Colombia Geography and Climate

For most people, Colombia is known only from one side, as the “world center of the drug mafia” and the main producer of coffee. However, gradually, with the development of tourism, people began to discover the “other” Colombia. Few people know that the country occupies a leading position in terms of biodiversity: its territory is divided into 5 natural regions that are completely different from each other. In Colombia, the ridges of the longest and one of the highest mountain systems of the Earth – the Andes, the Pacific coast of the country is one of the wettest places on the planet, on the Caribbean coast, in addition to beaches and a colorful underwater world, there are the highest coastal mountains in the world, and the eastern the regions of Colombia, where the tributaries of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers flow, are the habitat of one of the largest predators in South America – the Orinoco crocodile, the largest rodent on the planet – the capybara, the largest snake – the anaconda, as well as the largest freshwater turtles. To all this, you can add a lot of archaeological parks representing the remains of highly developed ancient Indian civilizations, museums with the most extensive collections of gold items from the pre-Columbian era, original Indian villages, the legendary gold-bearing region of Eldorado, the wealth of which attracts treasure hunters to this day, and as a result, Colombia from ” center of the drug mafia” turns into one of the most interesting tourist destinations in South America.

You can relax in the country all year round, but the most comfortable weather is in winter from November to April.

The official language of Colombia is Spanish, and different dialects of Spanish are spoken in different parts of the country. Some Indians still speak their native languages. In business circles, English is used as a second language, and English is also spoken in the Caribbean and Pacific islands belonging to Colombia.

Geography in Colombia

According to top-engineering-schools, Colombia is located in the northwestern part of South America near the equator. The area of the country is 1141.8 thousand square meters. km. In addition to the mainland of Colombia, there are the islands of Gorgon, Gorgonilla and Malpelo in the Pacific Ocean and the archipelago of San Andres and Providencia in the Caribbean. In the east, the country borders with Venezuela, in the southeast – with Brazil, in the south – with Ecuador and Peru, in the northwest – with Panama. From the north, Colombia is washed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea, from the west – by the waters of the Pacific Ocean. It is the only country in South America that has access to two oceans.

In the western part of Colombia in the meridional direction stretched the mountain ranges of the Andes (Andean Cordillera): Western, Central and Eastern Cordillera with majestic volcanic peaks. Earthquakes often occur in these areas, since the Andes are part of the Pacific volcanic ring of fire, located on the border of lithospheric plates that are constantly in motion. The ridges of the Andes are separated by deep intermountain depressions, along which such large rivers as Atrato, Cauca and Magdalena flow (the country’s largest river, length – 1550 km). The heights of the Western Cordillera reach 3700 m, the Central Cordillera – 5700 m and the Eastern Cordillera – 5500 m. There are several volcanoes in the Central Cordillera, for example, the highest point of this ridge is the extinct Huila volcano (5750 m), and Ruiz volcano (5400 m). The valleys of the Eastern Cordillera are the most populated part of the country. Colombia from Central America comes the mountains of the Cordillera del Choco. In the north of the country, near the Caribbean coast, there is a separate mountain range Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, within which is the highest point of Colombia – Mount Cristobal Colon (5800 m). A little to the north, on the Guajira peninsula, a hilly, arid plateau extends.

A strip of plains stretches along the Pacific coast, and the marshy Caribbean lowland (“cienaga”) stretches along the Caribbean coast. The coast of the Caribbean Sea is occupied by sandy beaches, and the Pacific coast is replete with many lagoons, the shores of which are overgrown with mangroves.

To the east of the Andes, a plateau extends, which gradually descends to the valleys of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers. The swampy plains, through which the tributaries of the Amazon River flow, occupy 1/3 of the country’s territory.

Climate in Colombia

Most of the territory of Colombia is dominated by a subequatorial climate, on the Pacific coast and in the eastern regions – equatorial, on a narrow strip of the Caribbean coast – humid tropical, and in the mountains the climate depends on the height of the area. Seasonal differences in temperature throughout Colombia are insignificant, since the country is located near the equator.

Colombia is divided into three regions depending on the height of the terrain: the hot belt (terra caliente), extending to altitudes of about 1050 m, the temperate belt (terra templada), located at altitudes of 1050-2000 m, and the cold belt (terra fria) occupying mountainous areas up to altitudes of about 3000 m.

About 86% of the country’s territory belongs to the hot zone. On the plains during the daytime, the air warms up to +30..+32 degrees, and at night it cools down to +23..+25 degrees. The greatest amount of precipitation falls on the Pacific Plain, as humid oceanic air is retained here by the Andes bordering the coast, and in the Amazon River Valley. It rains here almost every day. Up to 10,000 mm of precipitation can fall per year on the Pacific coast, and up to 5,000 mm in the Amazon River basin. In other areas of the hot zone, two seasons are distinguished: dry (November-April) and wet (May-October). The Caribbean coast receives much less rainfall than the Pacific coast. For example, in the arid peninsula of Guajira, annual rainfall barely reaches 400 mm, and in some areas does not exceed 100 mm.

In the temperate zone, daytime air temperatures during the year are +23..+25 degrees, and nighttime temperatures are +12..+14 degrees. Windward mountain slopes of the temperate zone receive up to 2500 mm of precipitation per year, and leeward – up to 1000 mm. In the upper parts of this belt, two wet and two dry seasons are distinguished. The wet seasons are March-May and September-November.

In the cold zone, where the country’s capital is located, daytime air temperatures are kept at +20 degrees, and nighttime temperatures are +6..+8 degrees. Up to 800 mm of precipitation falls here annually. The wet seasons are April-May and September-November.

The water temperature off the coast of the Caribbean Sea in the period from December to April is +20, in the rest of the year the water warms up to +26 degrees. Pacific waters are 1-2 degrees cooler.

Best time to visit:
You can relax in the country all year round, but the most comfortable weather is in winter from November to April.

Colombia Geography