Do's and Don'ts in Colombia

Colombian Etiquette Tips

1. Table Manners

  1. DON'T put your elbows on the table.
  2. DO try all the food that your host or hostess serve you.
  3. DON'T use a tooth pick at the table.
  4. DO cut food (including fruit) with knife and fork. Colombians find it very unhygienic to eat food with your hands.

2. Tipping

  1. DO give a tip in restaurants (10%) or hotels. Make sure you check the bill first, a 10% tip may already be included.

3. Body Gestures

  1. DO smile a lot.
  2. DO shake hands and say the time of the day. Buenos dias (good day), Buenas tardes (good afternoon) or buenas noches (good evening/night).

4. Greetings

  1. DO shake hands when entering or leaving a room with people.
  2. DON'T be surprised when people arrive half an hour late.

5. Business Meetings

  1. DON'T be surprised when people say they will call you tomorrow but call you a week later.
  2. DON'T be surprised if you’re invited to a business breakfast.
  3. DO make sure your shoes are polished as attention will be payed to this. Colombians don’t wear sports shoes in their free time, only when they exercise.
  4. DON'T comment negatively on bullfighting. It is very popular in Colombia.
  5. DO take take your time to shake hands. Colombians are known to do so and talk a bit while shaking hands.

6. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts

  1. DO bring flowers (Colombians love roses!), chocolates or fruit when visiting somebody.
  2. DO give alcohol when you want something more ‘special’. All alcohol is imported in Colombia, so it is considered a nice and expensive gift.
  3. DON'T give lilies or marigolds. These flowers are for funerals.
  4. DON'T open wrapped gifts upon receiving.

Go with the flow of the Colombians and don’t take time too serious. Have a great trip to Colombia!

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