Tours and Travels

Are you preparing for an upcoming journey to Colombia? Do you wish to be as ready as attainable?
You’ll have many questions if you happen to’ve by no means traveled to Colombia. You would surprise about security, climate, meals, issues to do, or the right way to pack. It’d really feel overwhelming if you’re simply within the strategy planning stage, however don’t fear!
The reality is Colombia has a lot to supply. Whether or not you wish to discover the Caribbean coast and the wealthy jungle or go on some adventurous hikes and treks round Colombia, or simply wish to stroll across the bustling metropolis streets of Bogota, Cartagena, or one of many different vigorous cities. you’ll have a blast if you go to Colombia.
I’m right here that can assist you put together to your go to to Colombia and provide you with all of the essential info earlier than you board that flight (or bus). I hope this listing of issues to know earlier than you go to Colombia will assist you to really feel ready, assured, and enthusiastic about your upcoming journey!

What You Want To Know Earlier than You Go to Colombia
Is Colombia protected?
Many individuals ask me this query earlier than visiting Colombia. The nation has a detrimental status when it comes to security. You’ve definitely heard tales of the cartel and the Pablo Escobar period, rampant kidnappings, or armed robberies. And whereas among the rumors are rooted in reality, it isn’t as unhealthy as within the outdated days.
Colombia has been making nice steps to enhance security, particularly within the tourism business. And tens of millions of individuals go to Colombia annually with no issues.
You must comply with some easy security precautions whereas visiting Colombia simply to be protected. For instance, it is best to keep away from carrying an excessive amount of money or all of your financial institution playing cards. You don’t need all of your valuables in a single place since you’ll be in bother if one thing does occur.
You must keep away from taking road taxis in bigger cities each time attainable. Avenue taxis in Colombia have a historical past of over-charging and even extorting unsuspecting vacationers. Uber is accessible in most main cities in Colombia. In case you take a taxi, discuss with the motive force and set up a worth vary earlier than getting into the cab.
Petty theft and crimes of alternative are comparatively frequent all through Colombia. So, regulate your belongings and keep away from drawing consideration to your self.
These are just some essential suggestions that can assist you get by in Colombia. After all, relying on the place you might be and your actions, there is likely to be a couple of extra solutions price noting.
For extra detailed info, it is best to learn my publish Is Colombia Protected?

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Know which neighborhoods are protected
The world you keep in can actually make or break your keep. Most cities and areas have “good” and “unhealthy” neighborhoods for vacationers and vacationers. For instance, Centro Historico in Medellin is taken into account a hazardous location. Compared, Poblado and Laureles are extraordinarily well-liked and comparatively protected for vacationers.
Every metropolis or village in Colombia may have a most well-liked location. Take a look at the preferred (and most secure) areas earlier than reserving lodging.
For extra info on areas to remain, learn my posts The place To Keep In Bogota and The place To Keep In Cartagena.

Perceive the affect of the Pablo Escobar legacy
Some say that Pablo Escobar was the world’s strongest drug trafficker within the Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties. He was killed in Medellin in 1993, however not earlier than ruining hundreds of lives throughout Colombia, South America, and additional north.
Pablo Escobar’s life and loss of life have impressed numerous tales, books, reveals, and flicks. Essentially the most well-known is the Netflix drama, Narcos (2015). Narcos follows the life and loss of life of Pablo Escobar, his large function within the drug commerce in Colombia, and the consequences it had on others.
Sadly, the Pablo Escobar legacy has persevered to today. The aftershock of Pablo Escobar and the cocaine commerce nonetheless affected many Colombians, and hundreds of households have been torn aside due to him.
You may go to the Pablo Escobar museum in Medellin, the place you possibly can take a tour of one among his stash homes, his grave, the spot he died, and a church his males frequented. Nonetheless, many Colombians nonetheless take offense to Pablo Escobar and the folks that financially assist his legacy.
Try to be cautious of how this may affect native Colombians, particularly those who have been personally affected by his choices. He’s been lifeless for about 30 years, however his affect stays right here.
In case you’re touring to Colombia to study extra about Pablo Escobar, simply attempt to be respectful of the locals and the way your actions could also be perceived (comparable to paying cash for a non-public tour about Pablo Escobar). In any case, exhibiting respect is an important factor if you journey to a brand new tradition and society.

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Colombian magnificence requirements
Colombian ladies (and males) have fairly excessive magnificence requirements, particularly within the metropolis or wealthier areas of the area. Individuals worth appears and vogue very extremely in Colombia and can look down on anybody that doesn’t put in the identical degree of time and care for his or her look.
Colombia is well-known for its cosmetic surgery procedures, confirmed by the many individuals who journey to Colombia particularly for reasonable, high-quality cosmetic surgery.
After I was there, I seen Colombian ladies climbing in heels and tight clothes, irrespective of the issue or climate. I additionally noticed so many ladies with boob or butt implants. And it isn’t so completely different for males. For instance, we heard that any man carrying shorts and/or flip-flops in Medellin was severely seemed down upon. So, you possibly can see how societal magnificence requirements carry some weight in Colombia.
At first, it was a shock. I felt very underdressed and seen a small blow to my shallowness. However I ultimately received used to it and realized most Colombians don’t pay as a lot consideration to foreigners as they do themselves.

