Colombia is a vibrant and diverse country that offers a plethora of experiences for travelers. From its stunning landscapes to its rich culture and history, Colombia has something for everyone. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or a history enthusiast, this South American gem will not disappoint.
In this comprehensive travel guide, we will provide you with all the practical information you need to plan an unforgettable trip to Colombia.
So, let’s dive in and explore the wonders of this captivating country!
Reasons to Visit Colombia
Before we delve into the practical details, let’s start by highlighting some of the top reasons why you should consider visiting Colombia. Here are three compelling reasons to pack your bags and embark on a Colombian adventure:
- Natural Beauty: Colombia is blessed with breathtaking natural landscapes. From the lush greenery of the Amazon rainforest to the pristine beaches of the Caribbean coast and the majestic peaks of the Andes Mountains, the country is a haven for nature enthusiasts.
- Cultural Riches: Colombia’s vibrant culture is a fusion of indigenous, African, and European influences. You’ll encounter lively music, colorful festivals, and mouthwatering cuisine that will awaken your senses and provide a deeper understanding of the country’s heritage.
- Warm Hospitality: Colombians are known for their warm and friendly nature. The locals are eager to share their culture and traditions, making visitors feel welcome and ensuring a memorable experience.
These are just a few of the many reasons why Colombia should be on your travel radar. Now, let’s move on to the practical information you need to plan your trip effectively.
Best Time to Visit Colombia
When planning a trip to Colombia, it’s essential to consider the weather, touristic seasons, and holidays. Let’s explore each of these factors to help you determine the best time to visit this beautiful country.
Colombia’s location near the equator gives it a relatively consistent climate throughout the year. However, due to its diverse topography, the weather can vary from region to region. Generally, the country experiences two seasons: the dry season (December to March and July to August) and the rainy season (April to June and September to November). The dry season is ideal for outdoor activities and exploring nature, while the rainy season can offer lush landscapes and fewer crowds.
Colombia’s peak tourist season coincides with the country’s dry season. During this time, from December to March and July to August, popular tourist destinations can be more crowded, and prices for accommodations and flights may be higher. If you prefer fewer crowds and lower prices, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (April to June and September to November).
Colombia celebrates various holidays and festivals throughout the year. These festive days offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the country’s vibrant culture and traditions. Here are some of the main events to look out for:
- Carnival of Barranquilla: Held in February, this carnival is one of the largest cultural celebrations in Colombia, featuring colorful parades, traditional music, and dance.
- Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival): Taking place in Medellín in August, this festival celebrates Colombia’s rich floral heritage with parades, concerts, and a vibrant flower parade.
- Festival de Vallenato: This festival, dedicated to the traditional music of vallenato, is held in Valledupar in April and attracts musicians from all over the country.
- Bogotá International Film Festival: An annual film festival showcasing both Colombian and international cinema, held in Bogotá in October.
- Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro: This theater festival, held in Bogotá every two years, brings together performers from across Latin America and Spain.
- Feria de Cali: Taking place in December, this week-long event is a celebration of salsa music and dance in Cali, known as the salsa capital of the world.
These are just a few examples of the many exciting events happening in Colombia throughout the year. By planning your visit around these festivals, you can enhance your travel experience and immerse yourself in the local culture.
Now that you have an idea of the best time to visit Colombia and the main events to look forward to, let’s move on to planning your itinerary.
Circuit Ideas in Colombia
Colombia offers a wealth of travel experiences, from vibrant cities to stunning natural wonders. To help you make the most of your time in the country, we’ve prepared a variety of itinerary ideas for different durations. Whether you have a weekend or a month to spare, these suggestions will guide you through the best of Colombia.
1 Weekend in Colombia
- Day 1:
- Start your weekend in Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia. Explore the historic neighborhood of La Candelaria, visit the impressive Gold Museum, and take a cable car ride up to Monserrate for panoramic views of the city.
- Day 2:
- Head to the picturesque town of Villa de Leyva, known for its well-preserved colonial architecture. Visit the Plaza Mayor, the Casa Terracota (a house entirely made of clay), and enjoy the charming atmosphere of this quaint town.
