Now that I’ve finally booked flights home to Ireland for a visit, I have started to reminisce about my time here in Colombia. I’ve spent a total of 14 non-consecutive months in this country and I have had an amazing time. I dare say, it has even been life changing.
I have met amazing people, saw incredible places and learned so much about this country and its culture. I am proud to call Colombia my adopted second home and I have no doubt that I will be back again soon to continue exploring this fascinating land.
But, when someone asks me ‘what do you love about Colombia?’ (No one has ever asked me that actually), it is hard to put it into words. So in an attempt to explain my growing love affair with this country, I have naturally resorted to making a list of my personal reasons to love Colombia.
So here are my 101 reasons to love Colombia:
1. Everyone is just so friendly…it’s really true!
2. Beautiful dogs…everywhere!
3. Cheap manicures, pedicures and haircuts.
4. The amazing, confusing and cheap range of delicious fruits and vegetables available everywhere.
5. Life here is an endless summer.
6. Siestas are now essential in my life.
7. The beer is delicious and cheap.
8. Guys are extremely chivalrous.
9. The purchasing of minutes (yes, time) is possible! 😛
10. What seems like a never-ending amount of bank holidays (national holidays).
11. Birthdays are huge!
12. There is always street entertainment at the traffic lights.
13. Restaurants are packed with families every Sunday.
14. You don’t need to be drunk to dance (unlike in Ireland).
15. Women here wear heels…all the time.
16. Saying ‘buenas’ multiple times a day to strangers becomes part of your daily ritual.
17. It’s perfectly acceptable to call someone fat, skinny, black, white, ugly, beautiful etc.
18. Pastelitos from ‘La Locura’!
19. If you like the cold, you can have the cold, if you like the heat, you can have the heat. If you like rain, you can have rain. Even if you like snow, you can have snow.
20. Rent is super cheap (except in Bogota where its ridiculously expensive. Go Cali!).
21. Colombia is so diverse with vast deserts, snow-capped mountains, white-sand beaches, lush Amazonian rainforests, Caribbean and Pacific Islands, tiny colonial villages and huge metropolitan cities.
22. Even a high-security prison was once located on a beautiful tropical island here!
23. PINK DOLPHINS!
24. Coffee and the fact that Starbucks doesn’t exist here. (They could never compete!)
27. Everything…con queso!
28. The Pastuso accent and their warmth
29. The Paisa accent and their humour
30. Not understanding Costeños but loving their energy
31. The ‘ayyy nooo’ of Caleños
32. The friendliness and helpfulness of Caleños.
33. The amazing number of National Parks around the country.
34. The creativeness of the young people.
35. Being invited into the homes of indigenous Wayúu and having them *INSIST* on running to the local shop to buy supplies so they could make us lunch…
36. …Also when they came with us to the airport when we were leaving Riohacha and waited there until our plane was in the sky. 🙂
37. Fruit is huge and grows everywhere!
38. It’s perfectly normal to only drink shots of aguardiente all night when you go out.
39. Everyone loves to dance!
40. Music is the lifeblood of the country.
41. The police and army all look about 12 years old.
42. Diminutives…the ‘itos’ and ‘itas’ used in everyday conversation.
43. Everyone’s an entrepreneur.
44. Being curvy is cool.
45. If you’re a woman in a car with other guys….you will always be given the front seat, even if they’re old folk!
46. In Cali, even exercise is done through salsa.
47. Paradise is here…and I’ve been there…
48. I can see hummingbirds and butterflies if I look out my apartment window.
49. I can also see snow-covered mountain peaks on a clear day.
50. Colombia has the largest variety of birds in the world, and they’re all beautiful and colourful.
51. Colombians are so proud of their country, despite it being far from perfect and despite their troublesome history.
53. Fried Sweet Plantain.
54. “Si Señor/Señora” and “A la orden”
55. Family is extremely important.
56. Campesinos, ponchos and fincas.
57. Día de las Velitas (see photo below)
58. The astonishingly beautiful long Latin hair (Yes, I am completely jealous, but I love it).
59. Going to the pool.
60. Christmas songs…especially this one.
61. Dancing to reggaeton with friends.
62. The sunsets.
63. Watching the frequent lighting storms light up the skies.
64. Wayúu bags.
65. The Carnaval de Negros y Blancos.
67. The tallest palm trees in the world in Valle del Cocora.
68. Sleeping in hammocks.
70. Coastal food: Arepas con huevo, arroz de coco and ceviche de camarones.
72. Devouring a bandeja paisa!
73. Colombian Chinese Food!
74. Colombian Weddings!
75. Dancing salsa, reggaeton, vallenato, merengue, cumbia and the champeta all in one night.
76. The hilarious and oh-so-confusing slang!
77. Andrés Carne De Res.
78. The affectionate way Colombian couples talk; “mi amor”, “mi vida”, “mi cielo”, “mi sueno” etc.
79. The many ways to say ‘I love you’: “te amo”, “te adoro”, “te quiero mucho”.
80. The many ways to describe a beautiful woman: “linda”, “bonita”, “hermosa”, “divina”, “preciosa”, “mamasita” etc.
81. Colombians randomly dancing in the supermarket, on the street and at work when salsa comes on the radio (which is always).
82. Burning an ‘año viejo’ at midnight on New Years Eve.
83. The tradition of running around the block with a suitcase on New Years Eve in the hope of traveling more in the coming year.
84. Ridiculous love ballads sang by fat guys with moustaches.
85. The fact that Colombia has a ‘River of Five Colours’ and I will visit it some day.
86. It also has the ‘Sea of Seven Colours’ in the Caribbean.
88. Coffee in Colombia is uncomplicated. It’s called ‘tinto’ and it’s served black, in a small plastic cup.
89. Putting your entire meal into your bowls of beans is completely normal and delicious.
90. Chocolate for breakfast.
92. Colombians always look out for the safety of foreigners.
93. You can buy pretty much anything on the street, including cleaning utensils at 9pm at night from a guy on a bike with a megaphone.
94. It gets dark at the exact same time every single day.
95. People are so respectful and polite to older people.
96. People are so polite in general.
97. When people find out you are a foreigner, they will always try to speak to you in English, if they can.
98. The landscapes are simply stunning from the mountainous highlands around Las Lajas in the south to the vast desert peninsula of La Guajira to the north.
99. I still have so much more I want to see and do; trekking through the Amazon, whale-watching on the Pacific coast, photographing the small colonial towns of Santander etc.
100. The longer I spend here, the more I love it.
101. Lastly, but really my number one reason: my lovely Colombian boyfriend. Awww. 🙂
If that’s not enough Colombia love for one day, then check what these other foreigners, expats and travelers have to say on their opinion of Colombia in this post, ‘Why Do Travelers Fall So In Love With Colombia?‘!
Are you a fan of Colombia too? What have I missed on my list (I’m sure there’s a lot!).
Let me know what you are your reasons to love Colombia in the comments below!