Colombia is bursting onto the tourism scene with its rich heritage, undiscovered Caribbean coastline and perfect weather – its fabulous climate made all the more attractive because Colombia is situated way south of the hurricane belt. Colombia’s many facets and many diverse regions and attractions promise a varied and exciting visit. Colombia is “magical realism”.
Colombia is brimming with culture and heritage. Cartagena, Bogota and Medellin amongst other city destinations offer the best in museums, history, dining, and more. The Coffee Cultural Landscape gives you the unique opportunity to live the culture of coffee that is so engrained in Colombia’s history. And fascinating Cali is the world capital of salsa music and dancing.
Perhaps you hadn’t thought of Colombia for a beach destination holiday – but it has coasts on two oceans, both with stunning beaches. In fact 1,600 km of Caribbean coast and 1,300 km of Pacific coastline have over 300 beaches – some of which are developed with resorts and tourist infrastructure and some of which are pristine and untouched.
Colombia is a destination that is incredibly blessed with nature and adventure. For example Colombia has the most diverse bird population in the world and 10 to 20% of all global plant life is found in Colombia. In fact it is the second most bio-diverse country – second only to Brazil, which is 7 times bigger! And perhaps a surprise to some is the fact that Colombia has a large area of the Amazon basin as part of its territory.
There are many adventure hubs in Colombia with activities from rafting to mountain climbing. For the more adventurous travelers there are lots of high adrenalin activities like paragliding and white water rafting. Plus there are opportunities for rather gentler pass times – perhaps bird watching, fishing, kayaking or hiking. And golfers will have a chance to play in some exceptionally scenic and exotic locations.
Over twelve cultures inhabited Colombian territory before the Spanish Conquest and have left vestiges of the surprising level of development that they attained. Towns and stone paths, enigmatic statues, burial urns and impressive gold and pottery objects, constitute part of an inheritance that allows us to learn about their beliefs and way of life.
Spanish rule has left an indelible mark on Colombia and towards the third decade of the 16th century the founding of the main towns commenced. The capital of the Spanish Viceroyalty was established in Bogota, creating both the home of the government and the ecclesiastic hierarchy. As well as the imposing colonial architecture, Bogota’s Museum of Gold gives a taste of the treasures that were so desired by the Spanish. On show is what remains of the gold handiwork created by native tribes and left after the barbarity and looting – giving an insight into these mysterious previous cultures of which only fragmentary visions remain.
Culture, history, adventure, amazing landscapes and fascinating nature – just some of the treasures awaiting the visitor! And all of this is made all the more accessible by the comprehensive network of flights provided by Copa Airlines – your gateway to discover the magical realism of Colombia.
The Coffee Cultural Landscape is an exceptional example of a sustainable and productive cultural landscape. It reflects a tradition of growing coffee on small plots in difficult mountain conditions. This unique region encompasses six farming landscapes, which include 18 urban centres on the foothills of the western and central ranges of the Cordillera de los Andes in the west of the country. The urban areas are nestled on the relatively flat tops of hills above sloping coffee fields. They are characterized by the architecture of the Antioquian colonization with Spanish influence. Building materials were, and remain in some areas, cob and pleated cane for the walls with clay tiles for the roofs. Today’s tourists can experience the coffee of Colombia, learn how to make coffee and visit plantations and rural haciendas.
The colonial city of Cartagena is set within stone fortifications and offers wonderful historical treasures. The city boasts the most extensive, and one of the most complete, systems of military fortifications in South America. Due to the city’s strategic location on Colombia's northern coast, facing the Caribbean Sea, this eminent example of military architecture from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries was one of the most important ports in the Caribbean. The city was one of the first sanctuaries of freed African slaves in the Americas and is currently populated by an ethnic mix representative of Colombia's own variety. Nowadays there are modern, luxurious hotels, beautiful beaches, diverse restaurants, exciting excursions and a vibrant nightlife. Nearby coral reefs, powdery beaches, impressive mangroves and waterways complement the historic and urban beauty.
The Malpelo Sanctuary is a rocky archipelago formed by the island of Malpelo and eleven isolated crags in the Colombian Pacific Ocean, 506 kilometers west of the port of Buenaventura. The bare slopes are a nesting colony for blue masked boobies.
Founded in 1540 on the banks of the River Magdalena, Mompox played a key role in the Spanish colonization of northern South America. From the 16th to the 19th century the city developed parallel to the river, with the main street acting as a dyke. The historic centre is very well preserved - most of the buildings are still used for their original purposes, providing an exceptional picture of what a Spanish colonial city was like.
Several monumental statues of human figures can be seen in the National Archaeological Park of Tierradentro, which also contains many pre-Hispanic underground burial chambers dating from the 6th to the 10th century. These huge underground tombs (some burial chambers are up to 12 m wide) are decorated with motifs that reproduce the internal decor of homes of the period. They reveal the social complexity and cultural wealth of a pre-Hispanic society in the northern Andes.
