Holding the some of the oldest and most well preserved remains of numerous ancient South American civilizations, Colombia is a country rich with historical and archaeological sites. It is the home to Ciudad Perdida, the second most preserved ancient city in South America. There are many other beautiful sites to behold in Colombia, especially the vibrant city of Medellin, which has won the award for “City of the Year” due to its innovation. Monserrate is also another beautiful site that gives you a breathtaking view of Bogota from a mountain’s summit. Not only is Colombia rich in sites, but also culture and adventure, which are easily found once you visit. They also have their world-renowned Colombian coffee, which is always high in demand, even from the locals of the country.
Important and Interesting Facts About Colombia
- Colombia shares a land border with 5 countries including Panama, Venezuela,Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.
- Colombia is the only country in South America that has a coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
- Bogotá is the capital of Colombia. It is the second largest capital city in South America and at 2640 m (8661 ft) it is one of the highest capital cities in the world.
- Colombia is classed as a “megadiverse” country, ranking as the 2nd most biodiverse country in the world. It has the highest amount of species by area in the world, including the most endemic species of butterflies, the most orchid species, the most amphibian species and more species of bird than all of Europe and North America combined.
- Colombia is the world’s leading source of emeralds and its coffee is world-renown. Around 12% of world’s coffee is produced in Colombia.
- Colombia is nicknamed the “gateway to South America” because it sits in the northwestern part of the continent where South America connects with Central and North America. It is the fifth largest country in Latin America.
- Colombia is part of the Ring of Fire, a group of countries on the Pacific Ocean prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
- Of the 14 or so species of Wax Palm in the world, Colombia has 7 of them. This particular species is the tallest palm in the world, reaching heights of up to 60 meters and in exceptional cases – 80 meters. These can be viewed with in the Cocora Valley, on treks into PNN Los Nevados.
- Colombia has the highest coastal mountain range in the world – The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta(also a national park that covers 383,000 hectares. Its highest peak s also Colombia’s highest mountain – Pico Cristobal Colon (Christopher Columbus) standing at around 5,775 metres above sea level or 19,058 feet.
- Colombia has 58 National Parks(almost the same amount as the U.S) that cover around 10% of the national territory – some 12,602,328 hectares – and are home to some of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet. There are plans to enlarge existing parks and establish more to reach a 14% coverage.
- Colombia is home to the most incredible natural beauty you will ever see in your life. And its cities are nothing short of awe-inspiring: The Ancient Inca Road System that runs through the Colombian portion of the Andes, The Salt Mines of Nemocón and the Plaza de Bolivar in Bogota.
- Various archaeological sites, amongst them some of the most important in South America such as the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida) of the Tayronas and San Agustin among others.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts About Colombia
- Colombia has a vibrant music scene, two of the most well-known Colombian musicians are Shakira and Juanes.
- The Colombian custom of putting pieces of cheese in one’s hot chocolate tastes as bizarre as it sounds. The first few sips are chocolatey enough, but once the cheese and chocolate have had time to mingle, a distinctly pungent flavor emerges.
- Some enterprising Colombian took two perfectly good condiments, ketchup and mayonnaise, and made them into one sauce; “salsa rosada” (pink sauce). Gone are the days where you have to mix the two things together yourself.
- Known as “hormigas culonas” (or ants with junk-in-the-trunk), these insects with sizable behinds are fried and sold on the street as salty snacks. Catching the ants isn’t an easy task; the “hunters” must wear protective boots and move quickly. According to ant hunter Edgar Vargas, “You can earn a day’s wage by selling a kilo of ants”.
- Store mannequins have ginormous boobs.
- A man walks around Medellin, challenging people to hold two electrocuting rods. If one can hold the rods for a sufficient amount of time, congratulations. However, if you fail, you must pay him.
- Given how expensive it is to call people via cellphone in Colombia, a thriving business of small-scale “minute sellers” has emerged. On the street you can use someone’s cellphone to make personal calls from between 5 to 10 cents per minute.
- More bird species can be found in Colombia than any other country in the world, and more than Europe and North America combined. Colombia is habitat to more than 1754 species of bird.
- Colombia has more endemic species (species that exist only in one country) than any other country in the world.
- Due to the country’s high concentration of plant species, Colombia accounts for 70% of cut flowers imported to the United States.
- Colombia has some of theworld’s best beaches and is one of the cheapest places in the world to learn how to scuba-dive.
- Fernando Botero is famous for his sculptures of massively obese people and animals, with some of his works on public display in Colombian cities.
Historical and Cultural Facts About Colombia
- Archaeologists think the first people to arrive in Colombia came about 20,000 years ago. Some 8,000 years after that, settlers in the Magdalena Valley in the western part of the country grew into a civilization called the Chibcha.
- The area covered by modern day Colombia was originally inhabited by the indigenous tribes Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. In 1499 the Spanish arrived making the area a Spanish colony called New Granada.
- The traditional national sport of Colombia is called Tejo. It is a team sport that involves launching projectiles at a target.
- The most popular sport in Colombia is football (soccer). The Colombian national team won the 2001 Copa América (South American Championship).
- The first Spanish settlement in Colombia was Santa Marta, founded in 1525.
- A popular snack is arepa, a flatbread made from cornflour and various fillings.
- The cuisine is as diverse as its culture. The various food items seen here have been developed mainly due to the influences from Spain, Italy, and France along with American cuisine, Caribbean influences and the traditional style of the Native Americans.
- Salsa dancing is a huge part of Colombian national identity and this suave victory wiggle is all about telling the world they can do more than just kick a ball. At The World Latin Dance Cup (yup, that’s a thing…kind of a big deal actually) Colombia have been regularly stealing first and second place prizes over the last eight years.
- As well as traditional Colombian empanadas and tamales, you’ll find a host of trendy establishments offering everything from the trusty burger to Peruvian to Asian to this new thing called Fusion.
- Most Colombians have both a maternal and paternal surname and will use both. The father’s surname is listed first and is the one used in conversation.