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Etiquette and Dress in Colombia

Colombia is an extremely courteous country. When addressing strangers, a Colombian calls someone primo(a) (cousin) or vecino(a) (neighbor). In the countryside, a high form of respect you can show to a campesino is to call him Don or her Doña. To address someone with these titles is considered a bit old-fashioned in the cities, where you should stick with Señor and Señora. In eastern Colombia, particularly Boyacá Department, the very formal su merced is used instead of usted. In greeting people, men shake hands with men, and women receive barely a kiss on the right cheek.

Dress in Colombia is conservative, with plain, simple lines. For business encounters, men should wear suits with tie; women can wear a dress, skirt or pants. The key for both genders is well-tailored, well-pressed clothing. Even on the Caribbean coast, fashions are a bit conservative, with the guayabera (short-sleeve shirt) being considered almost formal.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Colombia: When to go to El Valle, Getting Around, Responsible Tourism in Colombia, Safety, Getting To and Away, A Quick Bolo Primer, Colombia Maps, Pamplona Holidays and Fiestas, Refugees of the War on Drugs and Safety.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

28 Sep 2011

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