Colombia, which is located at the northern tip of South America, is a country of lush rainforests, towering mountains and coffee plantations. There is so much to this country. Let’s explore it!

43 Interesting facts about Colombia

#1. The theme of most children’s games, El Dorado, is actually a mythical city in ancient Colombia. Legend has it that a king used to spray himself with gold powder and then jump off from a golden boat into a lake in order to appease an undersea god.

#2. The nation loves anything and everything that has something to do with Futbol (soccer). Without Futbol, its iconic yellow jerseys, its heartthrob, James Rodriguez, or without its unique goal dance, Colombian people couldn’t get a peaceful night’s sleep.

#3. The caffeine-drenched country loves to dance. The golden rule of Colombia: If you hear music, start moving.

#4. The music is also thumping and pumping in Colombia. World-famous pop singer Shakira hails from good old Colombia.

#5. Age is an important factor in Colombia. The older you grow, the more powerful your voice becomes. Elders are deeply respected and revered in this tropical nation.

#6. Not lazy, but fun loving: Colombia, with 18 national holidays, came second in the “countries with the most national holidays” list. In case you are wondering who could top that, it’s India.

#7. Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is a mecca for street artists. The government not only tolerates graffiti, but also encourages and sponsors street art.

Bogota, Colombia
Interesting facts about Colombia, Bogota (Capital City). Not so many skyscrapers. Image credit – Diego F.

#8. Colombia hosts the world’s largest theater festival, the Iberoamericana.

#9. Colombia is a place of fun, frolic and festivity. It loves its holidays, organizing salsa parades, flower parades, carnivals and more.

#10. One out of every five butterfly species is found in Colombia.

Colombia Fun Facts

#11. The most popular choice for breakfast in Colombia is Changua. It’s simply a milk soup with an undercooked egg (Yes, it’s milk soup; you read it right.)

#12. Drinking coffee in Colombia is a cheesy affair. Here, for an unknown, weird reason, people put blocks of salty cheese into their coffee.

#13. Coffee is gulped down like water. While Colombian kids are given a nice coffee milkshake, they grow up to go pure black….of course with a dash of salty cheese. Never forget to put cheese in your coffee.

#14. Oatmeal is not a breakfast cereal, but a juicing material. Yes, Colombians love to drink down the Avena, which is literally oatmeal juice.

#15. If a Colombian woman says she is absent for health issues, it’s very likely she is off for a cosmetic surgery. Colombian women are very edgy about their curves.

#16. Porn is not an illicit, shady industry, but a celebration of life and almost an art in Colombia. The Statue of Liberty should be shifted to Colombia.

#17. You just don’t write an article about Colombia without mentioning drugs. So here’s something about drugs: 15 tons of raw pure cocaine — that’s how much white powder just one man shipped into the U.S. alone each day, at one point in time. This is the true Colombian spirit; if you are doing it, do it like a king.

#18. The King of Coke, Pablo Escobar, was born and bred in Colombia. During his heyday, he collected revenue to the tune of $420 million, weekly. That’s more than the monthly salary of all the CEO’s of all the top Fortune 500 companies put together.

#19. Pablo Escobar was so rich he offered $10 billion to waive off Colombia’s National debt.

#20. With so many happy-go-lucky chemicals flowing around, Colombia is reported to be the happiest place on planet earth. Maybe it’s time to revamp the World Drug Policy.

History

#21. A Nobel Laureate and a best friend of revolutionist Fidel Castro, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, was from Colombia. He is the author of “Love in the Time of Cholera,” which is the most-sold Spanish novel in history. Seems like Colombia colonized Spain, and not the other way around.

#22. Colombia started off as the Viceroyalty of New Granada, but soon broke up to become the Republic of Colombia. It still broke down into the Nueva Granada and then into United States of Colombia. But finally, in 1886, the Republic of Colombia came into being. Too much nationalism for a country its size!

#23. The government of Colombia found a $2 billion Spanish shipwreck under the sea near its coast. Spain, which looted them in the first place, has demanded the money back in an international dispute. Good logic: once you do steal it, it is yours.

#24. Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, at 13,000 m, is the world’s highest coastal mountain range. Incidentally, it’s on the run, and has moved more than a thousand miles in the last 170 million years.