Extending over 72,000 hectares in north-western Colombia, Los Katios National Park is located in the Colombian mountain zone up to an elevation of 600m and also encompasses significant wetland areas. These mountains and floodplains represent incredible biological diversity. It is the only place in South America where a large number of Central American species occur, including threatened species such as the American Crocodile, Giant Anteater and Central American Tapir.
Located in the southern part of the Colombian Andes, San Augustin Archaeological Park has megalithic statues carved in volcanic stone. The largest group of religious monuments and megalithic sculptures in South America stands in a wild, spectacular landscape. Gods and mythical animals are skillfully represented in styles ranging from abstract to realist. These works of art display the creativity and imagination of a northern Andean culture that flourished from the 1st to the 8th century. Most of the imposing 500 statues were part of the funerary paraphernalia of the ancient inhabitants of the area and were related to funerary rites, the spiritual power of the dead, and the supernatural world.
Colombia is situated in South America, and bordered to the north by the Caribbean Sea; Panama and the Pacific Ocean are to the west, Brazil and Venezuela to the east, and Peru and Ecuador to the south. Colombia has five natural regions, each one virtually a country unto itself and each one presenting different landscapes and different facets of this incredibly diverse country.
This region extends for 1,600 km along the Caribbean coast. It comprises desert on the peninsula of La Guajira; mountains covered by rainforest and perennial snow that form the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest coastal mountain in the world (5.770 meters above sea level); cienagas (swamps) and plains in the departments of Magdalena, Cesar and Sucre; bays with white sandy beaches such as the Gulf of Morrosquillo; jungles in the Gulf of Uraba, and a dazzling view of the Caribbean.
Near Cartagena lie the archipelagos of Rosario and San Bernardo, coral paradises with islets of mangrove. Some 700 km away from the coast, the archipelago of San Andres and Old Providence forms an oasis of life amid the sea, with islands, keys and reefs spread over 500 km. San Andres is becoming a popular tourist destination following the development of modern resort hotels.
The longest mountain range in the world, the Andes enter Colombia in the Nudo de los Pastos in the south of the country, where they divide into two. In the Colombian Massif it separates into three mountain chains that cross Colombia from south to north and create a rugged terrain, with peaks higher than 5,300 meters above sea level, expansive highland plains, deep canyons and broad valleys.
These three mountain chains, crowned by perennial snow, boggy paramos, Andean rainforests, deserts and marshes, produce terrain that varies with altitude and whose fertile soils support an immense variety of crops. This is also where the majority of the country’s population lives.
Stretching for 1,300 km, the Pacific coast is one of the wettest regions on Earth, with a rainfall of over 10,000 mm3 per year. The northern part, where the hills of Baudó sink into the ocean forming bays and sounds, is a jungle region of great biodiversity. The flatter south is bordered by cliffs and beaches lined with mangrove and crossed by wide rivers.
Located 56 km. from the coast, the islands of Gorgona and Gorgonilla — one of the country’s national parks — are sanctuaries of flora and fauna. Their waters are visited by enormous humpbacked whales arriving from the South Pacific. And more than 300 km. from the coast, the island rock of Malpelo emerges from the depths of the ocean, surrounded by remarkable underwater life.
This vast region, which extends as far as the river Orinoco on the border with Venezuela, is a plain that spreads out eastwards, its savannas spotted with scrub and riverain forests. Crossed by broad rivers, the Orinoquia covers over 230,000 km2 and represents 20% of the country. The Serrania de La Macarena rises in the southwest, a mountain formation independent of the Andes and endowed with an immense biodiversity, in which natural elements of the Andes, the Amazon and the Orinoquia merge.
Of the 6.8 million km2 of jungle that make up the Amazon basin, 400,000 km2 belong to Colombia. This immense region, considered the lung of the Earth and one of the largest genetic banks of animal and vegetable species, is inhabited by numerous Indian communities who continue to preserve their ancestral way of life.
Copa Airlines, the leading airline in Latin America, connects through Panama and unites the major cities of Colombia.
Copa Airlines is the only airline to operate regularly scheduled nonstop flights between Panama and Toronto. Fly to Panama City every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Copa now also fly from Montreal to Panama four times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Copa Airline has their hub in the ultra-modern airport in Panama City – known as the Hub of the Americas. In fact, from the Hub of the Americas Copa Airlines offers flights to more international destinations than any other airline in the Latin American region.
If you want to visit two or more countries in the same trip, Copa Airlines fares allow you a free stop-over in Panama. This is a fantastic advantage – many airlines charge you extra if you break your journey in another country rather than fly straight on to your final destination. And as an additional incentive - the Panama Tourism Board offers you Free Medical Insurance for the first 30 days of your stay in Panama.
Copa’s Colombian destinations take you to Colonial Cities, to the heart of coffee country, to the beaches and to the mountains of Colombia.
Copa operate Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft with seating for 16 passengers in Business Class and 144 in the main cabin. With 57 Boeing Next Generation 737s and 26 Embraer-190s – Copa have one of the youngest fleets in the Americas with an average age of only 5 years. Copa Airlines maintains an on-time performance above 90% - putting them among the best airlines worldwide.
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