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Geography of Colombia

Colombia is virtually all coasts to the west, and all valleys and basin to the east. The northernmost tip of the Andes mountains, which extend all along the west coast of South America, can be found in Colombia, where they stretch out in three parallel ranges known as the Cordillera Occidental, Cordillera Central and Cordillera Oriental.

The Cordillera Oriental, the most easterly, varies from short, finite ridges descending into the Amazon basin to summits high enough for snow. The capital city of Bogotá, at an altitude of 2,640 meters (8,661 ft), sits on one of the high basins in this region.

The Cordillera Central offers the highest peak at its northern end—Cristóbal Colón—in Colombia at 5,776 meters (18,945 ft), and many high and active volcanoes, including the Tolima at 5,215 meters (17,105 ft). Some valleys here host small communities, but the region overall is largely unpopulated.

The Cordillera Occidental runs parallel to the Pacific coast, peaks only at 3,050 meters (10,000 ft) while its hills slide into the coasts. The range’s rivers deposits create thick sediment beds under the coastal waters.

The Caribbean coast east of the Panama isthmus is a low-level plain born of sediment deposits, interlaced by various rivers, especially the Magdalena River, and intermingled with some hills. This area is home to such major port cities as Cartagena and Barranquilla.

The territory that border Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and eastern Ecuador comprise almost two-thirds of Colombia. Within the Orinoco River basin, the geography is floodplains, great rivers and the spurs of the Guiana Highlands. Only three percent of the nation’s population lives here, mostly along the rivers.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Colombia: When to go, When to Go to Málaga, Popayán: When to Go, Providencia and Santa Catalina: When to go, Nuquí: When to go, Parque Nacional Puracé: When to go, San Andres Island: When to go, Climate, When to Go and When to Go to Capitanejo .

By Ricardo Segreda
Growing up in New York, Rick Segreda used to cut out of high school in order to hang out at the Museum of Modern Art and catch foreign-language...
26 Sep 2011

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