Colombia Facts

Alleah

Alleah

18 Aug 2020

colombia facts, colombia flag

Colombia is a country found in South America full of people with friendly faces and rich historical stories and landmarks. Among all the countries of the world, they have the richest biodiversity. This makes them one of the planet’s most attractive places. Through the years, its government made big improvements. It secured its peace and boosted Colombia’s economy. These amazing Colombia facts will surely make you love it even more! So check it out!

  1. Colombia has a Spanish speaking population of about 99%.
  2. As of the year 2013, Colombia has a population of at least 45,745,783 people. 
  3. Indigenous tribes inhabited Colombia before the Spanish came in 1499.
  4. It has a land area for a total of 1,138,910 sq km. 
  5. Colombia is the world’s 28th largest country.
  1. Colombia shares land borders with Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Brazil. 
  2. Colombia’s capital Bogota is the second-largest capital city in South America. 
  3. Among all South American countries, Colombia is the only one that has the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean’s coastline. 
  4. Colombia is the second-highest ranking country with diverse species.
  5. The Colombian peso is Colombia’s currency. 
  6. Colombians have fruit and juice stands scattered around the Caribbean coast.
  7. Its official name is the Republic of Colombia. 
  8. Other popular sports in Colombia are motor sports, cycling, roller skating, and boxing. 
  9. Colombia revere’s a person’s age. 
  10. Colombia has the most number of bird species than North America and Europe combined.
  1. Colombia is the leading source of coffee and emeralds in the world. 
  2. Soccer is Colombia’s most popular sport with the Colombian National Team bagging the gold in the 2001 South American Championship. 
  3. Colombia got named after Christopher Columbus who was a Spanish explorer.
  4. Colombia has the highest number of species in the world including endemic butterflies, birds, and amphibians. 
  5. The Colombian national anthem gets played on radios and television at 6 am and 6 pm every day.
Table of Contents

Colombia has a vibrant music industry.

Colombia has a full spectrum of music genres known far and wide. They have classical music, pop, rock, and Salsa. Shakira and Juanes are among the most popular artists hailing from Colombia.

Tejo is Colombia's traditional sport.

Tejo is a team sport that involves projectile launching. The throwing sport uses gunpowder which explodes when impacted.

A river in Colombia can change its color.

Cano Cristales is in the province of Serrania de la Macarena. It’s called the River of Five Colors. The river can change its river bed into colors of yellow, black, blue, green, and red in late July until November.

Columbia has the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. 

This mountain is considered as the highest coastal range in the world which covers 13,000m. Over the 170 million year period, it has also moved for at least more than a thousand miles.

Mestizo and Whites are the largest ethnicities in Colombia.

In recent statistics released, race and ethnicity in Colombia are varied. Within 49% of the total population are Mestizos, 37% Whites, 10.4% Blacks, and minorities are those of Amerindians for 4.4%. Definitely one of the amazing Colombia facts!

Colombia has a lot of beaches. 

In total, there are at least 300 beaches that tourists and locals can enjoy. Colombia has a lot of natural beauty and resources that people from all walks of life can discover.

Only 3% of Colombia's land area is used for housing.

The majority of the lands in East Colombia are 50% jungles. House properties cover only a fraction of the country’s total land area. Most of the inhabitants are indigenous tribes.

The Amazon Rainforest takes up 1/3 of Colombia's total land area.  

The vast percentage of Colombia’s land is in the Amazon region. South Colombia covers most of the Amazonia’s important rivers, too.

Colombia is a democratic country.  

colombia facts
Spurce: Unsplash

Colombia is one of the many countries that practice a Democratic kind of government. Its people elect a president and put it in place to lead their country.

At least 300 ecosystems exist in Colombia. 

One of the least known Colombia facts is that Colombia is a megadiverse country with diverse thriving ecosystems. It has the world’s highest number of species. This is mostly because its land is covered by the Amazon Rainforest.

