Colombia Travel


According to Colombian Immigration regulations, every foreign passenger entering the country must have a valid passport, a return/onward flight and an address for your stay.
A visa is required for entry into Colombia, unless you are citizen of one of the following countries:
Argentina, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, United States, Finland, France, Great Britain, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Mexico, Norway, The Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela and foreign residents of Canada and the United States.
If you are a citizen of one of these countries, you will be granted a stay of 90 days without having to get a visa. If you want to stay more, you will have to obtain a visa using the chancery website. It is possible to leave the country and come back, effectively extending your stay, but you can only do this for a maximum of 180 days per calendar year.
We advise you to make copies of all your important documents (visa, passport, credit cards, air tickets, etc.). In case they are lost, it will make replacement much easier. 
• By Air
Colombia offers optimal air connections with Europe, North and South America. 
Colombian Airlines are Avianca, Latam Airlines, Easy Fly, Wingo, Satena and Viva Air. Which offer connections with Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Washington, Mexico City, Curaçao, Caracas, Aruba, Panama City, San José de Costa Rica, La Habana, Quito, Guayaquil, Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo;
Additionally, American Airlines, Spirit, Jet Blue Airways, United Airlines and Delta fly from their respective hubs in the USA. Aerolíneas Argentinas, Copa Airlines, Latam Airlines and Tame fly from South America; Copa Airlines from Central America and Avianca, Iberia, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa from Europe.
• By Land
Colombia has road connections with Venezuela and Ecuador. From Venezuela, entrance is possible to Cúcuta from San Antonio del Táchira and to Macao from Maracaibo. The least popular entry points are Puerto Carreño, Colombia and Puerto Páez or Puerto Ayacucho in Venezuela.
Ecuador is connected from Tulcán to Ipiales in Colombia through the Carretera Panamericana.
It is possible to reach Colombia from Brazil via Leticia through crossings of the Tabatinga river. There are also boats from Manaos (about four days) and Iquitos in Perú.
• By Sea
Colombia has four main ports, three in the Caribbean Sea: Cartagena, Barranquilla and Santa Marta, and another one in the Pacific Sea: Buenaventura. Some maritime companies dock in Colombian ports, mostly Cartagena’s, coming from the Gulf of Mexico and different places of Europe
All of Colombia is on the same time zone, five or six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time depending on the season 
All of Colombia uses 110 volt electricity with US type flat two pin plugs. It is best to bring an adapter.
A Departure tax of USD$66 is currently levied on international flights. At the moment, international tourists (not resident in Colombia) do have an exemption on this tax.
Most immunizations are not necessary to travel to Colombia. Nevertheless, travelers who visit jungle areas and natural parks are recommended to vaccinate against hepatitis A, hepatitis B and tetanus. Yellow fever vaccine is NOT mandatory, the requirement is only for travelers who are traveling to or returning from the following countries; Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Brazil. We suggest this vaccine be applied at least 10 days before traveling the following tourist destinations: La Guajira, Santa Marta, Aracataca, Lost City, Tayrona National Natural Park, the southern Amazon, Gorgona National Park, Nuquí, Caño Cristales and Cerros de Mavecure. We remind you this vaccine is not suitable for anyone who is HIV positive, pregnant women, adults over 60 or children under 6 months of age. We suggest asking your physician or a specialized center for more detailed information.
Remember that tipping is a very personal matter; the following is a suggested guideline:
• Restaurants: Service charge is 10% and it is included in most of the bills.
• Porters at Airports & Bellboys: Tips are usually US$ 2.00 per bag. 
• Taxis: Do not expect a tip. They all have a meter that will show the amount to pay.
• Drivers:  US$ 3 to 10 per day
• Guides:  US$ 10 to 15 per day
Colombia is located near the Equator which allows for relatively minor climate variations over the year. Temperatures vary according to altitude creating different climate zones:
• Warm: temperatures above 24°C in altitudes lower than 1.000 meters, which comprises 80 % of the territory.
• Tempered: temperatures between 17°C and 24°C above 1.000 and 2.000 meters
• Cold: temperatures between 12°C and 17°C above 2.000 and 3.000 meters.
• Páramo (altiplano): temperatures below12°C with altitudes above3.000 meters.
Altitudes also generate differences in temperature between day and night. Clearly, as the altitude increases, so does the difference in climate. There are no variations in the low lands where days and nights are warm.
Colombia experiences two seasons: the “dry” season or summer and the “rainy” season or winter. The length of the seasons and the amount of rain vary according to the regions. The Andes, for instance, have two dry and two rainy seasons a year. The main dry season stretches from December to March and July and August are rainy as well. The Llanos have a dry season from December to March and are rainy over the rest of the year. There is no uniform climate in the Amazon which is quite rainy all year round.
ATMs or “cajeros automáticos” are available in all major cities. American Express, Visa, Master Card, Dinners are accepted.
The unit of Colombian currency is the Colombian Peso. The notes are in denominations of $1.000, $2.000, $5.000, $10.000, $20.000, $50.000 and $100.000; and the coins are $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1.000.
The exchange rate fluctuates from day to day and has the U.S. dollar as the official reference rate. Payment is made on the basis of the official daily rate, after discounting commissions and services, which vary between 2 and 3%. We recommend changing only in authorized money exchange bureau or “casas de cambio”, in banks and hotels and never on the street. The USA dollar is the easiest currency to exchange.
