whether service
money is given, which is ten percent. If you are dissatisfied, you can
definitely refuse with “sin servicio, por favor”. Then it's not uncommon
for the boss to come and ask what went wrong.
Colombia is 51% covered by rainforest. This allows for a very large diversity of wildlife, which in turn is reflected in Colombian cuisine. Colombia's cuisine is very regional and has many differences. Extraordinary specialties such as roasted ants or guinea pigs are considered delicacies in some regions - but cause the same shaking of heads in other regions, such as Germany. But you can also often find soups and sauces based on Aji Amarillo (a type of pepper). Beef, whether steamed or fried, and chicken are popular foods. Fish is also available in the regions around the sea. This is usually prepared in coconut milk and served with coconut rice.
The range of fresh fruits is overwhelming: in the supermarket there are five different types of mangoes (very small and green with lemon and salt as a snack, small for juice, up to shoe-sized), six different types of bananas (small, large, sweet, for cooking, for frying, also sorted by degree of ripeness (green, yellow, black) and seven different types of potatoes (yellow, pink, table tennis ball-sized and also like ours). Well, there is also a bunch of fruit that I have never seen in Germany. Fresh fruit juices are then made from these whole fruits - either with water or with milk. Yummy!
The most important foods are the arepas popular in Antioquia (made of cornmeal with water, topped with cheese, sweet or not, with egg in it, yellow or white, fried or baked, etc.) and rice (which is served as a side dish with almost everything). . Ajiaco is a creamy chicken soup that originated in the Andes. Bandeja paisa is a plate full of sausages, beans, rice and egg. Originally from Ecuador, llapingachos are potato pancakes that are often served with salsa de maní made from peanuts.
In Europe, people tend to associate Colombia with coffee, and the
Colombians themselves tell you that the coffee they drink in Colombia
isn't that good because all the good coffee is exported. The character
of the coffee farmer “Juan Valdez” is an advertising character invented
in 1958 by the Colombian coffee producers, perhaps corresponding to Ms.
Antje. The note “Juan Valdez” indicates that only coffee grown in
Colombia is in the package. A brand of the same name, launched in 2002,
is also widespread in Central America and the USA. In fact, Colombia
imports 80-90% of the coffee consumed in the country, as the country's
high-quality Arabica beans are expensive to export.
Local breweries include Club Colombia, Pilsen, Aguila, Apostol and Costeña. A beer in the store costs less than in Europe.
Michelada is a mixed beer drink. The rim of a glass is dipped in lime juice, then salt. Some lime juice goes into the glass and is topped up with beer.
If there is wine, it is often imported from Chile and California, although there are also some smaller wine-growing regions in the country. Schnapps, especially rum and Aquardiente, are comparatively expensive starting at €10 per bottle.
Larger cities all have a zona rosa, the nightlife district. But there
are also red light districts because prostitution is not prohibited and
is necessary due to economic hardship, especially among refugees from
Venezuela. Colombia's neoliberal economic system provides only very
limited social security.
In better nightclubs, a drink can cost COP$13,000.
There are hardly any campsites.
The international network of youth hostels has some houses in large cities. Otherwise, when it comes to private “hostels” (with dormitories), it is important to pay attention to the difference from the Spanish “hostal”, which is more of a simple hotel or guesthouse. Other names for simpler accommodations are residencia, hospedaje or posada. They are often concentrated in areas around the markets.
Lower middle class hotels in particular are rare in the country; the upper segment is the rule for hotels. Anyone who books better hotels or resorts from abroad has been exempt from the 19% VAT since 2016. freed. If necessary, this regulation must be pointed out.
A nice economics minister once decided that all Christian holidays
(except Christmas) would always be postponed to the following Monday.
After Christmas, Semana Santa (Holy Week, the week before Easter) is the most important and in many companies it is completely, or at least largely, free. As a predominantly Catholic country, most of the festivals of this sect are celebrated, but as mentioned on the following Monday. That's how it was, for example. B. Epiphany (January 6th) in 2022 on January 10th there will be no work. The same applies to Josephi (Monday after March 19th), Corpus Christi, Monday after June 8th, 2023, Peter and Paul (Monday after June 19th), May 29th, 2023, Ascension Day, Monday after May 18th, 2023, Conception of the Virgin Mary (Monday after December 8th).
Secular holidays are New Year on January 1st, Labor Day on May 1st, Independence Day on July 20th, anniversary of the Battle of Boyacá 1819 on August 7th, “Día de la Raza” (“Racial Day” celebrating the cultural Diversity) on October 17th and “Independencia de Cartagena” (Independence of Cartagena in 1811) on November 14th.
Like everywhere in South America, Carnival is taken seriously and celebrated. There are also numerous regional festivals and festivals that are listed in the respective articles.
In general, the situation in Colombia is that there are normal, nice
people, police and paramilitaries. The last two now make a living from
protection rackets, kidnappings and drugs. Drug cartels (Cali Cartel,
Pablo Escobar) no longer exist. The normal nice people are clearly in
the majority :-)
The situation has improved dramatically since the beginning of President Álvaro Uribe's term in office. The social revolutionary guerrilla FARC-EP has made peace and entered parliament as a party Comunes. Right-wing paramilitaries, often protection troops for drug producers, still exist.
Fines are calculated by a factor (or a range) that is multiplied by the annual monthly minimum wage (2022: 1 million pesos).
