Colombia, for a country that many may not have considered visiting, is surprisingly diverse. It ranges from sunny Caribbean and Indian Ocean beaches to vast savannah, to grand uplands of high plains and mountain ranges, to a jungle frontier with Brazil along the Amazon basin. Although Spanish is the national language, Colombia is home to numerous indigenous peoples whose languages and cultures provide a rich diversity. A peace and reconciliation program from the national government is bringing the country out of decades of armed conflict with narcotrafficking guerillas, opening up areas that had been difficult and dangerous to visit. Colombia remains a nation with great tourism assets as yet not overdeveloped nor overcrowded. While the big cities such as Bogota, Medellin and Cali have their attractions - gold, archaeology, fashion, coffee industry, etc. - they also suffer from the growth pains of many urban areas with a squeeze on housing and transport and a range of social ills. The countryside however is littered with small, pretty towns and regional centres that are pleasant and relaxed and offer a great way to experience life in Colombia. Resort options are limited to a few hot spots like jewel-in-the-crown Cartagena and the Caribbean island of San Andres so if you'd like to explore you'll need to be a confident and independent traveller with reasonable Spanish skills. Buen viaje!
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