Colombia Travel Tips

Find the best Colombia travel tips to make your Colombia itinerary.

45 Best places to visit in Colombia (2020): An Awe-Inspiring list + guides!

When I planned my first trip to Colombia, I asked Google God, “What are the best places to visit in Colombia“.

I bet you did the same.

It’s a smart reaction, after all. You’re creating your Colombia itinerary, and you want to do a pre-selection of the top destinations in Colombia.

However, there is a glitch in your plan.

We’re all different.

It means you maybe won’t like the same places as your cousin or friend – or the travel blogger who only spent 3 weeks in Colombia and wrote a “Best of Colombia” post.

I want to do things differently. You deserve it – especially if you share this article on the internet, love y’all.

I wrote down an exclusive list of all the Colombia places we have been in the last 5 years, and I regrouped them by theme.

And, there is a travel guide for (almost) each of them.

Have Fun. – Don’t forget to read our top-notch article about the mistakes to avoid when creating a Colombia itinerary.

Premium service: Let us take care of everything

Table of Contents: Best places to visit in Colombia

  1. The best major cities in Colombia
  2. The best beach towns in Colombia
  3. The best colonial towns in Colombia
  4. The best jungle towns in Colombia
  5. The best islands in Colombia
  6. The best outdoor activity towns in Colombia
  7. The best deserts in Colombia
  8. The best archeological sites in Colombia
  9. The best off the beaten path places in Colombia
  10. The best national park to hike in Colombia

Major cities to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

Big cities in Colombia aren’t sexy. It can be loud, polluted, dirty – like every city in the world.

However, there are many reasons why you would like to include some of them in your Colombia itinerary.

  • Some local guides speak French/English
  • Local travel agencies offer kickass tours and activities
  • There are airports and principal bus terminals
  • Interesting museums to learn about Colombia history and culture
  • It’s your best chance to experience a fantastic nightlife

Let’s have a look at the best cities to visit in Colombia depending on what you’re looking for

#1 Medellin, best city for living as a digital nomad

Many travelers stop in Medellin because they like partying in Poblado. I agree it’s fun, although there are better cities.

I’m also fond of Medellin. I lived there for 4 months, and it was fantastic. It’s “easy” to move around – except if it’s rush hour -, the weather is mild and the Paisas – Medellin’s people – are super friendly.

From Medellin, you can plan many multi-day trips to explore Antioquia and the Pacific coast.

It’s one of my favorite places to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Medellin travel guide

Medellin Best places to visit in Colombia

#2 Bogota, best city to learn about the Colombia culture

I know that every traveler hates Bogota, but it’s a mistake. I didn’t like it the first time – and the 2nd time. It’s because I didn’t know how to understand Bogota.

Go to Bogota if you:

  • Love good food. The Zona G is filled with delicious restaurants.
  • Have the budget for paying fantastic activities. We met some excellent partners there. It’s the best way to experience Colombia Culture – and you participate in the local economy.
  • Like museums. Bogota’s museums are the most interesting
  • Want to party hard. Parque 93 and Chapinero districts host mind-blowing parties.
  • Include San Jose del Guaviare or the Amazon on your Best of Colombia list. You must take your flight from Bogota.
  • I recommend staying in Chapinero.

Read more: Our Bogota travel guide

#3 Cali, best city for dancing Salsa

Travelers skip Cali because they think they’re going to be bored – and 99% of us dance with 2 left feet.

It’s true that if you don’t care about dancing, then you might don’t want to include it in your Colombia itinerary. However, you don’t have to dance all day long. There are many day trips to visit exciting Colombia sightseeings around the city.

  • Hike in the Western Andean mountains
  • Plan a trip to La Barra or Popayan
  • Tubing in San Cipriano
  • Kitesurfing in the Colima lagoon

Have fun at night, and explore during the day. I can’t think of a better situation.

Read more: Our Cali travel guide

Cali best places to visit in Colombia

#4 Cartagena, best romantic city in Colombia

Cartagena already has a tremendous reputation around the world and many travel websites consider it’s one of the best places to visit in Colombia. The old city center is made up of colorful facades, flowery balconies, and fantastic restaurants.

Therefore, it’s an ideal city for a honeymoon journey, but there are some inconveniences you should know.

  • Beaches in Cartagena aren’t pleasant
  • Depending on the season, the city can be super crowded
  • It’s expensive
  • There are not many Colombia sightseeings around Cartagena

Read more: Our Cartagena travel guide

Cartagena itinerary 1 week in Colombia

#5 Santa Marta, a touristic hub on the coast

There is 0 interest in visiting Santa Marta. However, you may have to stay there one night as it’s the easiest way to reach the Eastern side of the Caribbean coast.

It’s also the departure point for various excellent multi-day trips to La Guajira or the Lost City.

Read more: Our Santa Marta Travel guide

Santa Marta

#6 Pereira, a touristic hub in the Coffee Region

As Santa Marta, Pereira won’t blow your mind. However, it’s a strategic place to visit the coffee region. It’s also easy to get there as there are an airport, a major bus terminal, and AVIS Rental car company.

We’ve met one of the best local travel agencies when we were there. Thanks to them, you can plan different adventures:

  • Multi-day trips to the Paramo Los Nevados
  • Canyoning and thermal baths
  • Visit unknown-and-beautiful colonial towns

The coffee region is one my favorite region to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Pereira Travel guide

Pereira Zona Cafetera

The best beach towns to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

Colombia is the only country in South America with two coastlines. Therefore, there is a bunch of cool beach towns where you can relax.

#7 Capurgana & Sapzurro, visit 2 beach towns in the Darien Gap

First of all, yes, it’s safe to travel to Capurgana and Sapzurro. I know that the Darien Gap as a bad reputation because of the Colombia paramilitaries, but I stayed there for over 1 year without having any issues.

Both towns are remote, and only accessible by boat. I loved it there. There are some nice beaches, an authentic beach town atmosphere, and many half-day trip activities you can do by yourself.