Colombia's capital is one of the world's highest cities.

With 8,360 feet above sea level, Bogota is the highest capital city in the world. Furthermore, its advances in tech named it as one of the world’s smartest cities.

National parks cover 11% of Colombia. 

Its National Reserves and Parks cover Colombia’s total land area, at over 143,000 sq km. These nationally protected parks are home to diverse arrays of fauna and flora.

Colombian children like coffee. 

It’s normal to see children drinking coffee after dinner. Adults usually drink black coffee while children enjoy coffee with milk. This is no surprise as Colombia is the 3rd largest exporter of coffee in the world.

Alcohol's banned during major Colombian events.

During political elections, World Cup, and other major events in the country, a temporary alcohol ban gets implemented. This is to avoid any kind of violence. This is mandatory and imposed by the government.

Colombia houses the most number of endemic species among other countries.  

Since it is a country so diverse in ecosystems, you can find many endemic species in Colombia. This means that it’s only in Colombia and nowhere else in the world. Some of them include the golden poison frogs, the multicolored tanager, the red-bellied grackle, the flame-winged parakeet, and more. Truly, this is one of the most amazing Colombia facts.

There are pink dolphins in Colombia.

One of the rare species found in the vast ecosystem of Colombia is pink dolphins or Vaquitas. According to the recent report of the Recovery Community, an estimated 6-22 pink dolphins remain alive to this day.

Colombians cannot say no.

Instead of utterly saying no, they normally decline something by stretching it out into sentences of explanation. It’s rare for them to directly say no. 

The majority of Colombians are Catholics.

At least 90% of the total population in Colombia practice Catholicism. Meanwhile, an estimated 16.7% of the population practice Protestantism.

Colombia supports arts and street graffiti.

colombia facts
Source: Unsplash

Colombia is a country with diverse talents and with great appreciation for art. With this, street art and graffiti are all over the country’s capital. It’s not a crime to do it in the streets, too. In fact, the Colombian government approves it.

Changua is one of Colombia's most famous dishes.  

Changua is a mixture of scallions cilantro, milk, and egg. It’s usually a breakfast dish but you can enjoy it any time of the day. One of the yummier sides of Colombia facts!

An 18th Century ship was off the coast of Colombia.

This Spanish ship was worth a billion dollars. The Colombian Government discovered the ship in 2015 through a robotic submarine. It’s called San Jose and was in Cartagena, Colombia.

A mountain in Colombia contained silver. 

In 1545, Diego Huallpa discovered the world’s richest deposit of the silver in the Mountain Cerro Rico. The mining of silver was continuously done that it had lost its value during that time.

Girls in Colombia celebrate “La Quinceañera”.

Just like in the US’s sweet 16, Colombian girls get to experience a lavish celebration. It is to welcome their womanhood at age 15. It’s also customary that the celebrant gets gold presents.

Certain flowers in Colombia are for funerals only.

It’s disrespectful to send lilies and marigolds to friends and family. These are traditional flowers for mourning and funerals.

A city in Colombia was once known as the world's murder capital. 

Due to high numbers of killings and murder, Medellin, Colombia was called the world’s Murder Capital. But with the country and the city’s joint effort to restore its peace, the city has made a big turnaround. It is now Colombia’s cultural hub. Definitely, one of the amazing Colombia facts we could ever know.

Colombia is prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

Colombia is in the group of countries that are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. This ring of fire has at least 452 volcanoes. Moreover, since Colombia’s land is a part of it, they are at risk of such land-shaking earthquakes and eruptions.

Colombia's rural countryside is heavily guarded.

Most of Colombia’s protected land areas are national parks and reservation areas. That’s why most locals and tourists rarely get to these parts of the country. It is heavily guarded by security guards and government enforcers.

Tipping is not common in Colombia.

Although hotels and business establishments have their own way of tipping their personnel, you are not expected to shell out tips. The same goes for taxi drivers, waitresses, and those who work in the customer service industry.

