Map of Colombia

Rediscovered country

For decades the rugged Andean landscape harboured crime and violence, but today regional pride is emerging in a revived economy. By John Paul Rathbone

Eric Hobsbawm, the British historian who died last year, had an abiding affection for South America. He first visited in the 1960s and returned often. “Nobody who discovers South America can resist the region,” he once wrote.

I first travelled to Colombia in the mid-1980s and, like Hobsbawm, could not resist what I saw. Two years later I returned to write a tourist guide, having persuaded a publisher of the brio of the Colombians and the remarkable biodiversity of their country, ...

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