Getting to know Colombia
Although Colombians first started arriving to the United States during the 1800s, the greater immigration happened during the 1960s through 1980s. This influx was mostly attributed to economic problems and violence in their home country. Today, most Colombians in the US have established themselves in Florida. Knowing a little about Colombians while in Miami can be pretty useful when considering they are the second largest South American ethnic group in the country with approximately 2 million Colombians calling the United States home.
1) How do Colombians greet each other?
When greeting someone they don’t know very well, people (men and women alike) typically shake hands with direct eye contact. However, when a friendship has developed, men hug each other and women kiss once on the cheek. Colombians are very polite, so always tag a “buenos días”, “buenas tardes”, or “buenas noches” along. Smiling is customary as well when greeting. Expect to be asked how you are and how everything is going over and over again. Colombians are very friendly like that.
2) Famous food from Colombia?
Colombian cuisine varies greatly depending on the region, and their varied cuisine is greatly influenced by the country’s diverse fauna and flora. A very traditional Colombian dish is Bandeja Paisa: it’s a platter filled with carbohydrates, such as: white rice and black beans, along with skirt steak, chicharrón (fried pork belly or pork rinds), fried egg, fried plantains, chorizo (a type of pork sausage), arepas, hogao sauce, tomato and avocado. Believe it or not, this is all one dish!
Tamales are another traditional Colombian dish, usually around Christmas time (you can’t have a Colombian Christmas without them).
Sudado de Pollo (chicken stew) is one of the single most popular dishes in Colombian homes. It’s usually served with white rice on the side so it soaks up the flavorful sauce. Arepas are a type of bread made from cornmeal, is a very basic side to any Colombian dish (they also make them in Venezuela), and can be filled with anything. And for dessert: Arroz con Coco – a coconut rice pudding, topped with lime zest and cinnamon.
3) What are the most popular cities in Colombia?
Bogotá is the capital and largest city of Colombia, containint a population of over 8 million people. Bogotá is also the cultural center of Colombia, and it received the UNESCO World Book Capital designation thanks to its numerous libraries and its literary festivals. Bogotá also hosts Ciclovía, the largest bicycling network in the world.
Cartagena, on the other hand, is Colombia’s most touristic city. It’s a fascinating colonial port located on the northern coast of Colombia and is full of historic landmarks to visit. At night, you can rest assured that you’ll find it alive and full of fun stuff to do.
Medellin is the second largest city of Colombia just after Bogotá, with an estimated population of 2.44 million people. It’s a modern and vibrant city with a temperate climate that has earned it the nickname “The Land of Eternal Spring”. Every August, it hosts a famous flower festival that paints the city with beautiful spring colors.
Cali’s cheerful nature is manifested in salsa, a Caribbean rhythm that is danced here among the sugarcane in its own unique way. In this city, nicknamed “Branch of Heaven,” the peaks of Cristo Rey, the hill of the Three Crosses, and the hills of San Antonio jut upwards from the plains that make up most of Valle del Cauca.
Lastly, we have Barranquilla; another famous destination for tourists in Colombia. Barranquilla is home to the Banco de la República, a world-wide known exhibit hall that features sculptures and fine paintings. At the beginning of each year, Barranquilla’s Carnival takes place. it’s one of the most important folkloric celebrations in Colombia and one of the biggest carnivals in the world. Barranquilla gets paralyzed while the carnival is being held, and intense festivities occur, with dancing and live music.
4) Famous Colombian personalities
Drop-dead gorgeous actress Sofía Vergara
Author and journalist Gabriel García Márquez,
Iconic and acclaimed singer (and spectacular dancer) Shakira
Musician Juanes (the one from the famous ‘camisa negra’)
Artist Fernando Botero
Singer Carlos Vives
Famous Soccer Player Carlos Valderrama (or “El Pibe”)
Soccer Player James Rodriquez
and many, many others.
Coming Soon! Colombian 2nd. Edition