1 Week in Colombia
- Days 1-2: Bogotá
- Days 3-4: Medellín
- Days 5-7: Cartagena
10 Days in Colombia
- Days 1-2: Bogotá
- Days 3-4: Medellín
- Days 5-6: Coffee Region (e.g., Salento)
- Days 7-9: Cartagena
- Day 10: Return to Bogotá
2 Weeks in Colombia
- Days 1-2: Bogotá
- Days 3-5: Medellín and Guatapé
- Days 6-8: Coffee Region (e.g., Salento and Manizales)
- Days 9-11: Cartagena and nearby islands (e.g., Rosario Islands)
- Days 12-14: Santa Marta and Tayrona National Park
3 Weeks in Colombia
- Days 1-2: Bogotá
- Days 3-5: Medellín, Guatapé, and surrounding areas
- Days 6-8: Coffee Region (e.g., Salento, Manizales, and Armenia)
- Days 9-11: Cartagena, Rosario Islands, and Playa Blanca
- Days 12-14: Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park, and Ciudad Perdida trek
- Days 15-17: San Andrés and Providencia Islands
- Days 18-21: Cali and Popayán
1 Month in Colombia
- Days 1-3: Bogotá and surrounding areas
- Days 4-7: Medellín, Guatapé, and Santa Fe de Antioquia
- Days 8-11: Coffee Region (e.g., Salento, Manizales, Armenia, and Pereira)
- Days 12-14: Cartagena, Rosario Islands, and Playa Blanca
- Days 15-19: Santa Marta, Tayrona National Park, and Ciudad Perdida trek
- Days 20-23: San Andrés and Providencia Islands
- Days 24-27: Cali, Popayán, and Silvia
- Days 28-30: Amazon Rainforest (e.g., Leticia and Puerto Nariño)
Now that you have some exciting itinerary ideas, let’s explore the must-visit places in Colombia.
Places to Visit in Colombia
Colombia is a treasure trove of captivating destinations. From iconic landmarks to off-the-beaten-track gems, there’s something for every type of traveler. Here are some must-see places in Colombia that will leave you in awe.
- Cartagena: This enchanting colonial city on the Caribbean coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the well-preserved old town, walk along the historic city walls, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
- Bogotá: Colombia’s capital offers a blend of history, culture, and modernity. Visit the fascinating Gold Museum, wander through the colonial streets of La Candelaria, and take a cable car ride up to Monserrate for panoramic views.
- Medellín: Once infamous for its drug cartels, Medellín has transformed into a thriving metropolis. Explore its innovative public transportation system, visit the Botero Plaza, and take a ride on the city’s cable car to appreciate its stunning views.
- Tayrona National Park: Located on the Caribbean coast, this national park is a paradise for nature lovers. Hike through the lush jungle, relax on pristine beaches, and snorkel in crystal-clear waters.
- Cocora Valley: This picturesque valley in the Coffee Region is famous for its towering wax palms, the national tree of Colombia. Take a hike through the cloud forest, enjoy breathtaking views, and immerse yourself in the region’s coffee culture.
- San Andrés and Providencia Islands: These Caribbean islands offer turquoise waters, coral reefs, and a relaxed island vibe. Swim, snorkel, and dive in the clear waters, and savor the delicious seafood.
- Ciudad Perdida: Embark on a multi-day trek through the dense jungles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to discover the ancient ruins of the Lost City. This archaeological site is a testament to Colombia’s rich indigenous history.
- Salento: Nestled in the Coffee Region, Salento is a charming town known for its colorful colonial architecture and coffee plantations. Visit a coffee farm, hike in the Cocora Valley, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.
- Guatapé: This vibrant town is famous for its colorful houses and the massive rock known as El Peñol. Climb the 740 steps to the top of the rock for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
- Amazon Rainforest: Explore the world’s largest tropical rainforest in Colombia’s Amazon region. Immerse yourself in the biodiversity, encounter indigenous communities, and embark on adventurous jungle expeditions.
Off the Beaten Track
- San Agustín: Discover the mysterious archaeological site of San Agustín, known for its impressive stone statues and ancient tombs.
- Nuquí: Experience the untouched beauty of the Pacific coast in Nuquí. Enjoy pristine beaches, observe humpback whales, and relax in natural hot springs.
- Mompox: Step back in time in the colonial town of Mompox. Wander through its quiet streets, admire the well-preserved architecture, and learn about its rich history.
- La Guajira Peninsula: Explore the remote and rugged landscapes of the La Guajira Peninsula, where you’ll find stunning deserts, picturesque beaches, and indigenous Wayuu communities.
