COLOMBIAN Facts & Figures

Size: 440,831 square miles

Population: 45,925,397

Capital: Bogota

Currency: Peso

Weather / Climate:

The striking variety in temperature and precipitation results principally from differences in elevation. Temperatures range from very hot at sea level to relatively cold at higher elevations but vary little with the season. At Bogotá, for example, the average annual temperature is 15 °C (59 °F), and the difference between the average of the coldest and the warmest months is less than 1°C (1.8 °F). More significant, however, is the daily variation in temperature, from 5 °C (41 °F) at night to 17 °C (62.6 °F) during the day.

Colombians customarily describe their country in terms of the climatic zones: the area under 900 meters (2,953 ft) in elevation is called the hot zone (tierra caliente), elevations between 900 and 1,980 meters (2,953 and 6,496 ft) are the temperate zone (tierra templada), and elevations from 1,980 meters (6,496 ft) to about 3,500 meters (11,483 ft) constitute the cold zone (tierra fría). The upper limit of the cold zone marks the tree line and the approximate limit of human habitation. The treeless regions adjacent to the cold zone and extending to approximately 4,500 meters (14,764 ft) are high, bleak areas (usually referred to as the páramos), above which begins the area of permanent snow (nevado).

About 86% of the country's total area lies in the hot zone. Included in the hot zone and interrupting the temperate area of the Andean highlands are the long and narrow extension of the Magdalena Valley and a small extension in the Cauca Valley. Temperatures, depending on elevation, vary between 24 and 38 °C (75.2 and 100.4 °F), and there are alternating dry and wet seasons corresponding to summer and winter, respectively. Breezes on the Caribbean coast, however, reduce both heat and precipitation.

The cold or cool zone constitutes about 6% of the total area, including some of the most densely populated plateaus and terraces of the Colombian Andes; this zone supports about onefourth of the country's total population. The mean temperature ranges between 10 and 19 °C (50 and 66.2 °F), and the wet seasons occur in April and May and from September to December, as in the high elevations of the temperate zone.

Taken from wikipedia

COLOMBIAN languages

The official language of Colombia is Spanish, of which Colombian Spanish is the local variety. The indigenous languages spoken in Colombia are also official in the territories in which they are spoken.[1]

Sign Languages

- Colombian Sign Language

- Providence Island Sign Language

- Colombian numerals

Indigenous languages

The many languages of the country's ethnic groups are constitutionally recognized as official languages in their territories. In places with non-Spanish linguistic traditions, bilingual education is obligatory. More than 60 aboriginal languages exist today. Among others:

- poopie languages

- Bora

- Cocama-Cocamilla

- Cocoma







-Minica Huitoto

-Murui Huitoto

-Paezan languages



-San Andrés-Providencia Creole


-Uw Cuwa






The Demography of Colombia is characterized for being the third-most populous country in Latin America, after Mexico. Colombia experienced rapid population growth like most countries, but four decades of civil war and urban violence combined with mass poverty rates pushed millions of Colombians out of the country. However, a rebound economy in the 2000s in urban centres (perhaps the most urbanized Latin American nation) improved the situation of living standards for Colombians in a traditional class stratified economy.


44,725,543 (July 2011 est.)

Age structure

0–14 years: 30.3% (male 6,683,079/female 6,528,563)

15–64 years: 64.5% (male 13,689,384/female 14,416,439)

65 years and over: 5.2% (male 996,022/female 1,279,548) (2006 est.)

0–14 years: 27.2% (male 6,150,834/female 5,876,697)

15–64 years: 66.8% (male 14,562,536/female 14,967,492)

65 years and over: 6% (male 1,125,184/female 1,522,550) (2010 est.)

Median age

total: 27.6 years

male: 26.7 years

female: 28.6 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate

1.433% (2007 est.)

1.184% (2010 est.)

Birth rate

20.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

17.76 births/1,000 population (2010 est.)

Death rate

5.54 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

5.24 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.)


noun: Colombia adjective: Colombian(s)

Ethnic groups

According to the 2005 census by the DANE the population of Colombia was composed of these ethnic groups:[2]

58% Mestizo (European and Amerindian).