Read more: Our Capurgana travel guide

Read more: Our Sapzurro travel guide

Capurgana best places to visit in Colombia

#8 Rincon del Mar, the ideal beach town

Rincon del Mar is a little hidden paradise that we must preserve. The inhabitants are the nicest people I’ve met on the coast, and it’s the most beautiful beach town in the Caribbean with its endless white-sand beach and colorful houses.

Moreover, there are plenty of activities you can organize with the locals, as snorkeling tour, bioluminescent plankton, and a trip to the San Bernardo Islands.

Rincon del Mar is one of my favorite places to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Rincon del Mar Travel guide

Rincon del mar best places to visit in Colombia

#9 Palomino, visit the most famous beach town

Nowadays, every traveler knows about Palomino – it wasn’t the case a few years ago. It’s a chill beach town with not many things to do, except tubing on the river. It’s maybe not the best option if you’re looking for a place with fewer foreigners. However, there are some nice accommodations and restaurants.

Unfortunately, the current is quite strong in this area, so you won’t be able to swim in the ocean.

Read more: Our Palomino travel guide

Palomino

#10 Dibulla, an authentic fishing town

If you want to experience living and chilling in an authentic Caribbean beach town, then you should ditch Palomino and pick Dibulla instead.

There are not many things to do around, but it’s enough to occupy you for a couple of days.

Organize a horse riding activity at sunset or an ecological hike in the Sierra Nevada, then plan a multi-day expedition to La Guajira.

Read more: Our Dibulla Travel guide

dibulla best places to visit in Colombia

#11 Thermales & Guachalito, visit the paradise on earth

The pacific coast is wild and beautiful. There is no road to get there, and you shouldn’t expect a 5-star hotel. However, it will be the perfect place for disconnecting from the modern world.

Guachalito is a magnificent black-sand beach surrounded by lush vegetation. There are few eco-lodges scattered alongside the beach, and it can be an excellent option for enjoying some slow vacation days with your loved one.

And, if you don’t have the budget for it, Termales remains an excellent choice. Take the opportunity to learn how to surf. 😉

It’s one of the wildest places to visit in Colombia and it’s just half an hour by plane from Medellin. The contrast between the city and Guachalito is striking.

Read more: Our Guachalito & Termales travel guide

Nuqui and Guachalito

#12 El Valle, it will be hard to say goodbye

El Valle is a small beach town on the Pacific coast, at 30 min from the Bahia Solano’s airport. There are a few restaurants, nice hostels, and guesthouses. It’s more affordable than Guachalito.

Read more: Our El Valle travel guide

El Valle Bahia Solano best places to visit in Colombia

#13 La Barra, the cheapest zone of the Pacific coast

Being quite close to Cali (3h bus + 1h boat), Juanchaco attracts many Colombian tourists, especially during the whale watching season.

Juanchaco doesn’t deserve your attention, but we really liked La Barra and its surroundings. It’s a tiny beach town, with not many things to do. Fortunately, some hotels offer some entertaining and affordable activities.

Read more: Our La Barra travel guide

La barra et bahia Malaga

The most beautiful colonial towns to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

Because of the reputation of Villa de Leyva or Barichara, some travelers are willing to spend a day in transportation just for staying 24 hours.

It makes no sense to me.

Colombia’s colonial towns are indeed pleasant to visit, but the genuine interest lies in the atmosphere. And, you won’t get it by flying 30 seconds around like a hummingbird.

  • There are always some cool activities to do around.
  • Try all the restaurants and decide which one is your favorite
  • Stay in a lovely guesthouse and lay back for an afternoon
  • Grab a coffee on the main square and watch bystanders

#14 Barichara, ideal for planning extreme sports activities

Many travelers consider Barichara as one of the best places to visit in Colombia.

I’ve to admit that this colonial town is super lovely and pleasant. However, it’s a bit of a headache to get there.

Add this famous Colombia destination to your itinerary if you like extreme sports activities. There are excellent local travel agencies that offer fantastic experiences like rafting, cave exploring, paragliding, canyoning.

If you’re not interested in that, pick another village.

Barichara Lieux a visiter en Colombie

#15 Villa de Leyva, my favorite romantic getaway

Villa de Leyva is a town I like to visit again and again. It’s close to Bogota and there are all the conditions needed to enjoy a fantastic stay.

  • Delicious restaurants and lovely hotels
  • Many entertaining outdoor activities: bike, vineyard, hikes
  • Massages
  • Colombia sightseeings where you can stop on the way back
  • Cool nights which is perfect for sleeping well

Villa de Leyva is one of my best places to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Villa de Leyva travel guide

#16 Buenavista, the best view in Colombia

Buenavista is a little colonial town nestled up a hill in the coffee region. There are two excellent coffee tours and some delicious ice-creams.

Read more: Our Buenavista travel guide

Buenavista zona Cafetera

#17 Filandia, an excellent alternative to Salento

Filandia is my favorite alternative to Salento and the atmosphere is much more authentic there. Moreover, there are some really good restaurants and cafés – Helena Dentro & Cultivar.

From Filandia, you can easily organize a trip to Valle de Cocora or an expedition to listen to howler monkeys in the Barbas Bremen nature reserve.

Read more: Our Filandia travel guide

#18 Salento, the departure point to Valle de Cocora

Like Cartagena & Palomino, Salento is always listed in every “where to travel in Colombia” article. Nowadays, the colonial is so famous than most of the locals have run away.

There are some excellent accommodation options and the main square is the official departure to Valle de Cocora, where you can find the tallest wax palm trees in the world.

It’s also a good option if you want to get a more in-depth explanation about coffee.

Read more: Our Salento travel guide

Salento and Valle de Cocora

#19 Salamina, another secret alternative to Valle de Cocora

Salamina is a lovely colonial town, with colorful streets and carved wooden balconies.

The main Colombia highlight nearby is Valle de Samaria, another valley where you can observe the tallest wax palm trees in the world. It’s a great alternative to Valle de Cocora, and there is nobody!

