The Republic of Colombia is the fourth largest country in South America, extending over 1'139.000 square kilometers. For the country’s 46 million people the official language is Spanish however, the multicultural republic is home to 102 indigenous ethnic groups with about 64 languages.
Colombia is the only South American country which borders both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, giving it 2,900 miles of coastline and you will find almost all climates inside the borders, from snowy mountaintops over sunny beaches to humid tropical rainforests. This geographical diversity is reflected in the culture of each of its six regions and 32 provinces; each with their own customs, music and cuisine – all can be explored at the numerous local and national festivals; among the most famous ones the Carnival of Barranquilla, The Light Festival in Villa de Leyva or the national festival for Vallenato music in Valledupar.
With its privileged geographical and cultural conditions, Colombia has a lot to offer for all kinds of travelers; luxury hotels on sandy beaches, horseback riding and trekking in the coffee growing territory, diving and other water sports, museums and ancient indigenous sights. Most importantly however, Colombian people are proud of their country and are very happy to help tourists.
Information of interest
Juan Manuel Santos
Palma de cera
Bogotá was founded almost 500 years ago and combines the old-world charm of its colonial origins with the vibrant life of a modern metropolis. With close to eight million inhabitants, the Colombian capital is a bustling city, rich in contrasts – from pedestrian zones with cobbled squares and brightly painted houses to modern glass and steel facades in the financial center.
The surrounding mountains offer stunning views of the city below and are also a great place for hikes and other excursions. All the country’s regions are represented in Bogotá and so the city has an impressive cultural and gastronomical offering as well as a vast and diverse entertainment scene that satisfies every taste and preference.
A growing local and international art scene with new galleries sprouting up every week promises shows and exhibitions all year round, most prominently shown perhaps at the capital’s annual art fair artBO. Shoppers can choose between traditional handmade crafts, jewelry and high-fashion clothes and accessories, and of course, the best coffee in the world!
Best Practice: Ciclovia
On Sundays and national holidays, part of the main streets throughout the city are closed off between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to allow for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy free-reign of the major routes in the city.
The initiative, at which more than 1’000.000 participate each week, began in 1974 and held its ground even during the darker chapters of Colombian history. In total, the “cicloruta” now extends over 121 kilometers throughout the city and the concept has been adopted in a number of other countries such as Perú, Chile and Brazil. In 2005 the American Association of “Ciclovias” was founded, taking example from Bogotá.
Did you know?
The neighborhood “La Merced”, where CESA is located, is a piece of London in the heart of Bogotá. The houses on the south side of the National Park were built in the 1930s and ’40s by the British Petroleum Company to make its executives feel as though they were back home. Today, most of the houses are occupied by offices, clubs and universities.