14 Weird Facts about Colombia
Forget about everything you thought you knew about Colombia. The country is now one of the safest in South America, imposes short-term laws to avoid violence and has eradicated it’s drug-fuelled past to create an absolutely beautiful place to live, visit and teach in. These weird facts will help you get over the culture shock when you relocate to one of the world’s happiest countries.
1. Starbucks Doesn’t Exist For Most Of The Country
No we’re not joking. In the country that supplies a large proportion of the world’s coffee, there is a surprising lack of Starbucks. A welcome change for most, you can find all three Colombian Starbucks locations in Colombia within just a few street of each other.
2. It’s normal for children to drink coffee
Staying on the coffee theme, it’s completely normal for children to drink coffee after meals. Coffee con leche (coffee with milk) is an after dinner treat for little ones, whilst strong black coffee is the norm for adults.
3. Colombia is one of only 17 ‘mega diverse’ countries in the world
Brazil is another, however, it is 10 times the size of Colombia!
4. 1/3 of Colombia is covered with the Amazon rain forest
The majority of the diversity of Colombia’s wildlife lives in the dense Amazon rain forest, contributing to its ‘mega diverse’ status.
5. Colombia has the most endemic species in the world
Endemic species are species that only exist in one country. Colombia has the largest amount of unique wildlife in any part of the world.
6. The Colombian national anthem is played on the radio and television every day at 6am and 6pm by law
The Colombian people are very patriotic and their laws reflect this. The law 198 sees that ‘¡Oh gloria inmarcesible!’ is played daily at 6am and 6pm both on the radio and on public television.
7. The local governments impose dry-laws to avoid violence and conflicts
During large national events, such as the World Cup and elections, local Colombian governments will impose a short-term ban on alcohol to avoid violence in the streets between rival supporters.
8. Colombia has 18 public holidays a year
Many Colombians has no idea what they are celebrating or why, but love to throw lavish parties anyway and enjoy drinking and dancing with friends and strangers alike.
9. Colombia is home to pink dolphins
Yes, the dreams of many children everywhere are coming true! Becoming more widely spotted, the pink river dolphin, or Amazon River dolphin, is an inhabitant in Colombia.
10. Colombians have a special type of cheese that they dip into hot chocolate
This is possibly the weirdest fact of them all. Colombians love nothing better than dipping a special, melting cheese into a steaming hot mug of hot chocolate. Why? We have no idea…
11. Freshwater plants turn a freshwater river in Colombia into a ‘liquid rainbow’
The Caño Cristales river in Colombia get transformed every year into a liquid rainbow, full of incredible bright colours, clashing against the grey rocks, highlighted by the crystal blue waters.
12. You can buy minutes on most Colombian streets
Street sellers are everywhere in Colombia selling a wealth of weird and wonderful objects, just for less than a dollar, you can rent a pre-1999 mobile to make calls, known locally as ‘buying minutes’.
13. Bogota has one of the largest network of bicycle routes in the world
From the suburbs right into the centre of the city, Bogota is covered in cyclists and cycle lanes. Stretching for over 300km, it is home to the largest bicycle route in South America, and definitely one of the longest in the world.
14. Colombians are taught that saying no is rude
If a Colombian has to say no, they will avoid the word like it is the plague. Instead, being hesitant around the issue and explaining their reasoning instead of just saying ‘no’.
If you are a fluent English speaker who craves a casual, laid-back lifestyle among a welcoming host nation, then why not teach English in Colombia? ESLstarter currently offer two programs in this South American gem. Find out more here
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