Colombia at a glance
Location Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama
Border countries Brazil 1,644km, Ecuador 590km, Panama 225km, Peru 1,800km, Venezuela 2,050km (border total 6,309km)
Type of government Democratic Republic
Head of state President Juan Manuel Santos (since 2010): Independent Liberal
Independence 20 July 1810 (from Spain)
Population 48 million
Climate Steamy tropical conditions along coast and eastern plains; cool with less humidity in highlands
Topography Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains
Coastline 3,208km (Caribbean Sea 1,760km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448km)
Lowest point Pacific Ocean (0m)
Highest point Pico Cristóbal Colón (5,775m)
Major rivers Magdalena, Cauca, Meta, Guaviare, Caquetá, Putumayo, Atrato, Vaupés, Vichada.
Currency Colombian peso (COP/$) (For up-to-date rates, go to www.xe.com)
Economy GDP: US$171.6 billion comprising agriculture (12%), industry (35.2%), services (52.7%), with key products and industries coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables, forest products, shrimp, textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement, gold, coal and emeralds.
Language Spanish; also 65 indigenous languages
Religion Catholic (90%); also Episcopal & Jewish faiths
Time GMT/UTC –5
International dialling code +57
Electricity 110V, 60Hz
Electric plug American-style plug with two parallel fl at blades
Flag Three horizontal bands of yellow (top, double-width), blue and red. The yellow represents the richness of Colombian gold; the blue the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea; the red the lives lost during the fight for independence and also the blood of Jesus, reflecting Colombia’s Christian roots.
Public holidays 1 Jan (New Year’s Day), 11 Jan* (Epiphany), 21 Mar* (St Joseph’s Day), 24 Mar (Maundy Thursday), 25 Mar (Good Friday), 1 May (Labour Day), 9 May* (Ascension), 30 May* (Corpus Christi), 6Jun* (Sagrado Corazón; Sacred Heart), 4 Jul* (St Peter & St Paul), 20 Jul (Independence Day), 7 Aug (Battle of Boyacá), 15 Aug* (Assumption), 12 Oct* (Columbus Day), 7 Nov* (All Saints’ Day), 14 Nov* (Independence of Cartagena City), 8 Dec (Immaculate Conception), 25 Dec (Christmas Day). (Based on 2016 calendar.) *Observed the following Monday if falls on a Sunday.