- Gorgona Island: Dive into the underwater paradise of Gorgona Island, a former prison turned national park. Encounter colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, and even sea turtles.
These are just a few of the many incredible places to visit in Colombia. Each destination has its unique charm and offers an opportunity to delve deeper into the country’s history, culture, and natural wonders.
Now that we’ve covered the must-see places in Colombia, let’s move on to discussing the budget and practical information for your trip.
Budget for Traveling to Colombia
When planning your trip to Colombia, it’s crucial to consider your budget. Here’s a breakdown of the average costs you can expect in the country:
Accommodation options in Colombia vary from budget hostels to luxury resorts. On average, a budget traveler can find decent hostel accommodation for around $10-20 USD per night, while mid-range hotels range from $40-80 USD per night. Upscale hotels and resorts can cost $100 USD or more per night.
Colombian cuisine offers a diverse range of flavors, and you can find affordable local eateries as well as high-end restaurants. A basic meal in a local restaurant or street food stall can cost around $3-8 USD, while a mid-range restaurant meal may range from $8-20 USD. Fine dining experiences can be found in upscale restaurants, with prices starting from $30 USD and going up from there.
Transportation costs in Colombia can vary depending on the mode of transport and distance. Local buses within cities usually cost around $0.50-1 USD per ride, while longer intercity bus journeys can range from $5-30 USD, depending on the distance. Domestic flights between major cities are relatively affordable, with prices starting from $50 USD for a one-way ticket. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber are also available and can be a convenient option for getting around.
Colombia offers a wide range of tours and activities to enhance your travel experience. The prices for tours can vary significantly depending on the duration, location, and activities included. On average, a full-day tour can cost around $50-100 USD per person, while multi-day tours or specialized activities like trekking or scuba diving may have higher prices.
Tips for Traveling on a Budget
- Eat like a local: Opt for local eateries and street food stalls, as they offer authentic flavors at affordable prices. Explore traditional dishes like arepas, empanadas, and bandeja paisa.
- Take public transportation: Local buses and metro systems are cost-effective ways to get around cities. Consider using shared minivans or colectivos for intercity travel, as they can be cheaper than private taxis.
- Stay in budget accommodations: Hostels, guesthouses, and budget hotels are great options for saving money on accommodation. Look for deals and book in advance to secure the best rates.
- Plan your activities: Research free or low-cost attractions and activities in each destination. Take advantage of national parks, museums with free entry days, and walking tours.
- Consider group tours: Group tours can often be more cost-effective than private tours, especially if they include transportation and entrance fees. Joining group activities can also be a great way to meet fellow travelers.
By incorporating these budget-friendly tips into your travel plans, you can enjoy an incredible Colombian experience without breaking the bank.
Now that we’ve discussed the budget, let’s move on to the practical aspects of traveling in Colombia, including money, visas, and health recommendations.*
Money in Colombia
When it comes to money matters in Colombia, it’s essential to understand the local currency, payment options, and tipping customs. Let’s explore these aspects to ensure a smooth financial experience during your trip.
The official currency of Colombia is the Colombian Peso (COP). It’s recommended to carry a mix of cash and cards for your convenience. While credit and debit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller establishments and markets.
To exchange your currency for Colombian Pesos, it’s best to do so at authorized exchange offices or banks. Avoid exchanging money on the street, as it can be risky. ATMs are widely available throughout the country, and most accept international cards. However, it’s advisable to notify your bank before traveling to ensure that your card will work abroad.
When using ATMs, choose those located inside reputable establishments or banks, particularly in busy and well-lit areas. Be cautious of your surroundings and shield your PIN while entering it. It’s also wise to withdraw larger amounts to minimize transaction fees.
While credit and debit cards are commonly accepted, having cash on hand is still essential, especially for small purchases, street vendors, and rural areas where card acceptance may be limited. Keep smaller bills and coins handy for convenience.
Haggling is not a common practice in Colombia, except in certain situations like shopping at local markets or street stalls. However, it’s important to approach haggling with respect and keep in mind that the local vendors rely on fair prices for their livelihood.
Tipping is customary in Colombia and appreciated for good service. Here are some guidelines for tipping in different situations:
How Much to Give?
