Colombian Emeralds, Coffee, The Orchid, The Wax Palm of Quindio, The Condor


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The Orchid is the national flower of Colombia, specifically the variety called Cattleye Trianae, in honour of the Colombian naturalist, José Jerónimo Triana. It is an epiphyte with fleshy leaves, whose shape and colours are extraordinarily beautiful.
This flower was chosen by the Colombian Academy of History in 1936. Orchids are one of the great treasures of Colombia and are well-known and appreciated worldwide.  
They are amongst the most beautiful orchids in the world.  They grow widely in the temperate climate of the mountainous regions near Bogota and in the departments of Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Boyaca, Santander, Huila, Valle, Cauca and Nariño.   They flourish particularly during the months of March and April.  
The Orchid National Park is located in the department of Antioquia. It is a special privilege for the orchid industry since many of them grow wild in diverse regions in the south-west of  Antioquia.

The majestic condor of the Andes symbolizes the sovereignty and freedom of the Colombian people.  It was selected in 1834 as an emblem for the national coat of arms and chosen as one of the symbols of the country. 
This bird, vultur griphos, inhabits the highest summits of the mountain ranges of the Andes, mainly in Colombia, Peru and Chile and has been called "the eternal bird". 
Its strength and power are formidable.  It is able to carry animals as heavy as a calf for long distances.  In addition, it is able to fly higher than any other bird.   Its flying is restricted to sunny days.
The Andean condor is recognized as the largest flying bird on the planet. Adult condors can reach a size of 1.30 metres in length with a 3.30 metres wingspan.  In full flight, the bird can extend its wings even further.  The weight of an adult male condor can be as much as 12 Kg, with females reaching 10 Kg. 
It is said that the condor is able to travel up to 200 leagues (aprox.1,000 Km.) in a day.   

Condors have a relatively small, reddish, bald head, although the colour can change according to the mood of the animals.  Their hooked beaks have a very sharp edge; the wings are long and wide and their feet have short curved claws, with a high back claw.  The plumage of the young birds is brown and this changes to a bluish-black colour with an iridescent sheen, when they reach adulthood. 
Their wings have a wide, white band of feathers at the back and the skin of the neck is protected by a white feather necklace, open at the front. 


The Wax Palm of Quindio

The national tree is a palm of imposing beauty, extraordinary strength and legendary longevity. 
The wax palm of Quindio has become a symbol of the Colombian flora because of its gracefulness, height and singular appearance.   For these reasons, some companies in the public sector promote their cultivation, thus complying with the need to preserve the ecological inheritance of Colombians and making a commitment to safeguard and spread the natural wealth of the country. 
They are restricted to the Colombian Andes at altitudes from 2,500 to 3,000 meters above sea level, where they reach the greatest height of their family, since they can easily measure more than 70 meters (230 feet).
In Quindio, three species are found on the slopes of the central mountain range, the most important of which is the wax palm (Ceroxylon quindense). 
The wax palm of Quindío was adopted as the national tree by Law 61 in 1985 by the Congress of Colombia and this was sanctioned on September 16 by President Belisario Betancur. 

  • Colour:  Dark green to greyish.
  • Leaves: Very big, featherlike.
  • Flowers: Grouped in cream-coloured bunches.
  • Fruit: In spherical drupes arranged in reddish coloured bunches when they are ripe.
  • Family: Arecaceae (Palmae).
  • Form of the crown: Semi-spherical, extensive with a thick crest.
  • Trunk: Cylindrical, straight, smooth, covered with a layer of wax.
  • Foliage: Dense.
  • Bark: Smooth, whitish, with accentuated dark rings in the shape of a scarr, ceated when leaves fall.


Colombian emeralds are the most beautiful and valuable in the world. 
The unique beauty of a Colombian emerald lies in its colour due to chromium particles presence in the beryl.  The small three-phase inclusions help foreign gemologists to identify emeralds originating in Colombia.  The purity, brilliance and transparency of these precious stones are the most important characteristics in an appraisal. The more vivid its green colour, the greater the value of the emerald.  Only gems of very high quality are transparent.

Emeralds are weighed in carats, (1 carat = 1/5 of a gram or ¼ of an ounce) By being relatively light (SGE = 2.72), an emerald of one carat is larger than a diamond of equal weight.

The emerald has long been treasured as a symbol of eternal spring and immortality. Its name comes from the Greek word “smaragdos”, meaning green gem.  In ancient times, all green gemstones were called emeralds but the particular green colour of the emerald is unique, so much so that there is a colour called “emerald green". 
The world’s most important deposits of these precious stones are found in Colombia.  The mining zones are located in the so-called emerald deposit belt that covers an area of 250 kilometres (155.1 miles) long by 50 kilometres (31 miles) wide.  The most spectacular and important mines are those of Muzo and Cosquez in the department of Boyacá, about  200 kilometres north of Bogota.  The second mining area is located in the east of the department of Cundinamarca, where the Chivor and Gachalá mines are to be found. These two main zones, despite being hundreds of kilometres apart, share the same geological fault. 

The Colombian emeralds set the standard for colour and quality worldwide.  Most of the country’s exported emeralds are cut in Colombia. 


Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Although Colombia is one of the biggest coffee producers, it is, at the same time, one of the countries with low consumption.

Colombian coffee is recognized as the best in the world and drinking it is considered a gourmet experience in some countries.
Coffee comes from a variety of different shrubs and trees that grow in a tropical region called "The Coffee Axis of Colombia" which extends along the temperate slopes of the mountain ranges.   It is mainly produced in the departments of Caldas, Risaralda and Quindío, although  Antioquia, Tolima and Valle del Cauca are also coffee growing areas.


  • Zone suitable for growing coffee: 3,050,141 hectares
  • Coffee area under cultivation: 875,000 hectares
  • Production: 12,200,000 bags a year (1 bag = 60 kg.)
  • Coffee Producing Municipalities: 590
  • Coffee Growers: 514,000
  • Export Destination: 40 countries
  • Time to roast coffee beans: 10 to 20 minutes. Temperature: between 400º F and 425º F.

Dark roasted beans contain little acidity and less caffeine.  The light ones have a stronger flavour with greater acidity. 

There are approximately 60 varieties of coffee trees, but only 10 species are farmed on a large scale throughout the world. 
The most common coffee varieties are Coffea Arabica, Coffea Canephora and Coffea Liberica.
Of those three, Coffea Arabica is the most widely farmed (70%) and the most valued of the species. 
Other varieties farmed in Colombia are:  Typical, Common Bourbon, Caturra, Colombia and Maragogipe. 

The coffee beans or seeds are inside the fruit of the bush or tree. When they are ripe, the fruit takes on a reddish colour. The bean or almond, once roasted and ground, is used for the production of coffee as a beverage. 
The production process begins in the nursery, where thousands of carefully selected beans are planted.  They then pass through several stages of growth, each one rigorously inspected by the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, which has to give the seal of approval.
Unlike beans from other origins, all Colombian coffee is washed during its production, resulting in a rich flavour and exquisite aroma.  In addition, the most stringent quality control ensures that Colombian coffee is the richest coffee in the world. 


The Flag & The Coat of Arms       ||     The Anthem

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