Dating in Colombia

Dating in Colombia

It's no secret that Colombia has some of the most beautiful women in the world. But if you're interested in finding love and romance in Colombia, dating is in many ways quite different than in the United States, Australia, or Europe. Colombia is still a very traditional culture when it comes to dating and romance. It's also a fairly macho society, and expectations in male-female relationships reflect this.dating-colombian-girls-1

Also, this article is about men seeking to date Colombian girls. An article about dating Colombian men will follow.

1.  The guy pays

While in the United States and Europe often there is the expectation that costs will be shared, if you are a foreign guy interested in dating Colombian women, you should expect to pay for everything. Both as a foreigner and a male, this is a common assumption. Salaries are quite low in Colombia, especially compared to the costs of restaurants and nightlife. Remember that a large percentage of Colombians earn only $30.000 ($16US) a day.

However, be clear from the beginning about your assumptions. It's probably a bad sign if on the first date a girl insists on going to only the most expensive restaurants, bars, and clubs. Additionally, some girls, especially in Medellin, will expect you to pay for their roundtrip taxi fare as well. In Bogota or Cali this is less of an expectation, but make sure you clear up the transportation issue in the beginning to avoid awkward situations.

2. Don't be surprised if your date brings a friend

In the United States or Europe, a date almost always means two people. Don't be surprised in Colombia if you invite a girl on a date and she brings someone along (friend, sister, cousin, aunt). For this reason, it is always best to arrange all the details before hand to avoid any unwanted surprises. (For example, you might ask your date, "Look, let's go to this sushi place. If you're planning on bringing a friend, let me know, and I'll invite a friend as well").

There are largely two reasons that girls invite a friend to a date. First of all, it's a matter of safety, security, and approval. They may not want to go out alone with a stranger for the first time, and they feel safer bringing along someone such as an aunt or an older cousin. Also, their companion can give an instant assessment of you and your character and personality.

Secondly, Colombian girls rarely turn down a free meal, and they may also be delighted to tag along under the assumption that accompanying their cousin or niece is a ticket to a nice meal and drinks. Again, ask about this beforehand to avoid unwanted surprises.

3.  Know what you're getting involved in

While most Colombian women who meet foreigners are looking for fun, romance, and a relationship, there is also a darker side to Colombian romance. Many Colombian women from poorer backgrounds work as escorts (or prepagos as they're called in Colombia), or prostitutes, seeing it as a means to provide for themselves and their families. For that reason, it's always best to get as much information as you can about a girl. Is her interest in you genuine or are their ulterior motives?

Be extremely cautious with girls in the beginning, and ask a lot of questions about her university education, family, job, where she's from, and where she lives. If she gives vague or confusing answers, that may be a bad sign. Additionally, it's not unheard of that girls may be dishonest with you about their backgrounds (ie. say that they're currently studying in university or working), to make you think that they are legitimate girls.

4.  Meet their families

If you've been out on three or four dates with a girl, and it's turning from fun into something more serious, it may be time to think about meeting her family. Colombian women are typically eager to introduce you to their families. If the girl's family lives in another part of the country, though, this could be problematic.

However, the vast majority of Colombian women that you meet will be living with their families. This may include extended family, such as aunts and uncles, cousins, or grandparents, as well.

Meeting a girl's family is very important if you are looking for a serious relationship or marriage. Families are typically much closer in Colombia and Latin America than they are in the US or Europe, and always remember that if you're dating a Colombian girl, her family comes along with it.

Fortunately, Colombian families are usually warm and hospitable to foreigners, and they will most likely be delighted that their daughter is dating a foreigner. It might be appropriate to bring a gift if you're invited to a girl's house. This could be beer, aguardiente, food, or something more sophisticated.dating-colombian-girls

5.  Plan Ahead

In general, Colombian women will be willing to move things a long a bit more quickly than their counterparts in the US, Europe, or Australia. Colombian culture is very sexualized. This is not to say that Colombian women are fast or easy, but if you have been dating a Colombian girl for a couple of weeks or a month, it is likely that she will be willing to move things to the next level.

