Cruising to Colombia
Colombia was one of the three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others are Ecuador and Venezuela). A 40-year conflict between government forces and anti-government insurgent groups and illegal paramilitary groups - both heavily funded by the drug trade - escalated during the 1990s. The insurgents lack the military or popular support necessary to overthrow the government and violence has been decreasing since about 2002, but insurgents continue attacks against civilians and large swaths of the countryside are under guerrilla influence.
Paramilitary groups challenge the insurgents for control of territory and the drug trade. Most paramilitary members have demobilized since 2002 in an ongoing peace process, although their commitment to ceasing illicit activity is unclear. The Colombian Government has stepped up efforts to reassert government control throughout the country, and now has a presence in every one of its municipalities. However, neighboring countries worry about the violence spilling over their borders.
Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between
Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and
3,208 km (Caribbean Sea 1,760 km, North Pacific Ocean 1,448 km)
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
Flat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains
Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Colombia's economy has been on a recovery trend during the past two years despite a serious armed conflict. The economy continues to improve thanks to austere government budgets, focused efforts to reduce public debt levels, an export-oriented growth strategy, and an improved security situation in the country. Ongoing economic problems facing President URIBE range from reforming the pension system to reducing high unemployment. New exploration is needed to offset declining oil production.
On the positive side, several international financial institutions have praised the economic reforms introduced by URIBE, which succeeded in reducing the public-sector deficit below 1.5% of GDP. The government's economic policy and democratic security strategy have engendered a growing sense of confidence in the economy, particularly within the business sector. Coffee prices have recovered from previous lows as the Colombian coffee industry pursues greater market shares in developed countries such as the United States.
Airports: 981 (2005)
18,000 km (2005)
Total: 16 ships (1000 GRT or over) 40,463 GRT/55,802 DWT
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Barranquilla, Buenaventura, Cartagena, Muelles El Bosque, Puerto Bolivar, Santa Marta, Turbo
Nicaragua filed a claim against Honduras in 1999 and against Colombia in 2001 at the ICJ over disputed maritime boundary involving 50,000 sq km in the Caribbean Sea, including the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia and Quita Sueno Bank; dispute with Venezuela over maritime boundary and Los Monjes Islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal narcotics, guerrilla, and paramilitary activities penetrate all of its neighbors' borders and have created a serious refugee crisis with over 300,000 persons having fled the country, mostly into neighboring states
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region
Argentina - Belize - Brazil - Chile - Colombia - Costa Rica - Ecuador - El Salvador - French Guiana - Guatemala - Guyana - Honduras - Mexico - Nicaragua - Panama - Peru - St. Pierre and Miquelon - Suriname - Uruguay - Venezuela