Colombian Indigenous Peoples

Before the European invasion of the country, Colombia boasted various indigenous cultures - some more developed than others. While some were inevitably taken apart or wiped out by the incoming Spanish invaders, many still survive today and it's possible to visit Colombia and visit small pockets of what used to be great tribes.

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Indians Huiguas, Lost City TrekThe most famous of which are the Taironas, who inhabited the land in and around Tayrona National Park. On a trek to the Lost City (which holds evidence of their developed society) it's possible to encounter groups of people that still hold the beliefs and societal structures of the ancient tribe.

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Most other indigenous peoples reside around the Choco,
Guajiria, the Caribbean Coast and Amazonian areas, where their cultures still thrive. In fact, over 800,000 indigenous peoples are on record in Colombia and their ways of life are protected by law.
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Wayuu Woman Dancing in La GuajiraIn the Guajira area, and crossing into Venezuela, are the Wayuu people. The Wayuu speak Maipurean and are easily the biggest indigenous group in Colombia. Having never been subjugated by the Spanish, their culture is alive and well in all its richness.
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Of course, their used to be many more. Before the 5th to 8th Century two main groups existed, boasting their own organisational structures and distinct languages. These were the Carib and Chibca. Subsequently more groups emerged, including the Muisca in the Bogota area, the Quimbaya in Antioquia, the Buritica along Cauca River and many more otherwise. Remains of these tribes can still be found in the rich collections of Colombia's various Gold Museums - not to mention at San Agustin, where Colombia's most famous indigenous relic can be visited.

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=> If you do venture to visit any of the indigenous cultures found in Colombia, we implore you to be sensitive. Remember these are developed societies that rarely need your tourism, but are being kind enough to allow you an insight into their lives. Do not take advantage of that.
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Portraits of indigenous from the Lost City:
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