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A muleteer (in Spanish language arriero and in Catalan language traginer) is a person who works transporting merchandise with the help of pack animals. In South America, arriero signifies people who, in the absence of good roads that could permit the use of wheeled vehicles, transported all sort of items, such as coffee, maize, cork or wheat, through the paisa region (Antioquia and the Colombian Coffee-Growers Axis) with their mules from the eighteenth century to the present time.

Juan Valdez, the representative character of the Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia, is the typical depiction of an arriero carrying coffee sacks with this mule.


The English word muleteer comes from the French muletier, from Old French, from mulet, diminutive of mul, mule.

The Spanish word arriero is derived from the verb arrear that means to urge the cattle or other animals to walk. The verb itself is derived of 'arre', which is the call used to cry to the animals with this purpose.

The Catalan word traginer comes from the Latin word traginare, a variant of tragere which means to transport.


The typical arriero outfit is composed of:

Alpargatas: Sandals, made of fique (natural fiber obtained of furcraea plants and leather.

Poncho: Rectangular piece of fabric, usually white with linear embroided, that is used to protect the face and neck from the cold weather.

Ruana: Square wool garment, larger than the poncho, with a hole in the middle for the head. It covers the torso.

Tapapinche: Leather apron.

Straw Hat (sombrero aguadeno)


Carriel: Leather bag traditionally made of nutria leather; nutria is a protected species now, so these bags are not used. It is used to carry personal goods and money. It has become an element of the Colombian fashion.

See also

Culture of Colombia

References and sources




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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Arriero

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