Welcome to Colombia!
Colombia is South America’s second most populated country and houses 10% of the world’s biodiversity. After decades of civil conflict, Colombia is now safe to visit and travelers are discovering what they’ve been missing. The diversity of the country with its thrill natural beauty of beaches, coastal lands, mountains, riverbanks, museums, zoo, and botanical garden, as well as the most livable Columbia people will well astonish you, but the travelers should exercise vigilance at all times due to the level of violent crime. Although kidnapping and homicide rates in urban areas have dropped in recent years, they remain high.
Colombians are friendly and very easy going, Spanish style and culture can still be seen in parts of the country, although in Bogotá, North American attitudes and clothes are becoming prevalent. In darker days people used to say, ‘if only it weren’t for the violence and drugs, Colombia would be paradise.’ It is an easy country to fall in love with, but make sure you are aware of the following Colombia travel tips, dos and donts for your safe travel and life time experience in Colombia.
Colombia Travel Taboo
Homosexuality is not widely accepted or understood, especially by older generations.
Colombia Travel Donts
- Do not nude at the beaches or in public places. Woman should not walk without the top on the beach.
- Do not carry large amount of cash or expensive stuff in public that would tempt thieves. Put your wallet inside and purse close to your body.
- Do not stay out late at night by yourself and do not get drunk alone, you may wake up without your wallet.
- Do not wear expensive watches and jewellery.
- Do not show the slightest bit of interest in any of the hawkers selling goods on the streets because they’ll just follow you.
- Do not ever say a bad word about the Catholic religion or Colombia. The most Colombians are closely bound up with their identity. To criticize any aspect of Colombia is to criticize them.
- Do not be tempted or over do the drugs. For many travelers Colombia is the place to come and plug up their nostrils with cocaine and party until dawn, but that’s too dangerous.
- Do not use your two fingers to indicate length of something which is an obscene gesture. Instead, extend your right arm and use your left hand to mark off distance.
- Do not make jokes about drugs or drug consumption. For Colombians it’s not a taboo to talk about this issue, but be sure to approach it as a serious conversation, not as a stereotyped joke.
- Do not whistle to get an attention which is considered rude.
- Do not buy jewellery from people on the street, as you are more likely to get the fake stuff.
Colombia Travel Dos
- Do buy things from regular stores instead of the expensive specialty stores for tourists, where will charge you more.
- Do negotiate the price before buying on the street and small stores. Shop more stores for the same item, the differences could be big.
- Do be watchful for thieves and other criminals. Do not trust anyone, not walking alone or be in dark, isolated places. Do not go to cities where you have to go through guerrilla zones.
- Do go to authorised money exchanger store, be careful that you get all the money you exchanged and some of it does not get back into their drawer.
- Do watch out when paying with credit card that they do not add more zeroes later. Do not leave spaces where they could add numbers, write the price in words too.
- Do be alert for fake taxi and be careful not let them take your luggage away.
- Do enjoy the kindness and hospitality of Colombians. It is customary to offer guests black Colombian coffee, well sugared, called tinto.
- Do wear casual clothes, but not shorts if you want to blend in. Formal attire is necessary for exclusive dining and social functions.
- Do be watchful of your surroundings when watch street activities. The street life in Colombia can be fascinating with all kinds of street acts and performances as people try to make a buck.
- Do avoid to talk about homosexuality, as it is not widely accepted or understood, especially by older generations.
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