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Traveller shopping in markets at Raquira, Colombia

Colombia Travel Guide

A vibrant country of diverse landscapes, Colombia, invites travellers to uncover its hidden treasures. Stroll through the colourful streets of Cartagena, where colonial architecture and a lively atmosphere captivate visitors. Immerse yourself in the lush greenery of the Coffee Cultural Landscape and learn about the fascinating process of coffee production. Trek to the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida), an ancient archaeological site hidden deep in the jungle, and feel the mystical energy that surrounds this sacred place. Colombia's natural wonders, including Tayrona National Park and Cocora Valley, offer breathtaking landscapes for hiking and nature lovers. With its warm hospitality and rich cultural heritage, Colombia promises an unforgettable travel experience.

Get swept away by the rhythm of salsa in Cali, the salsa capital of the world, or immerse yourself in the lively Carnival celebrations of Barranquilla. Delight in the flavours of Colombian cuisine, from hearty bandeja paisa to exotic fruits from the Amazon region. Explore bustling markets and admire the indigenous handicrafts and traditional arts. Colombia's natural beauty, combined with its vibrant culture, creates a unique and enriching journey. Embark on an adventure to this captivating country and uncover the magic of Colombia for yourself.

Key Facts

Time Zone

GMT-5

Money

Colombian Peso (COP)

Dialing Code

+57

  • Colombia covers all bases – you get everything from busy cities to deserted forest trails and mountain slopes
  • The scenery is gorgeous: Pristine beaches, dense jungles, snow-capped peaks
  • You will visit places well and truly off the beaten gap year trail
  • The country is brimming with fascinating history and culture
  • Colombia loves to salsa – get your dancing shoes on!
  • The cities are super cool. Bogota is covered in street art and Medellin has legendary nightlife

The capital of Colombia is Bogota. With ancient homes, churches and convents sitting alongside towering skyscrapers and stadiums, this is a city with a foot in both worlds. Bogota is both the heart of Colombia’s cultural and historical identity and an embodiment of the country’s new forward-thinking ethos. Plus, the whole city lies in the shadow of the mighty Andes, a constant reminder of South America’s spectacular natural landscapes.

  • Trek to the Lost City of Teyuna – built by ancient Tayrona people
  • Explore the bustling cities of Bogota and Medellin
  • Delve into the forests and sand beaches of Tayrona National Park
  • Slide into a warm mud bath at El Totumo Mud Volcano
  • Wander the colourful streets of Cartagena
  • Chill out on the coast of Santa Marta

Colombia has a huge variety of food because it has such a huge variety of climates. From the warming stews of the Andes to the crispy fish and barbecues of the Caribbean coast, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious offerings wherever you are in the country. 

Bandeja paisa is a big plate of red beans cooked with pork, chorizo, black pudding and avocado with Hogao sauce drizzled over white rice. Ajiaco soup is also a favourite, made up of chicken, potatoes and herbs. On the coast, you’ll find all manner of crispy fried fish served with rice and vegetables along with various stews, risottos and barbecued meats. Yum.

The climate in Colombia is very warm and tropical. The country is close to the equator so there is little variation in the temperature. Temperature changes are often dependent on altitude. Mountainous regions can be very cold and almost freezing at night depending on how high you are. Luckily, 80% of the country is less than 1,000m above sea level so you can expect characteristically warm and sunny weather. The rainy season lasts from May to November.

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

The official language of Colombia is Spanish. Learning a few key phrases will come in handy, especially for the more remote areas where English is not widely spoken.

The current in Colombia is 110-120 Volts. 60Hz. AC. The primary socket type is for two-pronged plugs (similar to North America). You may need a step-down transformer for 220-240V appliances.

Do not get involved with illegal drugs of any kind. Drug trafficking detection methods are very sophisticated in Colombia and anyone attempting to traffic drugs should expect to be arrested. Conviction leads to very severe penalties.

You should carry a photocopy of your passport and visa with you at all times for identification.

Photographing of military or strategic government sites is not allowed.

Health

You should visit your doctor at least 6-8 weeks before you travel for up to date vaccination information. Make sure you have good travel health insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment abroad. If you need emergency medical assistance you should dial 123.

Cases of Zika virus, Chikunyuga virus, Malaria and Dengue fever have been confirmed in Colombia. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Crime

There have been massive improvements in safety and security in Colombia over recent years. However, the crime rate still remains high. Certain areas of Colombia are particularly dangerous and you are not advised to travel to these locations by the UK foreign office. Check the foreign office website for the latest safety recommendations.

Be vigilant in public places and take care on city streets, especially after dark. Do not carry large amounts of money or have valuables on show. Do not walk alone and avoid using your mobile phone in the street. Remember possessions are just possessions and can be replaced. Do not put yourself at risk.

Avoid leaving food or drinks unattended and don’t accept anything from strangers. When you are out, have someone in your group watch your drinks if you need to leave for any reason. Only use pre-booked taxis and be wary if you are approached by a stranger.

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism in Colombia, particularly from revolutionary groups. The security situation can change very quickly and you should pay close attention to warnings issued by the Colombian authorities and monitor up to date travel advice.

Natural disasters

Earthquakes occur regularly in Colombia and there are risks of floods and landslides after heavy rains. In the event of a natural disaster, you should monitor media reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

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