To avoid winding up in a tricky situation, learn a few phrases to show the locals that you're trying to meet them halfway — it's not only good manners, but it'll encourage them to use the little English they do know without fear of embarrassment.
Don’t forget that Colombians love to talk! Being able to have a basic conversation with them can culturally and socially enrich your trip, bringing you much closer to this crazy-cool culture.
With accents varying region by region, it’s best to first learn the neutral accent of the Andean cities before you engage with the locals along the Caribbean Coast.
Despite the easygoing lifestyle, they talk like a gun spitting bullets, and completely swallow the letter “s”.
Hello: Hola/Buenos días
How are you? ¿Cómo estás? /¿Todo bien?
Goodbye: Adiós/Chao/Hasta luego/Nos vemos
Thank you: Gracias
Please: Por favor
Excuse me/I’m sorry: Disculpe
I’m X: Soy “X” (your name)
I’m from X: Soy de “X” (your Country of Residence)
Where is the “X”: En dónde está “X”
— bathroom: el baño
— bus stop: paradero de bus
— pharmacy: la drogueria
(To taxi driver) Can you please take me to “X”: Me lleve por favor hasta “X”
I don’t speak Spanish: Yo no hablo español
Can you repeat that more slowly? ¿Puede repetirlo más despacio?
I would like “X”: Me gustaría “X”
Would you please give me: Me regala por favor “X” (literally means, “would you gift me… ?” but is commonly used when asking for something eg. an empanada)
How much? Cuánto cuesta?
Thank you, but I’m waiting for my friends: Gracias, pero estoy esperando a mis amigos
Sorry, but I’m not interested: Lo siento, pero no estoy interasada/o
Cool! ¡Chevere! / ¡Bacano!
I have a terrible hangover: Tengo un guayabo terrible
To expose yourself to potential danger/to give someone the opportunity to hurt you: Dar papaya
Colombia offers everything from cheesy tourist trap accommodations to high-class personalized splendor galore. Wherever you go, there are abundant options for places to stay. Except for the places that are still off the beaten path.
Colombia’s culture varies from region to region, with unique traditions woven from historical events, geographical positions, and forces of nature. So what are some of the highlights for travelers to explore?