However, there are still areas you shouldn't go to. Wandering through the forests or following any mountain paths is not advisable - because that's exactly where the paramilitaries live and plant their coca. If you want to travel outside of a city, you should plan carefully where you want to go. If possible, travel with a reliable local.
Requisas are military roadblocks. Buses are particularly popular here at night and ID cards are often checked for weapons. Extremely annoying when you are woken up for the fifth time in one night.
In Colombia's cities, you should be well behaved and take a few common precautions. In the centers of most cities it is fairly rare to have potential problems, but it is very important to be careful in the outer parts of a city. There are areas in the big cities where you have no business being a tourist; armed robberies also occur in broad daylight. Don't expect help from spectators. However, compared to most other Latin American countries, normal street crime is not that high. If you want to order a taxi, you should politely ask for a telephone, it costs the same and a call will be answered immediately.
As a tourist you should actually pay attention to three things:
Some areas are dangerous.
Jungle near Leticia: If on a boat trip at night one of the crew strolls over the boat with a machine gun to ward off bad people, then that doesn't indicate a particularly high level of security.
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta: There are supposedly beautiful old Indian houses here, but also a particularly high chance of being kidnapped. Germans have also been kidnapped here (all the Colombians the author of this section asked about the security of this region strongly advised him against it).
Area between Cali and Popayan: Was considered very unsafe for a long time because the main guerrilla settlement area was nearby. But it should have improved. You should ask people about the current situation. In any case, it is definitely not the safest region in Colombia.
Bad people block the road.
Occasionally the paramilitaries block the road somewhere and stop buses and cars. The most promising of the inmates are kidnapped or have to leave their money or their car behind. Foreigners (who are almost non-existent in Colombia) are not necessarily at the top of the list, because Colombians already know how to deal with ransoms, etc., speak Spanish and are generally much less complicated. Well, but a foreigner can of course be a pretty big catch.
It has already happened to the author of this section twice that his intercity bus took a different route because the shortest route was blocked by paramilitaries.
There is also a rumor that the more expensive bus companies pay money to the guerrillas and paramilitaries in order to be spared.
well, the typical thing: don't strap your camera to your chest, put your wallet in your front trouser pocket, leave your valuables at home, stay away from bad people, don't walk around alone at night
Drugs: Most of the cocaine consumed in the US and Europe used to come from Colombia, but today production has fallen sharply and a lot is smuggled from Venezuela. Local consumption is low, so you won't be offered drugs there, nor will you see all sorts of drugs there unless you're looking for them. Colombians are so offended by jokes about drugs outside the country, especially from Europeans and Americans. Drugs and the mafia have spread a bad image, but now the police and the armed army are making vigorous efforts to combat them. All Colombian governments have had commitments to combat drug production. President Alvaro Uribe Velez, with major aid from the US government, has pursued a policy of massively destroying drug plantations using chemical defoliation.
The possession, not trafficking, of small quantities for personal use (1 gram of cocaine, 20 g of marijuana) has been decriminalized, but this does not protect against unpleasant, lengthy encounters with the often corrupt police.
In summary, Colombia is quite dangerous compared to Europe. But it's not so bad that you can't go there at all.
Malaria risk areas are the Amazon region and the 50 km wide coastal
strip from Covenas to the Ecuador border. In short, all regions below
1700 m. The major cities of Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena,
Medellín and Santa Marta are malaria-free. About half of the infections
are caused by Plasmodium falciparum (i.e. Malaria tropica),
multi-resistant forms of which occur nationwide. In the lower regions,
all-day mosquito protection is recommended, as Zika, dengue and
chikungunya fever also occur.
Travelers coming from Brazil must provide proof of yellow fever vaccination. Domestically, it is required for travel to the Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Parque Tayrona and the various reserves of the Amazon.
In acute life-threatening cases, hospitals are legally obliged to provide initial treatment to patients regardless of existing insurance or ability to pay. Nevertheless, travel health insurance makes sense.
Smoking is prohibited in virtually all publicly accessible indoor spaces, including bars and restaurants.
Colombia offers palm-lined Caribbean beaches, 5,800 meter high mountains
with glaciers on top and everything in between. Due to its location on
the equator, the weather and day length are actually almost the same all
year round. It rains a little more often in the rainy season and a
little less often in the dry season.
Like in Germany, it rains for two weeks in a row and then it's nice for another two weeks or something like that doesn't happen in Colombia. There are no seasons either: instead, Colombians speak of winter when they are cold. (So if it's a bit cool in the morning at 20°C, the Colombian says "Such a winter today!", but that doesn't stop him from complaining about the heat at midday (32°C).)
Much more serious than any season is the difference where you are.
Barranquilla + Cartagena (on the coast): 25-38°C, always sunny, thunderstorms every few days (which then flood the streets)
Medellín (in a valley surrounded by 3500 m mountains, 1500 m above sea level): 17–32°C, like midsummer in Germany, thunderstorms every few days (which only slightly flood the streets)
Cali: a bit warmer than Medellín
Bogotá (in a wide high valley, 2800m above sea level): 10-25°C, about like autumn in Germany, rain four times a day is not uncommon, some people walk around with scarves and gloves (well, if you come from the coast it's pretty fresh here). Dry season is December to March.