Traveler’s checks are rarely used as it is difficult to change them outside of BOGOTÁ. The most convenient brand to use is American Express, but they need to be changed in a bank and these have limited bank hours. Major credit cards are widely accepted in most important tourist destinations where Visa and Master Card can also be used in cash machines or “cajeros automáticos” to withdraw cash.
In Bogota, as in any other big city in the world, there is theft and robbery. It is suggested not to go out with a lot of cash, jewellery or valuables. 
The most common methods of theft are snatching your day pack, cell phone or camera, pick pocketing or taking advantage of a moment’s inattention to pick up your belongings and run away. 
General Safety Advices
 Use the safety deposit box at the hotel
 Avoid dangerous areas in the city
 Never show large amounts of money in public.
 Always wear back packs on your front. Place wallets in front pockets.
 Keep cameras in sight or on your front.
 Be aware of people offering advice and help when you have not asked for it 
 Never accept food or drink from individuals whom you do not know.
 Be aware of any suspicious looking characters.
 In case a policeman stops you, never give them money or let them check your possessions. This is a method that thieves use for robbing foreigners.
 Do not carry large amounts of cash, it better to use credit cards.
El Dorado Airport (Bogotá) is the main international hub and has connections to the most important tourist areas and cities. Most frequent air routes are Cartagena, San Andrés, Santa Marta, Riohacha, Cúcuta, Monteira, Medellín, Cali, Pasto, Neiva, Pereira, Armenia, Valledupar and Leticia. Main domestic airlines are Avianca, Latam, Satena, Searca, Easyfly, Viva Air and Wingo.
Colombia has an extensive internal road network which is relatively safe and in good condition. Nevertheless, in some areas, air transport is preferable. Numerous bus connections between the various cities offer night routes.
Taxis are yellow and white. The white taxis are for tourism and can be found especially at the hotels and touristic places, and are more expensive that yellow taxis. 
Yellow taxis can be taken in the street or can be called by phone or requested by some mobile apps. We suggest asking for a taxi at the hotel or calling them instead of taking them in the street.
In peak hours some of them want to avoid the traffic and can refuse to take you where you need to go so they will ask the address before you get into the car.
The taxi driver should charge exactly the amount of money in pesos that the meter shows for the trip. 
In the Andes, it is important to remember, whatever the season, to take some warmer woollens for the night-time drop in temperature. Generally, try to pack a variety of clothes to suit changes in climate – layers of clothing in ‘breathable’ fabrics are ideal.
Comfortable walking shoes are a necessity as a lot of the exploring is on foot, particularly in areas around Bogotá and surroundings. If visiting the jungle, waterproof clothing and footwear is essential, although due to the humidity and the persistence of the rain, you will normally end up wet anyway! At high altitudes (and of course on the coast), a hat is essential, together with sun block and sunglasses, as the atmosphere is very thin and burns fair skin very quickly.
Basic Packing List
 Waterproof Jacket.
 Comfortable shoes. 
 Clothes for cold and hot climate.  
 Mosquito Repellent 
 Sunblock and a hat or cap.
 Dark glasses.
 Personal medicines and hygiene products (preferably biodegradable)
Local dishes are varied and tasty, with a touch of Spanish influence. To save money and get an idea of the cuisine eaten by Colombians, try menús del día. They tend to be on the basic side: some soup, rice, a piece of meat or fish and an arepa or two (see below). The international food found in high-end restaurants in bigger cities, e.g within the Zona Rosa in Bogotá, is of an excellent standard. Coastal cities such as Cartagena produce excellent seafood, and it is worth visiting a top-end restaurant to experience it.
Colombian wines are generally of poor quality. Chilean and Argentinian wines are available in restaurants at reasonable prices. Beer and rum-based drinks are the norm, and both are quite cheap.
 Ajiaco: a chicken stew with herbs, different potato varieties, corn, and cream and capers added at the table. 
 Arepas: hard corn pancakes, eaten with savoury toppings.
 Bandeja paisa: meat with avocado, rice, fried plantain and red beans, typical to Medellín. 
 Mariscos: seafood – a speciality on the Caribbean coast, lobsters in particular with arroz con coco (rice prepared with coconut)
 Tamales: a popular breakfast dish, these are cooked corn dough filled with a combination of meat, potatoes, rice or vegetables, and wrapped in plantain leaves.
 Empanadas: stuffed bread or pastry which has been baked or fried, containing meat, cheese, vegetables or sweet fillings; these are available widely throughout the continent. 
 Sancocho: a thick soup or stew made with a mixture of meat, plantain, potatoes, yucca and vegetables, served with rice on the side; found in the Valle del Cauca region.
 Platanos fritos: fried plantain, similar to bananas.
Regional drinks: 
 Tinto: small black coffee – but this term is also used to describe red wine or vino tinto.
 Chocolate with cheese (hot chocolate in Colombia is hot milk served with sugar, cinnamon and small bars of chocolate to stir in).
 Aguardiente: a fiery aniseed-flavoured spirit fermented from sugar cane.
 Canelazo: an aguardiente-based cocktail taken hot or cold, made with cinnamon and aguapanela.
 Aguapanela: a sweet, non-alcoholic drink made by dissolving a kind of sugarloaf in hot water. Lime juice and/or cheese may be added to flavour it.
 Chicha: fermented and alcoholic drink made specially from corn and mainly it has been taken by the indigenous tribes.