Colombia Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Colombia in 2023
Welcome to Colombia
Welcome to this ultimate Colombia travel guide, perfect for every traveler who wants to visit the amazing country of Colombia. This guide will teach you everything you need to know when traveling, such as destination information, documentation requirements, COVID-19 restrictions, etc.
Colombia is a Latin American country with a great variety of customs, unique traditions, incredible food, and a very friendly population towards tourists. Therefore, do not hesitate to visit this country and get ready to have an unforgettable trip.
Get ready to plan an incredible adventure!
Document Checklist for Colombia
It is essential to know what kind of documents are needed to travel to Colombia. That is why at iVisa, we make it possible for you to understand what kind of documents you will be asked to have when traveling to this country.
Usually, the documents that you need to present are:
Valid passport - To enter the country, you will need to have a valid passport with at least six months of validity from the date of travel. Other countries of the Andean Community, like Peru, can present only an ID.
Travel information - It is mandatory to have all your travel information at hand or on any electronic device. This includes the hotel reservation or housing address, the round-trip air ticket, and other proof of travel.
Visa - Some countries might need to present a visa to enter Colombia. You can check our [Visa Checker Tool] (/) if you are unsure if you need one. You must follow the entry and exit requirements this document dictates. If you don't have all these documents, you won’t be able to enter the country.
Essential Colombia Travel Information
Here you will find some general information about Colombia... Let's see:
Currency - The country's monetary unit is the Colombian peso. It is abbreviated to COP or Col$. The sign resembles the dollar; however, its value is much lower. $1 is equivalent to approx. 4,802 COP.
Languages - The country's official language is Spanish; however, English is also spoken in the San Andrés and Providencia provinces. Additionally, there are more than 60 dialects within Colombia's Indigenous tribes.
Socket type - The supply voltage used in Colombia is 110V, and the frequency is 60Hz. The plug types are A and B.
Time zone - Colombian time is 5 hours behind UTC. It is represented as UTC-5.
Top 3 cities to visit - The major cities are Bogotá, Cartagena de Indias, and Medellín.
Top landmarks/monuments - Balneario de Boca Grande, San Andrés Islas, and Guatapé Rock.
Visa Information for Colombia
Colombia issues the following types of visas:
- The Visitor Visa or type V - This is designed for any foreigner who wants to visit Colombia several times or stay temporarily in the country.
Among some of the activities allowed are airport transit, tourism, business transactions, academic exchanges, studies in arts or trades and postgraduate studies, medical treatment, administrative or judicial procedures, crew member activities, participation in events, labor practices, volunteering, digital production, journalism, providing temporary services, among others.
The Resident Visa or type R - This is for those who want to establish Colombia as their permanent domicile.
The Migrant Visa or type M - This is for any foreigner who wants to enter the country with the intention of staying permanently but does not meet the conditions of the "R" type visa.
Typical Costs and Budget for Colombia
This travel advice is regarding the approximate expenses you can have on a trip to Colombia. Take this information into account when planning your trip.
Daily spending per person - The average tourist spending in the country is USD100.
- Meals - In Colombia, the food expenditure can vary depending on the four ranges of restaurants:
Small street stalls selling empanadas or arepas can cost between 2 and 5 dollars per meal.
In economic restaurants, a traveler can spend between 5 and 10 dollars per person.
You can spend between 10 and 20 dollars on restaurants with better quality depending on the city and the area where you are.
Finally, foreign tourists can spend between 25 to 70 dollars per person in high-end or luxury restaurants.
Transportation - For transportation, the average budget among the different car rental companies is between 220 and 275 USD for five days of travel. This is an average of 44 to 55 USD per day.
Hotel - The average expense will depend on the type of hotel. Among the cheapest lodgings, which are hostels, you will find prices around 10 to 20 USD per night. You can find prices from 30 to more than 100 USD for more luxurious hotels.
Transport and Ways to Travel around Colombia
There are different ways to move around the country. Here are the most common ones:
Domestic Flights - Colombia has different domestic flights with airlines such as Latam and Viva Air. The documents for domestic flights are only the identity card and the airline's request.
Bus - All cities have national and international buses. Some services, like Redbus, offer the option of checking the schedules and circulation maps on their website.
Rental car - Car rental is always an option for travelers as long as they know the roads and have a good navigation system. Besides, gasoline in Latin America is considered cheaper than in other countries.