As most Colombian girls live with their parents, typically spending the night where your girlfriend lives is not an option. Additionally, the vast majority of youth hostels in Colombia prohibit overnight guests. Your best bet, of course, is renting your own apartment, although talk with residents in the building. Overnight guests are typically at the discretion of the doorman.

If you're renting a room in a house or an apartment ask ahead about overnight guests because many landlords prohibit them. Unfortunately, some foreigners, especially in Medellin and Cartagena, are notorious for coming to Colombia to seek out prostitutes and escort girls, and landlords do not want this kind of clientele renting their apartments.

You can, of course, also get a hotel room for the night, or go to a "love motel". Love motels are very common throughout Colombia. They might range in price for $40.000 for an economical option to $100.000 or $200.000 if you really want to set the mood.

6.  Where is this Headed?

Colombian women, in general, like foreign men. But foreign men also have a reputation for coming to Colombia for a few weeks or months of fun, and then going back to their home countries.

For this reason it's important for both people in a relationship to be honest.

Also, Colombian women are mostly Catholic and traditional. They often have marriage and children in mind, especially if you've been dating a Colombian girl for over a year.

Don't be surprised if after a year a Colombian girl begins to pressure you to get married and have children. The age for marriage and children is also quite younger in Colombia. For example, while many Americans and Europeans marry and have children in their 30s or even 40s, it's very typical for Colombian women to marry or have children at 18 or 20.

7.  Making it Special

Colombian women love attention to detail. It pays to put together great date nights: have a cocktail before dinner, go to a special restaurant, and go out for drinks afterwards. Or, you could show your date your favorite parks, museums, and attractions, or take her to concerts and other cultural events.

Also, if you've been dating a Colombian girl for a few months, a great way to show her how special she is to you might be to take her on a trip. Cartagena, Santa Marta, and San Andres are certainly considered some of the most romantic spots in the country. Other popular vacation getaways include Villa de Leyva and Villavicencio in Bogota, Juanchaco and Ladrilleros and Popayan in Cali, and Salento and Guatape in Medellin.

Or, if you're feeling like something really exotic, head to Leticia for a taste of the Amazon.dating-colombian-girls

8.  Learning English/Language Exchange

Many Colombian women are interested in learning English, and may use dating as an opportunity to get some free classes. Contrarily, you can use dating Colombian women as an opportunity to practice your Spanish. Additionally, girls may invite you to family parties where you can meet their brothers and sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, or grandparents.

9.  Dancing

Americans are not known for their brilliance on the dance floor. But if you are interested in dating Colombian women, you are going to have to learn how to dance Latin style.

Salsa and vallenato are king in Colombia. Salsa is particularly revered in Cali, whereas Vallenato is traditionally costena (or from the coastal region). If you're interested in learning Colombian dance, these two are the best place to start.

Reggeuton is also wildly popular, and simple to learn.

You'll also encounter quite a bit of merengue, bachata (closely related to salsa), cumbia

Although tango once had its golden age in Colombia, it is not a very popular dance, although you may hear the music played in bars and billiards halls.

10.  Have Fun

Dating women in Colombia is not easier or harder, it is just different. Don't assume that because you're a foreigner it will be easy. While there are plenty of Colombian girls that are interested in dating foreigners, in some cases it may actually be harder to have success with girls because you're a foreigner, especially if they think that you are just passing through town, or just in Colombia to seek out the "wild side" of Colombian nightlife.

However, with a bit of trial and error and practice, you will quickly find that Colombian people are warm, friendly, and caring. As always, exercise good judgment and use appopriate caution when you're getting to know girls. And if you really want to get on a girl's good side, it always helps to get the seal of approval from her family as well.

So whether you're in Bogota, Medellin, Cali, the coast, or elsewhere, grab some cold Colombian beer, head out to a bar or club, and put that Spanish you've been learning to work! Take some chances, and you'll probably find that the payoff is well worth it!

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