Colombia occupies the northwest corner of South America. It has an area twice that of France and almost twice Texas, with long coasts on the Caribbean and the Pacific oceans, mountainous regions, and Amazon jungle areas inland. The ethnic groups and cultures are diverse. The country has something to offer almost any traveler.
Pick a climate, and it's yours - if you find the light-jacket weather of Bogotá cold, drive an hour down through the mountains and sunbathe next to the pool of your rented hacienda. If you don't want to sit still, head off into the Amazon or any of the country's other many inland jungles, snow-capped volcanoes, rocky deserts, endless plains, lush valleys, coffee plantations, mountain lakes, or deserted beaches.
For culture, intellectual Bogotá might lead the rest of Latin America in experimental theater, indie rock, and the number of bookstores, but you could also get a completely alien education in an Amazonian malocca, or you could delve into the huge Latin music scene of salsa and cumbia, with the most exciting dance display being the enormous Carnival of Barranquilla.
For history, wander the narrow streets of South America's original capital in Bogotá, check out old Spanish colonial provincial retreats like Villa de Leyva, trek through the thick jungle-covered mountains of the northeast to the Lost City of the Tayrona Indians, and walk the walls of Cartagena's achingly beautiful old city, looking over the fortified ramparts upon which the colonial history of South America pivoted.
For nightlife, hot Cali is today's world capital of salsa, claiming that competitive distinction over Colombia's other vibrant big-city party scenes, which keep the music going long into the small hours of the morning. The hipsters' playground is found around the El Poblado neighbourhood in Medellín downtown.
The political violence has subsided substantially throughout the majority of the country and savvy travelers have already flocked here from around the world - come before everyone else catches on!
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