A Few Insights Into The Colombian Culture

Park and planetarium near Universidad metro station
Park and planetarium near Universidad metro station

This is truly my first time traveling outside of the United States, so I’m noticing quite a few things about Colombian culture that are different to me. These things are definitely not bad, and mostly entertaining.

The most fun, definitely, is: Most drinks are sold in bags.

You can find water, juice, and milk sold in bags.  Actually, I haven’t found milk sold any other way.  Other things like mustard, mayonnaise, and jam are sold in paper containers with twist off lids.  Kind of like the material juice boxes are made of.

Most people around here don’t wear wedding bands.

I complained about this once to another gringo, and he made fun of me because the only reason I didn’t like it is because I didn’t know who I could hit on.  (He was right.)  I was also told that there is no such thing as a single Colombian woman.  Meaning that most women find their husband/boyfriend while in school.  I have yet to have much experience with any of this, but I will say that the two Colombian girls that I know are definitely single.

The guys are not that bad, and the women aren’t that hot.

I was told by several guys that I was going to be at a disadvantage in Colombia, because there are so many beautiful women, and there aren’t any hot guys.  Honestly, I was expecting to see a bunch of “12’s” (on a scale of 1-10 of hotness) when it came to women.  There are definitely a lot more “8’s” and “9’s” than in the US, but few of the women are tipping the scales.  The average attractiveness for men seems very similar to those in the US, other than most of the men are a bit shorter.

The people here are really nice.

The taxi drivers have almost always been great to me.  Most even help me to learn a little Spanish.  (Big Tip:  If you don’t speak Spanish, have the address of where you want to go written down!  Whether you’re taking a taxi, a bus, or the Metro, you will always be grateful you have it.)

The people here are amazingly nice.

The best example was when I was going to meet someone at 8pm.  He told me to take a bus, and gave me generally crappy directions, but I knew the area of town alright, and I figured I wouldn’t have a problem.  I ended up at the end of the line with no one that could speak English, no number to call, and no actual address.  Everyone at the bus station tried to help me.  One guy finally called his daughter that spoke English, and she came with her boyfriend to help me out.  They figured out where they thought I was supposed to go and then drove me around until everything was settled.  The only thing they would let me get them was a beer.

Like the story? Take a second to support Medellin Living on Patreon!
Previous articleTips for Finding a Job in Medellin
Next articleThe Story Of Juan Valdez
I love relaxing and enjoying the view of life. Whether the view is from the top of a BASE object, or from my balcony in Envigado, Colombia. I love life when it's up, and I'm trying harder to love life when it's down as well. My biggest loves in life are (in order!) Family, BASE, Music, Boys that play music, and Alcohol. I get along with everyone that doesn't take me too seriously, and with people that are ok with the fact that you should disregard almost anything I say when I'm drunk!



    • That’s not a cultural thing, I pretty much dislike all girls. I did say there are a lot more cute girls than in the US. As for my observations being superficial: Hey, I’m from small-town Idaho! Milk comes from cows here…straight from cows.

      • Really, Holly? Girls are more attractive in IDAHO than COLOMBIA? That might be the strongest statement of denial I’ve ever read. Holy crap. You’ve just discredited your whole piece. Get a clue.

  1. jejejej…well, i dont know…<i think that as a latin, I support a lot the paisa girls..jejej
    but is like everywhere…you can find nice and good looking girls everywhere…
    BUT i insist on our looks jejejej

    and yeah1!!
    a lot of liquids are on bags..jajajajja
    which is much better like for little kids the schools.

  2. I agree Holly, Paisa’s are very friendly and helpful, muy amable! My daughter attends a colegio in Medellin and has more friends in her Colombian school than she have in her American school.

    Milk in the bag confuses me only because I don’t understand how milk can be kept on a shelf and still be good. I was raised that EVERYTHING has to be refrigerated. When we go grocery shopping and need to run other errands we will go home first put the milk in the refrigerator then leave back out to finish running errands (even if it’s colder outside then it is in my refrigerator). But I’m a city girl so whirlpool could be lying to me to keep me buying their products, lol. Darn greedy capitalist, lol.