Colombia has the largest coal mine.

Colombia facts, coal mining in colombia
Photo from Adobe Stock

The Guajira Peninsula in Colombia called Cerrejón produces the largest coal mines in South America. Most of it is exported to Europe.

Colombia's former President faced 15 attempts of assassination.  

Former President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, encountered 15 assassination attempts. However, all of these failed and he finally had a seat in the office. This is definitely one of the most shocking Colombia facts ever known.

Colombia's official language is Spanish.

Roughly 99% of the Colombian population speak Spanish. Although there are also other local and creole languages used, the government declared Spanish as the country’s official language. This is largely because Colombia used to be part of Spain’s colony.

Colombia is the world's second happiest country.

According to Gallup, Colombians are the second happiest people on Earth in 2018. Despite its problems due to the drug trade and GDP issues, they still are the happiest. Their personal freedom and friendships allow them to be easily satisfied.

Columbia is the best place to learn scuba diving.

With its vast bodies of water and coastlines, Colombia’s Caribbean is the best spot for your scuba diving lessons. Above all, it’s also one of the world’s cheapest places to do so.

Ibero-American Theater in Colombia is the world's largest art festival.

The Ibero-American Theater in Bogota hosts the largest art and cultural event in Colombia. It’s also the largest in the world. Important theater groups and companies from all 5 continents come together to celebrate the festival.

The famous Pablo Escobar hailed from Colombia.

Medellin Cartel’s leader, narcoterrorist and drug lord Pablo Escobar was from Colombia. After he got shot, most of his money was lost forever. He used to bury millions of his earnings to the ground.

Colombia's Magdalena River was named from the Bible.

Colombia’s principal river is the Magdalena which flows northward for about 1,582 kilometers. Its name comes from the bible’s Mary Magdalene. It is also the longest river in the country.

Colombia is the world's biggest producer of cocaine.

Coca is grown in 171,000 hectares of land. At least 1,379 tons of cocaine gets processed there, too. Despite efforts to eradicate drugs and cocaine production, Colombia remains responsible for 90% of the total drug production in South America.

The Spaniards took hold of Colombia for 300 years.

street, houses, colombia facts
Source: Unsplash

Colombia’s conquest and invasion were completed and done in many stages. Simon Bolivar finally helped in the liberation of the New Granada or the Colombia that we know today from the Spanish in 1819-1820.

Colombia abolished slavery in 1849.

After Colombia’s fight for independence, the first elected President in 1849 strongly fought for the abolishment of the system of slavery in their country. Definitely one of the Colombia facts that make us proud.

Colombia is the Orchid Capital of the world.

One of the lesser-known Colombia facts is that there are more than 4,000 orchid species in the country. This is why it’s called the Orchid Capital of the world. Southeast Asia comes in next with over 1,500 wild orchid species.

Colombia has a mythical ancient city.

Children’s games in Colombia are usually themed after El Dorado which is a mythical city of ancient Colombia. Legend says that a king sprayed himself with powders of gold and then jumped into the city’s lake to make peace with the god of the undersea.

Colombians are football addicts.

Colombians love everything and anything related to football or soccer. Without its yellow jerseys, goal dances, and James Rodriguez, the Colombians would not be made whole.

Starbucks opened its 1,000th store in Latin America in Colombia.

The first store opened in Medellin, Colombia also marked the 1000th Starbucks store in Latin America, since its first store in Mexico in 2002.

Colombia is the gateway to South America.

It is located in the continent’s northwestern part where South America connects with North and Central America. Also, it is the second-largest country with the most Spanish speaking population.

Colombia comes second in the most number of holidays celebrated in a year.

You may think that they are lazy but they are not. Colombia is just a fun-loving country that’s why they celebrate 18 national holidays in a year. They came second with India which has a total of 21 holidays celebrated. Definitely one of the cool Colombia facts.

Colombians pair cheese with coffee.

