Colombia, or formally, the Republic of Colombia (Spanish: Republica de Colombia), is the northwesternmost country of South America. Colombia is bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil, to the south by Ecuador and Peru, to the North by the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caribbean Sea, and to the west by Panama and the Pacific Ocean.
Colombia is a large and physically diverse nation. It is the fourth-largest country in South America (after Brazil, Argentina, and Peru), with an area seven times greater than that of New England and more than twice that of France. Its vast territory is one of great physical contrasts, ranging from the towering, snowcapped peaks of the Andes to the hot, humid plains of the Amazon River Basin. Not only is Colombia large in area, but it also has a large population, containing more people than any other South American country except Brazil. The nation's population is not evenly distributed. Most of the people live in the mountainous western third of the country, where Bogota, the capital, and most of Colombia's other large cities are located. Because this western region has a pleasant climate and rich soil, it is also where most agricultural activity takes place.
Colombia currently suffers from a low intensity armed conflict involving rebel guerrilla groups, paramilitary militias, and drug trafficking, that started to develop since around 1964-1966, which was when the FARC and later the ELN were founded and subsequently started their guerrilla insurgency campaigns against successive Colombian government administrations.
Colombia has one festival for every day of the year. During the most famous festivals (such as the Cali Fair, the Barranquilla Carnival, the Iberoamerican Theater Festival and the Flower Festival) is when the most tourists come to Colombia. Many people also come into Colombia during Christmas time and the celebrations surrounding the Independence of Colombia. Even though Colombia has been plagued with travel warnings because of FARC and other guerillas groups, it has continued to attract more tourists in recent years.
In the extreme west are the very narrow and discontinuous Pacific coastal lowlands, which are backed by the low and narrow Serrania de Baudo mountain range. Next is the broad region of the Rio Atrato/Rio San Juan lowland, which has been proposed as a possible alternate to the Panama Canal as a human-made route between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. The chief western mountain range, the Cordillera Occidental, is a moderately high range with peaks reaching up to about 13,000 ft (4,000 m). The Cauca River Valley, an important agricultural region with several large cities on its borders, separates the Cordillera Occidental from the massive Cordillera Central. The valley of the slow-flowing and muddy Magdalena River, a major transportation artery, separates the Cordillera Central from the main eastern range, the Cordillera Oriental.
Altitude affects not only temperature, but also vegetation. In fact, altitude is one of the most important influences on vegetation patterns in Colombia. The mountainous parts of the country can be divided into several vegetation zones according to altitude, although the altitude limits of each zone may vary somewhat depending on the latitude.
Statistics reveal that Colombians are predominantly Roman Catholic and overwhelmingly speakers of Spanish, and that a majority of them are mestizos (of mixed European and Native Amerindian descent). About 25 percent of the people are of pure European descent, while another 12 percent are black or of mixed African and European heritage. ()
Columbia airports, Colombian airport information.