Because of the abundant rainfall and poor soil quality, few people inhabit this region.
The three Andean Cordilleras (mountain ranges) running the entire length of the country from the north to the south, occupy only 30 percent of the landmass.
Coffee plantations are plentiful in the mild climate, which also supports banana, cassava, and coca.
To the east of the Andes is the broad expanse of the Ilanos, which contains more than 60 percent of the land area.
Colombia has great biodiversity with 1,550 species of birds and over 13,000 species of plants. With a population of 42.3 million (30 June 2000), Colombia is a nation of mixed race.
It is estimated that about 75 percent of the population is of mixed heritage, with 55 percent of this group being mestizos, 16 percent mulattoes, and 4 percent zambos .
The treeless regions adjacent to the cold zone usually are referred to as paramos (high plains), above which begin the nevados (snowcapped peaks).
The cold zone receives heavy rainfall during the wet seasons from April to June and September to December.
The Atlantic or Caribbean coastal lowlands receive less rainfall than the area along the Pacific.
Many industries are located within this area, along with 20 percent of the population.
Lowland coastal areas give way to rain forest, the Andes, and the Inland Ilanos (plains).