PASSPORT & VISA
In order to enter Colombia, you will need a signed passport valid for 6 months beyond the completion of your trip. Make sure your passport has enough blank pages (excluding amendment pages) available for entry and exit stamps.
A tourist visa is not required if you are a citizen from the European Union, the United States of America and Canada, among other countries. For a complete and up to date list of eligible and restricted countries, please visit: Colombia Government Travel Guide.
After the unfortunate period of violence during the late 20th century, the safety conditions in Colombia have greatly improved. Thanks to strong political and military campaigns against communist rebels and drug trafficking, Colombia is now a safe country for both citizens and foreign visitors. Since the early 2000s, thousands of rebels have been captured or surrendered, and the presence of these small groups is now contained to very remote areas in the jungle and the mountains. Of course, you can rest reassured that the destinations that you will be visiting during your trip present no danger. We consistently monitor the local situations to ensure our guests’ safety.
In largest cities such as Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena, petty crime is dropping drastically every year, but safety is something to be aware of. You are travelling to a developing country, so be aware of what and who is surrounding you, and have common sense to avoid trouble. You should exercise caution as you would in any other big city in the world!
Our simple safety recommendations:
1- “No dar papaya” – literally “don’t give a papaya” (the tropical fruit). A Colombian expression that is very common and means “don’t show off, or don’t put yourself in a position where you tempt someone to take advantage of you”. Of course, this general rule applies to any country and should be the first thing of common sense of any traveler. One piece of advice is to be modest and walk around only with the essentials, so leave your passports and valuable possessions at the hotel.
2- Do not display cash in public. Bring sufficient cash for taxis, tips and small cash purchases (i.e. around $300.000 COP). Most restaurants and stores accept credit cards, but cash is still necessary for tips, street food, handcrafts, water and beverages at corners stores, etc.
3- If you are going to a bar or restaurant, do not accept drinks or food from strangers.
4- Don’t be paranoid! Colombians are genuinely nice and welcoming people, and they will always try to help you and introduce you to their beautiful country!
The official currency of Colombia is the peso, usually written as $ or COP.
Currency exchange: Upon arrival in Colombia, it is easy to exchange foreign currency at the airport or at one of the local banks. However, we recommend our guests to retrieve Colombian pesos at a local secured ATM using their debit cards, since ATMs provide very favorable interbank exchange rates. It is always preferable to keep smaller amounts of cash and withdraw when necessary. Make sure to check the withdrawal fee your home bank charges for withdrawals in foreign countries/currencies.
Cash: Colombia is equipped with an extensive network of ATMs, which are usually strategically located and secured. The majorities of ATMs are in service 24 hours and provide an option for English language. We recommend exercising caution when retrieving and handling cash, as you would in your home country. Go to an ATM in an enclosed and well-lit area, accompanied by other people if possible. Now again, you do not want to give “papaya” (see safety tips section below).
Debit & Credit Cards: The majority of hotels, restaurants, stores and shops and supermarkets accept debit and credit cards. The most frequent credit cards are Visa and Master Card, and only some places accept American Express and Diners Club.
Traveler’s Checks: They are not widely used in Colombia and therefore relatively difficult and expensive to convert..
The most frequent illness issues of travelers are mountain disease and stomach problems. Although major cities have excellent running water systems making tap water perfectly drinkable, we advise our guests to drink bottled water.
No specific vaccine is required unless traveling to the jungle areas of the Amazonia, in which case the yellow fever and tetanus vaccines are required. We suggest that you see a healthcare provider at least 4-6 weeks before your departure to allow time for any vaccinations or treatments to take effect.
If your journey includes travel to Bogotá and other high-altitude Andean destinations in Colombia, you may experience altitude sickness. If that’s the case, take it easy and drink plenty of water and electrolytes.
ELECTRICITY & ADAPTERS
If you come from the USA or Canada, there is no need to take extra measure since the outlets in Colombia are the same: 110V 60Hz (two flat blades in old constructions, or two flat blades and one rounded for ground in newer constructions).
If you come from Europe where the standard is 220V, you will need an adapter to 110V 60Hz to be able to use your electronics in Colombia.