The post office until 2006 as Adpostal was privatized under the name
4-72. 6-digit postal codes were introduced (search). When sending
parcels abroad, ID is required.
Mobile communications and internet
The Vive Digital plan led to a massive expansion of the Internet in 2010-8, particularly in small towns and rural regions. WiFi access can often be found in the local library, cultural center or city park.
The largest mobile phone provider is Claro, a branch of the Mexican América Móvil. Movistar is owned by the Spanish Telefónica, whose network is also used to make calls to Virgin Mobile. Another company is Tigo. These usually have their branches in shopping centers. SIM cards (“prepago”) are available for COP$ 5,000. Data packages usually cost COP $ 10,000 for 2GB in 2022, but have comparatively short terms of 7, 10 or 15 days, depending on the operator.
Calls within a provider's network are cheaper than between operators. For international calls, the first two offer (different) Latin American country packages in which a cheaper tariff applies. For calls to Europe, the price per minute is just under €2.
You can see them being advertised minutely at kiosks or as street vendors. The relevant people rent telephones in order to make calls to a specific network more cheaply than between operators.
Tourist information centers (Punto Información Turística, PIT) can
usually be found in the main square of the city. They are identified by
a sign with a red I.
There are hardly any public toilets (“baño”) outside of museums or bus stations. You use a nearby café or similar. To be on the safe side, you should bring your own paper.
The power supply is 120 volts at 60 hertz. The American plugs (type A and B) are common.
Most cities were laid out with streets running at right angles to each other. Most of the streets running north-south are numbered as Carreras. Abbreviated as: Cra, Cr or K. Streets in an east-west direction are numbered as Calles, or Cll, Cl or C for short (the usual “C/” in Spain is not used). The principle is often broken, be it due to landscape conditions or other reasons. There are therefore also diagonals and transversals. Important main streets often have names called Avenida. Street names are only common in Cartagena and Medellín.
A typical address such as “Calle 8 № 12-40” indicates a house on Calle 8, 40 meters from the corner of Carretera 12. So it's not an actual house number. The № is increasingly being replaced by #.
The name of the country comes from the name of the famous
traveler-navigator Christopher Columbus, who discovered America for
Europeans. It was used by the Venezuelan revolutionary, fighter for the
independence of South America, Francisco de Miranda, in relation to the
entire New World, but especially to the lands under the rule of Spain
and Portugal. After the name was proposed by Simon Bolivar in "Letter
from Jamaica" (Spanish: Carta de Jamaica). It was adopted at the
formation of the Federal Republic of Colombia in 1819, which included
the territories of the Viceroyalty of New Granada (the territories of
present-day Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, and northwestern
Brazil). However, later, after the separation of Ecuador and Venezuela,
the country became known as New Granada. Since 1858, the country became
known as the Granada Confederation, since 1863 - the United States of
Colombia. Since 1886, the current name has been established - the
Republic of Colombia. It was disputed by the governments of Ecuador and
Venezuela, as it infringed on the common heritage of these countries,
but for the moment these disputes are suspended.
The origin of the country's name is reflected in the anthem of the republic:
Washed with the blood of heroes, the land of Columbus
(Spanish: Se baña en sangre de héroes la tierra de Colón)
Due to its location, today's Colombia was a
corridor for early migrants from Mesoamerica and the Caribbean closer to
the Andes and the Amazon.
The first traces of human presence on the territory of present-day Colombia date back to the 17th-15th centuries BC. What is now Bogota was inhabited by Paleo-Indian tribes of hunter-gatherers who lived mainly in the Magdalena river valley. The settlement of Puerto Hormiga (Spanish Puerto Hormiga) discovered by archaeologists belongs to the American archaic period (8 - 2 thousand years BC). There is also evidence that the territories of El Arba and Tequendama, located in the Cundinamarca region, were also inhabited. An example of the most ancient pottery in Colombia was found in the settlement of San Jacinto (Spanish: San Jacinto) and dates back to 5-4 thousand BC.
The indigenous population lives on the territory of modern Colombia from about 12.5 thousand BC Nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes from the settlements of El Abra, Tibito and Tekendama, located near modern Bogota, traded with each other and other tribes settled in the Magdalena River valley. Between 5 and 1 thousand BC. e. an agrarian society began to emerge, nomadic tribes began to create permanent settlements, ceramics appeared. From the beginning of our era, Indians (Caribs, Arawaks, Chibcha) lived on the territory of present-day Colombia, and Chibcha prevailed among them. At the same time, two cultural traditions differed in the Chibcha tribe - Tayrona and Muisca.
At the beginning of the 1st millennium BC groups of Indians, including representatives of the Muisca, Quimbaya and Tayrona peoples, switched to the political system of casicasgos (Spanish: cacicazgos), which was a pyramidal power structure led by casiques. Representatives of the Muisca people inhabited mainly the modern territory of the department of Boyaca and the high plateau of Cundinamarca, where they formed the Muisca Confederation. They cultivated corn, potatoes, quinoa, and cotton, and traded gold, emeralds, hand-made pottery, and rock salt with neighboring peoples. The Muisca had a highly developed society for those times, they were one of the most developed civilizations in South America (after the Maya and the Incas). They created jewelry from gold and an alloy of gold and copper; gold plates acted as a monetary equivalent. The Muisca worshiped the Sun God as a source of fertility and brought animals to him as sacrifices.