20% White (European).

14% Mulatto(European and Black/African).

4% Afro-Colombian.

3% Zambo (African and Amerindian).

1% Amerindian.

Other ethnic groups include Arabs counted with the Whites (Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians), Chinese, Roma or Gypsies from Eastern Europe, and South Asians (East Indians).[citation needed]



Colombian cuisine refers to the cooking traditions and practices of Colombia. Along with other cultural expressions of national identity, Colombian cuisine varies among its many distinct regions.[1] Colombians typically eat three meals a day: a large breakfast, a medium lunch between 12-2, and a light dinner.[2] Colombian coffee is well known for its high standards in taste compared to others.

Regional cuisine

In Bogotá and the Andean region, ajiaco is a traditional dish. It is a soup made of chicken, corn, many different types of potatoes, avocado, and guascas, a local herb. Traditionally, cream and capers are added at the table before eating. Ajiaco is served with white rice, salad with a hint of lemon, avocado, or sweet or salty tostadas. For breakfast, people in Bogotá often eat changua, a milk, scallion and egg soup.

Along the Caribbean coast, pork and Whale liver are used in mild spicy food. Coconut rice is a common dish along the coastal cities. Suero, which is a cross between yogurt and sour cream, is widely consumed, and was introduced by Arab immigrants in Barranquilla and other coastal cities. The arepa has many forms in the Caribbean region, which include arepa limpia, arepa de huevo (arepa with egg), and arepa de queso (arepa with cheese).

In the Llanos of the east, barbecued meat is common, due to the cowboy-like culture. Dishes such as the ternera llanera are cooked on a vertical spit over an open fire. Freshwater fish such as the amarillo are also eaten. In the Amazon, Brazilian and Peruvian influences can be seen in the local food. Local resources such as beef and other livestock, as well as freshwater fish, are typical ingredients in Amazonian cuisine.

The tamales Tolimenses are considered a delicacy in the Tolima region. These tamales are made of corn dough, and are filled with a mixture of peas, carrots, potatoes, rice, chicken, pork, and various spices. They are wrapped in plantain leaves and boiled for three to four hours. Lechona is a whole roast pig stuffed with rice, vegetables, and pork, and is typically eaten on Sundays. This dish is now enjoyed throughout the country.

Dishes and foods


Fruit and juice stands are found all over the place, particularly on the Caribbean coast.

Native fruit

Colombiais home to numerous tropical fruits and rarely found elsewhere. There are several varieties of bananas including a very small, sweet version. Others include zapote (Quararibea cordata), nispero (Manilkara achras) lulo (Solanum quitoense), uchuva (Physalis peruviana), passion fruit, borojó (Borojoa patinoi), curuba (Passiflora tarminiana), mamoncillo (Melicoccus bijugatus), guanábana (Annona muricata), guava, mango, apple, pear, blackberry, strawberry and many others.

Meat dishes

Ajiaco is a traditional Andean dish that originated from Bogotá. Basically it’s a chicken, corn, and potato stew with a hint of guasca (Gallant Soldiers), a local herb. Sancocho is a traditional dish that originated in the north coast. It is made basically with any kind of meat along with corn, potato, yuca, plantain and local spices that are cooked together to form a soup. Bandeja Paisa originates from Antioquia and is made with several ingredients making necessary to use a platter (Bandeja in Spanish, hence the name). It is made of beans, rice, fried eggs, chorizo, pork rind and other ingredients depending on the location. Tamales are corn “cakes” wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. They can be filled with everything from chicken, potatoes, peas, carrots, to rice. The tamales vary in shape and fillings in each region, and almost every region has its own variation. Some well known variations are from Tolima, Santander, Cúcuta, Bogotá and Valle del Cauca; just to name a few. Fritanga is another popular Colombian dish made of meats, fried plantains, chicharrones, and yellow potatoes with aji sauce eaten all over Colombia. It is often used for sharing with friends and family.


