Diverse South American country
Through taking flights to Colombia, you are opening up your horizon to explore one of the most ethnically and ecologically diverse countries in the world. Colombia has a wide and varied history, with recorded knowledge going back as far as the 20th century BC. The country has six natural regions, each with their own unique geographical features, and includes sights such as the Andes mountains and the Pacific coast. Columbian culture holds its roots in 16th-century Spanish culture, and Colombia's multicultural carnivals are a staple that has held firm through to the modern day. Visitors to the country will find a high number of cultural events on the Colombian calendar, with many events taking place during each month of the year. These festivals include regional festivals, those that celebrate folklore, film festivals, arts festivals, and music festivals.
Colombia holds many cities to explore, each with their own cultural landscapes to experience. The capital city, Bogotá, is at the forefront of Colombia's heritage; visit here to find museums detailing the country's history, as well as to access the breathtaking Andes mountains. Cartagena is considered the tourist capital of Colombia, with colonial architecture and many of the country's festivals showcased within the city. Coffee enthusiasts may enjoy a visit to Manizales. A coffee-growing region, its tourist facilities include educational installations relating to the colonisation of the area, as well as the process of growing and exporting coffee throughout the world. Popayan is the religious centre of Colombia, offering plentiful views of exemplary religious structures, and the opportunity to explore nearby archaeological sites. Adventure tourism is popular in Santa Marta, a city of contrasts; tourists can relax at the beaches present in the city, or take to the snowy foothills within the same region.
Including part of the Amazon Rainforest, visits to Colombia offer perfect opportunities to take in the natural landscape, and see some of the native wildlife found only in this region of the world. Exploration is easily accessible through the Amacayacu National Park, the Isla Gorgona, and the San Andres and Providencia Islands. These showcase Colombia's wildlife on land as well as at sea - whales, dolphins and sea turtles are all common sights in Colombia's natural regions.
Colombia's jungle areas also hold vital historical locations, such as the Ciudad Perdida - a pre-Columbian city now marked only by jungle ruins. Archaeological sites include San Agustin and Tierradentro in the south-west of the country, and the Villa de Leyva is a preserved example of a historical colonial town.
Food and drink
Visitors to Colombia should experience the wide range of Colombian dishes available at restaurants throughout the country. Delicacies include bunuelos - deep-fried cheese cornflour balls, deep-fried - arepas - corn tortillas, combined with cheese and butter - and the breakfast option of tamales: maize, chopped pork or chicken, vegetables and eggs, steamed in banana leaves. Tropical fruits such as mangoes, tamarinds and mangostines are available throughout the country, and are available also as smoothies, juice drinks, and as ice cream flavours.
Colombia's roots in coffee production make it an excellent country within which to find and discover coffee as an experience as well as a drink, but many other regional drinks are available. These include home-made hot chocolate, or the inventive agua de panela - formed of dried cane juice, it is customary to add cheese to the drink while it is hot, so that it will melt during consumption. The national alcohol of Columbia is Aguardiente, also known as 'guaro', and has a strong anise element.