Representatives of the Tayrona people lived in northern Colombia in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range, and the Quimbaya inhabited areas near the Cauca River. Most of the peoples were farmers, but the social structure of the communities varied greatly, for example, the Carib people lived in a state of constant war, while others lived more peacefully. Also, the southwestern part of the country was captured by the Inca Empire.
The Spanish conquistador Alonso de Ojeda,
who had previously sailed with Columbus, reached the Guajira Peninsula
in 1499. From the beginning of the 16th century, the Spaniards began to
colonize South America, including the territory of present-day Colombia.
The first Spanish colonies were established on the Caribbean coast,
which Spanish explorers, led by Rodrigo de Bastidas, first explored in
1500. In 1502, Christopher Columbus traveled to the Caribbean. In 1508,
Vasco Nunez de Balboa explored the territory of the Gulf of Uraba and in
1510 founded the first city on the continent, Santa Maria la Antigua del
Darién. Soon other cities were founded - Santa Marta - in 1525 and
Cartagena - in 1533.
In 1536, Gonzalo Ximénez de Quesada led an expedition of 500 men into the interior of the continent. He baptized the lands through which his path passed and which he later called the kingdom of New Granada. In August 1538 he founded a capital near the Muisca settlement of Bacata and named it Santa Fe. Subsequently, the city became known as Santa Fe de Bogotá. At the same time, two other famous conquistadors also made landmark journeys deep into South America. Sebastian de Belalcazar, famous for conquering the city of Quito, important for the Inca Empire, traveled to the north of the continent and founded the cities of Cali in 1536 and Popayan in 1537. the "golden city" of Eldorado. The legend of the golden city played a key role in the desire of the Spanish and other Europeans to explore the territories of New Granada in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The conquistadors often entered into alliances with tribes hostile to each other, subsequently allies among the indigenous population would play a decisive role in the conquest, as well as maintaining Spanish power in the occupied territory. Indigenous populations plummeted not only because of wars of conquest, but also because of Eurasian diseases from which they had no immunity, such as smallpox. Faced with the risk that the new lands would be empty, the Spanish crown distributed property rights to all those interested in colonization: the creation of large farms and the ownership of mines. In the 16th century, navigation and other nautical sciences reached their peak in Spain, in particular, thanks to the activities of the Casa de Contratación, this gave Spain a great advantage for expansion in South and Central America.
In 1549, New Granada received the status of an
audience. In 1542, the territories of New Granada, along with other
Spanish possessions in South America, became part of the Viceroyalty of
Peru with its capital in Lima. In 1547, New Granada became a captaincy
general with the rights of viceroy. In 1549, New Granada received the
status of a royal audience, located in Santa Fe de Bagota, and the
territory at that time included the provinces of Santa Marta, Rio de San
Juan, Popayan, Guayana and Cartagena. However, important decisions were
still being made in the Council of the Indies in Spain.
In the 16th century, Europeans began to bring slaves from Africa. But Spain was unable to organize trading posts in Africa for the export of slaves. Therefore, the Spanish Empire used the asiento system, issuing merchants from other countries (mainly from Portugal, France, England and Holland) a license to trade in slaves in the colonies. There were also people who defended the human rights and freedoms of oppressed peoples. In particular, indigenous peoples could not be enslaved because they were legal entities of the Spanish crown and several forms of land ownership were created to protect them, such as resguardos (in Russian literature they are sometimes called reservations). A significant part of the Indian population of the highlands was settled in resguardo - on lands received by the Indians from the colonial authorities. Resguardo was considered the collective property of the Indian community (which was also called resguardo), and within the resguardo the Indian had a piece of land, which he disposed of as a user. At the head of the resguardo community were the leader and the officials appointed by him.
In 1717, the Viceroyalty of New Granada was created, which, however, then temporarily ceased to exist and was restored only in 1739. The capital was Bogotá. The viceroyalty included some northwestern provinces that had previously been part of the viceroyalty of New Spain or Peru, mainly the territories of modern Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. Bogota became one of the main Spanish administrative centers in the New World, along with Lima and Mexico City, although it lagged behind these cities in some economic indicators.
After England declared war on Spain in 1739, Cartagena became the main target of the British military forces, but plans collapsed after the victory of Spain in the war for Jenkins' ear, the confrontation with England for dominance in the Caribbean, following the war, the Spaniards controlled this area until the Seven Years' War .
José Celestino Mutis, a priest, botanist and mathematician, was sent by Viceroy Antonio Caballero y Gongora to New Granada to explore nature. In 1783, the Royal Botanical Expedition to New Granada began, during which plants and animals were classified and the first observatory was established in Bogotá.
Since the beginning of the colonization period, several
rebel movements have been raised against the Spanish conquerors, but
most of them were either suppressed or so weakened that they could not
change the situation in the country. The last independence movement
arose around 1810, after the independence of Saint Domingo in 1804,
which supported the leader of the uprising, Simon Bolivar, as well as
Francisco de Paula Santander, who also played a decisive role in the
struggle for independence.
