IMPULSE TRAVEL TEAM
Somos un equipo de narradores y les traemos lo mejor que Colombia tiene por ofrecer. En nuestro blog, respondemos a las preguntas más frequentes y revelamos los místerios, la cultura y lo mejor para hacer en nuestro país para ustedes.
Are you planning to visit Colombia soon? Then this article is an easy overview for you to keep up with your travel plans and enjoy your trip well-prepared and at the fullest. Some of these topics might seem a little obvious, but it’s good to keep them in mind and learn about how things work in Colombia.
1. Check if you need a visa
This shouldn’t be a problem for most travelers. The majority of visitors from Europe and the US are granted a 3-month tourist visa. However, you should make sure that you can prove that you’ll be leaving the country after this period (i.e. have plane tickets) in case you are asked. If you plan on staying longer, you can apply for a visa extension at Migración. They have an office in most major cities. Find out the exact visa requirements for your country here
. The page is in Spanish but it should be fairly easy to navigate through it as you only have to type in your home country, your type of passport (ordinary in most cases) and the reason for your trip.
2. Vaccinations and Travel Insurance
As for every holiday abroad, you should make sure to organize travel insurance before coming to Colombia. A little extra tip: ask the insurance company if the can provide the coverage documents in Spanish. This will save you a lot of trouble in case you have to use your insurance. Moreover, you should consult with your doctor on recommended vaccinations. Of course, this is a personal decision but, for example, some National parks highly recommend a vaccination for yellow fever if you enter. COVID vaccine is no longer demanded to enter Colombia.
3. Learn some basic Spanish
Most people probably know “Hello”, “Goodbye” and “Thanks” in the language of the country that they are traveling to. In Colombia knowing a little more Spanish will help you get around. Colombians are very friendly and ready to help. If you can tell them in broken Spanish where you want to go, they’ll get you there. Anyway, away from the tourist hotspots English won’t be very helpful, so make sure to brush up on your Spanish knowledge a bit. There are several apps like Duolingo
that help you learn the basics in a playful way.
Chatting with the locals in Comuna 13, Medellín
4. When to go
The main season for traveling in Colombia is from December to February. The climate is warm and dry in most places during this time. The best travel time also depends a lot on what you plan to do during your stay. Here’s a little help on when to go where:Pacific Coast (whale watching):
July – OctoberCaribbean:
Avoid rainy season between May and June as well as in OctoberAmazon:
Wet season for first half of the year, dry season between August and November. The dry season allows more activities such as hiking through the rainforest and you will be able to see more animals.Caño Cristales:
One of the most famous sights in Colombia is the rainbow river. You will only be able to witness this natural spectacle between June and November.
Caño Cristales between June and November
5. What to see
Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world. From the Caribbean beaches in the north to the tropical rainforest in the south, there is so much to see that you can easily get overwhelmed when trying to plan your travel route.
Depending on how much time you will be spending in Colombia, you should select a few places that you definitely want to visit. You can then connect them by adding stops in between. Get some inspiration for places and activities that belong to every authentic Colombian experience in our “Ultimate Bucket list for Colombia”
6. Pack for all climates
Most travelers arrive in Bogotá first. Being the fourth highest capital in the world the city is dominated by the unpredictable mountain climate. You can get a sunburn from the Andean sun in the morning and literally two hours later drown in a spontaneous downpour.
Bogotá is only the tip of the iceberg. In Colombia you can experience snowy mountains and, after a few hours of traveling, relax at the beach in the sun. Of course, what you need to pack depends on where you want to go but you should prepare for many different weather conditions
7. Cash is King in Colombia
While all big supermarket chains and restaurants accept credit cards, there are also many small stores and delicious empanada and fruit juice stands that won’t. It is advisable to either withdraw some cash at the ATMs or bring it with you in a major currency (Euro/US-Dollar). If you are withdrawing cash at the ATM, inform yourself about the fees the bank in your home country and the local Colombian banks may charge.
Exchanging cash is easy in most tourist destinations and major cities. Just make sure not to exchange the money at the airport. All travelers arrive here so the demand for exchanging cash is high, resulting in a comparatively bad exchange rate.
8. Stay safe with the necessary precautions
It is mostly very safe to travel in Colombia. However, there are some things that you should consider to avoid any negative experiences.
When you arrive at the airport, have you transport organized. You can either turn to a travel agency for this or request transport with uber or cabify. There are also a lot of taxis at the airport, but they are usually a bit more expensive. When you take a cab, in general, you should pay with smaller bills as there have been some cases where travelers have been given counterfeit as change. Of course, there is also the option to take a bus to your hotel, but you should only do that if you’re arriving during the day for safety reasons.
Exploring cities, you should also be careful with where you go. Sometimes it is a matter of two blocks between a safe and a shadier part of the city. If you are unsure which route to take, ask the locals. Most of them are happy to help.
Make sure to keep an eye on your valuables when using public transport. For example, the buses in Bogotá are often so crowded that it’s easy to slip a phone or wallet out of a pocket without its owner noticing. Also, you should only carry around the cash that you need for the day to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Learn more about “how not to give papaya” in our designated blog post about traveling safely
9. Prepare yourself for incredible views
Yes, this is necessary for Colombia. The incredible diversity of landscapes will often leave you speechless, rubbing your eyes, wondering if what you see is real. Take Caño Cristales for example, the rainbow river, or the flawless view of the milky way in the red rocks of the Tatacoa desert. But we don’t want to give away too much. In the end, you have to come and see (taste/hear/feel) for yourself. Enjoy and drop us a line if you want some further travel advice!
Buenavista in the Coffee Region