Geography of Colombia

Have you ever wondered about the geography of Colombia, a place whose natural beauty has a reputation among travelers worldwide? 

There is no doubt that one of the most impressive things about Colombia is its geography, as it makes possible the most varied climates, landscapes and wildlife species which adorn the country.

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Some of the main determinants of Colombia geography are:

  • Its location on the Tropic. 
  • Its coasts on both Oceans, Colombia is the only South American country privileged with coasts of both Oceans, one on the Atlantic and the other one on the Pacific.
  • The pressence of the Andean Chain, that crosses the country from south to north divided in three main chains called "cordilleras", the eastern chain, the central chain and the western one. 
  • The two main valleys bathed by two important rivers: the Magdalena River and the Cauca River, formed in between the three mountain chains.
  • Its thermal floors, thanks to the mountain chains, with different climates depending on the altitude over the sea level.
  • Its Eastern Plains, full of rivers and pastures.
  • The portion of the Amazonas basin on the eastern-south side of the country with its rain forest climate and landscape.
  • One isolated mountain system with high peaks covered by snow beside the coast on the Atlantic Ocean named "Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta"
  • And another isolated mountain system on the Eastern Plains called "Sierra de la Macarena"

Actually, these determinants alltogether are the cocktail that makes Colombia a country with such variety and diversity.

Its population is not evenly distributed on the territory; due to the geography of Colombia, most of its people lives on the western and central side of the country, on the Andeans and coasts regions. East of the Andeans Mountains we find the Eastern Plains or "Orinoquia" and to the south-eastern side the "Amazonia", these zones are sparcely inhabited by farmers and indigenous groups.

Colombia's official name is the Republic of Colombia and its capital is Bogotá.  

Our country is divided for administrative purposes into 32 regions, we call "departments" and a Capital District of Bogotá. Here is the list of the 32 regions and its capital cities.

GuaviareSan José del Guaviare
La GuajiraRiohacha
MagdalenaSanta Marta
Norte de SantanderCúcuta
San Andrés y ProvidenciaSan Andrés
Valle del CaucaCali
VichadaPuerto Carreño

Natural Regions

As a traveler, it is important that you keep in mind or be well-informed about the Natural Regions of the country, as the climate, topography, and vegetation, changes from region to region, and of course the needs for different clothes and accesories to be confortable.

Colombia geography is often split into five Natural Regions; however, it is more accurate to talk about six, because it is necessary to take into account the so-called Insular Region (where you can find, for example, the island of San Andrés).

So, the Natural Regions of Colombia are:

  • Andean Region
  • Caribbean Region
  • Pacific Region
  • Orinoquía Region
  • Amazon Region
  • Insular Region


As there is no doubt that our country is immensely rich in natural resources, it is worth saying that this wealth is due to a combination of elements that shape the geography of Colombia... from the wonderful hydrography of the country to the variety of climates provided by the Thermal Floors or  "Pisos térmicos" and the country's location at the Earth's equatorial zone.

Besides being a country with high annual rainfall, Colombia has one of the most wonderful and generous hydrographies in the planet.

There are four major watersheds (Pacific, Caribbean, Orinoco and Amazon) sculpted by the relief, which feed the reservoirs, streams, lakes and rivers of the country. There is a fifth watershed, Catatumbo, which is smaller than the others, but still relevant to mention.

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