Meet the Paisa

Every person born and raised in “Antioquia La Grande” (The great Antioquia) is recognized in Colombia by his nickname: Paisa. The Paisas are an ethnic group very characteristic of the region of Antioquia that represent not only a series of common peculiarities such as their accent and idiosyncrasy: They are the sign of a regionalist pride that generates social cohesion and that has motivated great love and hate among the Colombian people. Here ColombiaBybus brings you an article about them!

What is “Antioquia la grande”?

Picture: @Wikipedia

It is important to clarify that when we refer to “Antioquia la grande”, we are talking of a space that goes far beyond the department of Antioquia. This is because Antioquia La Grande is a territory that represents a historical moment of boom and grandeur of this region. A region that extended to the departments of Caldas, Risaralda, Tolima, Quindío and a part of Valle del Cauca. At the moment the geographic division separates them, but the feeling and the paisa pride unites them.

But how can we not feel proud of a culture that has its own stamp, with such an unmistakable accent. Accent that there is no Colombian who can resist imitating it? Voluntarily or involuntarily.

Paisa’s characteristics:

Photo: Flickr @Mario Carvajal

The paisa is a person with natural charm, with an amazing people skills who invites you to be their friend. It is because of that charm that being paisa has that today we are going to explore some of the things that characterize this ethnic group so deeply rooted in Colombian culture.

The kindness of a paisa:

If there is something that every Colombian and foreigner can assure without any doubt, it is that meeting a paisa is generally a blessing. Paisas are kind and lovely people and all the time they will want to offer the best of them and put it at the service of the world. A small example of this is a typical paisa’s phrase: “A la orden” (At your service). You can do a test: just do a compliment of an article of the dress of a friend paisa, the immediately will respond to you “A la orden”.

Many people would believe that it is just a formalism to respond to the flattery. But the truth is that he is actually putting it at your disposal. Because that is how the paisas are, kind and always willing to offer the best they can give.

Their speech skills:

culebrero paisa
Photo: YouTube – Gustavo Quintero

One of the characteristics that generates more mixed feelings in people is their speech skills. The ability that a Paisa has to sell things is incredible. Listening to them speak is a delight: they have the unique ability to say as many words per minute and all of them understandable and with a purpose. A paisa does not speak just for speaking, a paisa speaks to persuade, to convince and sell.

This ability is so remarkable that the paisas have when they speak, that they have a term of their own that could categorize them: “Culebrero”. A “culebrero” is a seller, a person who is promoting his products and wants to convince you to buy it. The “culebrero” has a unique charm because through a speech full of exaggerations and metaphors convinces you to buy a product. Products that you don’t really need and that even before you started talking with him you had no idea of ​​its existence.

The Paisa’s cleverness:

This ability to attract and convince people has led them to be recognized as very clever people. Some people might even say that they take advantage of the unwary. But the truth is that the one who falls for his charms is not paying for what he buys. He is also paying for the experience and for the talent of a good salesman.

This clever that the paisa has developed is the result of a need to growing and search for his personal well-being. The Paisa will always seek to be better and better day by day. As a result, within its journey only makes use of the skills that its idiosyncrasy has been providing.

The paisa enterprise:

Photo: Flickr @Iván Erre Jota

That cleverness in search of their well-being and progress has made the paisas entrepeneurial people. A paisa is characterized by finding opportunities of any situation, however adverse they may be! Paisas find ways to create business in all areas that you can think.

This has not only generated benefits for themselves, it has also improved the condition of life and the development of colombian society in general. Many of the most innovative ventures and businesses are precisely from paisas.

What makes a Paisa feel proud of?

There are too many reasons that a paisa would have to feel proud that we would not have enough time to write them all down. Therefore, we bring you a list of the reasons of greatest pride for the paisas.

The Bandeja Paisa:


There is no doubt that the “frijoles” (red beans) are one of the references of Paisa culture. If the frijoles are already a source of pride, imagine adding them:

  • Chicharrón (pork crackling)
  • Plantain
  • Ground beef
  • Avocado
  • Fried egg
  • Chorizo
  • Blood sausage
  • And arepa

A gastronomic delight that for people with fragile stomachs can be a time bomb.

Warning: If this is your first time in Antioquia, do not overdo it. Go step by step. You can start with a casserole of fríjoles (frijolada) and then you can increase the ingredients until you reach the bandeja paisa.

La Feria de las Flores (The Flower Fair):

Photo: Flickr @Guía de Viajes Oficial de Medellín

One of the most characteristic festivals of the region. The flower fair is headquartered in Medellin. However, in the different surrounding towns they are also preparing for this important event. Year after year, the flower fair gathers “silleteros” throughout the length and breadth of Antioquia la grande that presents its “silletas”. The “silletas” are large structures that represent images or landscapes recreated 100% with natural flowers.

At the fair of flowers, the best artistic production of the “silleteros” is awarded. The silleteros are one of the oldest and most representative artistic legacies of the country.

From his “Aguardiente”:

Photo: Flickr @mario

Besides enjoying the parade of silleteros, the paisas also enjoy and accompany the fair with a bottle of “Aguardiente Antioqueño”. We doesn’t really can know of the processes of creation of the “Aguardiente Antioqueño”. Or how this recipe can vary so much compared to “aguardientes” from other regions. Such as Aguardiente Nectar or Blanco del Valle.

What we do know is that the taste of aguardiente is so different that a paisa is offended if he is offered a drink of a lower-level aguardiente (such as Nectar).

But, we don’t want to generate controversy. It is you who must decide which Aguardiente taste better… Or if you really don’t notice any difference between one or another.

Finally, we know that there are many other common characteristics of the paisas. Characteristics that can be a source of pride in a long list of reasons. But what we can not forget is that they are people who are here to make our days more enjoyable and way more funniest.

That’s why we can just say: God bless Antioquia La Grande and God bless the Paisas.

If you want to access more detailed guides of other tourist destinations in Colombia, we invite you to explore our travel blog.