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By boat: Updated
Colombian independence from Spain was won in 1819, but by 1830 the "Gran Colombia" Federation was dissolved. It was one of the five countries liberated by Simón Bolívar (the others being Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia). The success of the Independence movements across Latin America was made easier by the Napoleonic Wars that left mainland Spain with two rivaling governments. What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. The United States of America's intentions to control the Panama Canal led to Panama becoming a separate nation in 1903.
Colombia was the first constitutional government in South America. Slavery was abolished in the country in 1851. The years following independence were marked by several civil wars, the legacy of these conflicts combined with state repression against leftist militias in rural areas and world polarization caused by the Cold War culminated in a communist insurgent campaign in 1964 by the FARC and the ELN to overthrow the Colombian Government. The years during the conflict were marked by heavy fighting between the communist guerrillas, the Colombian state and military, right-wing paramilitaries and several drug cartels. In the years following 2005 the safety has been improving throughout the country. As part of a difficult peace process the AUC (right-wing paramilitaries) as a formal organization had ceased to function, and in 2012 the government and the FARC started peace talks aiming at bringing the 50 year old Civil War to an end once and for all. Colombia is currently in a process of recovery with an a rapidly improving economy. Ending the conflict, wealth inequality and rebuilding the nation are some of the issues that confront the country. In October 2016, President Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in bringing the country's five decades of civil war to an end. Now Colombia is becoming a '''tourist hotspot''', each month arrives several amounts of tourist, and is becoming safer, actually is safer than some places in the United statesStates.
[[Image:Palacio de la Cultura and Coltejer Building.jpg|thumb|right|220px|Palacio de la Cultura & Coltejer Building in Medellín]]
The following is a list of the most notable cities in Colombia. Other cities can be found in their corresponding regions or departments.
* '''[[Bogotá]]''' — the capital, a cosmopolitan city two miles high, with some twelve million people sprawling outwards from Andean mountains, where you'll find excellent museums, world-class dining, and most everything one wants from a big city.
* '''[[Armenia, Colombia|Armenia]]''' – Best known for its hiking activities, [[Salento]] town, and ''Cocora Valley'', located in the Coffe Region.
* '''[[Cali]]''' — Colombia's third largest city, renowned as the salsa capital of [[Latin America]].
* '''[[Barranquilla]]''' — the Gold Port and fourth largest city in the nation isn't necessarily that exciting most of the year, but its Carnival is the second biggest in the world after [[Rio de Janeiro|Rio's]], and is both an amazing cultural experience and one heck of a party! The city is also the hometown of Colombian superstar Shakira, Miss Universe Paulina Vega and Hollywood Actress Sofia Vergara.
* '''[[Bucaramanga]]''' – The City is best known for his its quantity of Parksparks[[Image:Palacio de la Cultura and Coltejer Building.jpg|thumb|right|220px|Palacio de la Cultura & Coltejer Building in Medellín]]
* '''[[Leticia]]''' – Located near [[Brasil]] borders, it is the largest city in the Amazonean Region, located inside the Jungle.
* '''[[Manizales]]''' — the center of the [[Zona Cafetera]] offers the opportunity to visit Los Nevados National Park and to live the coffee plantation experience.
* '''[[Medellín]]''' — the City of Eternal Spring and capital of the Antioquia department is famous for having a large textile industry, which produces top quality clothing that is sent all over the world. It's also the birthplace of master painter Fernando Botero, therefore it houses the great majority of his works.
