Colombia is passion ! Long considered to be off the charts and unsafe for tourists, the topic of travel to this country has always generated passionate conversations. Certainly Colombia has suffered more than its fair share of one-sided journalistic and governmental bias and judgment.
Originally discovered in 1499 and settled a few years later by the Spanish, Colombia (or New Granada as it was then called) occupied a full one quarter of the South American continent. Occupied by indigenous Indian tribes, settled by the Spanish, fueled by black slavery, and ruled by Euro-Caucasians, Colombia has since mingled and melded, creating a rich cultural diversity and heritage. Divided roughly into five geographical regions (Amazon rain forest, Pacific Coastal, Atlantic or Caribbean Coastal, the Llanos or plains, and the Andes), Colombia is the only South American country to be bordered by two oceans. Blanketed in various shades of green from shore to shore, punctuated with innumerable cascades of water, from tiny rivulets to raging torrents, Colombia is truly a land of breath-taking beauty. The result of such cultural and geographical diversity provides one with a mélange of tastes, sounds, rhythms, and sights to delight and appeal and stimulate all of your senses. From the sounds of Afro-Spanish “Cumbia”, to the romance of “Bachata” and “Vallenata,” to the undeniably sexual rhythms of “Salsa,” “Merengue,” and “Reggaeton,” you find yourself moving to the music even long after the sounds have ceased.
With traditional epicurean treats such as Sancocho, Bandeja Paisa, Fritanga, and Lechona, and desserts like Buñuelos, Manjar Blanco, Postre de Natas, there is no worry about going hungry ! Add to that aguardiente (a popular licorice flavored alcoholic drink, literally translated “firewater !”), or Ron Viejo (a quality Colombian Rum), or some of the fine local beers. Not content to end there, nothing more can really be said about the coffee that Juan Valdez has not already made known ! Rich in local mountain freshness, the aroma and flavor cannot be beat !
From both international and local exhibits at the museums, to the beautiful native emerald and gold jewelry and crafts of local and indigenous artisans, to the wonderful prose of Gabriel García Márquez, there is no shortage of culture. With artists such as Fernando Botero and Alejandro Obregon, and muralist Pedro Nel Gómez, you are stimulated not only by the natural beauty surrounding you, but by the resolve and creativity and beauty of the human spirit to be found in Colombia.
Although Catholicism was the official religion until the new constitution was put into place in 1991, the rich and varied cultural heritage of Colombia has led to a plethora of places to worship, spanning all faiths and denominations. Up until the late 1980’s however, the country remained at 96% Roman Catholic. Since that time, Catholicism has dropped to approximately 80% of the population, with the largest secondary religious group being Protestant.
Colombia is truly a land of superlatives ! The national flower is the incredibly beautiful and fragrant Cattleya Orchid (Cattleya trianae); the national bird is the magnificent Andean Condor, and the national horse is the elegant Paso Fino. Not only that, the country is known for having the some of the most beautiful people in the world.
On first impression, even though brightly colored, the Colombian flag seems rather sedate and plain in contrast. Having three horizontal bands—a yellow double-width top band, followed by a blue, and a red band—various interpretations of the colors exist. One of the more popular is that the yellow is for the gold in Colombia’s land, blue for the seas on its shores, and red for the blood spilled in achieving freedom. Others may choose to view it in a slightly different way. Yes, red for the battles fought and won for independence, as all countries have had to fight for their independence. Blue representing the two pristine seas washing that blood away forever and finally, a double band of yellow radiating a double dose of sunshine and prosperity over a land that has finally come into its own.
As the Colombian tourism ministry has previously promoted, “Colombia IS passion !” …. come and experience that passion first hand. Through our commitment to excellence, ESCAPE ARTIST COLOMBIA shares this passion and is wholly and enthusiastically dedicated to showing investors and clients the truth about this undiscovered country, its rich cultural heritage and its beautiful people. Come, join us…see what Colombia really is all about. …experience the passion !!!
This articles was first published as http://www.escapefromamerica.com/2011/02/the-rich-culture-of-colombia/