Quick Facts: The Colombia Basics

  • The official language is Spanish.
  • Independence day is July 20 (independence declared in 1810)
  • Colombia is a democracy, a multi-party republic with a President, Vice President, Congress & Senate and an independent Supreme Court.
  • The outgoing President is Ivan Duque (Conservative). Gustavo Petro (Socialist) will be President as of Aug 7, 2022. A President has a 4 year term and cannot run for reelection.
  • You do not need a special visa to visit Colombia. You can stay for to 90 days per visit. Extensions are possible.
  • The official currency is the Colombian Peso (COP) [exchange rates here]
  • All of Colombia is in the UTC -5 time zone (5 hours behind London, UK). There’s no daylight savings.
  • The estimated population of Colombia is 52 million
  • About 2 million Venezuelan exiles live in our country
  • Bogotá is the biggest city and also the capital
  • Colombia’s provinces are known as departamentos. There are 32 of them.
  • Medellín, Cartagena, Cali and Barranquilla are the only other cities with a metropolitan population surpassing a million.
  • In Colombia, we drive on the right (same as USA)
  • Most vehicles, including taxis, are subcompact and with standard transmissions
  • Vehicles operate mostly on gasoline, diesel, or natural gas.
  • Vehicles are a mix of European, American and Asian models
  • Electricity is 110 V
  • Only Medellín currently has a subway system, though it is mostly above ground
  • The islands of San Andres & Providencia are the northernmost territories
  • The entire country is at tropical latitudes, but weather varies according to elevation (more here)

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