Etiquette in Colombia

The South American nation of the Republic of Colombia has a population of over 47 million people.

The official language is Spanish, but the nation also recognizes 68 ethnic languages and dialect. English is also an official language in San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina Islands.

Colombia is a unitary presidential constitutional republic and the president is both head of state and head of government.

Although religious belief statistics are not officially collected, it is believes that more than 90% of the country follows Christianity, with a large majority of those followers being Roman Catholic.

The currency is the peso.

Business Negotiation Etiquette

When conducting business in Colombia, it is near impossible to do so without a local contact. This person will not only introduce you to the Colombians you will deal with, but also assist with hotel reservations and local transportation.

If you are working with the government, you will be expected to speak Spanish. If you do not, you should hire an interpreter. Private businesses in Colombia will often speak English.

Colombians negotiate with people, not corporations. You should not change any members of your negotiating team, as it could halt negotiations.

Budget in time for delays. Something that may take 2 days in the United States, could often take a week or more in Colombia.

Colombians are proud of their nation and its achievements. Being knowledgeable on Colombian culture, literature, or history will aid in building your relationships. Avoid discussing politics, terrorism, illegal drugs, or comparisons between the U.S. and Colombia.