- Drivers: Tipping taxi drivers is not expected, but rounding up the fare or leaving a small tip is appreciated. For private drivers or tour guides, a tip of 10-15% of the total fare is customary if the service was exceptional.
- Staff & Assistants (Muleteers, Chief Cook): When embarking on multi-day hikes or treks that involve support staff, it’s customary to tip them for their hard work. The recommended tip amount varies depending on the length and difficulty of the trek but can range from $5-15 USD per day, per staff member.
- Guides: If you hire a local guide for city tours or excursions, a tip of 10-15% of the total tour cost is appropriate, depending on the quality of the service.
Restaurants & Bars
In restaurants, it’s customary to leave a tip of 10% of the total bill if the service charge hasn’t already been included. However, always check the bill, as some restaurants automatically add a service charge. In bars, rounding up the bill or leaving a small tip for good service is appreciated.
Now that we’ve covered money matters and tipping customs, let’s discuss essential pre-travel preparations and practical information for a smooth trip to Colombia.
Before Leaving to Colombia
To ensure a hassle-free trip, it’s important to take care of certain preparations before leaving for Colombia. Let’s go through the essential aspects you need to consider:
Visas and Entrance Requirements to Travel to Colombia
Most travelers to Colombia do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. However, it’s important to check the visa requirements based on your nationality before traveling. Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date from Colombia.
Here are the addresses and contacts of some important embassies in Colombia:
- US Embassy in Colombia: Address: Carrera 45 No. 24B-27, Bogotá, D.C. Phone: +57 (1) 275-2000 Email: BogotaACS@state.gov Website: co.usembassy.gov
- Canadian Embassy in Colombia: Address: Carrera 7 # 114-33, Bogotá, D.C. Phone: +57 (1) 657-9800 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: canadainternational.gc.ca/colombia-colombie
- UK Embassy in Colombia: Address: Carrera 9 #76-49, Bogotá, D.C. Phone: +57 (1) 326-8300 Website: gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-bogota
- French Embassy in Colombia: Address: Carrera 11A # 93-12, Bogotá, D.C. Phone: +57 (1) 638-1400 Email: email@example.com Website: co.ambafrance.org
- Swiss Embassy in Colombia: Address: Calle 93B # 12-48, Bogotá, D.C. Phone: +57 (1) 313-8282 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: eda.admin.ch/bogota
- Belgium Embassy in Colombia: Address: Calle 94A #11A-70, Bogotá, D.C. Phone: +57 (1) 651-0560 Email: email@example.com Website: colombia.diplomatie.belgium.be
Before traveling to Colombia, it’s advisable to consult your doctor or a travel health clinic to ensure that you are up to date on routine vaccinations. Depending on your travel plans and the regions you’ll be visiting, additional vaccines such as Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, and Tetanus may be recommended.
Colombia, like any travel destination, has specific health recommendations to consider. Here are a few general health tips to keep in mind:
- Drink Bottled Water: It’s advisable to drink bottled water or use water purification tablets to avoid any potential waterborne diseases.
- Mosquito Protection: Protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and sleeping under mosquito nets, especially in areas with a higher risk of mosquito-borne diseases.
- Sun Protection: Colombia’s tropical climate means strong sun exposure. Remember to use sunscreen, wear a hat, and seek shade during the hottest hours of the day.
When packing for your trip to Colombia, consider including the following items:
- Clothing: Lightweight, breathable clothing for the warm climate, a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings, comfortable walking shoes, and swimwear.
- Travel Documents: Passport, copies of important documents, travel insurance, and necessary visas.
- Electronics: Camera, phone, charger, and adapters for the local power outlets.
- Medications: Any necessary prescription medications, as well as a basic first-aid kit.
- Travel Accessories: Sunscreen, insect repellent, a reusable water bottle, a daypack, and a money belt or a secure bag for valuables.
Safety in Colombia
Colombia has made significant strides in improving its safety situation in recent years. However, it’s always important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Here are a few safety tips:
- Stay Informed: Stay updated on the current safety situation in the areas you plan to visit. Check travel advisories and stay informed about local news.
- Blend In: Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or displaying expensive belongings, as it can attract unwanted attention.
- Use Reliable Transportation: Stick to licensed taxis or reputable ride-sharing services. If possible, avoid hailing taxis on the street and opt for those called by phone or arranged by your hotel.