Read more: Our Salamina Travel guide

Salamina coffee region Colombia

#20 Jardin, a town for drinking coffee and chasing waterfalls

While Jardin starts being famous among travelers, it’s still not invaded by foreigners.

I recommend Jardin to people who like hiking and waterfalls. There are many day-trips you can organize with excellent local agencies.

Moreover, we discovered a couple of beautiful hotels and mouth-watering restaurants.

I love visiting this Colombian town.

Read more: Our Jardin Travel guide

Jardin

#21 Jerico, a religious town made up of churches and coffee farms

Jerico is nestled on the top of a green hill and offers some beautiful sceneries to visitors. Like Jardin, Jerico is situated in Antioquia – one of my most beautiful Colombia departments. I like to include both towns in the same itinerary as you can move from one to the other thanks to a Chiva – a large and colorful bus typical from there.

Read more: Our Jerico Travel guide

Jerico Antioquia best places to visit in Colombia

#22 Guatape, get to the top of a giant monolith

Guatape is the most famous day trip from Medellin. Let’s see why:

  • It’s easy to get there from Medellin by bus
  • You don’t need a guide
  • The view from El Peñol – a giant monolith nearby – is breathtaking
  • The colonial town is cute

Even if it’s straightforward to get to Guatape, you will still spend at least 4h on a bus (round trip). Therefore, I recommend staying 1 night in Guatape or heading to San Rafael and San Carlos.

Read more: Our Guatape Travel guide

Guatape

Towns surrounded by lush vegetation to visit in Colombia

Best places to go to Colombia

Colombia is not only made up of beaches, cute colonial towns, and big cities. Actually, an important part of the country is covered by thick green plants AKA jungle.

You can let your machete at home, but don’t forget your repellent.

#23 Minca, a town to visit in the middle of the Sierra Nevada

If you want to travel on the Caribbean Coast, then it’s interesting to stop a couple of days in Minca to take a break from the beaches. It’s straightforward to get there from Santa Marta.

It’s a well-known place to do some birdwatching and relax a few days in an Eco-lodge. The town itself doesn’t offer any interest. The best Colombia sightseeing is the 2-day hike to Cerro Kennedy.

Avoid the weekends as many Colombians like to get to the Pozo Azul -natural pools- and the Marinka waterfalls.

Read more: Our Minca travel guide

MINCA

#24 Paso del Mango, an excellent alternative to Minca

You won’t find many “Best places to visit in Colombia” articles mentioning Paso del Mango. It’s because only a few people know about this place.

Paso del Mango is an alternative to Minca. It’s a bit more complicated to get there, but it’s worth it as you won’t meet many other foreigners. There is an excellent hostel that offers various activities and an excellent setting.

There is a “secret” 5h hike between Minca and Paso del Mango in case you would like to visit both ;).

Read more: Our Paso del Mango travel guide

Paso del Mango best places to visit in Colombia

#25 Mocoa, A city at the border with the Amazon

Mocoa was half shattered by a terrible mudslide a few years ago, and the city is not appealing at all.

Pick your accommodation nearby the departure of the trail “Cascada fin del Mundo”. There is a bunch of superb waterfalls and the area is excellent for birdwatching.

The zone is super humid. Your clothes won’t dry.

Mocoa

#26 Leticia, the only access to the Amazon

If you want to visit the Amazon in Colombia, you must pass by Leticia. The city is vast and loud, but it’s interesting to move around as you can eat your breakfast in Colombia, have lunch in Brazil and dinner in Peru.

Most of the multi-day tours with a local agency will start from Leticia. Also, don’t hesitate to pick an eco-lodge distant from the city to immerse yourself in the wild.

There are two seasons in the Amazon:

  • December to May: the water level increases
  • June to November: the water level decreases

Read more: Our Leticia Travel guide

Leticia best places to visit in Colombia

#27 Puerto Nariño, the green lungs of the Amazon

Although Leticia can be “fun” for a couple of hours, it’s far from being the best place to visit in Colombia to embrace nature.

Take the public boat to head to Puerto Nariño, an eco-friendly town where motor vehicles are forbidden. From there, you can plan different activities to observe wildlife and visit various cultural centers.

Read more: Our Puerto Nariño Travel guide

Puerto Nariño (1)

Best islands to visit in Colombia

What to see in Colombia

We can’t create a list of the best places to visit in Colombia without mentioning some paradise islands.

#28 Archipelago de Rosario, visit the Caribbean islands near Cartagena

Beaches in Cartagena aren’t appealing at all. Fortunately, visitors can easily travel to the Rosario islands from the Walled City. I don’t recommend picking the day-trip tours selling by the hotels & street vendors. There are too many people and not enough time on the islands. The best option is to stay overnight.

Be aware that most of the Rosario Islands are invaded by tourists, especially during the high season.

  • Mamallena Shuttles to Playa Blanca
  • Public Boat to Isla Grande
  • Private transport to various upscale Eco-lodges/resorts.

Read more: Our Rosario islands Travel guide

#29 Archipelago de San Bernardo, Caribbean islands in front of Rincon del Mar

The Archipelago of San Bernardo is made up of 10 paradise islands, and there are only 2 tiny portions considered as public beaches.

Crystal-blue water, white-sand beaches, and palm trees, the setting is mind-blowing.

Pick well your accommodation as you won’t be able to wander from one place to the other, as most parts of the islands are privatized. There is a hotel or hostel for every taste.

Read more: Our San Bernardo travel guide

San Bernardo islands

#30 Isla Fuerte, an island forgotten by travelers

Most travelers are not aware of Isla Fuerte as it’s a bit isolated from the other Colombia sightseeings.

Isla Fuerte is a good choice to relax for a few days and enjoy the island vibe. There is not much to do except hang out in a nice hotel and book their different activities: Scuba diving, paddle, rafting…

Read more: Our Isla Fuerte Travel guide

#31 San Andres, A paradise island victim of mass tourism

We didn’t stop there, but from what I’ve heard, there are many hotel resorts and loud Colombians.

