Colombia - Maps & Guide
Welcome to the map and guide of the cities, towns or places of interest around Colombia in South America. Here you will find links to maps, virtual tours and guides with 360° panoramas of various travel destinations, regions, cities and attractions in Colombia.
Alongside each virtual tour and panorama is a Google map and some local and travel information to help you explore plan and your trip to the top travel destinations in Colombia. This growing guide of Colombia uses images and information provided by independent travellers, giving you the fuller picture of the various sights, hotels and attractions.
Colombia - Featured Destinations
Colombia - Travel & Information
Officially called the Republic of Columbia (República de Colombia), Columbia is the first country of the land mass below Panama. It shares international borders with Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador with coastal regions bordering both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is the third largest Spanish speaking country in the world and the capital is Bogotá.
Colombia - Geography
Geographically the country is quite diverse, ranging from the Andes Mountains through to Amazon rainforest. The Colombian Massif range dominates much of the area of the Cauca, Huila, and Nariño Departments. It is split into three ranges; Cordillera Occidental, Cordillera Central and Cordillera Oriental. Within the Cordillera Central, between the Cauca and Magdalena river valleys, are the cities of Medellín, Manizales, Pereira and Armenia. Beyond the Colombian Massif lie the Pasto Massif (Nudo de los Pastos) to the south and Central and Eastern Andes to the north.
To the east of the Andes lie the lowlands made up of Llanos Savanna, Orinoco River basin and, to the far south east, Amazon rainforest. While this region covers about 20% of the land mass, it is sparsely populated by only 3% of the population.
Ethnically, Colombia is a very diverse country, originally inhabited by various people groups including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona. The Spanish first arrived in 1499 who then controlled much of the region for the next 400 years. During this time many Africans were brought over as slaves and in the 20th century the country has attracted immigrants from Europe and the Middle East. This has produced a rich cultural mix.
For much of the 20th century Colombia has suffered from internal conflict with government forces, left-wing insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries fighting each other. Though this has declined in recent years, drug related violence has increased significantly in the last few years.
Colombia - Tourism and Travel
In recent years tourism in Colombia has increased as the violence has slowly been brought down. However, common crime, theft, kidnappings and murder still deter many from visiting this beautiful land. Those who do venture here find a wide range of historic sites, parks, beaches, tropical islands and outdoor activities.
Popular tourist attractions in Colombia include:
- Candelaria district - historical district in central Bogotá full of old architecture.
- Cartagena de Indias - large Caribbean beach resort city on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region whose colonial walled city and fortress are a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Colonial Towns - especially the towns of Santa Fe de Antioquia, Popayán, Villa de Leyva and Santa Cruz de Mompox.
- Las Lajas Sanctuary (Santuario de Las Lajas) - large Gothic basilica church built in the stunning Guáitara River Canyon between 1916-49.
- Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá (Catedral de Sal de Zipaquirá) - Roman Catholic church found 200m underground in the salt mines of a Halite mountain near Zipaquirá containing the Salt Park, sculptures and geological museum.
- Tayrona National Natural Park (Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona) - found 34km from Santa Marta this park covers about 15okm² of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and 30km² of surrounding coastline.
- Cabo de la Vela - a headland in the Guajira Peninsula in Colombia with an adjacent small fishing village and popular ecotourism destination.
- Nevado del Ruiz - also known as the also know, this is a 5,321m high active volcano covered in glaciers within Los Nevados National Natural Park.
- Cocora Valley - part of Los Nevados National Natural Park this beautiful valley, named after a Quimbayan princess, is found in the Central Cordillera of the Andean mountains.
- Tatacoa Desert - covering some 330km², this desert area is full of cacti, fossils and rare wild life. It is also popular with tourists for the stunning night skies.
- Amacayacu National Park - created in 1975 this park covers 4,220km² of tropical jungle next to the Amazon river and is of great biological importance.
- Malpelo Island (Isla de Malpelo) - found 235 miles from Colombia's Pacific coast, this tiny, uninhabited island is popular with divers due to the hundreds of hammerhead sharks and silky sharks that gather here and regular sightings of the rare Smalltooth sand tiger.
- Gorgona Island - former prison island and now a National Natural Reservation Park and growing ecotourism destination with a large number of unique, endemic species resulting from its isolation from the American continent.
Colombia - World Heritage Sites
Colombia has 7 World Heritage sites, which also draw many tourists each year. These are:
- Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia - 100 year old coffee plantations which have greatly interacted the culture of Colombia.
- Historic Centre of Puebla - noted for the 16th century cathedral and colonial houses decorated in blue tiles (azulejos).
- Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox - the town center still contains many colonial buildings from the 16th and 17 centuries, still fulfilling their original purpose.
- Los Katíos National Park - hills, forests and humid plains in the Darién Gap notable exceptional bio-diversity.
- Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary - small island famous for regular gatherings of up to 500 hammerhead sharks and hundreds of silky sharks.
- National Archeological Park of Tierradentro - famous for pre-Columbian hypogea (underground temples and tombs) dating from the 6th to 9th centuries.
- Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena - occupied since 7000 BC the town is famous for its colonial fortress and monuments.
- San Agustín Archaeological Park - small village founded in the 18th century well known and popular for the large number of local pre-Columbian archaeological sites.