Traveling to Colombia and want to impress the people you are meeting or want to make sure you do not offend anybody? View the following list of etiquette recommended for foreigners visiting Colombia:
Colombian Business Etiquette Guidelines
- Colombians expect to get to know someone personally before doing business
- Colombians prefer to do business in person.
- Expect meetings to begin with socializing. The host will decide the appropriate time to start discussing business
- Be on time for all meetings however do not be surprised if a Colombian is up to 30 minutes late.
- People will greet with a handshake in business however people who know one another well may hug
- Women may hold forearms as a symbolic gesture of hand shaking.
- Dining is laid back and punctuality is not critical. People will be up to 30 minutes late and parties may not begin for up to an hour after the official start time.
- Lunch is the largest meal of the day and many people prefer to conduct business over this meal (meals can take up to three hours each.)
- Business attire is conservative and being well-groomed is important.
- The further inland you travel, the more formal the attire.
- Conservative suits are standard for men and conservative suits and dresses are standard for women in the interior.
- You should bring gifts from your home country
- Send the hostess roses in advance will also be well-received.
- Avoid the subjects of drugs, religion, politics, and the Panama Canal.
- Generally speaking, North American and European women are treated professionally despite the challenges of Colombian women in the workplace.
- Porter or Bellboy – $1 per bag
- Housekeeping – $1-$2 per night
- Restaurants – 10%, posh restaurants may include a 15% gratuity fee in the bill.
- Bartenders – $0.50 – $2 per drink
- Spas – 10% likely included. Additional small tips for exceptional service is appreciated.
- All-inclusive resorts – Tipping is not required. Small tips for top service is appreciated.
- Tour guides – 5% – 10%
- Hair Dresser – 10%
- Taxis – no tipping required with the exception of one weekend around the holidays.
- Always take a metered taxi. This may not prevent you from being taken on a scenic route however it will add a safety level to your journey.
- Get an estimate of your trips prior to getting into a taxi
- Make sure that the taxi driver turns on his meter as some drivers in Colombia may try to scam you by not turning on the meter, particularly if you are leaving a bar or club.
- Always carry small bills as you would in any city. This avoids the taxi driving to a shop if he does not have change
- Never slam a car door shut. Treating the cab with respect is essential to keep the peace with the driver.
- In cities such as Medellin, it is perfectly acceptable to hail a cab from anywhere however you should phone for a cab or use a queue at night.
- If you do phone for a taxi, some companies provide a code that the driver will present to you as an additional safety measure.
- Cash points are everywhere in the larger cities however some villages may not even have a bank.
- International credit cards are widely accepted, primarily Visa and MasterCard.
- Many small restaurants, bars, and shops may not accept credit cards therefore you should always have cash.
- Travelers checks are no longer widely accepted as a form of payment outside of some hotels, however changing US dollars is extraordinarily easy.
- You should avoid exchanging money on the street and only do so in official exchanges at hotels, banks, and currency exchanges.