Forex in Colombia
The forex in Colombia is the Colombian Peso. The Colombian Peso is commonly abbreviated to COP however referred to in talking as “pesos.” At present, $1 USD is the same as roughly 4,850 COP. And €1 Euro is the same as about 5,170 COP.
Money is king in Colombia. Most locations, particularly extra native areas, don’t settle for playing cards. And in the event that they do settle for playing cards, they’ve a further price. So, ensure you have sufficient COP readily available for no matter you want.
You could find ATMs nearly in all places in Colombia. I like to recommend solely utilizing ATMs inside banks or correct institutions, as road ATMs is likely to be uncovered to extra rip-off alternatives.

Is Colombia costly?
Colombia is likely one of the least expensive international locations in South America, and South America is already identified to be very inexpensive for holidays and journey. Nonetheless, the energy of the Colombian Peso has been fluctuating not too long ago attributable to uncertainty with the present presidency and future rules. This shouldn’t have an effect on the costs too drastically, particularly if you happen to come from a European or North American nation.
In case you’re on a price range, you possibly can simply discover a low-cost room in a hostel for $5-10 USD an evening. You can even eat native road meals and the menu del dia for round $2 USD a meal.
After all, you possibly can select to journey extra luxuriously, as effectively. A flowery meal in Medellin would value round $15 USD per particular person. And we stayed in a high-end condo in Bogota for round $25 USD an evening. For just a few {dollars} extra, you will get beautiful lodging and meals.

Picture by Anamaria Mejia
Is faucet water in Colombia protected to drink?
I used to be stunned to listen to that faucet water is okay to drink in some main cities in Colombia, notably Bogota. In accordance with Faucet Protected and authorities officers, faucet water in Bogota endure rigorous testing and is protected to drink.
That mentioned, I’ve spent a number of years round South America and selected to not drink faucet water wherever in Colombia. I can’t ensure of presidency rules, frequent testing, and a constructing’s upkeep requirements.
I drank filtered water all by Colombia. I’ve a water bottle I take in all places and replenish with recent filtered water each time attainable.

There are such a lot of various things to do in Colombia
Colombia is well-known for the gorgeous Caribbean coast and the adventurous Amazon excursions and lodging. However the reality is, there’s a lot to do in Colombia.
Whether or not you’re focused on climbing the area surrounding Medellin, stress-free on the Caribbean coast in Cartagena or close to Santa Marta, or climbing by the jungle, you’ll discover all of it. Colombia is simply stuffed with a lot range, journey, and enjoyable.
Make sure that to additionally learn my publish 29 Greatest Locations To Go to In Colombia.

Ideas for getting round Colombia
Colombia has nice bus routes, with low-cost and inexpensive public buses connecting all cities and main locations. Nonetheless, Colombia is a comparatively giant nation, and plenty of well-liked hubs for vacationers are unfold out nationwide. For instance, if you happen to fly into Bogota, a bus to Cartagena can be over 20 hours, and a bus to Medellin can be between 8 and 10 hours.
So, if you happen to’re planning to journey by bus, plan your route correctly and analysis the distances of your favourite locations. Happily, flights are additionally low-cost in Colombia, and most airports are fairly quick to get by. Flying is likely to be essentially the most time-efficient selection if you happen to’re going a bit of additional away.

Colombia has some nice climate
Colombia could be very near the equator, so it has some fairly constant climate. Colombia actually solely has two seasons. The dry season (from December to August) and the wet season (from April to November).
Relying on the area and metropolis, the temperature may drop beneath 15°C (59°F), however it’s usually pleasantly heat or scorching all through Colombia.
You must observe that some areas could also be hotter and extra humid than others. For instance, Medellin is nicknamed “town of everlasting spring” as a result of it at all times has delicate temperatures and frequent rain showers.
In distinction, areas close to Santa Marta or within the Amazon shall be a lot hotter and extra humid. And Bogotà, which sits excessive within the Andes, has common temperatures of 14°C (round 57°F) and a median of 181 wet days per 12 months. Equally, it rains just about on daily basis within the Eje Cafetero – the espresso area of Colombia. I used to be there in February, which is supposed to be the dry season, and never a day glided by with out rain!

What’s the finest time to go to Colombia?
The most effective time to go to Colombia will rely on what you wish to do and what you’re making an attempt to perform.
For instance, the wet season (from April to November) is the most cost effective time to go to Colombia as costs enhance throughout holidays and touristy seasons. Nonetheless, if you wish to do a number of climbing and different excursions, it is best to go to throughout the dry season (from December to August).
For the Amazon, the preferred instances to go to are between July and September. If you wish to see animals and go together with fewer crowds, go between June to October as it’s within the wet season.
The Amazon in Colombia is an unbelievable expertise
Talking of the Amazon, Colombia is the proper place to go to if you happen to’ve dreamed of that complete Amazon expertise. Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil are most well-known for Amazon lodging and treks. And whereas Colombia has a comparatively small piece of the Amazon, it does have among the lowest costs.