- Keep Valuables Secure: Use a money belt or a secure bag to keep your belongings safe while exploring.
Useful Phone Numbers
It’s important to have access to emergency contacts while traveling in Colombia. Here are some useful phone numbers to note:
- Bombers: 119
- Police: 112
- Emergency Room: 123
Now that we’ve covered pre-travel preparations, let’s move on to some practical information about phone and internet access, jet lag, electricity, transportation, accommodation, and essential Spanish phrases.
When visiting Colombia, it’s helpful to have information about phone and internet access, dealing with jet lag, electricity, transportation options, accommodation choices, and some basic Spanish phrases. Let’s explore these practical aspects to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.
To stay connected in Colombia, you have a few options:
- Roaming: Check with your mobile service provider about international roaming plans and rates. Be aware that roaming charges can be expensive.
- Buying a Local SIM Card: Purchase a local SIM card upon arrival in Colombia. You’ll need an unlocked phone to use a local SIM. SIM cards are available at airports, phone stores, and some convenience stores.
Wifi is widely available in hotels, hostels, cafes, and restaurants in major cities and tourist areas. However, the quality and reliability of wifi may vary. It’s always a good idea to check with your accommodation provider about the availability and speed of wifi before booking.
Colombia follows Colombia Time (COT), which is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-5). If you’re traveling from New York, San Francisco, London, or Paris, here’s the time difference:
- New York: Colombia is 1 hour ahead of New York (during Standard Time in New York).
- San Francisco: Colombia is 3 hours ahead of San Francisco (during Standard Time in San Francisco).
- London: Colombia is 5 hours behind London (during Standard Time in London).
- Paris: Colombia is 6 hours behind Paris (during Standard Time in Paris).
To minimize the effects of jet lag, it’s helpful to adjust your sleep schedule before your trip, stay hydrated, and try to adapt to the local time as soon as possible upon arrival.
In Colombia, the standard voltage is 110-120 volts, and the frequency is 60 Hz. The plugs used are type A and type B, which are the same as in the United States and Canada. If your devices use a different type of plug, you’ll need a travel adapter.
Colombia follows Colombia Time (COT), which is 5 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC-5). It’s advisable to adjust your watches and devices to the local time upon arrival to ensure you’re in sync with the country’s schedule.
Getting around Colombia is relatively easy, thanks to various transportation options. Here’s an overview of the transportation methods you can use:
Within cities, buses are a common mode of transportation. Public buses are generally affordable, but they can be crowded during peak hours. Look for buses with clearly displayed routes and fare information. Some cities have integrated transportation cards that can be used on multiple modes of public transport.
Currently, there are limited train services in Colombia. However, efforts are being made to expand the rail network, particularly for tourism purposes. The Tren de la Sabana, a tourist train, operates between Bogotá and Zipaquirá, offering a scenic journey through the Andean countryside.
Long Trips Across the Country
If you’re planning to explore different regions of Colombia or embark on a multi-city journey, here are some transportation options to consider:
- Buses: Colombia has a comprehensive network of intercity buses that connect major cities and towns. Bus travel is affordable, comfortable, and allows you to enjoy the scenic beauty of the country. Different bus companies offer various classes of service, including luxury buses with comfortable seats, air conditioning, and onboard entertainment.
- Private Transfers: For a more personalized and convenient travel experience, you can arrange private transfers or hire a driver. This option gives you more flexibility in terms of stops and schedules and is particularly useful for larger groups or families.
Getting Around by Planes
Colombia has a well-developed domestic flight network, connecting major cities and popular tourist destinations. Airlines such as Avianca, LATAM, and Viva Air offer regular flights at affordable prices. Domestic flights are a convenient option for covering long distances quickly, saving you time and allowing you to maximize your travel experiences.
Getting Around in the Cities
Major cities in Colombia have efficient public transportation systems that cater to locals and tourists alike. Here are some common modes of transport within the cities:
- Metro: Cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali have metro systems that provide a reliable and efficient way to navigate the city. Metro systems are known for their cleanliness, safety, and affordability.
- Buses: Public buses are a popular mode of transport in Colombia’s cities. They offer extensive coverage and are an affordable way to get around. However, keep in mind that buses can get crowded, especially during peak hours.