You should pick your accommodation nearby San Luis if you look for a better paradise island atmosphere.

There are still some excellent diving spots.

San Andres

#32 Providencia, the ideal paradise island

We chose not to stop in San Andres because we wanted to stay longer on Providencia. I assure you it’s one of the best places to visit in Colombia – if you’ve got the budget and the time for it.

You must take 2 flights to get there, so it’s not worth it to plan on staying 3 days.

I can’t imagine a better island life. Book a little guesthouse and rent a scooter to move from secluded beach to secluded beach. And don’t forget to book a scuba diving expedition and a snorkel tour to explore the mind-blowing submarine world around Providencia.

Read more: Our Providencia travel guide

Providencia

Best places to plan exciting outdoor activities

Best places to visit in Colombia

Because of the Andean mountains, there are various places where you can get some adrenaline rush. It’s affordable and safe ;).

The most commons in Colombia are:

  • Canyoning
  • Rappelling
  • Zipline
  • Rafting
  • Paragliding
  • Cave exploring

Let’s find out the best places to visit in Colombia for practicing extreme sports activities.

#33 San Gil, a town with a solid reputation for outdoor activities

Santander was the first department to develop extreme sports activities in Colombia seriously.

Many travelers go to San Gil for this reason. Everyone can show up in the city and book the tours they want for the next day. The only inconvenience is that you spend many travel hours to get to San Gil.

Usually, people like to paragliding above the Chicamocha Canyon and rafting on the Suarez river – Rapid class 4/5.

#34 Tobia, visit a 3-h getaway from Bogota

The town of Tobia is not famous enough yet to be able to plan outdoor activities during the week.

However, many Colombians from Bogota get there on weekends. You can book some affordable all included packages (rafting + rappelling) or you can ask for something more specific.

We did some excellent canyoning tours in Tobia.

Read more: Our Tobia travel guide

Tobia Best places to Colombia

#35 Paicol, an off the beaten path colonial town

Paicol is a little colonial town not “far away” from the Tatacoa desert and Tierradentro.

It’s an ideal stop to plan a few outdoor activities with the top-notch local agency present in town.

As in Tobia, there are not many visitors during the week. Therefore, it can be complicated to organize a rafting trip if you’re not a group of 4.

In any case, cave exploring, biking, and rappelling trips are always doable.

Read more: Our Paicol travel guide

#36 Tamesis, a 4h getaway from Medellin

Tamesis is an excellent pick if you want to stay in a town that nobody knows, except a few aficionados. Moreover, the landscapes around Tamesis are mind-blowing.

It’s a great spot for rappelling.

Read more: Our Tamesis travel guide

Tamesis

# 37 San Rafael, an ideal place to cool off

San Rafael is only 45 min from Guatape, but almost no travelers get there. It’s an excellent spot to swim in crystal-clear rivers.

Canyoning and tubing are the two main activities in San Rafael.

Read more: Our San Rafael travel guide

San Rafael (1)

#38 San Carlos, a paradise for canyoning lovers

San Carlos is 1h away from San Rafael and there are some excellent spots for canyoning.

It’s the perfect place to visit in Colombia if you’re looking for a mix of adrenaline, peaceful colonial town and mighty waterfalls.

Read more: Our San Carlos travel guide

San Carlos (1)

#39 Suesca, more than 400 rock climbing routes

If you like playing Spider-pig, then you will love Suesca. Roca de Suesca is a large cliff at a 15 min walk from town. There, more than 400 routes are equipped so you can practice your climbing skills.

There are also qualified local agencies where you can rent pieces of equipment or take some lessons.

Read more: Our Suesca travel guide

Best Deserts to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

There are 2 deserts in Colombia. You won’t find dunes on hundred of miles, but it’s worth a visit.

Let’s have a look at the best places to visit in Colombia for kissing a cactus.

#40 La Guajira desert, visit the northernmost point of South America

La Guajira is quite a vast desert starting from Riohacha to the Venezuelan border. There are different Colombia sightseeings you can include in a tour, the 3 main ones being:

  • Cabo de la Vela
  • Punta Gallinas
  • The national park Macuira

Except for Cabo de la Vela, you need to book a tour to explore it and you will spend many hours in the jeep.

A trip to La Guajira is also an opportunity to share with the Indigenous Wayuu and live in a Rancheria (farm).

Read more: Our La Guajira travel guide

LA Guajira

#41 Tatacoa desert, a place to observe the starry sky

Frankly, I was a bit disappointed with the Tatacoa desert. The most photogenic section – Cuzco – is quite small, and a couple of hours is enough to visit it.

We heard it was fun to sleep in the desert, but most of the hotels are illegals as it’s forbidden to build constructions within the park. So, we didn’t do it and stayed in Villavieja instead.

Nevertheless, it can be a nice day trip if you pass nearby.

Read more: Our Tatacoa desert travel guide

Tatacoa desert

Best archaeological sites to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

Colombia isn’t like Peru, Guatemala or Mexico. You won’t find sumptuous pyramids or other mysterious constructions.

However, Colombians found many gold artifacts and proof of old civilizations, especially two crucial necropolis sites in the South of Colombia, both declared UNESCO world heritage sites.

Lots of concrete explanations are still missing.

#42 Tierradentro, visit a necropolis made up of deep underground tombs

Tens of underground vaults (5-7m deep) have been discovered in Tierradentro. You can freely move from site to site with a local guide – (Spanish only).

My favorite spot was “El Aguacate” as the view was breathtaking.

It’s a bit of a headache to get there, a mode of private transport isn’t a bad idea ;).

Read more: Our Tierradentro travel guide

Tierradentro

#43 San Agustin, a place with more than 500 giant stone statues

San Agustin is famous for its various archeological sites where you can contemplate massive stone statues of 4-5m high.

There are many lovely accommodations outside the city, and the landscape is quite lovely. Horse riding is an entertaining way to move from one site to the other.

Don’t plan only to stay 1 night as you can book many other fun experiences like rafting, birdwatching, zipline, and various cultural tours.