Transportation in the cities - There are ride-hailing applications such as Uber within the big cities. However, you can also use the metro in Medellín, or urban buses in other cities if you wish.
Safety in Colombia
Traveling to an unfamiliar country can always make you nervous. But don't worry; here are some tips on how to travel safely in Colombia. These are as follows:
Try not to walk with valuable objects in dark or desolate places. Pay careful attention to anybody who looks suspicious.
Do not carry large amounts of money. Most tourist sites are likely to accept credit cards.
Identify destinations designated as high-risk zones by the government. Especially in Bogota, you should avoid the neighborhoods Rafael Uribe, Ciudad Bolívar, San Cristóbal, and Usme.
Try not to ask for street cabs; instead, use the ones from apps or ordered from a restaurant or hotel.
Colombia has an internal war with an illegal armed group called the National Liberation Army. You should be paying attention to the news to know if these revolutionary armed forces are nearby your location.
Other safety tips are:
Use repellent. The country has a lot of vegetation, and mosquitoes can appear anytime.
Drink bottled water. The only cities with drinkable tap water in the country are Bogotá, Medellín, and a few other of the country's main cities.
Watch your luggage at airports and hotels and be careful about what you carry in it: In the country, the penalties for drug possession are quite hard.
In case of any emergency, you should contact local authorities or the emergency consular assistance.
It is highly recommended to travel with insurance that includes overseas medical costs, medical insurance, medical services, and medical evacuation. If you have any problems, call the emergency service’s contact number.
Weather in Colombia
The climate in the territory of Colombia can vary. The country is located on the intertropical zone of the planet. Colombian climates can be classified as follows:
Humid tropical climate - It is humidi and has high-temperature variations. The region towards the Pacific is the one that enjoys this type of climate the most.
Dry climate - It is predominant in high-temperature deserts. La Guajira Peninsula is a destination that has this type of climate.
Mild climate - It is humid in winter and dry in summer, as in Medellín.
Mountain climate - It is a cold climate where snow can be observed, as in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta or the Nevado el Cocuy in Boyacá.
Colombia's climate is quite varied depending on the destination you go to. Therefore, you must look into the exact environment of the destination where you are traveling to prepare your suitcase.
Must Do and See in Colombia
We suggest visiting these attractions too:
Bogotá - This is the capital of Colombia, a captivating destination with colonial architecture as well as avant-garde buildings. During your trip, you can visit incredible destinations in the city, given Bogotá has a great cultural offer of numerous museums, artistic expressions, cultural centers, and outdoor festivals.
Tayrona Park - This destination is perfect for nature, adventure, and trekking lovers. It is located in the department of Magdalena in the Sierra Nevada.
Cartagena de Indias - It is located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. It is one of the most beautiful cities to tour. It has a walled center where you can see cobblestone streets, colorful architecture, and colonial identity, which is why it is considered a World Heritage Site. It is also a beach destination with beautiful resorts.
San Andrés Island - This island is a small paradise located in the Caribbean Sea. It is a perfect destination to travel as a couple or with friends and to simply enjoy the sun, the beach, have some traditional drinks, and a good party at night.
Typical Colombian Gastronomy to Try
The food is exquisite in Colombia, as in any other Latin American country. Colombian gastronomy can be defined as a fusion of other cultures, mainly Spanish and African, complemented with the most representative typical dishes of each region.
Typical Colombian dishes are the bandeja paisa, sancocho, mote de queso costeño, arepa, mute santandereano, ajiaco santafereño, carne a la llanera or “mamona”, tamales, among many others you can enjoy in this country.
Vaccine Information for Colombia
According to local laws, to travel in some regions of Colombia, it is necessary to have the yellow fever vaccine and its international certificate.
The regions requiring this documentation are La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Los Llanoss, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the Amazon, and the entire Atlantic Coast.
On the other hand, there are many mosquitoes in the country. Therefore, you should make sure to carry repellents to prevent dengue, Zika, malaria, and yellow fever.
Fun Facts about Colombia
Among some of the country's curiosities are the following:
Colombia has the most extraordinary biodiversity in the world. This is because, within the country, there is part of the Amazon rainforest, the Andes Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.
Colombia has 60 national parks.
Colombia has the largest salsa festival in the world, known as the Cali Fair. It is celebrated every year from December 25 to 30.
Colombia has more than 50,000 areas of coffee bean cultivation, making it the country with the most considerable coffee exportation in the world.
Colombia is the largest producer of flowers in the world. It has more than 4,000 species of orchids.
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