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Colombia - Magical Beauty

World  (tags: Colombia, people, places, travel )

- 1734 days ago -
Colombia, the amazing land of green, is a tropical haven that is close to the equator. People know of its wonderful coffee, the exotic Amazon that courses through its lands, and of its amazing heritage.

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Kit B (276)
Monday August 26, 2013, 5:21 pm
Map of Colombia - world atlas

5 Facts You Might Not Know About Colombia

1 Cartagena is a beautiful city of Colombia. Dating back to colonial times, it is rich in architecture and history. The Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a castle that dates back to 1639 is an awesome feat and one of the grandest of Spanish fortresses.

2 Colombia has beaches without rival and has a sole privilege of the South American countries. Residents and tourists can experience the sun and the sand on the Atlantic coast or travel to the Pacific while never leaving the bounds of Colombia. Travel only a short distance away and discover Caribbean islands that are a hot spot for Colombians. San Andres is a prime example, a lovely little escape where travelers can enjoy nightclubs, shops with work from local artisans, restaurants with a distinct South American flavor, and above all else--the balmy beaches.

3 A treasure is tucked within the Zipiquara Mountain. An abandoned salt mine has been transformed into a place of pilgrimage for any devoted Christian. It now has become a Catholic cathedral, artfully constructed from the remains of the salt mine. Visitors will have an experience unlike all others.

4 Colombia is a land of diversity. It contains the Andes Mountains, the jungles of the Amazon, and the balmy beaches. People can explore nature with wonders of fauna and flora or take to major cities such as Bogota and Medellin. Travel off the beaten path into small villages and go back in time to when life was simpler. One can sample a bit of everything in the lovely land of Colombia.

5 Colombia is a major source of riches for the world, beyond their spectacular coffee. The quality of their emeralds is hard to surpass. In addition, silver, gold, and platinum are also in abundance. Coal is also one of their most valuable resources.

Ten fun facts about Colombia

Fact 1: Colombia does not have seasons; because it is near the equator, it has sunlight throughout the year.

Fact 2: The name Colombia is derived from the name Christopher Columbus.

Fact 3: Experts believe that 3000 out of the 14000 spices of butterflies are found in Colombia.

Fact 4: Colombia produces 60% of the world's most expensive Emeralds.

Fact 5: Colombia is the home country for many famous people such as Shakira and the famous writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Fact 6: Colombia is the only country in South America that has access to both the Pacific and Caribbean ocean.

Fact 7: In 1975, Colombian women were given the right to vote.

Fact 8: The official currency in Colombia is the Columbian Pesos.

Fact 9: The highest peak in Colombia is the Pico Cristobal Colon at 5797 meters.

Fact 10: The official language is Spanish, but there is other 64 Native tongues still in use.

Some Traditional Foods of Colombia

Colombia has numerous things to captivate. On the one hand, an ample offer of traditional regional recipes; on the other, new trends that make the best of local products to turn Colombian flavors into innovative dishes.

They say that one of the strategies to win over someone's affection is through the charm of a good meal. “A way to a man's heart is through his stomach.” as some would have it. A corresponding consequence could be the colloquial expression, “Full belly, happy heart.”

Colombian national cuisine is as diverse as its climate, landscapes, and cultural expressions. Aside from the fertility of a land that grows practically everything, there is the unlimited imagination of expert cooks who add to the sentiment they infuse into their preparations new ways of seasoning and creating recipes.

Traditional Colombian Dishes

Many of the most famous dishes, like the bandeja paisa and the ajiaco bogotano, are usually enjoyed in their places of origin, with the precise ingredients and quantities and in the appropriate atmosphere: decor, tableware, and the final appearance of the dish.

Bandeja paisa

Thus, for example, the bandeja paisa of the department of Antioquia and nearby regions has as its main ingredient the beans harvested in the region, where climatic characteristics make Colombia the largest producer of beans in the Andean region, as well the country with the highest consumption of beans in the daily diet.

Ajiaco santafereño

On its part, the ajiaco santafereño, prepared in Colombia’s central region, is a soup based on several kinds of potatoes from the high plains of the departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá, an herb by the name of “guasca”, and local corn and chicken.

Colombian food is typical of Latin American cuisine as a whole.

There is a heavy focus on deep-frying everything. Meats (beef, pork, chicken, fish) are popular, and most dishes are served with rice, beans, or potatoes.

Vegetables play a small role, while the variety of fresh tropical fruits available in Colombia is extensive.


Ajiaco is a heavy, potato-based soup that is especially popular in and around Bogota. Additional ingredients include shredded chicken, small chunks of corn on the cob, capers, and cream.

Ajiaco is typically served with a side of rice and fresh avocado, which are then be added to the soup.

Arepas are the most ubiquitous Colombian food – served with almost every meal, and when bought on the street (for $1), a meal unto themselves.

Made of ground corn dough or flour, arepas con queso (with cheese) are best sampled from street vendors.

