Jan 24

TOP 5 Shopping in Colombia: Where the Shops Come to You.



There’s something I’m often struck by here in Colombia. And it’s not lightning – that only happened once, and I’m feeling much better now, thank you. No, no: this striking aspect of Colombia is how it just seems that if you want something, there will be somebody there ready to sell it to you. Sometimes, it’s almost magical -nay! really magical – how this happens: it’s as if Colombia knows what you’re thinking, and you’re thinking that you need a new pair of shoelaces. And, so, to celebrate this magical facet of the entrepreneurial gem that is Colombia, we’ve come up with our top five clairvoyant vendors.


1. Umbrellas


An umbrella is an essential item for Bogota's weather. Thankfully there are umbrella vendors exactly when you need them
An essential item for Bogota’s unpredictable weather


I put this at number one, as it seems to me that this hardy breed of vendors are the most obviously psychic of all the thousands of vendors around this megadiverse land. Their skills are possibly the most impressive here in Bogota, where the sky can go from brilliant powder blue to steely gray at the drop of a hipster hat. It’s as if these salesmen descend from the heavens with the rain: I find it hard to explain their bizarre synchronicity in any other way. Of course, this extends to thier close cousins, the plastic poncho vendors, who are particularly handy in helping prevent a festival or concert going pear-shaped due to rain.


2. Beer


Beers in Bogota
We told you to be careful!


I often feel like I need a beer. This compulsion of mine can sometimes be even more dangerous in Colombia. It seems that wherever you are in Colombia – from the streets of the big cities, to secluded Tayrona beaches – there will be somebody able to sell you an ice-cold can of Poker. This phenomenon couldn’t be any less canny. Try it out for yourself: start thinking about a delicious frosty beer, and count how many seconds it takes for a guy with an esky to appear. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


3. Minutos


Getting her Minutos on.
Getting her Minutos on.


Now, this next service may be something that you’re never going to understand until you actually get off your arse and come to Colombia. The fact is, the excuse that your mobile phone is out of credit just doesn’t cut it here. If you’ve used up all your minutes, and don’t want to make the 5 dollar committment to recharge just yet, just listen out for the famous Cry of the Minutos Lady. It’s generally not hard to make out.


4. Food


Street vendors in Colombia are everywhere, so you'll nver be far from your next snack
This could pretty much be any street in Colombia


Maybe I’m only impressed by this aspect because I’m from Australia; a country home to bizarre animals like the platypus and the deadly drop bear, but desperately lacking in street food. The spectacular variety and prevalence of food available on Colombian streets takes one’s breath and peckishness away. From ridiculously fresh and outrageously tasty fruit, to controversial arepas, right up to the Dream of Drunkards, the Street Hot Dog, Colombian street food paints all the colours of the nutritional value rainbow, and is always there when you need it most. Wow: I could go for a corn on the cob right about now…


5. Random objects


The above items are just the tip of the iceberg. Need a pair of tights? A hammer? DVD? A weird little motorised lady creepily riding a bicycle? Fear not, Gentle Consumer: Colombian streets have it covered. All you need to do is to desire it.




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