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Santa Marta and Barranquilla

Barranquilla, Santa Marta and Cartagena will be the host cities that will welcome you, all of them situated in the Colombian Caribbean region, a land that inspired the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, warm and welcoming, known for the happiness and hospitality of its people, the beauty of its beaches and landscapes and the rich folklore which is a product of centuries of mixing of its races.

Santa Marta is located on the Caribbean coast, some 959 km north of Bogotá. Founded on July 29th, 1525 on the Caribbean sea close to the magnificent Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, its variable topography, sea and tropical vegetation make it different from other cities on the Caribbean. It is the oldest existing city of Colombia and the second oldest in South America. Simón Bolívar, the libertador, died at an estate named Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino on the outskirts of Santa Marta on December 17, 1830. The city has around half a million inhabitants and a surface area of 2369km2. Temperatures in the city of Santa Marta ranges from 27 to 35 degrees Celsius at sea level, but the Municipality of Santa Marta stretches up to the highest snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and each 100 meter of higher altitude means 1 Celsius lower temperature. Rainfall in this region varies from 12 to 975 mm per month.

Las Fiestas del Mar (The Festival of the Sea) is an annual celebration around the 29th of July in Santa Marta. One of the main events in the festival is the jet-ski show organized by Santa Marta Esqui. There are beauty pageants, parades and parties in the city. The Festival's slogan is "Santa Marta, la magia de tenerlo todo" ("Santa Marta, the magic of having it all").

Barranquilla lies strategically next to the delta of the Magdalena River, 7.5 kilometres (originally 25 km before rapid urban growth) from its mouth at the Caribbean Sea, serving as port for river and maritime transportation within Colombia. It is also the main industrial, shopping, educational, cultural centre and port of the Caribbean Region of Colombia boasting approximately 2 million inhabitants. The city is the core of the Metropolitan Area of Barranquilla, which is constituted by the municipalities of Soledad, Galapa, Malambo, and Puerto Colombia. Barranquilla was legally established as a town on April 7, 1813, although it dated from at least 1629. In 2013 it will celebrate its 200 years as a town. Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport was built in Barranquilla in 1919, becoming the first airport in South America. The city is served by domestic and international flights.

In the Colombian Caribbean region you will find 2 world heritage sites and 2 world intangible cultural heritage cultures according to UNESCO, which are the Ports, Fortresses and Group of Monuments of Cartagena de Indias, the Historic Center of Santa Cruz de Mompos, the Carnaval of Barranquilla and the village of San Basilio de Palenque.

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