This page provides a little information about where we work. You'll find much more information online or in the resources section at the bottom of the page.
We work in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region, just off Colombia's Caribbean coast. The Sierra Nevada is the highest coastal mountain range in the world, a region the four indigenous groups of Arhuaco, Kogui, Wiwa and Kankuamo call home and consider sacred land. Its biodiversity, variety of ecosystems, high number of endemic species and hydrological resources make it a critical area for conservation.
We work in four rural communities: Taganga: located on the coast; Minca: 660 mts. above sea level (a.s.l.); Bellavista: 1.500 mts. a.s.l. and Vista Nieves: 1700 mts. a.s.l.
Colombia is a tropical country of incredible diversity and charm. Its ever-changing geography, a history loaded with mystery and adventure, its people and cultures, have fascinated the world for centuries.
Situated in the northwest corner of South America, Colombia is the only country in the region with coasts on both the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean, with a continental area of 1.141.748 km2 (440 829 square miles) and 928.660 km2 (358 555 square miles) of maritime dominions. The country enjoys constant luminosity throughout the year, with an equal duration of daylight and nighttime hours.
It shares borders with Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador, and maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Haiti.
People and culture
Colombia richness also lies on the cultural diversity of our people. Throughout our history, the indigenous population of pre-Hispanic origins have been added movements of immigrants which settled in these lands, making it their home.
The diversity of races has produced not only cultural riches but also an intelligent, hard-working people, cheerful and hospitable, who enjoy one of the highest educational levels in South America and a literacy rate of over 92%. Populations of European origin, mainly Spaniards, persons of African ascendance, have interacted among them, enriching the cultural backgrounds in the process. Currently, besides the predominant half-breed component, there are ethnical-national groups and indigenous populations. Colombia is a multi-ethnic and pluri-cultural nation, where each region has its own characteristics that distinguish it from the others.
Thus you can talk of an Andean culture that strongly feels its European ancestry; of a Caribbean culture that is an amalgam of Indian and African inheritance; a Pacific culture with African roots, and of the culture of the Orinoquia and the Amazon that is basically Indian.
This complex process of mestizaje is not only expressed in the country’s traditions, handicrafts and cuisine, but also in its arts, from architecture, painting and sculpture to literature, film and photography, including music, dance and theater.
Colombia is an equatorial country whose climate is determined by trade winds, humidity and altitude. The temperature drops as the altitude increases and the seasons are characterized by rainfall. In most of the country, there are two rainy seasons – from April to June and from August to November. In the Caribbean coast there is a dry season from December to March. In the South there is less rain in June and July, and on the Pacific Coast it rains almost throughout the year. The beaches along the Caribbean coast of Colombia are quite hot with temperatures ranging from about 25-35° Celsius (77- 95° F).
Banks and Currency
Local and international banking services are available at private and public banks. The official currency is the "peso colombiano". The exchange rate against the dollar varies daily. Credit cards are accepted throughout the country. If you want to exchange foreign money or travelers checks, it's best to do it in major cities. In rural locations it can be hard to find an ATM, so it is always better to carry cash or ask before you travel. There are no ATMs in Minca.
Any foreigner who is temporarily in the country can receive health care at hospitals and clinics in the case of an emergency, sudden illness or chronic disease. It is always useful to have an international medical and accident insurance.
Colombia's electricity supply is 110V AC at 60 Hz.
The country provides excellent coverage of basic public services. Ninety percent of the population has access to drinking water and good-quality sanitation, a high percentage compared to other countries in Latin America.
In rural areas or other small cities, (i.e. Santa Marta), it´s better to buy water, boiled it or purified it if you are going to drink it .
Colombia is the second most diverse country on the planet which makes it an exceptional nature destination. It has five regions where you can find distinct landscapes, fauna and flora. These are the Andes, the Caribbean, the Pacific Coast, the Amazon, and the Eastern Plains.
Colombia offers the world a laboratory for the conservation of life. It’s one million hectares of continental waters contain 3,000 species of fish in diverse marine-coastal ecosystems that cover 95% of the continental platform. We can find among them coral reefs, mangrove forests, coastal and delta lagoons, phanerogamic prairies, and beach and cliff systems. Colombia’s continental platform includes 53 million hectares of natural forests, 22 million hectares of savannas, arid zones, wetlands, and snowy peaks. Fourteen percent of the country consists of protected national parks, natural parks, and sanctuaries.
In Columbia, you can find 20% of the bird species of the world (the most in any place worldwide), 17% of amphibians, 8% of freshwater fish, 8% of reptiles, 16% of diurnal butterflies, and 10% of mammals.
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