Interesting Facts on Colombia-Top 20

tropicalandes Interesting Facts on Colombia

Colombia, the famous coffee exporter, the place where celebrities like Shakira called home. This rich and diverse South American country is worth a visit at least once in your life, so you’ll definitely want to learn the basics about it. The top landscapes, how to get around, what to eat. That’s not what this list is for. This article is for you if you want to dig a little deeper. If you want to impress your family and friends with your knowledge of Colombian trivia. So, get a notebook and get ready to learn 20 interesting facts on Colombia. 

1) So Much to See

Colombia is one of the world’s top diverse countries. For those of you who may not know what that means, mega-diverse refers to a country’s biodiversity. Colombia has definitely earned its place on that list. It has nearly 10% of the biodiversity in the world. You’ll find the most species of birds and orchids when you visit and it’s just narrowly beaten out as the country with the most species of plants, amphibians, and freshwater fish, to name a few. Make sure to visit the Tropical Andes and Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena if you want to get the most out of the country’s biodiversity while you visit, these are the two hotspots. You won’t be disappointed anywhere, though. The country is beautiful, as if you trek out of the city even a little, you’re sure to see something in nature you can’t find back home.

2) Rain, Rain Go Away-Interesting Facts on Colombia

Almost got you with that title, didn’t we? Don’t worry. This fact isn’t about Colombia being like England or the Pacific Northwest. We’re not here to tell you that you need to pack an umbrella, a raincoat, and your best pair of boots. However, if planning a trip to visit a rainforest is on your bucket list, Colombia is a great place to start. 1/3 of the country’s landscape is rainforest. Visit Serrania de Chiribiquete, the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park and see for yourself. We all learned about the rainforest at school when we were kids. We especially learned about how important they are to the world and, maybe, you even participated in a campaign or two to “save” them. None of that will prepare you for the sheer awe you’ll feel being there yourself. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.

3) What’s that I Hear?

Have you ever heard the Himno Nacional de la República de Colombia (the national anthem of Colombia)? No? Not outside of the Olympics? Well, if you visit the country and happen to tune into the radio at 6am or 6pm, you’re going to. By law, at those two times, the country’s national anthem plays over the radio. Like clockwork. Literally. Some places have church bells to signal what time it is, here it’s the national anthem. To the locals, it’s completely normal, to many other people visiting from other countries it may be a new sort of experience. Especially if you’re just used to hearing it at the start of sporting matches or maybe an Independence Day celebration. It’s a fun fact that not many people know about, when you visit, turn on the radio to catch it like a local, and in the meantime, impress your friends with that little known fact.

4) Home to the VIPs-Interesting Facts on Colombia

We all know that pop sensation Shakira hails from Colombia, she even sings about it in one of her songs. Did you know, however, that tons of famous people call Colombia their home, or, at least, an important part of their heritage? Sofia Vergara didn’t just play a Colombian on TV, she’s from the country herself! John Leguizamo is also proud of his Colombian background. Art fanatics are sure to know that Fernando Botero hailed from this country. Ever heard Gabriel Garcia Marquez? Or maybe one of his books? Love in the Time of Cholera? One Hundred Years of Solitude? Well, this master of the written word also called Colombia his home. The list honestly goes on and on. Colombia really has been the birthplace of the stars.

5) Let the Banner Wave-Interesting Facts on Colombia

You know what the Colombian flag looks like, right?  The yellow, blue, and red striped banner can be seen flying from government buildings and more throughout the country. Do you know who designed it, though? Probably not. Here’s a fact to impress your friends, the Colombian flag was designed by Francisco Miranda. You might shrug and think “Okay, that’s an interesting fact, I guess.” That’s not the interesting part! Francisco Miranda was a politician from Venezuela! He designed the Venezuelan flag which inspired the banner for Colombia we all know and love. The original design also inspired the flag for Ecuador when Gran Colombia when Venezuela, Ecuador, and modern day Colombia all became their own country’s after the breakup of the territory that was once known as Gran Colombia.

6) Want a Drink? Make it a Mocktail!

Plan on traveling to Colombia during one of the country’s big events or national celebrations? Don’t plan on having a drink while you’re there! Unless it’s of the non-alcoholic variety, that is (Don’t worry, you can still drink water, and, even more importantly, coffee!). It’s no surprise that large events all over the world can sometimes be a breeding ground for violence if crowds get too rowdy, but Colombia decided to handle this serious matter in a different way. Rather than imposing curfews or just dispatching extra security to crowded places to try to keep things safe and peaceful, you’ll find that, during large national events, they’re kept “dry”. That means no alcohol sold anywhere. You’ll be in for a sober time. Literally, not figuratively! You won’t have to worry about the lack of alcohol infringing on your fun. Colombia knows how to do their events right, you’ll have a good time anyway!

