In Colombia, one can go from perpetual snow to the beaches of
the Caribbean, enjoy the company of friendly country folk in the
Andean highlands, or in warmer climes, and even participate in the
fiestas of the local inhabitants. The warm beaches of the Caribbean
coast, bays lined with coconut palms in the Pacific, the mysterious
Amazon jungle, limitless savannas in Orinoquia, a valuable past in
colonial architecture and the imposing peaks of the Andes: a
universe of destinations that nature lovers can enjoy in some of
the 50 national parks that are to be found in every corner of the
country. With a long history several sites that bear testimony to
its fascinating Indian past. In San Agustín, in the southern of the
Colombian Andes, monoliths of volcanic stone representing gods and
warriors are preserved.
The Andes Mountains dominate Colombia's landscape, with three ranges running the length of the country from north to south. They divide the country into three major regions: the highland core, the coastal lowlands, and the eastern plains. Colombia is rich in natural resources and beauty. In addition to being the leading producer of emeralds, it also is home to the world's largest platinum deposits. Colombians farm about 150,000 coffee plantations, mostly on the mountain slopes between 2,900 and 5,800 feet above sea level.
WILDLIFE OF COLOMBIA
The country is home to one of the world's greatest varieties of birds, as well as hundreds of different kinds of mammals and thousands of types of insects and plants. The wildlife of Colombia includes the larger South American mammals, such as jaguars, pumas, tapirs, peccaries, anteaters, armadillos & several species of monkeys. Caimans, once numerous along the principal rivers, have now become scarce due to intensive hunting. Many varieties of snakes inhabit the tropical regions of Colombia. Birds include condors, vultures, toucans, parrots, cockatoos, cranes, storks and hummingbirds. Colombia has developed wildlife sanctuaries such as Los Flamencos Wildlife Sanctuary where pink flamingos inhabit shallow water in the coastal lagoons, El Dorado bird reserve at San Lorenzo above Santa Marta.
The 'mestizaje' is not only expressed in the country's traditions, handicrafts and cuisine, but also in its arts, from architecture, painting and sculpture to literature, film and photography, and also including music, dance and theater. UNESCO's World Heritage Committee has declared Cartagena de Indias, the archeological parks of San Agustín and Tierradentro, and the historical center of Santa Cruz de Mompox as world heritage sites. Colombian music is enormously varied, that of the Andean region, undoubtedly of Spanish origin, is based on stringed instruments such as the guitar, mandolin and tiple, but to the south of the country it is enriched with the flutes and drums of the chirimías. On the Caribbean coast the 'Vallenato' has imposed itself over ancestral rhythms such as the 'Cumbia'.