- Taxis: Taxis are widely available in Colombian cities and can be hailed on the street or booked through ride-hailing apps. Make sure to use authorized taxis with meters or negotiate the fare before getting in.
Accommodation in Colombia
Colombia offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for luxury hotels, boutique hostels, or cozy bed and breakfasts, you’ll find something that fits your needs. Here are some popular choices:
Camping is a great option for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Colombia has numerous campsites located in national parks, mountainous regions, and beach areas. However, it’s important to research and ensure that camping is allowed in the specific area you plan to visit.
Bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) provide a comfortable and homely atmosphere. They are often run by friendly locals who can offer valuable tips and insights about the area. B&Bs are particularly popular in small towns and rural areas, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
Hostels are a budget-friendly choice and a great way to meet fellow travelers. Colombia has a wide range of hostels, from party-oriented options to quieter and more relaxed establishments. Many hostels offer private rooms along with dormitory-style accommodations, catering to different preferences.
Colombia has a variety of hotels, ranging from budget options to high-end luxury establishments. You’ll find internationally recognized hotel chains as well as locally owned boutique hotels. It’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure the best rates and availability.
Lexicon in Spanish
While many Colombians speak English, especially in tourist areas, it’s always helpful to know a few basic Spanish phrases to enhance your travel experience. Here are five essential polite formulas in Spanish:
- Hola – Hello
- Por favor – Please
- Gracias – Thank you
- Disculpe – Excuse me
- ¿Cómo está? – How are you?
Knowing these phrases can go a long way in communicating and connecting with the locals during your trip to Colombia.
Traditions (Do’s and Don’ts)
Colombia is a country rich in traditions and cultural customs. Understanding and respecting these traditions can enhance your travel experience and help you connect with the local people. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
- Do greet with a handshake: When meeting someone for the first time, it’s customary to greet them with a handshake. A firm handshake accompanied by eye contact shows respect and friendliness.
- Don’t rush greetings: Colombians value personal connections, so take the time to greet people with a warm smile and engage in polite small talk. It’s common to ask about the person’s well-being and family before getting down to business.
- Do use polite titles: When addressing someone older or in a position of authority, use formal titles such as “Señor” (Mr.) or “Señora” (Mrs./Ms.) followed by their last name. Using respectful language and titles demonstrates politeness and shows that you acknowledge their status.
- Don’t be too direct: Colombians appreciate a more indirect communication style. It’s important to be polite and avoid being overly blunt or confrontational. Softening your words and using courteous language will go a long way in building positive interactions.
- Do respect personal space: Colombians value personal space, so it’s important to maintain an appropriate physical distance when interacting. Avoid standing too close or touching someone without their consent.
- Don’t discuss sensitive topics: Avoid discussing sensitive topics such as politics, religion, and the country’s history of violence unless the person you’re talking to initiates the conversation. These topics can be sensitive and may stir up strong emotions.
- Do try the local cuisine: Colombian cuisine is diverse and delicious. Be open to trying traditional dishes like bandeja paisa, arepas, and sancocho. Food is an integral part of Colombian culture, and embracing it will allow you to have a more immersive experience.
- Don’t drink tap water: While tap water in major cities is generally safe to drink, it’s recommended to stick to bottled water to avoid any potential stomach issues. Look for sealed bottled water or consider using water purification tablets.
- Do embrace the music and dance: Colombia is known for its lively music and dance culture, including salsa, cumbia, and vallenato. Don’t hesitate to join in the festivities, try your hand at dancing, and let loose on the dance floor. Colombians love to celebrate and appreciate those who embrace their cultural expressions.
- Don’t judge the country based on stereotypes: Colombia has had its share of challenges and negative portrayals in the past, but the country has made significant progress in terms of safety and development. Embrace the opportunity to experience the country firsthand and form your own opinions based on your experiences.
By being respectful, open-minded, and embracing Colombian traditions, you’ll not only have a more enriching travel experience but also contribute positively to the local communities you encounter.
Transition Sentence: With an understanding of Colombia’s traditions and cultural customs, you’re now ready to embark on a journey that will immerse you in the vibrant fabric of the country’s society. As you navigate the diverse landscapes, interact with the friendly locals, and explore the rich traditions, you’ll create lasting memories and forge connections that will stay with you long after your trip comes to an end.
Colombia Travel FAQ
Is Colombia Safe to Travel ?