7) Try the Local Brews-Interesting Facts on Colombia

Are you someone who loves Starbucks? By that, we mean, do you really love it? As in, you frequent your favorite location every day and it’s a pivotal part of your daily or weekly routine? Well, Colombia may be a rude awakening for you if you decide to visit, at least at first! Unlike other countries, there are only a handful of Starbucks in the country, not nearly one on every block like you might be used to. It’s not impossible to find, but if you don’t plan on spending all your time in the big cities, you might be out of luck. Don’t fret, though, Colombia is one of the leading exporters of coffee. It’s an integral part of the culture. Even kids drink it! You may not find as many of the “dressed up” options you’ll find at Starbucks, but if you don’t try out a local coffee place while you’re in Colombia, you’re missing out!

8) Rainbow Waters

Add this to the list of natural marvels you’ll just have to see. The Cano Cristales, also known as the “river of five colors’ in Serrania de la Macarena is a literal rainbow river. What causes this beautifully strange water color? It’s actually a mix of natural elements coming together in a perfect combination. The Macarenia clavigera plant that grows along the riverbed contributes to the red coloring. Algae helps turn the water green. The yellow comes from the sand. Black from the rocks. The water is already blue. Bam! One river, five colors, and so many photographic moments to make your friends and family at home jealous if you’re lucky enough to see it in person.

9) Emerald City-Interesting Facts on Colombia

Emerald city. A fantasy land in “The Wizard of Oz”. A cute little moniker for Seattle due to its evergreen nature thanks to all the rain. Well, maybe a few cities in Colombia should get that title as well. Why? Colombia is the world’s leading exporter of emeralds. They’ve been a treasure found in the country for over 4,000 years. Can you believe it?  4,000 years ago the indigenous people of what is Colombia today were finding value in the gorgeous green gems. Today it’s not just a local treasure. Up to 90% of the emeralds you’ll find on the market come from Colombia, and, let us tell you, these emeralds are VALUABLE. You thought diamonds were worth a lot?  A carat to carat comparison has shown that Colombian emeralds were consistently valued higher than diamonds. Maybe emeralds are a girl’s best friend.

10) Once More, With Feeling!

Are you a theater or performing arts fanatic? Or even just a casual fan? Then this fact is right up your alley. One of the largest performing arts festivals in the world is held right in Bogotá, the Colombian capital. Every other year performers from all over the globe head to this South American country and for over two weeks the city revolves around the festivities. You won’t just find “traditional” theater performances. All the performance arts are celebrated with dancers, mimes, musicians, puppeteers and more performing in venues and on the streets to show off their craft. Everywhere you look you’ll find someone showcasing an unbelievable talent that will make your jaw drop. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind sort of cultural and learning experience that you won’t want to miss.

11) Respect Your Elders-Interesting Facts on Colombia

It’s not uncommon for older generations to be venerated in any country or culture, but it’s especially so in Colombia. What does that mean? Well, it means you listen to your elders and take their advice and opinions seriously. Age really does mean wisdom in the country. Unfortunately, that means if you’re younger, you may have to fight a little more to get your voice heard and listened to. On the bright side, however, it also means that just because you get older, doesn’t mean you get pushed aside, like some people fear. In Colombia, your age and your wisdom are both welcomed and celebrated. You don’t have to worry about being young forever here. In fact, aging is a good thing. Who doesn’t want to be respected and looked to as a voice of reason and source of wisdom?

12) If You’re Happy and You Know It!-Interesting Facts on Colombia

Colombia is often ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. According to the Happiness Index, that uses a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is completely unhappy and 10 is the happiest someone could possibly be, over the course of seven years, Colombia ranked with an average of 6.3. That might not sound like much, but do you know what the average is? For the entire world, or, at least, the 150 countries that are involved in the study? 5.51. That’s a pretty sizable difference! That means if you want to be a little happier in life, you might want to head down to Colombia and see what the locals do to keep the blues away. Though, if you’re a visitor to this vibrant country, you won’t be unhappy for long. Now you just have to make sure that you bring some of that with you back home.

13) What’s the Weather?

When you think about the climate in Colombia, you may think of tropical weather. You wouldn’t be wrong, its Caribbean coast is definitely tropical and the weather of the country is generally classified under that definition. That’s not the whole story, though. With its biodiversity, you have to expect Colombia to be diverse in its climate as well. In fact, the territory is split up into different areas that are each categorized as a different climate. It has tropical rainforests, savannas, grassland, deserts, and mountain climate. That being said, don’t expect to catch much change between seasons here. It’s near the equator, so the weather is pretty stable all year round. What weather that is will just depend on what region you’re in!

14) North or South?

