top of page

15 Curiosities of Colombia that will surprise you

Colombia is one of the most incredible destinations in South America. fascinating destination. Until a few years ago, travelers came to Colombia to visit Cartagena de Indias and the Caribbean area, but little by little, the country has been opening up to tourism and becoming safer. If you are thinking of traveling to Colombia, here is a complete guide.

In this post I talk about the 15 curiosities of Colombia that will surprise you the most.


1. Do you know why it is called Colombia?

The official name of the country is the Republic of Colombia. The name derives from the surname of the Genoese explorer Christopher Columbus, who arrived in America in 1492.

2. Although that was not always his name

The country was not always called Colombia. In fact, when the Spanish arrived in 1499 and colonized the region, they called it Nueva Granada, after the Spanish city. And from 1831 to 1886 the country had 4 different names: the Republic of New Granada, the Granadine Confederation, the United States of Colombia and finally the Republic of Colombia, a name that it retains today.

3. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world

Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world behind Brazil. It has about 10% of the plants and animals on Earth living in its territory. It can also be said that one in five species of butterflies in the world is found in Colombia and 10% of the Amazon rainforest is found within Colombian borders.

4. You can swim in both oceans

Colombia is the only country in South America that has coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic (Caribbean Sea). If you want to know the Caribbean area of ​​Colombia, do not miss the posts of Cartagena de Indias and its surroundings.

5. Colombia is the main producer of emeralds on the planet

Colombia is the world's main source of emeralds. It is responsible for 70-90% of the world market.

The Colombian emerald is highly prized in the industry due to its deep, brilliant green hue. Colombian emeralds set the standard for this type of gemstone. Its rivals, extracted in Zambia, have a more bluish green tone and are not as highly valued.

6. They are also not far behind with coffee

Colombia is the third largest coffee exporter in the world after Brazil and Vietnam. It is responsible for 14% of the total coffee production worldwide. The country exports approximately 11,000,000 bags of coffee each year.

7. Although Colombia does not drink coffee. You drink red!

Colombians call black coffee Tinto. And it's something curious, especially if you've never heard of it, since when you arrive for your first breakfast the first thing they ask you is if you want red. I guess I wasn't the only one who thought they offered me wine for breakfast.

8. Music and dance at all hours

Music and dance are the two most important elements of Colombian culture. The Latin country has forged some of the most internationally recognized artists such as Shakira, Carlos Vives, Juanes... among many more. Wherever you go in Colombia you will always hear music, whether it is in venues or street musicians. And it is not uncommon to see people dancing in the street at any time.

9. Colombia has 10% of the territory protected by National Parks

Colombia has 60 National Parks, a wonder for nature lovers. This represents 10% of the territory. In addition to the National Parks, there are many unprotected natural areas such as beaches, coffee fields, palm tree fields... all of this makes Colombia a place with a lot of vegetation.

10. The majority of its population resides in urban areas

Although in the past Colombia lived mostly in rural areas, little by little they migrated to urban areas and today, 75% of the population lives in cities. Approximately 51% live in Bogotá.

11. It is one of the countries with the most holidays in the world

Colombia is a country of celebration, it has 18 public holidays and is only surpassed by Cambodia (23), Sri Lanka (25) and Iran (28). To give you an idea, in Spain we have 12 holidays a year, the United States has 10 holidays a year, in England they have 8 holidays a year and finally the country with the fewest annual holidays is Mexico, with 7 days.

12. Your National Sport

The national sport of Colombia is the tejo. It has a long history as it has been practiced for more than 500 years. It was born in the departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá until it spread to other countries in South America.

13. In Colombia 70 languages ​​are spoken

99% of the population speak Spanish, the official language. However, according to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), 70 languages ​​are spoken in Colombia: Spanish and 69 indigenous languages. And although, little by little, with the new generations, speakers of indigenous languages ​​are still being lost today, there is a fight to preserve them.

14. Colombia has a lot of ethnic diversity

In Colombia you will find a lot of ethnic diversity. That is a consequence of the migrants who arrived in Colombia in the last 500 years. There is a very interesting mix of people descended from the natives, Spanish settlers, people who came forcibly from Africa as slaves, and 20th century immigrants from Europe and the Middle East.

15. Colombia is home to the tallest palm trees in the world

In the Valle de Cócora are the tallest palm trees in the world. They are wax palms, native to the humid Andean forests. They are usually around 70 meters high. The landscape is incredible and if you are thinking of traveling through Colombia, you cannot fail to include this destination in your itinerary.


I hope you enjoy your trip to Colombia a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

If you liked this article, subscribe to the blog so you don't miss the next destinations, curiosities, travel tips and inspiration for your trips.

A hug and see you soon!


bottom of page