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Don’t have excessive expectations for the meals
Colombia is just not well-known for its meals. A lot of the meals in Colombia is predictable and desires extra seasonings. The meals could be very meat-heavy, emphasizing pork, hen, and fish.
No matter that, it is best to attempt some conventional Colombian meals – simply don’t go in with excessive expectations. However who is aware of, you is likely to be pleasantly stunned.
You must also learn my publish The Greatest Colombian Meals To Strive.

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However the fruit and juices are scrumptious
Colombia does have some flavorful, juicy, and distinctive fruit and juices. Colombia’s various panorama and local weather zones enable the fruit to develop year-long. Meaning you’ll discover colourful fruits lining native fruit markets, irrespective of the season.
Some unique fruit native to Colombia is goldenberry, gulupa, dragon fruit, and granadilla. And it is best to undoubtedly attempt all of them.
You may sometimes discover recent fruit stands providing freshly squeezed juice for less than about 5,000 COP ($1.04 USD). After I order fruit juice, I normally ask for no sugar (sin azúcar in Spanish) as a result of in any other case, you is likely to be shocked by what number of scoops of sugar they add.

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Colombian espresso is unbelievable
In accordance with World Atlas, Colombia is the world’s third-largest espresso producer. This lush nation has the proper terrain for recent espresso beans to thrive. You’ll discover espresso plantations in nearly each nook of the nation. Nonetheless, the Espresso Axis (or the Espresso Triangle, known as Eje Cafetero) is essentially the most distinguished area for gourmand espresso.
The Espresso Axis is in central Colombia and occupies three departments; Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindío. Though you’ll find world-class espresso in any main metropolis or vacation spot in Colombia.
So, irrespective of the place you might be, look right into a espresso plantation tour. There are only a few higher locations to study the ins and outs of espresso than Colombia.

Colombians are extremely welcoming
Most individuals in Colombia are extremely open, welcoming, and sort to all vacationers and vacationers. You may see that they love sharing their tradition, historical past, and lives with foreigners, which simply makes the expertise a lot extra particular.
Colombians at all times wished to assist us, whether or not with instructions, suggestions, or the rest we would have liked. We additionally met many individuals who wished to speak and follow their English with us. In case you’re touring to Colombia, you shouldn’t miss the chance to talk with some locals and get a peek into their society and tradition.
In case you communicate Spanish, you possibly can have good conversations with them. And if you happen to don’t, they’ll undoubtedly attempt English and in any case go above and past that can assist you.

What are the visa necessities for Colombia?
Colombia is a visa-exempt nation for many non-residents, together with many of the Americas, Europe, and Northern Asia. Meaning you don’t want a visa forward of time. Upon getting into the nation, you’re going to get a sound stamp for as much as 90 days in Colombia. You may keep in Colombia for 180 days each calendar 12 months, leaving the nation each 90 days.
The visa-on-arrival coverage is as follows (in response to CIBT Visas):

A passport that’s legitimate for not less than six months after your entry date and has one empty web page for the visa stamp
A ticket or reservation to your onward or return flight
Any paperwork that you simply want to your subsequent vacation spot, comparable to visas, permits, or vaccinations
Proof of the aim of your journey, comparable to a letter out of your employer or sponsor, a registration affirmation for a convention or occasion, or a tour itinerary
Proof that you’ve got sufficient cash to cowl your bills throughout your keep, comparable to financial institution statements, bank cards, or traveler’s checks
A affirmation out of your airline that they’ll let you board with out a visa. This will rely in your nationality and vacation spot.

Crucial paperwork are a sound passport and proof of onward journey. I used to be requested to point out a ticket leaving Colombia inside my 90-day allowance when flying from Lima, Peru, to Medellin, Colombia.

Picture by Joerg Steber @istockphoto
Yellow fever vaccine
You don’t want the yellow fever vaccine to go to Colombia. Nonetheless, sure actions will want it. We have been requested to point out our yellow fever vaccine earlier than visiting Tayrona Nationwide Park, earlier than our Ciudad Perdida trek, and earlier than an Amazon expertise.
Get journey insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage is just not required to go to Colombia however is extremely really useful. Suppose you propose to do adventurous actions, like climbing by the Amazon, trekking to Ciudad Perdida, and even diving within the Caribbean. In that case, you’ll wish to be totally coated for unsuspecting accidents.
I like to recommend getting a great journey insurance coverage to your journey to Colombia. Take a look at my really useful journey insurance coverage right here.
Additional Readings
These different posts shall be helpful that can assist you plan your journey to Colombia:

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