• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Colombia
    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    Ecuador
    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    Chile
    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Venezuela
    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    Bolivia
    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

ColombiaColombia is named after the famous explorer, Christopher Columbus. It was used to refer to all of the Americas or just the Spanish-controlled areas before the name's use was shrunk to only refer to Gran Colombia and today only to the country of Colombia.

WARNING: Drug trafficking violence is a risk in Colombia, please read this travel warning before going!

Introduction:

The indigenous people and their cultures in Colombia prior to the arrival of the Europeans were quite unique. The Taironas and Muiscas controlled the lands for some time and both had well established communication and trade networks, making these people fairly wealthy and ever-changing. Despite the advanced technology of these people, European diseases destroyed much of these early cultures and people, with their most significant remnant being that many cities in Colombia, such as Bogota, are the original Muisca names.

The Europeans seemed to control nearly every other aspect of culture from their arrival until today, beginning with the country's name, which is in honor of Christopher Columbus. Despite the Spanish and European influence, the region held little importance compared to many other regions and most of the settlers on these lands arrived to seek out economic opportunities.

Of the indigenous people that survived the initial spread of diseases and other battles, some remained nearly untouched in the mountains or Amazon River basin, but most were integrated into the European-inspired culture and society. This combination created a new culture and society, which had aspects of both indigenous and Spanish culture. Most people began to speak Spanish and practice Catholicism, but local foods and traditions became the dominate force for many.

Today Colombia remains fairly diverse. Some indigenous people live much as they have in the past, particularly in the Amazon region, while in some areas, particularly the cities, the lifestyle and culture are almost wholly influenced by Europe and many people are wholly of European descent. However, diversity exists to nearly all degrees in between as the majority of people are mestizo and combine cultural and lifestyle aspects from various areas based on ethnicity, geography, and more.

Information for Colombia was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks