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Colombia Page

Colombia, the name brings thoughts of drugs and violence, and it does happen, but in my 22 years of travel experience in Colombia I have yet to witness a problem firsthand. In fact, most of what you may think of Colombia is untrue, such as it being a country that has revolutions, it is, in actuality, the 2nd oldest democracy in the world, after the United States. Their government was modeled after ours and includes a Senate, House and a Supreme Court and their president is elected for 4 year terms . You may think that the climate is hot, steamy and all jungle where the population lives; while in actuality the majority of Colombians live in a temperate zone that averages 68' year round. Colombia is also quite modern in it's cities and is in the process of developing a multi-laned roadway system. They have shopping malls, laser tag, extreme paintball and many people ride bicycles on the weekends long distance for fun. It is hard to tell the difference between Colombian and American teenagers as many of the same styles are popular, such as loose and floppy clothes.

Only until one leaves the main cities does one see why they have had a tough time developing. The topography is incredibly mountainous and this means that distances are not as they appear on a flat map. To go from Bogata', the Capitol, to Medellin, the 2nd largest city, is 160 miles in a straight line but in reality it is a 8 hour drive of close to 320 miles. Bogata' is at 7500ft in elevation and leaving town you descend rapidly by crisscrossing down until you reach the Magdalena river that is at 1500 ft. in elevation, more than 1 mile straight down in less than 50 miles, and then incredibly one must start back up the side of the next cordillera until you hit 5000 ft and then down into Medellin at about 3000ft in elevation. These types of elevation changes are the norm in traveling in Colombia as most all the cities are on the sides of the 2 cordilleras of the Andes.

Within these extreme elevation changes are a myriad of the earth's climate zones. Colombia contains every climate zone on earth other than polar icecaps. There is year round snow and ice on many of the taller mountains in Colombia and the tallest is Pico Cristobal Colon at 19,029 ft in elevation. Colombia has deserts in the Department of Huila that reach 110 degrees and rain only 2-10" yearly. There is a giant plain called the Llanos that takes up the eastern half of the country that is sparsly populated. There is the Amazon jungle to the southeast and the unique Serrania de La Macarena area in the Department of Meta. There is also the Pacific jungle that starts with the connection to Panama and Central America and then goes south to Ecuador. Most of the flora and fauna within each of these climate zones are found within a 2000 to 3000 foot elevation difference.

Within each of these climate zones are orchids, some terrestrial, some epiphytic and we as a rule divide them up into 4 zones.

  • The Hot Climate Zone

  • - The hot zone is represented in the map as orange.

    From sea level to 3000ft - Plants from this zone need temperatures that never go below 65 degrees

    Plants from the warm zone include, Gongora, Mormodes, Coryanthes, Paphinia, Cycnoches, Catasetum,

  • The Warm Climate Zone

  • - The warm zone is represented in the map as green.

    From 3000 to 5500ft - Plants from this zone need temperatures that do not exceed 85 degrees on a regular basis and not less that 55 degrees

  • The Intermediate Climate Zone

  • - The intermediate zone is represented in the map as blue.

    From 5500 to 7500ft - Plants from this zone need temperatures that are between 50-75 degrees

  • The Cold Zone

  • - The cold zone is represented on the map as black

    From 7500 feet and above - Plants from this zone need temperatures between 45-65 degrees

    For a complete list of Colombian Species click below:


    Brachionidium - Cranichis

    Cranichis - Dracula

    Dracula - Epidendrum

    Epidendrum altisimum - Epidendrum nubigerum

    Epidendrum o - Erythrodes

    Erythrodes st - Kefersteinia e

    Kefesteinia elegans - Lepanthes nematodes

    Lepanthes niphus - Malaxis mucronulata

    Malaxis parthonii - Masdevallia urceolaris

    Masdevallia ustulata - Maxillaria roezlii

    Maxillaria rolfei - Odontoglossum dormannianum

    Odontoglossum edwardii - Oncidium examinans

    Oncidium exasperatum - Palmorchis lobulata

    Palmorchis powellii - Pleurothallis ciliolata

    Pleurothallis cogniauxiana - P. potamophilia

    Pleurothallis prognantha - Psuedocentrum purdii

    Psuedocentrum silvicola- Sertifera purpurea

    Sievekingiana colombiana - Stelis cundinamarca

    Stelis cupuligiera - Trevoria chloris

    Trevoria escobariana - Zygosepalum lindenii Just Click on the Subject Below and the Section of the page will appear.
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