* '''[[Montería]]''' – the Colombian Venice, and the Launcher capital, an ecological and modern city located at the North of the Country, featuring the ''Ronda del Sinú'' the largest park in Latin America. * '''[[Neiva]]''' – The city is near [[Villavieja]], home of the Tatacoa Desert. * '''[[Pasto]]''' – is one of the oldest cities of Colombia, located in the Atriz Valley with an important andean Culture, located near [[Ecuador]] Borders * '''[[Pereira]]''' — the lovely City, capital of the Risaralda department and major city of the coffee region, important and modern city, commercial and touristic. The famous "naked Bolívar" and Matecaña Zoo. Very near to Santa Rosa hot water springs and the National Park of "Los Nevados". * '''[[Popayán]]''' — this beautiful, white-washed city is Colombia's religious center. Home to the second largest Easter festival in the world (after Seville, Spain), this town has contributed more Colombian presidents than any other. Bordered by the ''Puracé National Park'' and gateway to the archeological sites of ''San Agustín'' and ''Tierra Dentro'' in nearby Huilla. * '''[[Santa Marta]]''' — a popular base for adventure tourism in the beautiful areas surrounding, and unique in the sense that it offers you beautiful beaches one day, and the next one a walk to the foothill of a snowy mountain, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the highest in the country. * '''[[Sincelejo]]''' – an important hub of touristic beaches including ''Tomú'' and ''Coveñas'', home of Porro Music. The city is home of the beauty queen Ariadna Gutierrez. * '''[[Riohacha]]''' – City located at the north of the country between cozy beaches and deserts. * '''[[Tunja]]''' – An historical city, including Boyaca Bridge the spot of Boyaca’s battle, with an interesting farmer culture and near [[Villa de Leyva]] an excellent touristic town. * '''[[Valledupar]]''' – Known for its Guatapurí River and the Festival of Vallenato Music, hometown of the Nobel Literature Prize novelist Gabriel García Marquez
==Other destinations==
===By boat===
Enter from [[Panama]] by the [[Puerto Obaldia]]-[[Capurganá]] pass. From [[Capurganá]], another boat ride takes you to [[Turbo]], where buses take you to Medellín and Montería.
For intrepid travellers and backpackers looking for alternatives to transit from Central to South America. There is a small fleet of privately owned sailboats which comply with international safety and licensing requirements. Providing island hopping sailing adventures from Panama to Cartagena, Colombia via the San Blas Islands. The trips range in price from US $550 inclusive for 5 nights. 3 days of which are spent enjoying and exploring the San Blas Islands. One of the most popular sailboats for this trip is the Ave Maria. A comfortable, safe, classic sailboat with a relaxed and friendly crew.
If you enter from [[Brazil]], there are weekly boats from [[Manaus]] to [[Tabatinga]]/[[Leticia]] through the Amazon River. It takes around six days to go from Manaus and just three days to come back (the reason of the difference is the current of the river). There are also weekly motorboats which are more expensive, but cover the route in less than two days.
Insurance is cheap and mandatory.
The speed limit in residential areas is 30 km/h (19 mph), and in urban areas it is 60 km/h (37 mph). There is a national speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph) with a few portions of 90-100 km/h (only when marked accordingly).
The country has a well-maintained network of roads that connect all major cities in the Andean areas, as well as the ones in the Caribbean Coast.
Colombians are acutely aware of their country's bad reputation, and tactless remarks about the history of violence might earn you a snide remark (likely regarding your country of origin) and an abrupt end to the conversation. Furthermore, the country is sharply polarised over the peace treaty and everything associated with it, including the legacy of former president Álvaro Uribe and his Centro Democrático Party, the existence of the FARC as a legal political party and the possibility of peace talks with the ELN. Political divisions are also found surrounding Gustavo Petro, a former militant of M-19, mayor of Bogotá, and presidential candidate as well as a current senator and main opposition member. However, Colombians eventually become willing to discuss these topics once they feel comfortable enough with someone.
Colombians are more formal than much of Latin America. Make a point to say "please" ("Por favor" or "Hágame el favor") and "thank you" ("muchas gracias") for anything, to anyone. When addressed, the proper response is "¿Señora?" or "¿Señor?" In parts of the country (especially [[Boyacá]]) Colombians can be formal to the point of anachronism, calling strangers "Su merced" (your Mercy!) in place of usted. The one (much) more informal part of the country is along the [[Costa Norte (Colombia)|Caribbean coast]], where referring to people just as "chico" can be more the norm—but take your cues from those around you.
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