Illustrated travel do's and don'ts infographic.

Navigating a new country is like dancing salsa – you need to know the steps to avoid stepping on toes. Understanding local customs is essential for a seamless travel experience.

Do’s in Colombia

Embrace Colombian Culture

Immerse yourself in the local flavors, Enjoy the culture which is reflected through the languages, heritage, but also music, dance and food. Do not hesitate to meet local people and exchange with them: Colombians are known for their sympathy and kindness.

Take time to greet people

In Colombia, people are available when you speak to them! Even when you go to buy in any shop, you take the time to ask how they are before placing your order. A simple “Hola, ¿cómo está?” will go a long way.

Try Colombian Cuisine

In Colombia, you can rest easy; there aren’t any major issues with the food or the fruit. Your taste buds haven’t lived until they’ve tried arepas and ajiaco. Dive into the local markets; they’re a cornucopia of flavors and a masterclass in culinary diversity.

Learn Basic Spanish Phrases

“¿Dónde está el baño?” might just be your saving grace after one too many tinto coffees. A sprinkle of Spanish garners appreciation and makes for richer encounters.

Use Reliable Transportation

Use only official Taxis. Apps like Uber and Cabify are your friends in the city. For adventures farther afield, reputable bus companies are the go-to. Just make sure to buy tickets from official counters.

Stay Protected from the Sun

The sun in tropical latitudes is extremely strong, and even more so at high altitudes. Protect yourself from the sun and use a cream with a minimum SPF of 50 between 9 AM and 4 PM

Support Local Businesses

Whether it’s a handwoven mochila bag or a cup of the world’s best coffee, buying local means your pesos do more than just purchase – they support communities.

Respect Nature and Wildlife

Colombia’s biodiversity is not your personal petting zoo. Marvel at it, photograph it, but keep your hands to yourself.

Stay Informed and Safe

Keep abreast of local news, heed travel advisories, and trust your gut. Colombians are friendly, but it’s still wise to stay on the beaten path. After all, even paradise has its snakes.

Don’ts in Colombia

Do not throw your toilet paper in the bowl

Crappy pipes mean tossing your toilet paper in the trash, and not flushing it. This is not as horrible as it sounds, as Colombians are quite neat about this, and tissue is well folded. You are expected to perform this necessary courtesy as well. It beats having to deal with clogs!

Colombia is not Narcos

Pablo who? Do not mention, unless you want to cause upset, the former cocaine war culture or the name Pablo Escobar. Or the TV series “Narcos”. It will not be well received. Colombia has worked very hard to leave those horrors behind so steer clear of conversations on drugs and conflict unless a local broaches the topic.

Don’t expect hot Water Showers everywhere

Are not ubiquitous. This is not uncommon in tropical countries. But it’s not like freezing water comes from the pipes, and the experience is quite OK, if not refreshing! In remote areas they may not be shower heads either, but rather just a pipe.

Don’t Disrespect Religious or Cultural Sites

Whether it’s a church or an indigenous sacred site, show the same reverence you’d expect at your grandma’s house. Silence is golden, and so is switching your phone to silent.

Avoid Isolated Areas at Night

Dark alleys and lonely roads aren’t the settings for your adventure novel. Stick to well-lit, populated areas, unless you fancy a cameo in a true crime podcast.

No Dar Papaya

We often hear the expression: “don’t give the papaya,” which basically means that you shouldn’t make it easy for someone to take advantage of you.

Colombia isn’t the place for a fashion parade of your most expensive bling. It is advisable to adopt a modest approach to personal attire and accessories to avoid attracting undue attention and reducing the risk of theft..

Don’t Expect Punctuality

Time in Colombia is more a suggestion than a strict schedule. Relax – you’re on Colombian time now. Meetings start when everyone arrives, not when the clock says so.

Avoid Illicit Activities

Participating in illegal activities is like playing Russian roulette with your vacation. Stick to coffee, and leave the coca for Coca-Cola.

Minimize Your Ecological Impact

Eco-friendly is more than a buzzword here; it’s a responsibility. Reduce plastic use, recycle, and remember: a clean trail is a happy trail.

Things to know

Be Aware of Altitude Sickness

Bogotá is lofty, and not just in cultural stature. Take it easy on arrival and acclimate before conquering Monserrate on foot.

Crazy Drivers in Colombia

Colombians, especially on the Caribbean coast, drive like maniacs. But don’t worry, everyone drives like that! They’re all on their toes and accustomed to reacting quickly. If your driver has this habit, don’t hesitate to let them know kindly.

Waste management in Colombia

Colombia has a long way to go in terms of environmental protection, right down to littering.
Le gouvernement comment tout juste à éduquer et sensibiliser les populations.
Colombians eat a lot on the street or to go, and packaging has become the easiest solution. The problem is that there is no real infrastructure to manage the collection and recycling of waste.
But that does not mean that we as visitors should not maintain our good habits and leave a light footprint.

Colombian Coffee Vs Tinto

It’s called “tinto”, and there are three popular types:

Tinto, which is a small black coffee, is the most popular. If you want a tinto with milk, it’s called a Perico o Pintao, although they will understand if you ask for a tinto con leche. Then there is the Carajillo, which is a tinto with rum or aguardiente to get your motor running in the morning! Or whenever.

Note that Colombians drink their coffee very sweet, so if you prefer black tinto only you’ll have to ask for it. Coffee culture like Starbucks is only just beginning in the cities, and can be found at tiendas called “Juan Valdez”.

Fauna, flora Vs handicraft in Colombia

In addition, known as the second country with the highest biodiversity in the world, Colombia is also the second country most affected by the illegal trade of fauna and flora. To preserve this biodiversity, we suggest to leave behind everything you will find: animals, flowers, plants, minerals and cultural heritage. The same for handicraft made of animal products. It is better not to buy it because it encourages production. 

Colombia mi amor !

Colombians a very friendly and affectionate. Be prepared to be called terms of endearment and know you are not being hit on or disrespected. Well, not usually! This is just the way Colombian interact. It’s kind of like your favorite aunt who calls everyone “sweetheart”. Anyone and everyone might call you, “mi amor” or similar.

Tipping Customs

While tipping isn’t mandatory, it’s a kind gesture in restaurants and for services. A little generosity can transform a good service into a great one.