Depending on the altitude temperatures decrease about 3.5 °F (2 °C) for every 1,000-foot (300-m) increase in altitude above sea level, presenting perpetual snowy peaks to lower hot lands. Rainfall varies by location and is present in two seasons (two dry and two rainy) in Colombia presenting one of the highest rainfalls in the world in the Pacific region. Rainfall in parts of the Guajira Peninsula seldom exceeds 30 in (75 cm) per year. Colombia's rainy southeast, however, is often drenched by more than 200 in (500 cm) of rain per year. Rainfall in most of the rest of the country runs between these two extremes.
Altitude affects not only temperature, but also vegetation. In fact, altitude is one of the most important influences on vegetation patterns in Colombia. The mountainous parts of the country can be divided into several vegetation zones according to altitude, although the altitude limits of each zone may vary somewhat depending on the latitude. The "tierra caliente" (hot land), below 3,300 ft (1,000 m), is the zone of tropical crops. The tierra templada (temperate land), extending from an altitude of 3,300 to 6,600 ft (1,000 to 2,000 m). Wheat and potatoes dominate in the "tierra fría" (cold land), at altitudes from 6,600 to 10,500 ft (2,000 to 3,200 m). In the "zona forestada" (forested zone), which is located between 10,500 and 12,800 ft (3,200 and 3,900 m). Treeless pastures table lands dominate the páramos, or alpine grasslands, at altitudes of 12,800 to 15,100 ft (3,900 to 4,600 m). Above 15,100 ft (4,600 m), where temperatures are below freezing, is the "tierra helada", a zone of permanent snow and ice.
Colombian Flora and Fauna also interact with climate zone patterns. A scrub woodland of scattered trees and bushes dominates the semiarid northeastern steppe and tropical desert. To the south, savannah (tropical grassland) vegetation covers the eastern plains; Colombian portion of the llanos. The rainy areas in the southeast are blanketed by tropical rain forest. In the mountains, the spotty patterns of precipitation in alpine areas complicate vegetation patterns. The rainy side of a mountain may be lush and green, while the other side, in the rain shadow, may be parched. As a result Colombia is considered to be among 17 of the most megadiverse countries in the world.