The Caribbean region of Colombia is more continental and maritime area North of the country. It owes its name to the Caribbean Sea, which is bordered on the North.
The Caribbean lowlands consist of all of Colombia north of an imaginary line extending northeastward from the Golfo de Urabá to the Venezuelan frontier at the northern extremity of the Cordillera Oriental. The semiarid Guajira Peninsula and Guajira-Barranquilla xeric scrub, in the extreme north, bear little resemblance to the rest of the region. In the southern part rises the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, an isolated mountain system with peaks reaching heights over 5,700 meters (18,701 ft) and slopes generally too steep for cultivation.
The Caribbean lowlands region is in roughly the shape of a triangle, the longest side of which is the coastline. Most of the country’s commerce moves through Cartagena, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, and the other ports located along this important coast. Inland from these cities are swamps, hidden streams, and shallow lakes that support banana and cotton plantations, countless small farms, and, in higher places, cattle ranches.
The city of Cartagena is a petrochemical, seaport(#1 in the country) and tourist city(#1 in the country). Santa Marta is also a seaport and tourist city but is a smaller-scale city by comparison. Barranquilla is located some 25 miles (40 km) from the Caribbean coastline but it is a more developed city with a greater number of industries and commercial places, widely known for its abilities in all forms of metalwork and construction. Its inhabitants have the highest education level of the region and the city is famous for being the starting point and focus of the region and the country’s development as the first city in the country with the use of phones, public lighting, air mail, planes and industrial works.
The Caribbean region merges next to and is connected with the Andean highlands through the two great river valleys. After the Andean highlands, it is the second most important region in economic activity. Approximately 17% of the country’s population lived in this region in the late 1980s.
The region also includes the peninsular archipelago of San Andres Island and the Insular Territories of Colombia, which are disputed in part by Nicaragua. However, the Colombian Navy protects such territories with the use of force when necessary to avoid foreign invasion and the islands are home to 2 important bases for defense and custom controls, formerly used for research of classified projects with civilian assistance as the local universities often research in the area of oceanography and marine biology but also in the fields of biochemistry, genetics, immunology and Colombia is known for its advances in medical fields in experimental surgery, breast implant development or prosthetics and immunology and these facilities serve as containment and secure experimentation labs to complement those in Barranquilla and other undisclosed locations within the coast territories.
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