“Dar papaya” literally “to give papaya”, is a Colombian saying meaning “don’t put yourself in a position where people can easily take advantage of you”.

You will think that because we passed December 31th the party is over. No way! We still have a lot to celebrate.

In January and February we have three major festivals we love!

First, from December 28 to January 7, the Blacks and Whites’ Carnival “Carnaval de Negros y Blancos” in Pasto, proclaimed by UNESCO as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Then, from January 4 to 11, The Manizales Fair, renowned nationally and internationally for its bullfighting season.

And last, but not least, from February 9 to 12, The Barranquilla’s Carnival, one of the biggest carnivals in the world that paralyzes an entire city.

As you can see, the party has just started. Take a look at our posts about these festivals and keep the party going!

Blacks and Whites’ Carnival “Carnaval de Negros y Blancos”

The Manizales Fair

The Barranquilla’s Carnival

The Barranquilla’s Carnival, one of the biggest carnivals in the world, has traditions that date back to the 19th century. It was declared by UNESCO as a World Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003.

During 4 days, The Barranquilla’s Carnival paralyzes and immerses the city in intense festivities, a repertory of dances and musical expressions for everybody to enjoy.

Its most characteristic activities are the Battle of the Flowers and The Great Parade.

The Battle of the Flowers, “Batalla de las Flores” is a parade with floats, dance groups, and the most colorful characters, it is led by the Carnival Queen and followed by folk dances, musicians and dance groups.

The Great Parade, “Desfile de la Gran Parada” considered a day of mask and disguises where thousands of people wear costumes and fancy dresses.

On the third day, Monday, there is “El Festival de Orquestas”, a marathon concert of Caribbean music.

The last day (Tuesday) is a four-hour parade through the city with figurative burial of Joselito Carnaval which symbolizes the end of the festivities.

There is so much to say about the Carnival, feel free to visit these resources.

Colombia Travel


Carnaval de Barranquilla Official Site

We asked our students what was the best song to party to and what had they learned about Colombia or the Spanish language, and because we recently talked about Colombian music style “Vallenatos” and its modern fusion with pop and rock, we narrowed the list to 5 Vallenatos.

1. Fonseca – Eres Mi Sueño

2. Diego, Ay Diosito

3. Carlos Vives, Volví a nacer

4. Fonseca, Te mando Flores

5. Fanny Lu – No Te Pido Flores

Which one did you like the most? Leave us a comment or fb.me/ILikeSpanish

Attribution: Dioses Ancestrales By Etienne Le Cocq (Own work) [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Proclaimed in 2009 by UNESCO as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the Blacks and Whites’ Carnival, “Carnaval de Negros y Blancos”, is the largest and most important celebration in southern Colombia.

Between December 28 and January 7, the City of Pasto attracts a large number of tourists who want to celebrate this cultural expression.

On January 6, the festivity starts with a magnificent float parade.

Take a look at last year’s parade.

If you want to know more about this magnificent festival, please visit

Colombia Travel


From Colombia’s Caribbean region comes the “Vallenato”, a traditional music style that is enjoyed in almost every part of the country and played in almost every celebration.

Traditionally, three instruments make up a Vallenato band, one from Africa, other from the indigenous and the last one from Europe, a mix of cultures, races and sounds that just make this music unique.

The “Caja Vallenata”, a small drum held between the knees and played with bare hands. It was used by the African slaves brought by the Europeans.

The “Guacharaca”, a wooden, ribbed stick similar to a sugar cane, accompanied by a fork that when rubbed together emits a scraping sound, originally used by Colombian indigenous.

And the accordion of German origin usually modified just for the Vallenatos.

Every year, during the month of April, we celebrate the Vallenato Festival in Valledupar, Cesar, where the Vallenato comes from. For five days, the city just breath, dance and enjoy Vallenatos in a colorful display of parades, shows and musical contests. There is a King of the Festival, best interpreter of accordion, caja vallenata and guacharaca, as well as “piqueria” (battle of lyrics) and best song winners.

Here are some classic Vallenatos for you to enjoy!!! Also, take a look at our post about Vallenatos and pop fusion.

The Vallenato Festival

What do you think? Does it make you move?

When we raise our glasses and drink in honor of a person we also wish them health! That is why we say “Salud!” which means, health.

This New Year’s Eve we raise our glasses to you and wish you a very Happy and Healthy New Year!!!


Learn Spanish in Colombia Tip: Listen how to say “Salud!” in Spanish.

These are some of our traditions. What do you think? What are yours?

Lucky Underwear. A fresh pair of yellow underwear will bring you happiness and prosperity in the New Year

Eat twelve green grapes as the clock strikes 12, make a wish with each grape for every month of the new year, all before 12:01 a.m.

Run around the neighborhood with suitcases, a good omen for travel!

Make sure you have money in your pocket or in your hand as the clock strikes 12

New Year’s Eve Traditions in Colombia

You can call them Kuisi bunsi and kuisi sigi or simply “Gaita”. These ancient flutes from the northern coast of Colombia will make you fall in love with this region and the “gaiteros” stories.

What is a Megadiversity Country?

In general, is a term used to refer to the world’s top biodiversity-rich countries in the world.

Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, United States, Madagascar, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia are some of the seventeen nations that have been called Megadiversity Countries.

But why is Colombia a Megadiverse country?

Here are some reasons:

  • Colombia is the most diverse country in the world in relation to birds (1,801 species) and orchids
  • Colombia is the world’s second most diverse country in plant diversity (close to 41,000 species), amphibians (763 species), freshwater fish (1,435 species) and butterflies (763 and 3,273 species respectively)
  • Colombia is the third most diverse country in reptiles (506 species) and palms.
  • Colombia is the fourth most diverse country in mammal diversity (479 species).

Source: Instituto Humboldt Colombia http://www.humboldt.org.co/iavh_en/index.php/component/k2/item/129-colombia-in-the-world.html