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But if a guy did that in the States I’d be like ‘you’re pathetic’.” Once contact has been made with the object of your desires, you are running a whole new cultural gauntlet – one in which body language can play a bigger role that what you actually say.

The key differences for travelers from more ‘distant’ cultures are in the Latin approach to eye contact and physical contact – lots of both.

“With girls here, if they’re really interested – it’s obvious,” said James.

However, once you note that interest, it’s crucial to act on it without delay or you risk losing out, he added. That doesn’t mean be aggressive or pushy, say sleazy things to them or invite them straight back to your room but if you’re interested the best thing is just go straight over and say ‘can I buy you a drink?

And even without the preliminary close quarters inspection offered by a dance, the whole ‘is/he isn’t she/he?

’ game can be a lot easier to play in Latin America.

“A good way to meet people, because of the dancing culture here, is just to pick a partner and ask her to dance with you.” Even if you don’t have time to squeeze in salsa classes, it is still worth the effort to at least try and get your rusty hips and leaden feet moving, according to James.

Maintaining Distance However, while a critical part of flirting, you should avoid reading too much into the hand on your knee or the lingering gaze, according to James.

“Colombian men see foreign women almost in a different category,” she said.

However, while this may open some doors it may see others shut rather quickly.

Love, whether a life-long partnership or a night-long fling, is never easy.

Throw in a language barrier and culture gap and you’re lost in a strange new game with strange new rules.

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