#25. Spanish conquistadors and explorers flocked to the “New World” in search of the hidden treasures of El Dorado. What they found were monkeys eating tropical fruits and lots of trees. Finding nothing else to do, they started doing the same thing.

#26. Initially, people who went to find the treasures of El Dorado never returned. Maybe they were all broke. Moral of the story: Always book your return flight…eh..ship.

#27. But then luck struck Spain, and Spain struck a mountain. Spain discovered a mountain, Cerro Rico, filled with silver….precious silver. Using free local labor plus hardworking llamas, they mined down the mountain, rock by rock.

#28. All the hard work did work out, and Spain finally mined out silver, lots and lots of silver. The funny irony is; they dug so much silver that for their generation, silver became worth nothing….literally.

#29. Colombia is drenched in Spanish influence. Though a former colony of Spain, Colombian culture, architecture, food habits, language, and its constitution are all more or less influenced by Spain.

Colombia Map
Interesting facts about Colombia: Colombia Map

Colombia Culture Facts

#30. The finest quality emerald, a green gemstone, is found only in Colombia. The country has more than 150 mines churning out high-quality emeralds.

#31. You don’t just eat Colombian food like normal food. You have to stuff every morsel down your throat until it’s physically impossible to do so.

#32. Bandeja Paisa, the de facto national meal of Colombia, is not only a meal but a mini representation of the country itself.

#33. It’s a big deal when a girl turns 15 in Colombia. But for a boy, it’s a regular birthday. There’s also a name for the special occasion, “La Quinceañera,” and the party that follows is named “Fiesta de Quince.”

#34. Here are some gifting manners in Colombia: For a casual visit, bring a fruit or chocolate. For something elegant, bring imported alcohol. And for a girl’s 15th birthday, only gold.

#35. In Colombian culture, flowers as a gift should only be sent in advance, while making sure not to include lilies and marigolds, no matter how much of a discount you get. They are only reserved for funerals.

#36. In Colombia, eyes are everything. Real Colombian men look deep into the eyes while shaking hands. If you don’t do the same, shame, shame!

Did you know?

#37. Colombia is not only baked by the tropical sun from above, but also fried from down below. It lies above the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region where volcanoes and earthquakes are as natural as birds and bees.

Interesting facts: the Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire. Image credit – Universe today

#38. Tejo is the native and national sport of Colombia. Beer is so common in this game, it’s almost a rule. The game consists of trying to throw a metal disk at a sack filled with gunpowder while being dead drunk.

#39. It’s ColOmbia, and not ColUmbia. Mind your pronunciation because Colombians have a very fine ear for details.

#40. Everyone and everything are sweet in Colombia, including its local alcohol, Aguardiente. It is made from sugarcane and is the best drink to enjoy the Colombian sun.

#41. In fact, Colombia is so passionate about its sugar that it went to war with Peru over it. The eight-month war, known as the Leticia War, started due to a dispute in the sugar trade.

#42. 99% of Colombians speak Spanish. That’s a higher percentage than Spain itself. In that sense, they are more Spanish than Spanish people themselves.

#43. When the Spanish came to conquer South America, their foreign European diseases killed most native people, even before any war. The Spaniards were amazed.

Quick Facts Colombia

Capital CityBogotá, D.C
4°35′N 74°4′W
Largest CityBogotá, D.C
4°35′N 74°4′W
Total area1,138,910 sq km
Population46,736,728 (July 2015 est.)
Official LanguageSpanish
BordersBrazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
CurrencyPeso (COP)
ReligionCatholicism
Life expectancy75.48 years (2012)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatetropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands
Terrainflat coastal lowlands, central highlands, high Andes Mountains, eastern lowland plains (Llanos)
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower
Agricultural land37.5%
Birth rate16.47 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate5.4 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Independence20 July 1810 (from Spain)
National symbolAndean condor; national colors: yellow, blue, red
National anthem"Himno Nacional de la Republica de Colombia" (National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia)
Industriestextiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds
Exports$48.52 billion (2015 est.)
petroleum, coal, emeralds, coffee, nickel, cut flowers, bananas, apparel
Imports$56.05 billion (2015 est.)
industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity
GDP - per capita (PPP)$13,800 (2015 est.)
Time ZoneCOT (UTC−5b)
Internet country code.co
Internet users26.128 million
percent of population: 55.9% (July 2015 est.)
Calling Code+57
Drives on theRight

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