Located at the northern extreme of South America, Colombia is the only country in the continent of South America that has both a Pacific and an Atlantic coastline. It is the fourth largest country in South America and has the second largest population of any Spanish-speaking country in the world (after Mexico). The Spanish arrived in Colombia in 1499 and their period of colonisation lasted for more than 300 years. They left behind a legacy of ornate architecture that graces many of Colombia's cities, including the capital, Bogota. Famous for the production of great coffee, flowers, coal and oil, Colombia has the third strongest economy in South America. It also has a wonderful variety of landscape, from glorious beaches to the Amazon rainforest and from the grass plain savannah of the Llanos to the high peaks of the Andes, including the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy with its 5000 metre summits. In fact, the highest peak in Colombia is the isolated mountain of Santa Marta (5700m) in the ‘Caribbean' region of the far north. Whilst Colombia's attraction as a tourist destination has, in the past, been adversely affected by internal conflict, the situation is now largely resolved and the country is as safe as anywhere in the region. Today, the visitor can expect to find friendly people, great food, a mix of fascinating landscapes, challenging trekking and real adventure.