The movement was initiated by Antonio Nariño, who protested against Spanish centralization and led the rebellion against the vicegerency. Cartagena became independent in November 1811. In 1811, the United States of New Granada was proclaimed, headed by Camilo Torres Tenorio. The confrontation between two different ideological currents among the patriots, federalism and centrism, led to an unstable state of affairs in the country. Shortly after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Ferdinand VII decided to send a military force to rearm northern South America. Viceroyalty status was restored under the command of Juan Samano, whose regime punished those who participated in patriotic uprisings. These repressions sparked new waves of rebellion led by the Venezuelan Simón Bolivar, which, together with the weakening within Spain, played a decisive role in the declaration of final independence in 1819. Pro-Spanish resistance was crushed in 1822 in Colombia and in 1823 in Venezuela.
The territory of the former New Granada became the Republic of Colombia
(1819-1831), which included the territories of present-day Colombia,
Panama, Ecuador, Venezuela, parts of Guyana and Brazil, and the north of
the Marañon River. The congress at Cucuta in 1821 adopted a constitution
for the newly formed republic. Simon Bolivar became the first president
of Colombia, and Santander became the first vice president. However, the
position of the new republic was unstable due to internal political and
territorial disagreements, and in 1830 three countries withdrew from its
composition - New Granada, Ecuador and Venezuela. In 1860, a two-year
civil war broke out, which led to the creation of the United States of
Colombia in 1863, which lasted until 1886, when the state of the
Republic of Colombia finally took shape. The country continued to have
internal divisions between the parties, which often led to bloody civil
wars, the most significant of which is the Thousand Days War
(1899-1902), during which Panama seceded from Colombia.
Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America, and the liberal and conservative parties, created in 1848 and 1849 respectively, are the oldest surviving parties in the Americas. In 1851 slavery was abolished in the country.
In the 20th century,
Colombia entered a state of civil war, as a result of which, as well as
the bankruptcy of the country and the economic interests of the United
States, Panama withdrew from the republic in 1903. After the end of the
war, Rafael Reyes (1904-1909) was elected president, who dissolved the
Congress, replacing it with a Constituent Assembly, which was granted
dictatorial powers. During the reign of Reyes, order was restored in the
country, the economy stabilized, industrialization and modernization of
the state began. In 1921, seven years after the completion of the canal,
the United States paid Colombia $25 million in compensation and
recognized Theodore Roosevelt's interest in secession of Panama, in
response, Colombia recognized Panama as independent.
In 1930, the dominance of the Conservative Party ends, and for the first time in 45 years since 1886, the Liberals won. With the coming to power of Enrique Olaya Herrera (1930-1934), a period called by historians the liberal republic began, because the liberals ruled the country continuously from 1930 to 1946. This period of stability was soon interrupted by a bloody conflict that lasted from the late 1940s and continued until 1958 - La Violencia. The reason for it was the disagreement between the leading political parties, and the impetus for armed action was the assassination of the presidential candidate from the liberal party Jorge Elécer Gaitán on April 9, 1948. The killing was followed by riots known as Bogotaso, which spread throughout the country and claimed the lives of about 300,000 Colombians.
In 1950, after the election of Laureano Gómez as president, Colombia entered the Korean War and became the only Latin American country to participate in it as an ally of the United States. The resistance of the Colombian troops was especially noticeable at the Battle of Old Baldi. From 1964 to 2016, there was a civil war in Colombia between the government and communist rebels (with the support of the USSR). The main forces that opposed the right were the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - the People's Army (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).
Far-right armed formations (“paramilitares”) also participate in the war. The largest of these was the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), created with state support and wealthy livestock farmers (ganaderos) in April 1997 to fight against Marxist guerrillas. Sometimes they fought alongside the official armed forces of Colombia. In early 2006, they were recognized as a terrorist organization and ceased to exist.
In 2016, a ceasefire agreement was signed between the FARC and the government, but armed clashes continued.
Republic. The head of state and government is the president, elected by
the population for a 4-year term, a second consecutive term is possible.
On June 20, 2010, the second round of the regular presidential elections took place, in which the candidate from the ruling Social Party of National Unity and the former Minister of Defense of the country, Juan Manuel Santos, won, gaining 69.06% of the vote, ahead of his main rival, the leader of the Green Party and the mayor Bogota Antanas Mokkus, who won 27.52% of the vote. On August 7, Juan Manuel Santos took office as President of Colombia.
The government was created by a coalition of three parties (the Social Party of National Unity, the Conservative Party and the Radical Change Party) that supported Uribe's re-election.
Bicameral parliament (Congress) - the Senate (102 seats), elected by the population for a 4-year term, and the House of Representatives (166 seats), also elected by the population for a 4-year term.
The main parties
(according to the results of the elections in March 2010):
Social Party of National Unity - centrist, 27 senators, 48 deputies
Conservative Party - centre-right, 23 senators, 38 deputies
Liberal Party - centre-left, 18 senators, 39 deputies
National Integration Party - centrist, 8 senators, 12 deputies
Radical change - centrist, 8 senators, 14 deputies
Alternative democratic pole - left, 8 senators, 4 deputies
Green Party - centre-left, 5 senators, 3 deputies
Independent movement of absolute renewal - 1 senator, 2 deputies
In addition, 4 more parties (1-2 deputies each) are represented in the House of Representatives.
Colombia is one of three states in South America that have access to
both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans (the other states are Panama and
Colombia is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the northwest by the Caribbean Sea. In the west of the country, the Andes stretch from north to south, dissected by the Magdalena, Cauca and other smaller rivers. In the east there is a plateau, crossed by the tributaries of the Amazon. Lowlands stretch along the coasts.
