Columbia is one of the most exciting and beautiful places in the world. With its rich culture dating back to native civilisation, through 16th century Spain and all the way to the present day, Columbia has a sense of tradition that is uniquely its own, borne through centuries upon centuries of vibrant history.

Learning about the culture of this captivating country is something all visitors should try their hand at, as it makes trips to Colombia all the more interesting. Your surroundings and even your interactions can take on an extra significance as a reward for learning about the country you’re visiting. You’ll have a new appreciation for all the little things that make it so distinct and special during your Colombia holiday.

When delving into the intriguing story of Columbia, it’s also important to learn a little bit about local customs and etiquette. This will give you a better sense of the colour and personality of the land. However, it’s also worth improving your understanding of these customs for practical reasons as well. These insights shape holidays in Colombia for the better, allowing you to feel more at home while making your trip more fun at the same time.

Language

As is the case in pretty much any country you visit, learning the language is always likely to endear you to the local populace. It also makes your travels a whole lot easier.

Making an effort to at least be able to greet people and use basic phrases is considered good manners, as it shows that you’re not just assuming other people will interact with you in your native tongue. It’s a sign of mutual respect that you’re meeting halfway with whomever you’re communicating with.

Even if they speak perfect English and your rudimentary language skills are rendered obsolete, most people will appreciate the effort shown. And if you are interacting with someone who has very basic English skills or none at all, then those phrases you do learn might just be a life saver, securing you the drink, directions or anything else you may be after.

Spanish is the dominant language of Colombia and is spoken by 99% of the population. So unless you are going to a particularly isolated, rural area, you can be pretty confident that whoever you are speaking to will recognise the Spanish phrases you learn.

Cultural pride

If there is one thing that can be said about Colombia with certainty, it’s that they are a proud country. It’s therefore not unusual to find locals who wish to share their culture and history with you with great enthusiasm.

This passion can sometimes be mistaken for arrogance or boasting. It’s important to treat these discussions with respect though, as not doing so would be considered a snub.

Table manners

These are considered very important in Columbia. For starters, make sure your hands are always visible, keeping your elbows off the table, and never start eating before being invited to do so. The same goes for taking your seat. Wait until you are asked to avoid offending your hosts.

Cutlery is to be used at all times. Columbia is not a finger food nation. Finally, if you are invited to dine out, the person who invited you will consider you their guest and will likely expect to be paying for the meal. However, offering to contribute towards the bill is always appreciated.

If you are invited into someone’s home, bringing a gift such as chocolates or wine is appropriate.

Greetings

Shaking hands is the most common way to greet someone in Colombia and is expected between men. Eye contact is important, as is a friendly smile and the firmness of your handshake.

A kiss on the right cheek is an acceptable greeting for a woman. If you’re meeting a large group, you are expected to greet everyone individually, with the same being expected during your departure.

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