Gold jewellery, antiques, arts and crafts, cotton, wool and leather items, especially woolen blankets, ruanas and travel bags are popular souvenirs. Colombia produces top quality gemstones and the emeralds are among the most perfect in the world. However, fakes are common. Before buying gemstones, you should therefore get recommendations from reputable sellers and acquire a solid basic knowledge. In Bogotá there are numerous large shopping centers as well as some shopping streets. The Zona Rosa has designer fashion and quality jewelery shops, while La Candelaria has independent, one-of-a-kind shops. In Cali, Parque Artesanía offers authentic handicrafts and goods from around the country that make perfect souvenirs. Cali also has ultra-modern malls, such as Chipichape, which sell the usual items, such as clothes and shoes, at prices similar to Europe. In the shopping centers there are bars and restaurants where you can have fun in the evening, as well as large food courts that offer North American and Colombian fast food. Colombian coffee is available across the country, not just in the Zona Cafetera; however, it should be noted that the packaging may be opened during customs clearance.
- Topmbadirectory: Offers information about politics, geography, and known people in Colombia.
A. Mon-Sat 09.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.30.
One should be careful when buying souvenirs made of skin and feathers – exporting cultural artefacts and objects of animal origin such as those mentioned is forbidden and will be severely punished.
The local cuisine is varied and tasty, with a touch of Spanish influence. The local restaurants are cheap and have a happy atmosphere, here you can take part in Colombian life. If you want to save money and still enjoy the typical Colombian taste, you should try the Menú del Día (menu of the day); mostly relatively simple dishes are served: soup, rice, a piece of meat or fish and an arepa (corn pancake) or two. The international cuisine in the posh restaurants of the big cities, such as in the Zona Rosa in Boggotá, is of an excellent standard. Coastal cities like Cartagena produce excellent seafood (mariscos),
plantains, potatoes and vegetables; mainly found in Valle del Cauca) A regional specialty of Medellín is rice with fried plantains and red beans.
Many restaurants, bars and cafés add or expect a 10% service charge to the bill. Hotel staff do not normally receive tips. Taxi drivers do not expect tips. Porters at airports and hotels should be given a few pesos per piece of luggage. Bogotá’s shoeshine boys live on tips and expect around 50 pesos.
You should drink bottled water. Carbonated soft drinks are called gaseosa, a small cup of black coffee tinto, but the same term is also used for red wine (short for vino tinto). Different types of rum (Ron) are produced. Cañalazo is a tasty rum cocktail that can be drunk hot or cold. Colombians rarely drink alcohol with meals (except light beer). Colombian wines are generally of poor quality. Argentinian and Chilean wines are offered at reasonable prices in the restaurants. Beer and mixed drinks with rum (e.g. Cuba Libre) are cheap and available everywhere.
Minimum age for consumption of alcoholic beverages
In Colombia, you can drink alcohol from the age of 18.
Hotels in Colombia vary greatly in size and quality. The offer ranges from small casas de huéspedes (inns) in modest houses to huge five-star establishments. It is advisable to choose a hotel recommended by the Colombian Hotel Association. Colombian Hotels Association (COTELCO)Carrera 11A, No 69-79, Santa Fe de Bogotá. Tel: (1) 742 77 66. Internet: www.cotelco.org There are offices in most cities and at major airports. Two seasonal tariffs are offered: ‘European tariff’ from May to November and the much higher ‘American tariff’ from December to April. Early booking is recommended. Since accommodation prices increase by about 10% each year, it is advisable to inquire about the price when making your reservation. Further information from COTELCO (address above). Categories: There is a star system similar to the European system.
There are state and privately run campsites. Two of the better campsites are Camping del Sol and Camping de Covenas.
Other accommodation options
There are youth hostels in the cities most popular with tourists, such as Bogotá, Cartagena and San Agustin.Colombian Association of Youth HostelsCarrera 7, No 6-10, PO Box 240167, Bogotá, ColombiaTel: (1) 280 32 02 or 30 41.Internet: www.fcaj.org.co
Catholics (95%); Protestant and Jewish minorities.
Social Rules of Conduct
General: Colombians are very sociable, helpful and hospitable. However, they do not like to hear jokes and comments about drugs, guerrilla and the mafia. Colombians love to hear stories from the visitor’s home country. Manners: The usual rules of politeness should be observed. For invitations to private houses, a small gift is appropriate, but you should refrain from exaggerated gifts or even monetary donations. It is customary to offer guests a black, heavily sweetened tinto (coffee). Criticism and negative remarks should be reserved; if in doubt, a more reserved demeanor is appropriate. Patience and composure help in most cases. Clothing: Smart casual attire is appropriate in most cases, but dress appropriately for special social occasions and in exclusive restaurants. Camouflage clothing should be avoided so as not to be mistaken for guerrillas or soldiers. Swimwear belongs on the beach. Photographing: Military installations and airports may not be photographed, the same applies to the police. People should be asked before being photographed. Some indigenous people do not allow themselves to be photographed for religious reasons. For your own safety, you should be careful not to present an expensive camera to just anyone. Smoking: Smoking is allowed almost everywhere. Designated non-smoking zones should be observed. Many hotels offer smoking and non-smoking rooms.
Best travel time
The climate depends on the altitude: tropical below 1000 m, temperate between 1000 and 2000 m and cool above 2000 m.
Very warm, tropical climate on the coast and in the north (average temperature 22°-30°C). Rainy season from May to November. It is cooler in the highlands, cold in the mountains at 2400-3200 m.
Bogotá has a temperate climate and therefore spring-like weather all year round, but it can get cold at night.
Area (sq km)
50,882,891 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
Main emergency number