However, the armed conflict in some rural areas and the insecurity in the large urban centres is undeniable.
Yes, the ELN guerrillas and criminal gangs are still very much present.
But they are unlikely to attack a passing tourist if he does not look for it himself.
The police are also well present and generally behave cordially towards foreigners.
More Info : Colombia Safety
How is the Weather like in Colombia ?
The rainy season (April to November) is called ‘winter’ and the dry season (December to March) is called ‘summer’.
In general, it is difficult to avoid rain completely during your stay.
More Info : Colombia Weather
What do we eat in Colombia?
A traditional meal usually consists of rice (or potatoes), kidney beans, meat or fish and plantains, to which you must necessarily add the arepas, small corn cakes
Colombia with a very diverse climate, has agricultural crops specific to each region and thus contribute to the richness of its cuisine.
Cereals, tropical fruits, citrus fruits, wheat, corn and potatoes form the basic ingredients of Colombian cuisine, which are available in many forms.
More Info : Colombian Gastronomy : Food & Drinks
Do we need a Visa for Colombia ?
The passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of arrival.
Be careful however to justify a return date when you enter the country, your ticket may be required.
It is possible to stay up to 90 days from the date of arrival indicated on the passport bucket. Beyond this period you can renew for 90 more days by going to the migration Office.
More Info : Visa for Colombia
Do I need Vaccines to travel to Colombia?
However, the following are recommended:
– Hepatitis A
– Hepatitis B
– Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio
– Yellow fever and anti-malaria treatment recommended for certain regions
See also: Colombia Vaccinations Covid 19 & Travel Health Advice
What to Pack for Traveling to Colombia ?
You’ll need to pack for the hot and tropical climates as well as cold and rainy ones.
More Info : What to Pack for Colombia
Family : Can I travel with my children?
Special itineraries specially designed to travel serenely with your family will be proposed to you by your specialized advisers.
Travel time, accommodation and activities will of course be adapted.
Young and old alike will marvel at a whale and dolphin watching trip along the coast or a horseback ride in the heart of the edifying Valle del Cocora.
They will also enjoy a stroll through the colourful streets of Cartagena or a few days at the beach playing in the clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
What is the best time to visit Colombia ?
Three periods correspond to the high tourist season (temporada alta):
– Mid-December to mid-January (school holidays)
– Semana santa (Holy Week, mid-April)
– And to a lesser extent, mid-June to the end of July (school holidays).
During the numerous three-day weekends (puentes festivos), some establishments also charge the prices of the high season.
Everything is much more expensive at Christmas and during Holy Week.
During the rest of the year, prices are more accessible.
More Info : Best Time to Visit Colombia
The Internet is relatively widespread throughout the country.
and hotels often offer free internet access.
Telephone services are also of good quality in the cities.
We highly recommend the buy a SIM card , that you can get quickly and are pretty inexpensive.
More Info : Comunication in Colombia : Internet & Wifi access
Where to Stay in Colombia ?
Is the Colombian Coffee really good ?
Colombians drink “tinto” (poor quality coffee) in order to export the best of the production to Europe and North America.
But by visiting the farms in the coffee triangle (Manizales, Armenia and Pereira), you will be able to savour all the richness of the aromas.
What is the currency used in Colombia ?
1 Usd = about 4,200 pesos.
1 Euro = about 4.600 pesos.
It is easy to change Dollars or Euros in Colombia, in the exchange offices (“casa de cambio”).
However, it is cheaper and more convenient to withdraw cash from ATMs (“cajero”); those of ATH and Bancolombia are present all over the country.
Note: maximum withdrawal of $600,000 (160 Usd ) with a commission of approximately 7 Usd (depending on your bank). You can also pay by credit card (mainly Visa and Mastercard) in some shops, hotels, restaurants and car rental companies.
Colombia offers an extraordinary blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality. From the vibrant streets of Bogotá to the colonial charm of Cartagena, the enchanting coffee region, and the pristine beaches of the Caribbean coast, Colombia has something to captivate every traveler. By considering the best time to visit, planning your itinerary, understanding the budget, and being aware of practical information, you can make the most of your Colombian adventure.
So pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and get ready to experience the wonders of Colombia. From exploring ancient ruins to savoring mouthwatering cuisine, you’re in for an unforgettable journey filled with incredible moments and lifelong memories. Viva Colombia!