18 weird & wonderful facts about Colombia

It is hard to believe that my time in Manizales, Colombia is almost at an end! A month and a week sure fly by, and the closer I get to leaving the more I want to stay (yet my heart strings tug me to  Cartagena). I’ve been thinking a lot about everything I’ve learnt about Colombia while I’ve been here. I thought I’d share some of my favourite weird and wonderful Colombian facts so you can get a taste of what a rich, diverse country it is. Some of them are official, tried and true facts, others are things I have learnt or experienced while I’ve lived here, all are weird and wonderful:

1. The most common cheese here is a light and fluffy cheese (a bit like feta except with very little flavour) and it is popular to put pieces of it in your hot chocolate.

2. One nickname for the city of Manizales translates from Spanish into ‘the fabric of the sunsets.

3. The most popular food staple in Colombia is Arepa. It is like a thick flat tortilla made of corn meal, and it is eaten at almost every meal of the day. People will eat it with anything: butter, guacamole, shrimp, cheese, you name it.

4. There is a fruit in Colombia called corrosos which are basically mini-coconuts, about the size of a grape. You crack them open and eat the inside which has almost exactly the same coco-nutty flavour and consistency

5. Many Colombian radio stations have segments where they invite people to call in and sing along to the songs (it’s usually amusingly terrible)

6. At most Colombian homes and restaurants you will have a soup before lunch or dinner.

7. At supermarkets, they have employees that will bag all your groceries for you, except they will not bag feminine products and instead hand them directly to you.

8. A popular drink to have in the afternoons is Agua de Panela, which is basically sugar cane tea. It tastes just like Southern style sweet tea except it is hot.

9. On the highways, you’ll often see kids on bikes hitching a ride by holding onto chains tied to the backs of trucks.

10. Most meals in restaurants cost £4 – 8.

11. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world after Brazil and has the most endemic species in the world (species that exist in only one country).

12. Here people say “Ciao”, like the Italians, instead of “Adios”.

13. Dogs are very well loved in Colombia, most families have at least one pup, if not several.

14. The Colombian national anthem is played on the radio and television every day at 6 am and 6 pm.

15. You won’t find Starbucks here, but you will find Juan Valdez Cafes all around the country, the lovely Colombian equivalent (it might be controversial, but I prefer it).

16. Bogota is the city at the highest altitude in the world with a population greater than 3 million.

17. 11% of the country is covered in national parks.

18. People you have just met in Colombia will often treat you like family. They are some of the friendliest and most welcoming people in the world.

Do you know any other weird and wonderful facts about Colombia, or have a cool fact about your home country? Leave a comment xx 

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