You know how we’ve been saying Colombia is a South American country? Well, that’s true, but, like many things about this country, the whole truth is actually a little more interesting than that. Most of the country is in South America, but not all of it. Yep, you read that right. What does that mean? Colombia spans both South and North America. You’ve heard of people photographing themselves on state borders in the USA. Go to Colombia and you can do one better. Find where it crosses over and take a picture with one foot on two different continents! So, while for ease of referencing you might continue to say it’s a South American country, if you’re referring to the territories in North America, or you just want to prove you know what you’re talking about, make sure to use the correct continent!

15) Always Something to Celebrate-Interesting Facts on Colombia

Remember a few entries up how we mentioned that Colombia has a higher happiness rating compared to other countries? Well, this fact might contribute to that. As a country, Colombia recognizes 18 national holidays. Think that’s not that many considering a year is 365 days long? Well, if you put it that way, maybe. However, it’s the country with the second most national holidays in the WORLD. That much celebration doesn’t even count all the other cultural festivities that get people up and having a good time. It’s a country that loves to celebrate. If you go to visit, you’ll be welcomed in on the festivities too. Share in the good times and book a trip around a national festival and you won’t regret it. You’ll miss those holidays when you get back home.

16) Coast to Coast

We’ve mentioned the Colombian coast a little bit in this article, but we should actually word it as the Colombian coasts. Plural. Colombia has a coast on both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. What’s more, it’s the only country in South America to do so (that’s obviously not the case with North America!). When we talk about this country’s coast, we typically mean the Atlantic coast.  The Colombian Caribbean. The Colombian Pacific coast is rainy and humid, and since Colombia doesn’t experience seasonal changes, that’s the weather all year. It doesn’t exactly lend itself to being a hit vacation destination. Whether or not you decide to visit both coasts or stick to the Atlantic like most people do (Colombians included!) this is a fun fact that will definitely have people fact checking a map and being ultra-impressed by your knowledge.

17) Are You Ready Sports Fans?

You may think that soccer (or futbol) is Colombia’s national sport, but you’d be wrong! While it’s definitely beloved and a huge cultural presence and pastime, the national sport is one you’ve probably never heard of. It’s called Tejo. To play, you throw a puck at a target that is more or less 20 yards away. Hit the target, you get your points, miss? Be careful! If the game you’re playing follows tradition, you may set off a sort of decoy that will explode when hit. This sport may sound like something from another world, and you would be right. It’s commonly believed to be derived from a sport that was likely played by the indigenous population in Colombia before it was settled by Spain. It may not be well-known globally, but it’s an important part of Colombian culture and history and it’s definitely a sport that has shown to have staying power.

18) Love is in the Air-Interesting Facts on Colombia

You know about Valentine’s Day. The 14th of February is traditionally thought of as the day to celebrate love. Not in Colombia. On the 3rd Saturday of September, they celebrate El Día Del Amor Y Amistad (the day of love and friendship). What’s the difference? We don’t blame you for asking that. While Valentine’s day is traditionally considered a romantic holiday for couples, El Di Del Amor is a day to celebrate all kinds of love in Colombia. In fact, you’ll often find Colombians celebrating with everyone they hold dear. Family, friends, significant others. Anyone they love. It’s even a month long affair. You pick a name of one of your loved ones and you’re tasked with getting them a little gift for the celebration. Like a Secret Santa, but in September.

19) Too Close for Comfort?

Colombia isn’t a small country. Its land covers over 440,000 sq miles. However, did you know that only a small amount of that land is actually approved for development? That’s right. Only 3% of the land in Colombia actually has houses and “modern” constructions. That’s less than 14,000 sq miles. Half the country is taken up by jungle, much of which is protected. With much of the rest of the land made up of mountains and much of the country’s population made up of indigenous tribes, it’s not surprising when you think about it. Still, if you’re used to concrete jungles and new construction developments going up every week, this fact may surprise you. It just adds to the country’s charm. If you like crowds, you’ll also like the city’s since most of the non indigenous population of Colombia lives in slightly closer quarters. 

20) Coffee Addicts of All Ages-Interesting Facts on Colombia

We’re rounding out this list with a fact that might come as a shock to some. Especially to parents who might wonder how to deal with the naturally abundant energy their kids seem to have. Kids in Colombia are coffee drinkers! If you’re lucky enough to have dinner with some locals, don’t be surprised if after your meal you see cups of coffee poured for the children at the table as well as the adults. They don’t drink their coffee black, there’s usually plenty of milk to help with the bitterness, but they’re coffee drinkers all the same! Colombia is one of the leading exporters of coffee, it’s not that surprising it’s such a big part of the culture that even the kids enjoy it!

Did you learn something new? We bet at least a few of these facts came as a surprise to you!

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