Travel Tips

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Visas:

A Visa is needed except if one carries the citizenship of the following countries and those who only travel to Colombia regarding Tourism purposes and those who will no longer stay in the country than 90 days:  

Argentina, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, United States of America, Finland, France, Great Britain, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway , Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Federal Republic of Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela and foreigners with permanent residence in Canada and the United States.

When you are passport holder of another country make sure to find out what the regulations for you are.

It is recommended to take the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Travel Insurance
  • International Driver License (although driving is not recommended, some places offer golf carts or mopeds for which a driver license is also necessary)
  • Proof of vaccinations
  • Copies of passport, credit card, Insurance and other important documents (mail them to your own e-mail so you do not have to print them yet)

Health:

Medical care and health facilities are mainly available in the main cities in Colombia and of good quality. If one is planning on going to remote areas, it is recommended to carry a first aid kit. Each traveler should make sure to have a good traveling insurance. Since Colombia is offering a lot of Adventure sports, it is recommended to have a travel insurance that covers those when you consider participating in one. Voyage Colombia can help you arrange your health insurance.

Recommended Vaccinations:

  • Yellow Fever (obligated!)
  • Typhoid
  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio
  • Rabies
  • Hepatitis B/C

Food and Water

The water out the tab within major cities is drinkable so general you will have no problem when brushing your teeth or ice cubes in your drinks. For consuming we do recommend you to buy bottled water as foreigners tend to not be used to the tab water in Colombia.  Outside the bigger cities one should avoid consuming the tab water and bottled water is available in the whole country.

Food on the street is general fresh however always take in consideration the cleanliness and freshness of fruits and vegetables from the market and on the street. In restaurants there are hardly any risks.

Altitude:

Some regions in Colombia are situated rather high above sea level. Do not undertake any major hikes the first day in Bogotá. Let yourself acclimatize to the heights. Symptoms that may occur are headaches, dizziness, being nauseous and breathlessness.

How to stay safe:

Colombian people are politely, friendly and courteous. The safety has improved highly but still you should always be aware of your surroundings. Walking around at night with a Rolex and DSLR camera around your neck will get you unwanted attention. Do not put yourself into dangerous situations on purpose, like going through the bad neighborhoods without local company. Listen to your intuition when meeting strangers and do not carry to much cash and credit cards with you around.

Public Transportation

  • Bus:

Buses are the major and most common way of getting around in the cities, towns and are also the main transport between cities. It is quite an adventure finding the right bus to your destination in the big cities. For anyone who would like to see how most Colombians get to and from work every day it is a definite must. Just make sure you do not do it in rush hour.

  • Car:

Driving yourself in the big cities or Colombia in general is not recommended. Besides the road conditions and lack of signs it is difficult to rent a car as car rental is not common and more important the traffic is very chaotic. Taxis are a cheap and fast way to your destination. There are many taxis within cities and you can flag them down in the street however we do recommend you to let your hotel call one for you.

Required Clothing:

As diverse as the country is as diverse is the climate in Colombia. On the Caribbean coast it can be hot, in the Amazon very humid and in the Andean mountains there are places where snow occurs. It all depends on where you go.  In general be prepared for all and bring clothes for hot and cold situations. However it is recommended to always bring good walking shoes and a raincoat.

Money / Currency in Colombia:

Colombia has got the Colombian Peso (COP). They come in Col$50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000 kind of bills. Coins are available in Col$500, 200, 100 and 50. Dollars are not accepted. People that try to pay in Dollars get considered as rich tourists and the price might go up.

  • Credit cards:

Visa Card and Master Card are credit cards that are widely in the whole country accepted in contrast to the American Express. Make sure that you are able to cancel your card in any case it should get stolen and inform your bank about your trip to Colombia.

  • ATM:

The main cities are provided with a huge amount of ATMs. If you are planning a trip to rural cities, make sure you carry enough cash, because it might get harder to find a working ATM there.

It can also happen that ATMs in bigger cities run out of money before the weekend or Colombian pay day.Note: use ATMs rather used during the day time with a security guard watching than at night time.

  • Traveler Cheques:

Traveler Cheques exposed by American Express and Citicorp are mainly excepted, but only at banks, hotels or bureaux de change. However this is not certain in some places with not a lot of tourism it can be denied. It is recommended to only use ATMs, since it is more efficient instead of not having anyone taking your traveler cheques.