Read more: Our San Agustin travel guide

San agustin

Hidden gems recently open to the public

Best places to visit in Colombia

20 years ago, Colombia was really messed up because of the Guerillas and Narcotraficants. While there are still presents in some remote areas in the country, the situation has improved a LOT.

In 2016, the most prominent rebel armed group, the FARC, signed a peace agreement with the government.

Today, various incredible new-safe places start receiving tourists.

#44 La Macarena, contemplate the rainbow river

The easiest way to reach la Macarena is to take a charter with a local travel agency. They will take care of everything, from transportation to the park entrances. Moreover, if you pick the right local agency, it’s almost the same price as if you do it by yourself.

Caño Cristales is a world-famous 5-colors river you can sight from mid-June to November when the national park is open to the public. All the tours leave from La Macarena.

It’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in Colombia.

Read more: Our Caño Cristales travel guide

Caño-Cristales

#45 San Jose del Guaviare, our favorite off the beaten path destination

If you’re looking for a unique Colombian experience, then San Jose del Guaviare is a perfect pick.

It’s an authentic town with local farmers coming every weekend to sell their products. There are top-notch Colombia sightseeings scattered all around like rock paintings, waterfalls, colorful rivers, natural pools, birdwatching, dolphins…

You can’t move around without a means of private transportation. The easiest way is to book an all-included package – and the prices can be super interesting.

We loved visiting San Jose del Guaviare in Colombia.

Read more: Our San Jose del Guaviare travel guide

San Jose del Guaviare

The national parks to visit in Colombia

Best places to visit in Colombia

There are 58 protected areas in Colombia, and you can visit 29 of them. Local agencies organize day trips or multi-day hikes to explore the Paramos, contemplate beautiful rivers and so on.

We will write a more in-depth post next time, but here is a list to give you some leads:

  • Tayrona: It’s a beautiful park on the Caribbean coast. No guide mandatory.
  • Los Nevados: It’s a vast protected area with snow peaks, paramos, and the famous Valle de Cocora. Many multi-day trips. Guides are not mandatory, but I recommend taking one.
  • Purace: It’s a reserve and a volcano near Popayan.
  • Cocuy: There are 3 beautiful hikes, but you can’t sleep within the park. Guides are mandatory.
  • The Ciudad Perdida: A 4-day trek in the Sierra Nevada. A guide is mandatory.

Read more: Our Tayrona travel guide

Read more: Our Popayan travel guide.

Best places to visit in Colombia on a MAP

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Best places to visit in Colombia

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Best places to visit in Colombia (1)

Best Luxury Hotels in Colombia (2020): Our Mind-Blowing selection

After 1 year of traveling in the country to meet reliable partners, I realized there were many luxury hotels in Colombia.

It’s excellent news, especially if you want to plan an epic honeymoon journey or an unforgettable bachelor(ette) adventure with your friends.

However, we don’t mix apple and pears.

I believe the surroundings, atmosphere, and quality of the services offered are all equally important.

It’s the reason why I refuse to include all the Mariott, Hiltons, and other famous Colombia resorts. I don’t like being a random room number, surrounded by other pinky numbers.

I prefer cute boutique hotels, secluded eco-lodges, and emblematic hotels. Therefore, I’m not just considering 5-stars hotel – almost inexistent in Colombia – for this article.

We have visited 14 of the 16 luxury Colombia hotels listed in this post, and we’re working with the majority of them when creating Colombia itineraries.

Our premium service: We take care of your trip and you get special discounts!

Best luxury hotels in Colombia: What you must know

In case you’ve got a tea time appointment with the Queen.

Here the list of our favorite luxury hotels in Colombia:

Luxury hotels in Cartagena

Cartagena is a beautiful colonial city with colorful and flowery alleys. It’s also super easy to get there from the United States.

If you include Cartagena in your Colombia itinerary, it’s because you want to spend a dreamy time with your loved one – if you’re looking for good parties, Bogota and Medellin are a lot better. Therefore, I suggest staying in the old city center. You can’t find a more romantic city in Colombia.

Read Our Cartagena Travel guide

For the ones who want to bury their toes in the white-sand, the Rosario Islands are nearby. The scenery is incredible, but it can be crowded and most of the accommodations are overrated. Fortunately, I know one secret gem.

Find our selection of the best luxury hotels in Colombia for Cartagena.

#1 TownHouse, the hotel for trendy partygoers

Townhouse is the perfect place for travelers who wants a fun stay while visiting Cartagena. There is a cool atmosphere flowing from the pieces of art on the walls and each of the 11 bedrooms is unique. To tell you the truth, if you’re older and want to sleep at 8 pm, don’t pick this luxury boutique hotel in Cartagena. The music would keep you awake. Their motto is “fancy doesn’t have to be boring”.

Our rating for Townhouse (+)

Townhouse’s strong point: The well-equipped rooftop with a great view of the old city center. The place is famous for hosting many social events and trendy parties.

  • Surroundings: 8.5/10 | Cartagena old center’ roofs
  • Uniqueness: 7.5/10 | local artists
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 180 $
Townhouse best luxury hotels Colombia Cartagena

#2 Casa San Agustin: The Cartagena’s Rolls-Royce

In terms of convenience & personalized services, it will be complicated to find better. This quite large boutique hotel – 31 bedrooms – is situated in a splendid colonial house. There are many pleasant common areas – library, rooftop, pool,- where you can relax if you want to hide from your stepmother. If you’re a romantic old school person, then the luxury hotel Casa San Agustin is for you.

Our rating for C. San Agustin (+)

Casa San Agustin’s strongpoint: The staff is perfectly trained and knows how to please the guests. Also, the beauty of the building is mind-blowing.

