Home to a traumatic but rich history, stunning scenery and some of the continent’s most welcoming and sophisticated people, Colombia is a natural draw for travellers to South America. Despite its four-decade-long civil war and reputation for violence, improved security conditions have led to a sharp increase in tourism. Foreigners and Colombians alike are now far more able to explore this thrilling paradise of cloudforested mountains, palm-fringed beaches and gorgeous colonial cities. The only country in South America to border both the Pacific and the Caribbean, Colombia offers a huge range of ecosystems, from the Amazon rainforest near Leticia to the snowcapped mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the tropical islands of San Andrés and Providencia.Read More
Colombia’s festival planner
Colombia’s festival planner
Colombia knows how to party and does so year-round. You can join in the following:
January Carnaval de Blancos y Negros. Pasto’s un-PC celebrations dating back to the days of slavery, with revellers with whitened and blackened faces throwing chalk and flour over each other.
February Carnaval de Barranquilla. Second-biggest carnival in South America, complete with parades, dancing, drinking and music, held forty days before Easter
March Semana Santa. Holy Week celebrated with nighttime processions by the faithful; particularly impressive in Popayán and Mompox
June/July Rock al Parque. Massive free thee-day pop/rock/funk/metal/reggae concert in Bogotá’s Parque Simón Bolívar.
August Feria de las Flores. Medellín’s big bash, culminating in a parade of peasants bearing flowers down from the mountains.
September Festival Mundial de Salsa. Cali’s salsa festival, with the hottest moves on show at the Teatro al Aire Libre Los Cristales
November Reinado Nacional de Belleza. Cartagena crowns Miss Colombia amid parades, street dancing and music
December Feria de Cali. Epic street parties.
On August 7, 2010, Juan Manuel Santos was inaugurated as the fortieth president of Colombia, following a failed attempt by former President Álvaro Uribe to run for an unprecedented third term in office. Uribe was first elected in 2002 on a platform of law and order and turned to the US for help in dealing with the country’s perpetual cycle of violence by tipping the military balance in their favour. Under Plan Colombia, the US has committed around US$7 billion in foreign aid, most of it to the military, to root out illegal drug trafficking and the guerrilla protectors that allow it to blossom. Largely intended to eradicate the growing of coca, Plan Colombia funded crop spraying on a large scale. Since the early 2000s coca production has declined dramatically – with the security situation improving as well – and Peru has now surpassed Colombia in coca production. However, coca farming has also adapted, for example by being planted in smaller areas, and the people who suffer the most from Plan Colombia have often been the impoverished farmers whose food crops have been sprayed alongside the coca plants and who have received no compensation from the Colombian government. Under Uribe drug-related crime declined and Santos has vowed to continue his predecessor’s hardline security policies.