In the north of Colombia lies the Caribbean lowland
with a subequatorial arid climate. Here are the main ports of the
country and the main resorts that attract foreign tourists. There is
also a separate mountain range Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta with a
snow-capped peak Cristobal Colon (5775 m), which is the highest mountain
The west coast is occupied by a narrow Pacific lowland with abundant rainfall throughout the year and high tides, which makes the beaches of this region less popular with tourists. The lagoons along the Pacific coast are occupied by powerful mangroves.
In the south of the country, the Andes branch into three parallel ranges called the Western, Central and Eastern Cordillera, which stretch north for more than 3 thousand kilometers. The intermountain valleys contain the country's main agricultural land and are home to most of the Colombian population. But many extinct and active volcanoes, as well as the high seismicity of the territory, cause damage to the population and economy.
The Colombian part of the Llanos region, located in the southern part of the Orinoc lowland, is the most favorable for life, but historically the least populated region of Colombia. The subequatorial hot climate with wet summers and dry winters determines the distribution of moist grass and palm savannahs, gallery forests along rivers and reed marshes in the region.
The southeast of the country is occupied by the Amazonian selva, located in the area of the constantly humid equatorial climate. Lush impenetrable vegetation (five tiers of trees up to 70 m high) and rich wildlife are very diverse. But due to severe natural conditions, only 1% of the country's population lives in this region.
Colombia is dominated by equatorial and subequatorial climate types. The average monthly temperatures in the lowlands are about +35 °C, in the mountains at altitudes of 2000-3000 m - from +13 to +16 °C. Precipitation falls from 150 mm per year in the northeast to 10,000 mm.
Approximately 10% of the world's
endemic plant species grow in Colombia.
The Caribbean coast is dominated by mangrove forests, the northern lowlands and the Pacific Lowlands are dominated by moist evergreen vegetation, and savannahs (called "llanos") in the northeast and north. In the Andes, the vegetation varies depending on the height (altitude zonation): the lower slopes covered with forests gradually turn into light forests, shrubs, forbs and high mountain meadows. The Cattleya trianae orchid is considered the national flower, and the Ceroxylon quindiuense palm (Quindiy wax palm) is the national tree of Colombia.
The fauna of the country is also rich and varied - butterflies, piranhas, monkeys, bears, jaguars, condors, snakes and hummingbirds.
The administrative division of Colombia was established by the 1991
Constitution, its amendments and law 136 of June 2, 1994. There are
three levels of administrative-territorial division. At the first level
of administrative division are the departments and the metropolitan area
of Bogotá, at the second - municipalities.
In some departments, there is an intermediate level of administrative division, which in different departments has different names - provinces, subregions.
Effective January 1, 2020, the Colombian minimum wage is 877,802 pesos
($267.76), plus a mandatory transport subsidy of 102,854 pesos ($31.71).
That is only about 980,656 pesos ($299.14) per month.
Advantages: almost autonomous in energy supply due to oil and coal reserves, as well as hydroelectric power plants. A healthy, diversified economy is export-oriented, primarily coffee and coal.
Weaknesses: Drug trafficking, corruption and political instability deter investors. The industry is not competitive. High unemployment (11.3% in 2008). Fluctuations in world coffee market prices. Foreign policy problems due to the export of cocaine.
GDP per capita in 2009 - 5.1 thousand dollars (110th place in the world). Below the poverty level - 47% of the population (in 2008). Unemployment - 12% (in 2009).
According to the World Bank, Colombia's GDP per capita in 2012 amounted to 7.751 thousand dollars (75th in the world). At the same time, the total GDP amounted to 502.8 billion US dollars, which allowed Colombia to take 25th place in the world.
billion (in 2017)): petroleum products, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds,
clothing, bananas, floriculture products.
The main buyers are the USA (28.5%), Panama (8.6%), China (5.1%).
Imports ($47.13 billion (in 2017)): industrial equipment, vehicles, consumer goods, chemicals, fuels.
The main suppliers are the USA (26.3%), China (19.3%), Mexico (7.5%), Brazil (5%), Germany (4.1%).
18% of employees are employed in agriculture. 5% of the land is used for crops, 38% for grazing. The most fertile soils are found on plateaus and in some lowland regions. Colombia is the world's second largest coffee producer. For mountainous areas, cotton and tobacco are cash crops. In the lowlands there are plantations of export crops - bananas, sugar cane, as well as ornamental flowering plants. Rice, corn, potatoes and sorghum are grown for the domestic market. Livestock breeding is dominated by cattle breeding, pig breeding and sheep breeding. Coca cultivation is widespread in the southern departments, controlled by Colombian drug cartels.
Colombia has large reserves of minerals, concentrated mainly in the mountainous regions of the Andes. The country produces gold, silver, platinum, emeralds (90% of world production), coal (33+ million tons/year), oil (19 million tons/year), natural gas. Deposits of copper, mercury, lead and manganese have been developed. Known, but not developed (at least officially) deposits of uranium.
Over the past 20 years, the machine-building, processing, footwear, chemical and textile industries have been developing at a rapid pace. The main industrial centers are Bogota, Medellin and Cali. Food industry enterprises are mainly engaged in the processing of sugar cane, rice, vegetables and fruits.