  • Surroundings: 8.5/10 | Cartagena old center’ roofs
  • Uniqueness: 9/10 | Stunning colonial building
  • Comfort: 10/10 | Top-notch services and staff
  • Price: From 530 $
Casa San Agustin Best place to stay luxury hotel Cartagena

#3 Carolina island: Best Luxury hotel in the Rosario islands

The luxury hotel Carolina island is situated in Isla Marina – a few meters away from Isla Grande. And, it’s great news as tourists often invade Isla Grande. Carolina island is a small resort – 9 rooms – surrounded by crystalline-blue water and mangrove in the Rosario Islands at 1 h boat ride from Cartagena. Let the hectic days within the walled city, and come here to relax a couple of days. There is everything you need to be happy. Say hi to the private chef for me, would you?

Our rating for Carolina island (+)

Carolina island’s strongpoint: Its location in the Rosario Islands. The resort is split into two parts, and the Westside is for guests only. It’s a genuine little gem.

  • Surroundings: 10/10 | Paradise islands
  • Uniqueness: 9/10 | The only human on earth
  • Comfort: 8/10
  • Price: From 260$ | Full board
Coralina islands Best luxury hotel in Rosario Islands

San Bernardo Islands

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

If you’re looking for paradise islands less-known than the Rosario islands, then you should head to the San Bernado islands.

Because it’s far from everything – 2h boat ride from Cartagena -, the value for money isn’t at its best, but the setting is 100% worth it.

Read our San Bernardo travel guide

Choose your accommodation with care as 95% of the islands are private and you will spend most of your time in your hotel. Don’t worry; Our favorite boutique hotels offer the best services and food on the islands.

Find our selection of the best luxury hotels in Colombia for the San Bernardo Islands.

#4 Punta Faro: The top-notch luxury hotel on Isla Mucura

Punta Faro is an old luxury hotel that has privatized the best part of the Mucura island. You’ve got everything on the spot to be happy. The amazing staff is always willing to help, but never pushy. The rhythm of the day is at your convenience. Lay back on the beach all day, or book one of the many activities offered by the upscale hotel Punta Faro – plankton tour, paddle, snorkeling, diving, boat trip. Also, the food is delicious.

Our rating for Punta Faro (+)

Punta Faro’s strongpoint: The privacy on the best part of the island.

  • Surroundings: 9/10 | Paradise island
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 317 $ | Min. 2 nights. Full board
Luxury Eco Resort hotel Punta Faro Isla Mucura

#5 Sal Si Puedes: Luxury hotel on Isla Tintipan

Quite frankly, Isla Tintipan is even better than Isla Mucura. The only hitch is that you can be a bit bothered by the music when daytrippers come around on the weekend. On Isla Tintipan, there is only 1 upscale option: the hotel Sal Si Puedes. Don’t expect the facilities of a 5-stars hotel, but the setting worth hundreds of Hilton hotels. We fell in love with the Deluxe room. Guests wake up with the feet in the ocean, and there is a secret wood pier through the mangrove at the back.

Our rating for Sal si Puedes (+)

Sal Si Puedes’s strongpoint: Beautiful paradise island

  • Surroundings: 10/10 | Paradise island
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 7.5/10
  • Price: From 250$ |Min. 2 nights
Sal Si Puedes Luxury hotels Colombia Isla Tintipan

Providencia

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

Providencia is my favorite Colombian island. However, it’s a bit complicated to get there as you must arrive in San Andres first then take another 15 min flight. Thanks to the efforts of its inhabitants, Providencia has kept its magic soul, and you won’t find any resorts there.

Read our Providencia Travel guide

Some hotels work with Decameron, but the value for money isn’t outstanding.

#6 Deep Blue: Luxury hotel in front of the sea of seven colors

Deep blue is expensive, but it’s the price to pay when you’re isolated on a paradise island. And you won’t be disappointed! The different rooms are scattered on a small hill so all the guests can have an incredible view of the ocean and Crab Cay. Rent a golf car and explore the different secluded beaches of Providencia, or ask the staff to book you one of the activities of the hotel.

Our rating for Deep Blue (+)

Deep Blue’s strongpoint: The view is incredible, especially at sunset. Go to the hotel’s pier and order a delicious cocktail while falling in love with the last sun’s breath of the day.

  • Surroundings: 10/10 | Paradise island
  • Uniqueness: 9/10 | The only human on earth
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 300 $
Deep blue best luxury hotels Colombia Providencia

Nearby Tayrona

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

Many travelers go to Tayrona without realizing there are some sumptuous hotels a few kilometers away from the Zaino entrance, between Playa Naranjo and Buritaca. On this endless beach, between palm trees and beach towns, every traveler will find something he likes. It’s peaceful and mesmerizing. However, be careful with the current. It’s quite strong over there.

Read our Tayrona travel guide

Don’t stay overnight in Santa Marta if you aim to visit the Tayrona park and rest a few days on the beach. Take a bus or private transport and head to Naranjos Beach and Buritaca. There is only 1 road. You can’t be lost.

#7 Gitana del Mar: A luxury place to explore the Sierra Nevada

It was complicated to pick a favorite among the excellent hotels in the area, but we fell in love with Gitana del Mar. This upscale hotel aims to be a peaceful home where you can recharge your battery and disconnect from the world. In addition to the amazing tours and massage they offer, Gitana del Mar is always willing to help the indigenous communities and preserve the environment through its foundation.

Our rating for Gitana del Mar (+)

Gitana del Mar’s strong point: The well being in the hotel and the strategical location.

  • Surroundings: 8.5/10
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 200 $ | Min. 2 nights. Full board
Gitana-del-Mar-Luxury-hotel-Tayrona

Zona Cafetera

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

The Zona Cafetera is one of my favorite regions in Colombia. There are majestic waterfalls, stunning colonial towns, and epic hikes in Los Nevados.

I love staying in little authentic villages like Filandia or Buenavista. All the restaurants and cafes are nearby, and I could spend hours on the main square, watching cowboys with their colorful check shirts while drinking a good coffee.

However, if you’re looking for luxury experiences, you might be interested in staying in Pereira.

