Culture of Colombia

Famed for Fernando Botero and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, there is much more to Colombian art that is very much alive in the culture, in daily life and everywhere. This is not to overly romanticize the artisan/ craft way of life but to sincerely point out that there is something rather unique in the culture. Colombians are as a people – bold statement here – very creative.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

known as one of the most important authors of the 20th Century is from Colombia – why not read his novels to get a greater understanding the culture of Colombia?

Colombian Dance

Allow me to generalize – truly, these people can move! There’s more to it than just Salsa though and Colombian Dance has its history. Particularly important is the Cumbia which is also important in Colombian Folklore.

Colombian Music

Colombian Music is known throughout the world and is extremely popular. No wonder with names like Juanes and Shakira topping the charts.

An unknown aspect of the culture of Colombia is that it’s not all about Salsa!

In the late 1950’s Rock became popular in Latin giving birth to Colombian rock. Rock in Spanish began with Richie Valens’ “La Bamba” in 1958 which reached the ears of young people back then. Rock in Colombia can be traced back to the early 60s when bands such as Los Speakers, Los Flippers, Los yetis and other bands were established.

Colombian rock started in Medellin which, at the time was a middle sized city and its population received the new genre with mixed opinions as they were more familiar to “bambuco”, a traditional music genre. Medellin, Bogota and Cali are considered the cradle of Rock in Colombia as that’s where it initially was born and where, even today new groups and styles emerge.

Back in the 80s in Medellin, Kraken was the very first known heavy metal band in the country influenced by Led Zeppelin, and is the oldest band in Colombia that is still active as their last production titled “Humana Deshumanizacion” was released in 2009. This inspired a young band to emerge as well in Medellin and become part of Colombian rock in 1988.

Ekhymosis was a rock band influenced heavily by Metallica and founded by Juan Esteban Aristizabal Vasquez who is better known as Juanes these days. They started performing live in Medellin and where supported by friends and family who helped in promoting sales for their first demo which talked about violence in their home town and in Colombia in general.

In the early 90s, Andrea Echeverri teamed up with Hector Buitrago in Bogota and formed up Arteciopelados. Their music fuses rock with other Latin American music styles and transmits socially-conscious messages to their audience as it talks about real problems such as violence and environmental destruction. This has resulted in both Andrea and Hector being awarded a Latin Grammy Award in 2007 for best Alternative Album and becoming the first internationally successful Colombian rock band. Aterciopelados was also recognized by TIME magazine in 2001 as one of the top 10 contemporary global bands located outside of the United States.

Maybe this changes your ideas about a culture of Colombia a bit?

Also, there is of course the highly talented and charming Colombian singerShakira. Known throughout the world for her dance moves and unique voice, this is one highly gifted lady!

Colombian National Anthem

The Colombian National Anthem gives a lot of insight into both the history of Colombia and the culture.

Colombian Soccer

Colombian soccer is extremely important to nationals as is the case in so many countries.


It’s all about the family. The culture of Colombia is centered around it. As is also customary in Southern Europe, Colombians have very strong family-ties. It is typical for them to work together, run companies together and collaborate on a number of projects. Trust is certainly a factor and practical factors also explain part of this.

 For example, it is customary to share things so if your aunt owns a farm, whenever you visit, it’s typical to be given eggs, plantains or whatever produce they happen to have. In return and depending on what skill or craft other family member have, they will give back and forth.