    I have traveled to Colombia many times and have visited many cities in the country. I think as far as facial beauty is concerned on average the women are no more beautiful than anywhere else. Yes there are very beautiful women in Colombia, but there are very beautiful women in the US, Brazil, Panama, Middle East, Asia, Africa the Islands etc. Saying that, most men aren’t looking at facial beauty, in my opinion, when referencing that Colombian women are the ‘hottest’ in the world. Again, in my opinion (and I have asked some of my US male friends who have came to Colombia to visit me), the type of clothing, the fact that they are always always dressed nice even to go to the grocery store, the revealing bust lines, large breast (breast augmentations is big in Colombia), small waist and round hips and butt is what, most men are judging the ‘hotness’ of Colombian women on. Difference is in America is common to see a girl with nice boobs but a big stomach or nice but with love handles and back fat etc. in Colombian its common to see women with that total body alignment going on. I literally watched this guy slobber all over himself at a Paisa because he said she was the most beautiful girl he had every seen. Well looking at her face she was above average cute… not ugly…not beautiful but pretty….however she had bad skin from wearing tooooo much skin lightning foundation. Her pores look like craters. Not just on her checks her entire face (except her forehead and chin) had craters. Her hair, was long but paper thin and stick straight (the way most Colombian women wear their hair). Now if this same girl was American guys would not give her the time of day, the would be totally uninterested but because she was a Paisa all the guys in the club were all over her. Her body WAS hot and she had on this dress that look like she had to pour herself into it! Kim K don’t have nothing on this girl…like for real Jessica rabbit curves! I would rate her body a 30 on a 1-10 scale. But does that mean she is beautiful. I guess it depends on how you define beauty.

    Additionally, I believe because Paisas are super nice and friendly and will talk and hang out with anyone…a not so good looking guy or even an average guy that would not be able to pull a 8-12 in the States can get any girl he wants in Colombia. And that fact will subconsciously alter your opinion about that person’s beauty or hotness. For example…lil wayne is no way a facially handsome fellow. He is short and probably weighs about 130lbs soak’n wet with all five of his kids on his back. But I think his swagger and style put him in the Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum and Beckum sexy category! I would date him in a New york minute. But some random thug on the street that look like lil wayne I wouldn’t even acknowledge. So in my opinion, in addition to the bangin’ bodies, how Colombian women make guys feel add to their high judgement that they are the most beautiful women in the world.

    I would like to share a few cultural differences I notice, especially in Medellin. They aren’t good or bad just different than experiences in the U.S. EVERYONE IS THE SAME! Like literally. In the U.S. we value our individual uniqueness even within the same race and ethnicity. You have people that have piercings and tatoos, and girls with shaved heads, guys and girls with long hair and short hair, bald, curly hair and wavy hair, bobs, and mohawks. Some people wear sweats, some jeans, some professional, some pajamas, some wear shorts even in below freezing temperatures. The more unique your look the more people admire you. Also guys are different in the U.S. it seems there is a variety of looks and styles and heights and weights at all times. Not in Medellin…all the females have the same look. Some prettier than others, some have better bodies than other but I can point out a Paisa in the U.S. every time and have never been wrong! They all have the same look. When I first started traveling to Colombia my friends would say oh dont…..because “Paisas” dont do that, “Paisas” dont wear that, “Paisas dont….I was like every Paisa? After 6 years lviing and visiting Colombia I think it is every Paisa, lol.

    Also a high average of people drive the same color car. When you go to the car lot to buy a car people actually say I want “Medellin color.” Pay attention to the cars the next time you are there outside of the taxis all the cars are the same gray or dark gray. I could never find my car when I went to exito because they all looked the same, lol! The other thing is that you mentioned no one wears a wedding ring. Well just my last time being in Medellin earlier this year… I was told a lot of people say they are married but aren’t. Blew my mind! Even my own friends who I thought were married aren’t and I’ve known many of them for @ least 10 years. Now the people who are legally married don’t wear rings either but I just never knew that something like saying you are married would be a cultural significance. My friend has lived with her (I thought husband..she told me he was her husband) for 16 years. She said its common for couples to say that in Colombia. IDK why…people live together in the US. for ever and never get married..no judgement. And I know in the US we have common law…but from my experiences the women will say “we are common law.” Females in the US value that piece of paper way too much to let a guy off the hook and pretend to be married. I just read on line that Taraji P Henson (from the empire series) wont even let a guy say he is her boyfriend or go to events with her or be seen on the red carpet with her until he “put a ring on it.” Lol, see why men think Colombian women are so beautiful, lmao, they aren’t snooty or demanding. Just remember to never take your Paisa to the States. She get around other women and start finding her voice…quoting Eddie Murphy and Jay Z “excuse me miss fu-fu but when I met your ass you was dead broke and naked now you want half!”