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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
* '''[[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.
* '''[[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
* '''[[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.
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.
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 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. 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.