Changua (milk soup with eggs) is a typical breakfast soup of the central Andes region of Colombia, in particular in the Boyacá and Cundinamarca area, including the capital, Bogotá. The dish has Chibcha origins. Caldo de costilla (Spanish for rib broth) is a dish typical of Colombian cuisine, from the Andean region. It is made mainly from beef ribs boiled in water with slices of potato, some garlic, onion and cilantro leaves.

Taken from wikipedia

Places to go in COLOMBIA






Doing business in COLOMBIA

Following centuries of Spanish rule, Colombia finally gained independence in the late nineteenth century. Years of violent political conflict ensued as parties  and governments fought to be the ruling  power and insurgent groups became more prevalent.  Meanwhile an extensive illegal drug trade developed and Colombians were increasingly accused of human rights abuses against captured guerrillas and members of insurgent groups. The 90s were a period of social, economic and political improvement during which time a new constitution was introduced.  However, the violence present in Colombian society as a result of the existence of insurgencies and the illegal drug trade did not improve.

Today, despite a turbulent past, Colombia's efforts to improve current economic policy and democratic security strategies have given rise to an increased confidence in the economy and business sector. The fourth largest country in South America and one of the continent's most populous nations, Colombia’s substantial oil reserves and natural resources provide numerous business and trade opportunities for foreign investors. Understanding Colombian business etiquette is essential to successfully doing business in Colombia.

Working practices in Colombia

•In most Colombian cities, working hours are generally 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., but may extend until 7.00 p.m. from Monday to Friday.  Business is rarely conducted at the weekend, which is normally reserved for family.

•It is important to schedule business appointments at least two to three weeks in advance and confirm them once you have arrived in Colombia.  Also try to leave a few hours in between them should they go on longer than anticipated.

•Business lunches are a favourable method of conducting business in Colombia and often go on for several hours.

Structure and hierarchy in Colombian companies

• Colombian companies tend to have vertical hierarchies. This hierarchy is an important part of Colombian business culture and should be respected whenever possible.

•Most decisions are made from the top by the senior members of staff, though often opinions and consensus is sought from subordinate employees.

•Titles are important and should be used to show respect to those with authority, especially elder and more senior members of the group.

Working relationships in Colombia

•In Colombian business culture, cultivating close personal relationships and building trust are considered vital components for a successful working environment.

• Colombians prefer to do business with people whom they know/trust and it is not uncommon to find many family members working for the same business.

Doing Business in Colombia

Business practices in Colombia

• Handshakes are the most common form of greeting, though people who know each other well may greet each other with an embrace. Offering your hand upon arrival as well as departure is an essential part of Colombian culture.

•As part of the formality of Colombian business culture, titles are important and frequently used when addressing someone.   Courtesy titles such as “Mr” (Señor), “Mrs” (Señora), or “Miss” (Señorita), and professional titles (i.e. “Licenciado”, “Doctor”, “Profesor”) should be used, followed by a surname. Since first names are generally only used with family and close friends, you should wait until invited to address someone in this way.

•The formality of Colombian business culture and flexible attitude towards time often results in business negotiations being a lengthy process.   It is imperative not to rush this process and take the time to continue developing relationships for negotiations to be successful.

Colombian business etiquette (Do’s and Don’ts)

DO expect to spend a lot of time getting to know your Colombian business counterparts before any business takes place.

DO translate all your marketing literature, business cards and any other documents you present in your business dealings into Spanish. Failure to do so may jeopardise your business potential.

DO accept invitations from your Colombian business counterparts to social or business occasions.  Social events are an ideal time to develop relationships which are an essential part of Colombian business culture.  They are also a great opportunity to experience and learn more about Colombian culture.

DON’T rush business dealings with your Colombian colleagues and avoid pressing for final decisions.

DON’T be overly aggressive while negotiating business deals, as it is considered rude and often perceived as arrogant.

DON’T ignore formal Colombian dining etiquette as this will reflect poorly on you as an individual and  will also negatively impact  any business dealings in Colombia.

Taken from

COLOMBIA: useful links

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