The country's total energy reserves are estimated at 7.254 billion toe (in coal equivalent). In accordance with the UNSD and EES EAEC data, at the end of 2019, the Colombian energy sector is characterized by the following main indicators. Fossil fuel production - 209673 thousand toe. The total supply is 89957 thousand toe. 8071 thousand toe or 9.0% of the total supply was spent on conversion at power plants and heating installations. Installed capacity - net power plants - 19009 MW, including: thermal power plants burning fossil fuel (TPP) - 36.2%, renewable energy sources (RES) - 63.8%. Gross electricity production - 80590 million kWh, including: TPP - 32.0%, RES - 68.0%. Final electricity consumption - 67171 million kWh, of which: industry - 33.2%, transport - 0.2%, household consumers - 36.9%, commercial sector and public enterprises - 24.3%, forestry and fisheries - 1.2%, other consumers - 4.1%. Energy efficiency indicators: in 2019 per capita consumption of gross domestic product at purchasing power parity (in nominal prices) - 15633 dollars, per capita (gross) electricity consumption - 1360 kWh, per capita electricity consumption by the population - 502 kWh. The number of hours of using the installed net capacity of power plants is 4229 hours.
Vast distances, swamps, forests, mountains and a small population hinder
the development of land transport, contributing to the increasing use of
In total, there are 4,160 km of railways and more than 100,000 km of roads, including an international highway crossing Colombia, connecting Venezuela with Ecuador.
The first international commercial airline was launched in 1919. Now there are about 670 airfields in the country. The main airports are in Barranquilla, Medellin, Cali and Bogota.
Cartagena de Indias, Buenaventura and Barranquilla are the largest ports. The river navigation network has a length of more than 14,000 km.
The population is 50,459,942 people.
The annual population growth is 1.2%.
Average life expectancy is 71 years for men and 77.8 years for women.
Urban population - 74% (in 2008).
Literacy - 90.4% (according to the 2005 census).
The position of the Indian population
The law of October 11, 1821, proclaimed the Indian a free citizen, equal to the white, and prescribed (Art. 3) the division of the lands of the resguardo (reservations) among the community members "in their full possession and property, when conditions permit and not later than five years." In the 19th century, some Indians were able to achieve fairly high military ranks and administrative posts. An 1890 law provided that the Esguardos would not be governed by the general laws of the Republic, but by special orders, and would be "brought into civilized life" through missions. By 1960, 81 resguardos remained in the country with a total area of 400 thousand hectares (almost all in the southwest). In the 20th century, the struggle of the aborigines for rights led to the recognition by the state of resguardo and to the creation of 158 reservations (reserva) on the outlying lands between 1965 and 1986 with a total area of 12,400 thousand hectares for 128 thousand people. The 1991 constitution recognized local status for aboriginal languages, bilingual education in ethnic communities, and reserved two seats in parliament for the Indians. The Constitution also recognized the right of Aboriginal territories to self-government and to dispose of natural resources. As a result, in 2005, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs of the Ministry of the Interior registered 567 resguardos (the old word also refers to newly formed reservations) with an area of\u200b\u200bmore than 36,500 thousand hectares, on which a little more than 800 thousand people lived in 76,503 families. Decree 1396 of 1996 established the National Aboriginal Human Rights Commission.
The vast majority of Colombians are Christians (95.7%). Christianity (in
the form of Catholicism) entered the territory of modern Colombia along
with the Spanish colonizers and quickly spread among the local
population. Protestants appeared in Colombia in the 19th century, and
Orthodox in the 20th century. Since the middle of the 20th century,
there has been a massive outflow of believers from the Catholic Church
and a transition to various Protestant communities; by the beginning of
the 21st century, the proportion of Catholics in the total population of
the country had decreased to 79%. The number of Protestants is estimated
at 10% to 17%; first of all, these are Pentecostals (2.9 million).
Orthodox (Mr. migrants from the Middle East) - 12 thousand people.
In Colombia, traditional Indian religions have also been preserved, the supporters of which are 305 thousand people. Another 490 thousand Colombians adhere to various spiritualist cults, which are a mixture of Indian religions, African religious practices and Catholicism.
Arab immigrants profess Islam (14 thousand). Among the Chinese community there are adherents of the Chinese folk religion (2.4 thousand); part of the Chinese and Japanese profess Buddhism (2 thousand). Hinduism in Colombia (9 thousand) is represented mainly by neo-Hindu movements. Colombia is also home to 70,000 Bahá'ís, 4,600 Jews and adherents of new religious movements.
Approximately 1.1 million Colombians (2.4% of the population) are non-religious.
On the territory of Colombia, there was a merger of two cultures:
European, brought by the Spanish conquistadors in the 15th century, and
local, formed by mixing Indian civilizations and peoples who left a rich
memory of their thousand-year past. The population of the country is a
mixture of descendants of Europeans, Indians and black slaves brought
from Africa. Despite the fact that the country has a single language -
Spanish, and a single religion - Catholic, Colombia is distinguished by
great ethnic and cultural diversity. To the ancient pre-Columbian
civilization, to the unique skill of the Indians in the manufacture of
perhaps the most perfect products from gold and other materials on the
entire American continent, was added the culture and art of Spain,
music, plastic and the traditions of blacks and mulattoes, the
imagination of mestizos.
It was here that mystical realism was born, the greatest representative of which is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is this flavor that is present in the works of Colombian artists such as Fernando Botero, Alejandro Obregon, Guillermo Wiedemann. It is here that tropical dances and music - salsa, cumbia, porro, vallenato - are rooted. It is on this historical basis that the audacious innovation of Colombian culture was born.
