You’ve known it all along, but now it’s official. The survey says: Colombia is the happiest country in the world!
The annual WIN/Gallup International survey, released in January, polled 66,040 people from 68 countries around the world between and asked respondents: “In general, do you personally feel very happy, happy, neither happy nor unhappy, unhappy, or very unhappy about your life?”
According to the survey, 87 percent of Colombians polled said they were happy, and only 2 percent said they were unhappy, giving them a “net happiness score” of 85 percent — 20 points above the global average and nearly double the score of the United States.
This marks the third time Colombia has been named “the happiest.” And it keeps getting happier! In 2012 it topped the list with of 77 percent saying they were happy, and in 2014 the score had risen to 86 percent. And in the latest survey 87 percent of Colombians say, yes, they’re happy!
So what’s Colombia’s secret to happiness? While the survey didn’t go into the particulars of what made some countries happier than others, several lists have already surfaced suggesting as many as 21 or more reasons why Colombians are happy.
Here are a few reasons why we believe Colombia is “the happiest country on Earth.”
The Amazing Location
At the tip of the South American continent, Colombia’s location gives its inhabitants and tourists unique access to both the Atlantic (Caribbean Sea) and the Pacific Ocean. Apart from its renowned tropical beaches, the country offers visitors a chance to explore the Amazon rainforest, climb the Andes or Sierra Nevada mountains (including the country’s snowy peaks), journey through tropical grasslands, trek through the Tatacoa Desert and more.
Its Love Of Fútbol
United by their love of fútbol, Colombians rarely miss a chance to socialize over a good soccer match. Whether it’s celebrating for La Selección Colombia or cheering on Colombia’s national team player and Real Madrid star James Rodríguez, Colombianos wear their yellow, blue and red with pride. Every country enjoys its sports. In Colombia, it’s more than that.
While many know the country as a tropical paradise due to its location near the equator, its rich ecosystems are possibly more the result of its varied climate zones (rainforest, savanna, steppe, desert, mountain climate, etc.).
There are no striking seasonal changes throughout the year and Colombia’s temperature varies based more on elevations and rainfall. Best of all, most of the country has the tropical climate beloved and envied by anyone wishing to visit a sunny paradise.
Ahh yes, if there’s one thing Colombia has always been synonymous with, it’s delicious freshly ground coffee. The “Eje Cafetero” (Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis), also known as the “Triángulo del Café”, located within the Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindío departments is home to what many consider the best coffee in the world. And the organic mountain-grown coffee of la Sierra Nevada is worth seeking out.
Ajíaco, Sancocho, Bandeja Paisa, Mojarra — these might be the real reason Colombians exercise outdoors during the weekends. With delicious typical stews hailing from different corners of the country, Colombians hardly lack gastronomic splendor. Staples of the country are red beans, rice, arepas, empanadas, plantains, among others.
But when that plate is cleared don’t forget dessert! Arequipe (caramel-like spread) with brevas (figs) or obleas (thin wafers) are a favorite, otherwise Arroz con Leche (rice pudding) or buñuelos (cheese fritters) can top off any meal!
Topped only by Argentina, Colombia has the second highest number of national holidays in the world. With 18 public holidays and an average of 15 paid vacation days, it’s clear that this South American country values rest and relaxation.
In comparison, the U.S. has 10 public holidays and about 10 paid vacation days. Most Colombians take advantage of the long weekends off, also known as “puentes festivos,” to travel within the country with friends and family.
The Beautiful Women
It’s no secret that one of Colombia’s best known treasures is its women – its very beautiful women – including the now-infamous Miss Universe first-runner-up! While beauty of course remains in the eye of the beholder, whether it’s on the Miss Universe stage or on the small screen, Colombianas like Sofía Vergara, Shakira, Danna García and Ariadna Gutierrez are always sure to turn heads.
Festivals, Festivals, Festivals
It’s not enough to have astonishing biodiversity and ethnic diversity – it needs to be celebrated. Colombia has the world’s biggest theater festival (Festival Iberoamericano), salsa festival and flower parade. It also has the second biggest Carnival in the world!
No doubt you have your own personal list of favorite reasons why Colombia is truly the happiest place on Earth!