Travel Leisure

10 Facts About Colombia That Make It a Must-See Vacay Spot

Colombia is a vibrant South American country known for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes and warm-hearted people. The country has gone through a renovation in the last 20 years that now makes it an ideal vacation spot for many.

Home to famous stars like iconic singer, Shakira, and beloved actress, Sofia Vergara, Columbia is a land of diversity and beauty. It is also one of the most innovative countries in the world. Medellin, once known as a city for nefarious activity, has now won multiple awards for creating the world’s first cable car system. These awards include the prestigious Harvard University Veronica Rudge Green Award for Urban Design and ‘The Most Innovative City of the World’ by the Urban Land Institute, Citigroup and the Wall Street Journal in 2013. These feats, plus a crime rate that has decreased by 80 percent in the last 20 years, make Columbia a must-see country to visit.

Here are 10 more fun facts about Colombia that may surprise you and raise your interest in making this your next vacation spot. 

Colombia Is a Megadiverse Country

Black and white butterflies on an orange flower

Colombia proudly holds a spot on the list of 17 “megadiverse” countries in the world. A megadiverse country is a country where most of the earth’s various species reside and where there is a high population of endemic species. Colombia ranks high on this list for its incredible variety of ecosystems, climates and wildlife that thrive within its borders. For example, you will find the most diverse species of birds in this country. From lush rainforests that include the Amazon rainforest to towering mountain ranges, Colombia is a haven for biodiversity.

Columbia Has Pink River Dolphins

Two dolphins swimming in the ocean

One of Colombia’s hidden gems is the presence of pink river dolphins, also called Boto, in its waterways. These enchanting creatures, with their distinctive pink hue that usually gets pinker with age, can be found swimming in the rivers of the Amazon rainforest. Wonderopolis explains that the cause of this pink hue is still debated; the dolpins are born gray and later take on the pink color. Some believe that the pink skin is scar tissue from the many fights these boto tend to engage in. This is especially true for the males. The boto dolphins are a sight to behold regardless of the reason for their pinkness as they almost resemble mythical creatures. 

There’s A Rainbow River in Columbia

Close up of Caño Cristales

Nature comes into play for yet another of these fun facts about Colombia. Colombia boasts another natural wonder that seems straight out of a fairy tale – the “Liquid Rainbow.” Caño Cristales, often referred to as the “River of Five Colors,” is a spectacle of vibrant colors caused by the presence of aquatic plants. The river transforms into a mesmerizing display of reds, blues, greens and yellows, creating a breathtaking visual experience.

Colombia Also Boasts a Diverse Human Population

Bustling street in Colombia

Colombia is a collection of cultures, ethnicities, and traditions. The country’s population is incredibly diverse, with influences from indigenous communities, Afro-Colombians, Europeans, and more. According to World Atlas, the ethnic group percentages are as follows: about 53 percent are Mestizo, 30 percent are White-European Colombian, 10 percent African Colombian, Mulatto, Palenquero or Raizal, 3 percent are Native South American and 2 percent are other ethnic groups. This diversity is celebrated in various aspects of Colombian life, including its cuisine, music, and festivals.

Bogota, Colombia Is the Theater Capital of the World

A person in a black background looking at four masks

Bogota, the capital city of Colombia, is not only a bustling metropolis but also holds the prestigious title of being the theater capital of the world. The city’s vibrant cultural scene features an array of theaters showcasing everything from traditional Colombian performances to avant-garde productions, making it a haven for theater enthusiasts. Its biggest event is the Ibero-American Theater Festival of Bogotá. Held yearly, this 17-day event is celebrated throughout the entire city. 

The National Anthem of Colombia is Played Twice a Day

The Colombian flag on a building

In a unique tradition, Colombia plays its national anthem every day at 6 am and 6 pm. All public radio stations and TV broadcasts are required to do this by law. This patriotic ritual serves as a reminder of the country’s rich history and collective identity, fostering a sense of national pride among its citizens.

Racial Equality Is a Big Deal

A festival in Colombia

The Carnaval of Negros y Blancas is one of Colombia’s most significant festivals. This annual carnival is held mainly in the city of Pasto and features colorful parades, traditional dances, and elaborate costumes that embody the cultural richness and diversity of the nation. UNESCO described the festival as one of the most important in Colombia as it expresses Colombia’s mutual desire for tolerance and respect for all. 

The Carnaval of Negros y Blancas is a 10-day celebration that starts on December 28 and ends on January 6. One of the festivities described by UNESCO is on the two final days of the festival: “People of all ethnicities don black cosmetics on the first day, then white talcum on the next to symbolize equality and integrate all citizens through a celebration of ethnic and cultural difference.” 

Alcohol is Banned During Large National Events

Two men cheers at sunset

Colombia prohibits the sale of alcohol during national events. These bans imposed by major cities were enforced to prevent violence during the World Cup. Elections and national holidays are other events in the country where alcohol bans are also imposed. American Addiction Centers wrote that these bans are usually 24 hours long beginning at 6 a.m. and have the option to be extended daily.

Colombian Children Love Their Coffee

Pouring milk into coffee

A surprising fun fact about Colombia is that it’s not uncommon for children in Colombia to partake in the country’s coffee culture. Children are not sipping on strong brews but often enjoy variations like “agua de panela con café.” This is a sweetened coffee alternative that is usually an after-meal treat. The stronger blends of coffee are left for adults, as is typical in other countries. Coffee as a way of life for all ages shows just how much the staple plays a role in Columbia.

Colombia Has a Cathedral Carved From Salt

Cave in Colombia

Zipaquirá, a town near Bogota, is home to the underground Salt Cathedral. This Roman Catholic cathedral is carved entirely out of salt within the tunnels of a salt mine. The Salt Cathedral is a must-see marvel and a testament to the ingenuity and faith that attracts visitors from around the globe.

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