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Colombia

Driving Directions Colombia

COLOMBIA situated in the north of South America, and most of the country lies between the equator and 10°N. The Andes Mountains are split into three ranges in Colombia: the Cordillera Occidental, the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera Oriental. The most westerly range is the Cordillera Occidental, which consists of a fairly low but rugged foothills that rise behind the Pacific coast. On the east side of these, the River Cauca flows from south to north, joining with Colombia's main river, the Magdalena, 322 kilometers or 200 miles south of the Caribbean coast Rising on the eastern side of the Cauca valley, the high peaks of the Cordillera Central attain heights of more than 5,029 metres or 16,500 feet and many are active volcanoes. On the far side of these lies the great Magdalena river, running northwards for a distance of over 15,289-kilo­meters or 9,500 miles, which is nearly the entire length of the country. To the east again are found the Andean range of the Cordillera Oriental, which is a region of plateaux, plains, peaks, and lakes.

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On one of the plateaux is situated the capital city, Bogotá, which built at an altitude of 2,590 meters or 8,500 feet. However, Colombia’s highest mountain is not to be found in the Andes but located in a separate group called the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, which are situated just behind the Caribbean coast. The peak is named Pico Cristobal Colon and is a massive 5,800 meters or 18,500 feet in height Half of Colombia lies east of the Andes, and much of this region is covered in tropical grassland. Towards the Amazon Basin in the south, the vegetation changes to tropical forest Because of its varied topography, Colombia has a wealth of habitats that provide a home for many different types of plants and animals. Many of these are thriving in areas that are relatively untouched by any human activity.

The animals of the forest include jaguars, monkeys, snakes, pumas, alligators, peccaries, sloths, tapirs, anteaters and armadillos. The climates in Colombia include equatorial and tropical according to altitude. Very little of the country is under cultivation, although much of the soil is fertile and the range of climates results in an extraordinary variety of crops. Colombia’s most important crop is coffee, but bananas, sugar cane, rice, cocoa beans, flowers, cotton, tobacco, and potatoes also cultivated. Cattle, sheep, pigs, and horses are the most important farm animals.

The country has large natural reserves of minerals and precious stones, particularly emeralds, silver, gold, petroleum, coal, natural gas, platinum, nickel, and copper. It is South America’s leading producer of coal while petroleum is the country's most important foreign revenue earner.

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