Preparations vary by region. For example in Medellin, you can expect to have sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top, which offers a sweet counterbalance to the saltiness of the cheese.

Bandeja Paisa is a traditional Antioquian dish consisting of beef, pork or chicken, chorizo, chicharron (pork fat), fried plantains, a fried egg, refried beans, rice, avocado, and a small salad.

This bigger than life dish is hard to finish, and probably contain’s a month’s worth of cholesterol.

Empanadas are perhaps the most popular Colombian food. They are available everywhere, from street vendors to cafes, and restaurants. They are usually fried, though cafes may offer baked versions as well.

The most common filling is meat (ground beef), though chicken is also widely available. Best enjoyed with a dollop of fresh salsa, which is often provided by the vendor.

Mondongo is another heavy soup, especially popular in Medellin.

The base is chopped tripe (stomach lining or intestines) in a broth, however it is always served with accompaniments for mixing, including rice, avocado, bananas, and fresh cilantro.

Trucha is a type of fish, often served in Colombia’s pueblos. Most restaurants will offer a variety of preparations to choose from, and it’s typically served with a large, fried plantain.

What to drink - Carefully~~
Aguardiente (or guaro as the locals call it) is a clear, anise-flavored (black licorice) alcohol that is available throughout the country.

Inexpensive, and according to the locals, less likely to give you a hangover compared to other liquors, it is usually consumed straight, and chased with water.

Small plastic cups are used for dishing out shots of Aguardiente, and it’s common for Colombians to offer the drink to new friends in the bars and clubs.

Colombia is famous for its coffee, and whether you drink it regularly at home or not, be sure to sample it while visiting the country.

Tintos are very small cups of coffee that are often sold on the streets, out of thermoses. Sometimes you’ll see vendors rolling shopping carts with a dozen or more thermoses around, trying to keep up with demand.

Sheila D (194)
Monday August 26, 2013, 5:22 pm
Pretty scenery, especially that waterfall. Noted with thanks.

Kit B (276)
Monday August 26, 2013, 5:26 pm

There is nothing about Pablo Escobar because this is a virtual tour and we are not concerned with that here. Travel chefs label Columbia as one of the finest countries moving into the world of fine cuisine and highly recommend a trip. The coffee is often defined as exquisite, and much of it is actually Free Trade Coffee.

Pat B (356)
Monday August 26, 2013, 6:10 pm
Beautiful country. Before I retired, there were two teachers from our district who re-located to Columbia to continue their careers as teachers in Columbia. They loved it there, (visiting), and now they are living there, teaching at schools there. How fascinating.!! If I ever visit overseas, it will be Argentina, and Columbia, I've heard that these countries are just exquisite. Besides, re-visiting Puerto Rico, of course, (where I was stationed many years ago). Thanks, KIt for the trip. ;-)

Nicole W (646)
Monday August 26, 2013, 6:52 pm
so lovely, thank you again for a beautiful trip dear Kit

JL A (281)
Monday August 26, 2013, 9:20 pm
Years ago I had a Columbian roommate who told me poor people ate noodles with butter when she saw me fix that to eat. Most of the information was not a surprise--we talked a lot since I was trying to keep my Spanish skills and she wanted to improve her English.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 1:57 am
Thanks once more for your magical tour Kit...

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 4:05 am
Thanks 4 the wonderful trip Kit!

Jonathan Harper (0)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 4:15 am

Ben O (170)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 6:30 am
Colombia...I've been waiting for this!
I've been to Barranquilla 3 times, Buenaventura 4 times, Cartagena 4 times, and Santa Marta one time...
So, now You know...

Ben O (170)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 6:32 am

Ben O (170)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 6:35 am
Santa Marta:

Ben O (170)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 6:38 am
Carnaval of Barranquilla:

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 6:54 am

Thanks Ben for enriching and expanding this vacation experience.

. (0)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 10:15 am
Muchas gracias.

Brad Kraus (6)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 12:23 pm
I've worked in Colombia for the last 17 years and have always found it to be a magnificent country, and Colombians are the warmest, welcoming people I've met anywhere.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 12:47 pm

Thanks Brad, that's good to know.

Vallee R (280)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 4:21 pm
Want the emeralds - dated a guy one summer from Columbia - he had been a teacher there - I would adopt someone from from Columbia if I had the money were younger and was able to - the aaadoption agency where I was adopted if ficusing on certain countires - Columbia is one - sorry seemt o get off topic a lot in these - thanks Kit. .

marie C (163)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 4:40 pm
As usual wonderful thank you so much Kit

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 5:51 pm

I agree Val a few extra emeralds would be delightful.

Inge B (202)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 12:01 am
Love it

Past Member (0)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 3:39 am
Love your travel post.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 5:43 am

Thank you, John I like them as well.

Winn A (179)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 7:04 am

John De Avalon (36)
Thursday August 29, 2013, 2:03 pm
Great article. Thank you, dear Kit.

Melania Padilla (122)
Thursday August 29, 2013, 2:05 pm
I loved Colombia, very original place
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