Capital: Bogotá Population: 45.6 million Language: Spanish Time: GMT-5 International Dialling Code: +57 Money: Colombian Peso
Visas: Not required by UK nationals Further Information: Colombia Travel: Official Tourism Portal Colombian embassy in London: 0207 637 9893
When to go: This is a country that isn’t subject to seasonal changes as such. There is a rainy season around Cartagena from May through to December; Bogota and other highland towns are cool and warm clothing is required for higher altitudes.
Colombian cultural icons: Juanes, Gabriel García Márquez, Shakira, Carlos Valderrama, Juan Pablo Montoya.
Music: Cumbia, Vallenato, Porros; Joe Arroyo has ruled the roost for years. But Juanes is the big rock en espanol wonder and Shakira sways her hips Lebanese style in true Colombian melting pot fashion. Lisandro Meza’s vallenatos & cumbias are legendary in Colombia.
This nation has recently come back on the visitors trail in recent years, a wonderfully diverse country, the birthplace of renowned Nobel Prize in Literature winner Gabriel García Márquez, and location of Cartagena, a colonial pearl of South America.