The natural habitat of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, the aetiologic agent of paracoccidioidomycosis, has not been determined. Consequently, the events leading to the acquisition of infection remain controversial. To identify factors associated with infection in endemic areas we conducted a survey in three rural communities in Colombia where we had previously diagnosed paracoccidioidomycosis in children. Permanent residents were surveyed taking into consideration environmental and occupational variables. Skin tests were used to classify subjects as infected or non-infected. Variables found associated with infection were: (i) community A: previous residence around Porce river and agriculture in vegetable gardens; (ii) community C: frequent use of specific water sources; (iii) community V: housekeeping activities, and (iv) total group: age > 25 years and contact with bats. Residents in communities with higher prevalence of infection were older, had more complex residence history, and referred more contact with armadillos than residents of communities with lower infection.