Colombia: A Postcard Perfect Place to Visit
One of the most colorful countries in Latin America, Colombia must be explored, what with its fantastic coastline both on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, coffee plantations, dense jungles and beautiful Andean mountain scenery.
The earliest people to inhabit Colombia were the Chibca Indians in the 16th century. In the 17th century, the Spanish occupied Colombia, which was held together by the viceroyalty of New Granada. Disenchantment among the natives, low class Spanish immigrants and inter-racial Creoles caused the rebellion of 1819 under the legendary Conservative Simon Bolivar.
Over the next century, the politics of this country was dominated by the feud between the Conservatives and the Liberals. The Conservatives believed in having a strong government at the centre and an equally powerful church, while the Liberals believed in just the opposite. Bolivar’s opponent was the Liberal leader Francisco de Paula Santander.
New Granada was renamed Colombia and divided into Colombia, Ecuador, Panama and Venezuela. After Bolivar’s death in 1830, Colombia declared its independence from the other three countries. The Republic of Colombia was set up in 1855.
As president from 1832 to 1836, Santander brought in stability but in 1840, civil war broke out. Their attempts to weaken the Roman Catholic Church resulted in insurrection and after nine governments came to power and quit, in 1885, the Republic of Colombia was formed.
In 1899, a large-scale and vicious civil war broke out, called the War of a Thousand Days and lasted till 1902. In 1903, Colombia lost its right over Panama because it refused to ratify the lease to the United States of the Canal Zone. Finally, Panama declared independence in 1903.
Popular Places and Attractions
Bogota, the capital city, is an international city that blends its ancient history with government offices, internationally recognized universities, skyscrapers and nightclubs. Medellin is an industrial centre and a major producer of gold and coffee, and known for its universities, commerce and industry, health services and flower production.
Museums to visit here are the famous gold museum, Museo Del Oro, and the Museo Nacional, which houses Colombian art through the ages. Colonial churches such as Iglesia de San Ignacio and Iglesia de Santa Clara are worth a visit.
Along Colombia’s stunning 1600 km coastline, one can dive, swim, surf, sunbathe, etc. Cruises and tours can also be organized.
In cities, people travel by bus, taxis, motorcycle and the Trans Millenium, Bogota’s above-the-ground transit bus system. However, it would be best to ask a guide to show you around the city.
Places of Entertainment
The restaurants here serve local and international cuisine with local food influenced by Spanish cuisine. At the end of a tiring day, dine on Colombian specialties such as Ajiaco, Arepas and Mariscos, and the national drink, Tinto or black coffee are worth trying out. Some popular restaurants are Narcobollo (Barranquilla), Bandeja Paisa (Medellin) and Tamales (Santiago de Cali).
If you love shopping, buy the finest emeralds, gold jewelry, antiques, art and leather. Bogota has several shopping malls and shopping districts.
In Colombia, travelers can live at guest houses, youth hostels, bed and breakfast places, budget hotels and five-star hotels, and camps, caravans and motels. The language spoken in Colombia is Spanish.
Colombia’s currency is the Peso (COP) which you can compare with international currencies or refer to the news for exchange rates.
Group accommodation in Columbia | Cheap Hostels & budget hotels