You may find it weird but most locals have this weird habit of putting blocks of cheese into their cup of coffee and then drink their coffee together with the cheese soaked in it. We’re sure you’re ready to discover more Colombia facts like this.

Oatmeal is a common drink in Colombia.

oats
Source: Unsplash

For most countries, oatmeal is a known breakfast but Colombia does not follow the same trend. They love Avena, an oatmeal juice that they gulp down now and then.

Colombia could be debt-free now.

Pablo Escobar had a weekly revenue of $120 million. Because he got so rich, he even offered $10 billion to free Colombia from its national debt but things went haywire and this never happened.

Colombia has many celebrated authors.

Among them, the most popular author is Gabriel García Márquez. He was a Colombian native and a Nobel Laureate. His book “Love in the Time of Cholera” has gained an international audience. He was awarded the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature.

He was also “the greatest Colombian who ever lived” after his death in 2014, by the president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos.

Colombia went through pines of needles to embrace its freedom today.

Colombia was under colonialism for almost 300 years and in the early years of their war of the revolution, they started as a Viceroyalty of the New Granda. Eventually, in the year 1886, they finally became the Republic of Colombia, embracing its nationalism. Truly, one of the most amazing Colombia facts.

The finest emeralds can be only found in Colombia.

Colombia ranks as the world’s top leading Emerald producer. The finest and the best quality of emeralds can only be found there and nowhere else in the world. Colombia has at least 150 mines to date.

Aguardiente is Colombia's best local drink.

Aguardiente, Colombia facts
Image from Wikimedia Commons

Almost everyone in Colombia patronizes sweets. Aguardiente, their local alcohol, is made from alcohol, anise, sugar, and water. Aguardiente literally means “firewater”. It’s one of the best drinks to try when you visit the country!

Colombia went to war because of sugar.

Can you believe that because of Colombia’s passion for sugar, they fought Peru to win it? The Leticia War lasted for 8 months. The reason for the dispute? A sugar trade that went wrong.

Colombia is home to ancient archaeological sites.

One of the interesting Colombia facts that we know is that it has a lot of beautiful architecture and designs even before the European settlements. These archaeological structures span from the early Paleolithic period to the Modern Period of Colombia.

The Spanish killed Colombians with the diseases they brought even before starting the war.

The majority of the areas of South America where the Spaniards conquered, including Colombia, got plagued by diseases. In other words, the natives got killed even before the war even started.

Colombia depends mainly on exports to support its economy.

cargo, container van
Source: Unsplash

The Colombian economy relies heavily on its manufacturing and agricultural exports of bananas, flowers, coffee, sugar, chemicals, metal products, and garments.

The Colombia National Police was once the Armed Forces.

Formed in 1891, the first officials in the National Police were from the Armed Forces. Their main goal and duty is to enforce Colombia’s federal laws.

Colombia's flag was designed in 1806.

Francisco Miranda was a Venezuelan who designed the horizontal tricolor flag of Colombia. It symbolizes the independence of the country from Spain in the year 1810. It has yellow, blue, and red, with the yellow taking up at least half of the flag’s space.

The colors of the flag of Colombia have a deep meaning.

The colors were an adaptation of the Spanish flag. The yellow is for the country’s natural riches, the blue as the ocean separating Spain and Colombia, and the red as a reminder of the war to seek the country’s independence.

Colombia is a hierarchical society.

You earn the highest kind of respect depending on your age. Also, your position in society matters. Those in the government, the army, and the national sectors of Colombia are highly regarded.

Colombia has heavy Spanish influences.

Since the Spaniards have colonized Colombia for a very long time, most of its churches reflect the Renaissance and Medieval eras found in Spain. Many cities in the country also have Moorish and Castilian architectures.

You must observe what you give as a gift in Colombia.

Colombia is very specific when it comes to relationships and ties of friendship. It’s common courtesy to bring chocolates or fruit when you visit someone for birthdays and occasions. Furthermore, it’s best to offer imported alcohol.