Read our Pereira travel guide

Let me give you my best luxury hotel in Colombia for the Zona Cafetera

#8 Sazagua: luxury experiences and SPA

Sazagua is a luxury hotel, outside of Pereira, that wants to offer the best travel experience to its clients. Through their services, you can taste tens of different fruits, visit a coffee farm, organize a romantic picnic in Valle de Cocora or get a unique massage experience. In the morning, colorful birds fly everywhere in the garden. It was such a peaceful moment when we were there!

Our rating for Sazagua (+)

Sazagua’s strongpoint: In addition to the fantastic facilities, they give you the possibility to book unforgettable experiences.

  • Surroundings: 8/10 | Beautiful garden
  • Uniqueness: 8.5/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 85$!
Sazagua boutique hotel in Colombia Pereira

Pacific coast

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

The pacific coast is wild and unknown. Therefore, it’s the ideal place if you want to escape the madness of modern life. Let your phone at home or throw it against a palm tree. You won’t need it there.

Because there is no road to get to the Pacific coast, it’s kind of complicated to build luxury boutique hotels. However, the setting is so unbelievable that you don’t care if there is no hot water (the weather is never cold anyway) or jacuzzi. Also, don’t complain if there is a spider or a bat. You’re in their house, not the other way around.

For me, the most magical part on the Pacific coast is the area around Nuqui.

Read our Guachliato travel guide

#9 Morromico: Live like a wealthy Robinson Crusoe

As I said below, don’t expect to stay in a luxury eco-lodge. On the Pacific coast, you pay for the location. Morromico is at a 1h boat ride from any other places on the Pacific coast. This eco-lodge is situated in a majestic bay made of black-sand and palm trees. The owners are super friendly, and they will take care of you from the beginning until the end of your stay.

Our rating for Morromico (+)

Morromico’s strongpoint: The perfect spot to embrace nature and relax.

  • Surroundings: 10/10
  • Uniqueness: 10/10
  • Comfort: 5.5/10 | Basic rooms
  • Price: From 200 USD | Full board. Min 2 nights
MorroMico-Cabanas-Pacific-coast-hotel

San Agustin

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

Travelers go to San Agustin because of the UNESCO archeological sites. Book a horse riding or a jeep tour, and learn about this pre-Colombian era.

Read our San Agustin travel guide

#10 Monasterio: Luxury hotel near the Archeological sites

Monasterio is the only luxury hotel in San Agustin and its surroundings. Their flowery garden is quite sumptuous and offers an attractive setting for resting after a long day. Besides, the view of the landscape around is beautiful. We also love the successful mix of the old-school decoration with the vintage style of the building.

Our rating for Monasterio (+)

Monasterio’s strongpoint: Perfect location near some of the most famous archeological sites.

  • Surroundings: 8.5/10
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 115 $
Monasterio-San-Agustin

Villa de Leyva

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

I met so many travelers who just want to organize a day trip to Villa de Leyva from Bogota. It’s foolish.

Take the time to appreciate this authentic colonial town. Stroll among the cobblestone streets, buy a mouth-watering chocolate bread and eat in delicious restaurants. For me, Villa de Leyva is the perfect romantic stop to add in a Colombia itinerary.

Read our Villa de Leyva Travel guide

Find our selection of the best luxury hotels in Colombia for Villa de Leya.

#11 Casa Terra: a peaceful oasis in the center

Casa Terra is the perfect example of a successful hotel boutique. The top-notch personalized advice, the homely atmosphere, and the comfy bedrooms. Everything is ideal for experiencing an enjoyable stay in Villa de Leyva.

Our rating for Casa Terra (+)

Casa Terra’s strongpoint: The owner takes the time to give you the best recommendations.

  • Outdoors: 8.5/10
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 9.5/10
  • Price: From 68$!
Casa Tierra Hotel Boutique Villa de Leyva

Best luxury hotels in Bogota

Many travelers don’t like Bogota because they’re not prepared. Take an umbrella and a sweater and you will fix half of Bogota’s problems.

The 2nd significant issue is traffic. Bogota is enormous, and public transportations aren’t optimal for a city of 9 million inhabitants. You want to avoid long-distance by car. The easiest way is to avoid the rush hour -you’re on holiday for god’s sake – and pick your district wisely.

Read our Bogota travel guide

Yes, the street art in La Candelaria is lovely, but the neighborhood is pretty dead – and dodgy – at night. I prefer staying in Chapinero, especially in Quinta Camacho. It’s closer to the airport/bus terminal, and there are tons of delicious restaurants and trendy bars!

Find out the selection of our favorite luxury hotels in Colombia for Bogota.

# 12 Casa Medina: The Rolling Stones stayed there

Casa Medina is part of the Four Seasons chain, but it’s far from being a cold and impersonal establishment. The top-notch customer service makes you feel like if you’re Elvis Presley’s cousin. The elegant decorations and the designer furniture match perfectly. Casa Medina is the perfect example of an old building renovated with taste.

Our rating for Casa Medina (+)

Casa Medina’s strongpoint: The professionalism of the staff and the building

  • Surroundings: 6/10 | You’re in Bogota
  • Uniqueness: 8.5/10 | Beautiful colonial house
  • Comfort: 10/10
  • Price: From 360$
Casa Medina Luxury hotel bogota

#13 Casa Legado: A hidden luxury home

When traveling, you sometimes miss the comfort of your own home. It’s pleasant to have everything within arm’s reach, take a cold fresh juice in the fridge, hang out naked while eating ice-cream… Casa Legado does its best to make you comfortable in a homely atmosphere. Bedrooms are spacious and comfy, foods and beverages are always available for free in the kitchen, you can also cook if you want. In short, you will never miss home again.

Our rating for Casa Legado (+)

Casa Legado’s strongpoint: The personalized customer service and the homely atmosphere.

  • Surroundings: 6/10 | You’re in Bogota
  • Uniqueness: 8/10
  • Comfort: 10/10
  • Price: from 260$
Casa Legado luxury hotels in Colombia Bogota

Best luxury hotels in Medellin

Travelers love Medellin because of its friendly Paisas and wild parties. Even if I prefer staying in Laureles, there is no luxury hotel there.

