Colombia is the only South American country with coastlines on both North Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Nevado del Huila, at 5,365 metres (17,602 ft), is the highest volcano in Colombia. Cumbal stratovolcano is the southernmost historically active volcano of Colombia. (See Wikipedia List of volcanoes in Colombia.) Environmental issues include deforestation, soil and water quality damage from overuse of pesticides, and air pollution, especially in Bogota, from vehicle emissions. The Colombian green party is known as Partido Verde Colombia.

WWF Colombia has been involved both with the development of a network of private reserves of civil society (Áreas Protegidas Privadas), as well as the development of sustainable tourism. Colombia does have a coordinated national system of protected areas, called SINAP (Sistema Nacional de Áreas Protegidas). Colombia’s 46 national natural parks, wildlife sanctuaries and other reserves occupy an area measuring some 10 million hectares (ha), equivalent to 10 percent of the country’s landmass. 14 parks have the infrastructure to accommodate tourists. (See Wikipedia List of national parks of Colombia.) Conservación Internacional – Colombia has been involved in the development of marine protected areas. Colombia is a signatory to the Convention Establishing the Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean (STZC) signed by members of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in the Colombian beach resort of Cartagena de Indias in 1994. La Fundación Patrimonio Ambiental has been involved with the development of sustainable tourism, for instance by organizing ecotourism expositions in the Amazon region of Colombia. In Leticia, there is also an “Amazon ecotourism promotion fund”, Fondo de Promoción Ecoturística del Amazonas.

Biosphere reserves:

  • Cinturón Andino 1979
  • El Tuparro 1979
  • Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta 1979
  • Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta 2000
  • Seaflower 2000

IUCN members:


Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year insurgent campaign to overthrow the Colombian Government escalated during the 1990s, undergirded in part by funds from the drug trade. Although the violence is deadly and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence, the movement lacks the military strength or popular support necessary to overthrow the government. An anti-insurgent army of paramilitaries has grown to be several thousand strong in recent years, challenging the insurgents for control of territory and illicit industries such as the drug trade and the government’s ability to exert its dominion over rural areas. While Bogota steps up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.

Qhapaq Ñan (aka Ruta Inka) refers to the Inca road system stretching along the Andes from Colombia, in preparation for World Heritage. The rockart research investigation group, GIPRI (Grupo de Investigación de Arte Rupestre), is based in Colombia. Witness for Peace offers life-changing reality tours to social hotspots in Colombia. Hostels Colombia Hostelling International is a good point of contact for affordable accommodations nationwide.

World Heritage:

  • Port, Fortresses and Group of Monuments, Cartagena (1984)
  • Los Katios National Park (1994)
  • Historic Centre of Santa Cruz de Mompox (1995)
  • National Archeological Park of Tierradentro (1995)
  • San Agustín Archeological Park (1995)

ICCROM members:


  • Green pretexts: Ecotourism, neoliberal conservation and land grabbing in Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombia by D Ojeda, 2012
  • Ecotourism in Colombia: a response to our invaluable natural wealth by CD Molina, 2011
  • Ecotourism Concessions In The Natural National Parks Of Colombia by A Guerrero-Alvarado, 2007
  • War and ecotourism in the National Parks of Colombia: Some reflections on the public risk and adventure by GA Ospina, 2006

Colombia Data