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Colombia is a beautiful country to the northwest of South America and borders Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru. Colombia is chiefly known for its coffee exports as well as its breathtaking landscapes. Colombia is a land of contrasts ranging from the Andes that feature snowcapped mountain tops to the fertile rolling highlands where key cities such as Medellin are located. Here are seven things you should know about Colombia before you visit.
Climate in Colombia Depends on Altitude
Because of the varying geography of Colombia, the climate is largely dictated by the altitude of the location you are in. If you are in the highlands which are cool and temperate, you need to dress warmly. However, when you are in the coastal lowlands such as Cartagena, you will find the climate there to be hot and humid.
Unlike western countries, things may not move as fast or as efficiently in Colombia. Learn to be patient and to take these slight inefficiencies with grace and humor. Try not to lose your temper or worse, rant and rave to your hosts about these delays.
Avoid Cocaine Jokes
Colombia has had a dark history with cocaine. Throughout the seventies and eighties, cartels fighting for control of the lucrative cocaine trade caused untold misery and pain to the Colombian people. Because of that, the drug holds a negative place in the minds of most Colombians. Avoid making jokes about cocaine or that dark history. No Colombian wants to be reminded of the friends and family members they lost during that period.
Practice Commonsense Precautions
While Colombia has had a history with crime, things have changed a lot. The streets of most Colombian cities are relatively safe and tourists can walk around without worrying. However, just like in most big cities around the world, it does not hurt to follow some commonsense precautions. Avoid public displays of wealth such as expensive jewelry. If you must use an expensive camera in the streets, ensure that you are in a safe place when using it and avoid carrying it in an obvious carrier bag. Use Uber taxis after dark because all of their trips are logged and tracked.
Get To The Point Quickly
When you are having a conversation, Colombians prefer that you get to the point quickly. Unlike other places where it is polite to make small talk before getting to the point, you will find that Colombians normally dispense of small talk and get right to the point. This is true for both verbal and written communication. Feel free to do the same when communicating in Colombia.
Moving Around in Colombia
Generally speaking, you can get around easily by bus or taxi in just about any place in Colombia. Public transport is also relatively inexpensive so it is the preferred mode of travel for a lot of people. Long distances buses are also fairly comfortable so do consider them when moving from town to town within Colombia. You can also consider using domestic airlines which are also inexpensive
Tipping in Restaurants in Colombia
It is always a good idea to tip if you receive good service in a Colombian restaurant. Tips are usually around 10% of the total cost and are included in the final bill. Remember that these tips are shared equally among all the wait staff so if you want to tip a particular waiter, you will have to do it separately from the 10% in the bill.
Colombia is a beautiful place to explore and these tips will make your stay in Colombia even more pleasant. Remember that if you run out of cash while in Colombia and need someone to send you additional cash; you can use Sharemoney for fast and simple money transfer. Money wired through Sharemoney will be available for pick up in no time allowing you to continue to explore this beautiful South American country.
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