Colombians take hand-shaking very seriously.

Colombian men look you in the eye when doing a handshake. They will shake both hands upon meeting and departure. Women also extend their hands first before men could even do so. Definitely one of those Colombia facts that make us respect their culture more.

Chaperoned dates are common in Colombia.

Although arranged marriages are no longer common, families are still encouraged to marry within their respective social classes. Remember when we said that your social standing matters there? You can date whoever you like. But, chaperones are present in dates.

Colombian families still practices traditional gender roles.  

No matter how things have changed in Colombia, households still practice traditional ways. The men take care of the family’s financial needs and the women educate and take care of their children. Also, they do all the homemaking responsibilities.

You can use two surnames in Colombia.

Colombians can use both their paternal and maternal surnames. You must refer to their surnames and titles correctly so that you won’t appear rude.

Young adults in Colombia can stay at their parent's homes until after marriage.

It’s a common occurrence in Colombian culture where unmarried young adults still live in their parent’s houses. Even after marriage, they are still welcome to stay. This is mostly because Colombians value family as the center of every social structure.

Bandeja Paisa is Colombia's national dish.

Photo from Adobe Stock

The dish is a mini representation of what Colombia is. Every region and city of the country has its take of the dish, each with amazing variations.

Colombia is the world's Salsa Capital. 

Found in the Southern part of Colombia, Cali is a city for party-goers. They gather and dance to the beat of Salsa. Most of the world’s most famous dancers come here to celebrate Colombia’s unique music. How’s that for fun Colombia facts?

Slaves in Colombia join their masters in festivals.

Carnival de Blancos y Negros is on the 5th and 6th of January. The festivities date back in the time of Spanish ruling where Spanish masters bring their Colombian slaves to the carnival. However, their faces are painted black.

Social status is signified through door-knockers.

During the colonial period, door knockers represent the homeowner’s social status. Those with fish shapes are houses owned by sea merchants and sailors, lizards for aristocrats, and lions for those in the military.

It's best to visit Columbia from December to March.

According to locals, you can visit Colombia anytime. However, it’s best to see the country when the Andes is drier. Wet months are from September to October but it does not make a big difference since the rainforest around the area is wet throughout the year.

You only need 8 days to make the most out of your visit to Colombia.

An 8-day stay in Colombia will at least allow you to enjoy the country. Of course, the more days you add to your itinerary would be an added opportunity to explore more interesting cities and regions.

You can travel on a tight budget in Colombia.

While it’s not the cheapest country to visit, it’s also not an expensive one either. Therefore, traveling with a fixed budget is possible. The cost of travel expenses would greatly depend on your choices.

Colombia is deemed dangerous.

The high violence rates branded the country as dangerous. Violence has manifested in many ways including organized and common crimes. The country has been a pool of large drug cartels and guerrillas.

Medellin is one of the country's safest places.

For travelers and those who would like to stay in Colombia for good, Medellin and Bogota City should be on top of your list. These cities are safer than most of the places in the US.

Colombia is twice as big as France. 

Do not miss what Colombia has to offer by trying to be in many places at once. Since it’s a big country, choose and enjoy your choices. Take things slowly. You will appreciate the country more.

You can eat big ass ants in Colombia.

ants
Source: Pixabay

Santander is a region in Colombia where they have this famous delicacy called Hormigas Culonas. This translates to ants with big asses. This tradition of eating ants dates back in the pre-Colombian times.

Colombia's national animal is an endangered bird.

Colombia’s Andean Condor is an endangered bird species. It’s the country’s national animal. However, due to mindless hunting, they are becoming extinct over time. It’s one of the largest prey of birds in the world weighing at least 25 pounds.

Colombia is a haven of natural beauty.

If you are planning to travel and explore the world, Colombia is the place to go. It is rich in amazing places to discover. They even have amazing architecture and unique choices of music. What more could you ask for? 

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