Spanish is the official language of Colombia, which is spoken by almost
all the inhabitants of the country (99.2%) with the exception of some
Indian tribes. In total, there are 65 surviving Indian languages in
Colombia, but their number is declining every year. So they speak two
Creole languages, Romani and Colombian sign language, English is
official in the department of San Andrés y Providencia.
School education in Colombia includes English, but few Colombians are currently able to speak it.
There are many dialects of the Spanish language that differ semantically, morphologically, syntactically and intonation. The general characteristics of Spanish in Latin America remain the same for all regions of the country. In the north of Colombia, there is a group of similar dialects spoken by the Carib people (the so-called "costenos"). In the south, in the Andes, a dialect is common that is similar to the dialect of the Ecuadorian mountains and Peru (the so-called "Andean Spanish").
Spanish, spoken by the Colombian Altiplano Cundiboyacense (Spanish: Altiplano Cundiboyacense), is known for its neutral accent and clear pronunciation. That is why it is recognized as one of the most traditional among all dialects of the Spanish language, which is spoken on both sides of the Atlantic.
The languages and dialects of the ethnic groups of the Indians are also official in their territory. About 850 thousand Colombians speak vernacular languages, the most common groups of languages are Chibcha, Tukano, Bora-Vitoto, Guajibo and others.
The traditional music of Colombia reflects the uniqueness of the
national composition of the country. Colombia is called "the land of a
thousand rhythms". On the Pacific coast and in the central highlands,
Creole music with typical Spanish features prevails; in the interior and
in the eastern part, Indian musical culture is preserved; the musical
folklore of the Caribbean coast was influenced by Negro music.
The main song and choreographic forms of Creole music are bamboo, pasillo, torbellino, guabina, etc. The instrumentation is dominated by plucked strings - tiple (a kind of guitar), bandola, requinto.
Indian music is characterized by a pentatonic scale, an inseparable unity of song, dance and instrumental accompaniment; the predominance of wind musical instruments (reed flutes, wooden pipes - fotuto) and shock-noise instruments (various drums, a manguare xylophone drum, rattles).
Negro folklore is distinguished by its emphasized bipartite, sharply syncopated rhythms, polyrhythm, and the predominance of percussive-noise musical instruments. The most common song and dance forms are porro, cumbia, vallenato, merengue, and rumba.
The most famous Colombian writer is the Nobel Prize winner (1982), the classic of world literature of the 20th century, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The state television and radio company RTVC Sistema de Medios Públicos was established in 1954 as Radiotelevisora Nacional de Colombia, since 1963 - Inravisión (Instituto Nacional de Radio y Televisión - "National Institute of Radio and Television"), includes Canal Uno TV channels (aka Cadena Uno , Televisora Nacional de Colombia, Canal Nacional, launched in 1954), Canal Institucional (aka Cadena Dos launched in 1972), Señal Colombia (aka Cadena 3, launched in 1972), radio station Radio Nacional de Colombia (launched in 1929), Radiónica (launched in 2005).
Telenovelas take up most of the broadcast time, which allows them to reach an economic level that can support the cultural and journalistic space. They outperform the domestic market and are actively spreading abroad, where international companies set the guidelines for the integration of Latin American audiovisual products. To date, their main production is carried out by the most popular TV channels owned by private companies - Caracol Television and Canal RCN.
The national football team is the winner of the 2001 America's Cup.
Colombian clubs (Atletico Nacional and Once Caldas) have won the Copa
Libertadores twice. The Colombian team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
reached the 1/4 finals. Since 2017, the women's football championship
has been held.
Since the 2000s, the Jimbarr has become a particularly popular street sport in Colombia, although it has been successfully developing before that - since the middle of the 20th century.
Colombians have been participating in the Olympic Games since 1932 and have won 19 awards since then, including 2 golds (weightlifter Maria Urrutia in 2000 became the first Olympic champion in the history of Colombia, and in 2012 the second gold was brought to the country by 20-year-old cyclist Mariana Pajon , the winner in the BMX discipline). In general, the 2012 Games in London were the most successful in history for Colombians - they won 8 medals at once in 5 different sports (judo, wrestling, weightlifting, athletics and cycling).
There are many different museums in Colombia: history, archeology, ethnography, weapons, painting, anthropology, gold (this is the only gold museum in the world - 24 thousand ancient Indian products made of gold and emeralds), colonial art. The house-museum of the leader of the struggle for the independence of the Spanish colonies in America, S. Bolivar, is in Bogotá.
Visa-free entry for up to 90 days to the territory of Colombia for citizens of Russia is valid from May 1, 2009.
Holidays and non-working days in Colombia:
January 1 - New Year;
January 6 - Epiphany;
March 19 - Saint Joseph's Day (Joseph);
April 20 - Maundy Thursday;
April 21 - Good Friday;
May 1 - Workers' Solidarity Day;
May 13 - St. Mary's Day;
June 1 - Ascension;
June 22 - Feast of the body of the Lord;
June 29 - Day of Saints Peter and Paul;
July 20 - Independence Day;
August 7 - Anniversary of the Battle of Boyaca;
August 15 - Assumption of the Virgin;
September 20 - Friendship Day;
December 8 - Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
December 25 - Christmas.