Etiquette – Colombia

Happy Monday!  

I was away for a brief moment last week to capture some vitamin D as I began to look like a 1900 ghost-like pale child.  

Since I am half Colombian, it’s only fair to include the country as part of the 20 Country Etiquette series. 

Colombians do not have an encyclopedia of etiquette and manners, as they are primarily happy outgoing people.  

Here are some things to bear in mind while visiting.  

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Meetings and Greetings

Men shake hands, and women give a kiss on the right cheek. In business, men give a firm handshake with a look in the eye, and women usually nod, or sometimes they shake the hand of a male.  

Dressing in Colombia 

Photo credit: Instagram, camilacoelho

Colombians have adopted a more Western style of dressing. However, due to the hot weather in the south, women often like to show their curves with provocative outfits. In the northern regions like Bogota, men and women dress conservatively, especially in business settings.  


Do not begin to eat until your host says, “Buen provecho” it means Bon Appetite.  

The knife remains in the right hand, and the fork remains in the left. When you are finished, place your silverware parallel and horizontally across the plate.

Place setting. The fork and spoon above your plate are for dessert. Always start from the outside and work your way in, course by course. There will be separate glasses provided at your setting for water and white and red wine or beer (after-dinner drink glasses come out after dinner).

Eating bread. Bread is sometimes served without butter; in that case, there usually will not be a butter knife, nor will there be a bread dish: your bread is placed on the rim of your main plate or on the table by your plate.

Placement of your hands. When you are not holding utensils, your hands are expected to be visible above the table. Do not keep them in your lap; instead, rest your wrists on top of the table (never your elbows). At the table, pass all the dishes to your left.

Eating a salad. Never cut the lettuce in a salad. Fold the greens with your knife and fork, so that it can be picked up with your fork.

Seating. The most honored position is at the head of the table, with the most important guest seated immediately to the right of the host (women to the right of the host, and men to the right of the hostess). If there is a hosting couple, one will be at each end of the table.

When visiting a home. It is considered bad form to leave the dinner party, or the table, at any time. Allow more senior members of your party to enter rooms ahead of you: men should move aside to allow women to enter the room ahead of them.

Eating out and Paying the bill. Usually, the one who does the inviting pays the bill, although the guest is expected to make an effort to pay. Sometimes other circumstances determine who pays (such as rank).

Tipping. 10 percent tip is usually sufficient in restaurants.

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The concept of time is non-existent in Colombia. People are usually 15-30 minutes late, so do not get offended. They are on 24/7 Island time. 😜

Did I miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.  

Sending sunshine vibes! 💋

Feature photo credit: La Piedra Del Peñol, Pinterest


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