Read our Medellin travel guide

Therefore, I decided to pick both hotels in the well-known Poblado district. It’s a strategical place if you want to party hard, but there is also a quiet area if you wish to relax and enjoy the cultural side of Medellin.

Find out our selection of the best luxury hotels in Colombia for Medellin.

#14 The Charlee: The most famous upscale hotel in Medellin

The Charlee is an iconic luxury hotel in Medellin. Located on Parque Lleras, it’s the perfect spot to go clubbing in Poblado. The Charlee offers the ideal combo to experience an unforgettable stay: delicious meals, 3 floors for the Gym only, private kitchen and jacuzzi in the best rooms, a rooftop on the 17th floor of the hotel that hosts epic parties. Let’s the party begin.

Our rating for The Charlee (+)

The Charlee’s strongpoint: The stunning rooftop with restaurant and trendy parties.

  • Surroundings: 7/10 |Good location for partying
  • Uniqueness: 8.5/10 | Fantastic building
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 190$
The Charlee Best luxury hotels in Medellin

#15 Patio del Mundo: A secret oasis in Poblado

If partying is not your thing, I still have another excellent option for you. Patio del Mundo is located uphill, in the fanciest Poblado area. This little boutique hotel – only 7 rooms – is close to the best restaurants and trendy bar, and still, you won’t be bothered by the music at night. The French owners are super cute and will give you the best advice to enjoy the city.

Our rating for P. del Mundo (+)

Patio del Mundo’s strongpoint: There is a beautiful garden with lots of plants, trees, and a jacuzzi! You don’t have the impression to be in Medellin.

  • Surroundings: 7.5/10 | Beautiful garden
  • Uniqueness: 7.5/10
  • Comfort: 9/10
  • Price: From 130 $
Patio del Mundo luxury hotels in Medellin

Amazon Rainforest

Best luxury hotels in Colombia

If you’re looking for a unique experience, then traveling to the Amazon is an excellent choice.

And, to maximize this once in a lifetime experience, you must go deeper into the jungle, where there are more Ents – walking trees in the Lord of the Rings – than human beings.

Read our Amazon travel guide

Don’t hope for a luxury comfort in this part of the world. However, the memories will stay forever, especially when you’re face to face with a tarantula in the toilet.

Find out my favorite luxury hotels in Colombia for the Amazon.

#16 Palmari: A natural reserve with fantastic activities

Palmari takes care of everything as soon as you arrive in Leticia. This natural reserve, at a 2h30 boat ride from the closest town, is a magical and wild place. Upon arrival, you get an assigned local guide, and you plan your days with him as you want: Kayak, multi-day trip in the jungle, traditional fishing, cultural workshop, ecological walk,… Everything is included and available. The comfort is quite basic, but it’s hard to do better when you’re in the middle of nowhere.

Our rating for Palmari (+)

Palmari’s strong point: All the activities are included in the price, and you decide day to day what you’d like to do.

  • Surroundings: 10/10 | Amazon rain forest
  • Uniqueness: 10/10
  • Comfort: 5/10 | Basic
  • Price/Night/2pers: From 360 $ | Full board + activities + transport included – Min 3 nights
Palmari Amazon

More hotels in Colombia

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

Get our FREE guidebook to decide where to travel to Colombia

All you need to create your itinerary

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Best luxury hotels in Colombia

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. It’s a nice gesture to thanks us for the many hours we put in Tomplanmytrip 🙂 
Colombia luxury hotels

Colombia Travel Blog: The full list (2020)

Consulting a Colombia travel blog is a great way to get inspired and find resourceful information about Colombia.

They give lots of travel tips about the latest Colombian destinations and how to improve your Colombia Itinerary.

It’s actually a lot better than all the guidebooks written by Lonely Planet, Guide du Routard or Moon.

They are sometimes much better than all the guides written by Lonely Planet, le Guide du Routard or Moon which can be quickly outdated in their information in a country that moves as fast as Colombia.
In addition, many wonderful but less touristy destinations may not be included when they are mentioned by experts in the country.

However, you shouldn’t rely on just one website – Except ours 😀.

  • Data are maybe outdated
  • Your tastes can be different from the writer

To help you out in your research of information, I’ve listed my favorite Colombia travel blog.

Tomplanmytrip: Plan the perfect trip

Colombia travel blog

Logo TPMT 3

Yes, Tomplanmytrip is our travel website. We fell in love with Colombia in 2016 and we quickly realized the lack of information about this country – Although nowadays things are improving.

We aim to help travelers to create different Colombia itineraries. We don’t want our readers to follow the same paths. Colombia is a vast country and possibilities are endless. Moreover, we try to convince travelers to slow down. For us, experiences are better than selfies.

We built our Colombia travel blog in a way that makes it easy for you to organize your trip.

Start here if you want to start planning your trip

Colombia Insider: Travel stress-free

Colombia travel blog

Colombia Insider is our travel service to create Colombia itineraries from scratch. Moreover, you can get a lot of resourceful information without paying for our services!

Use the filter on our page “experience” to find all the activities you can do in a place.

Keep reading

Travelgrafia: Tons of tips

Colombia travel blog

I love the post written by Travelgrafia. They find interesting topics like “Best glamping”, “Best pictures of Colombia in 2019” and they write about unknown places. Moreover, they always use amazing pictures!

They wrote in Spanish and English.

Website: Travelgrafia

Chipviajero: shoestring budgets

Colombia travel blog

Jonathan and Lizeth have been in many places in Colombia. They write practical travel guides to help travelers to get in each destination without spending too much money.

Find also lots of information about hotels & restaurants.

Website: Chipviajero

The Unconventional route: Medellin & Pacific

Chris and Kim is an adorable Canadian couple who lived for 6 months in Colombia.

Like many other long-term travelers, they don’t want to be like everyone else and get the be-an-adult-and-work-and-die life. They are always looking for new experiences and off the beaten path activities. You will find a lot of good articles about hikes around Medellin and the Pacific coast.

Their website is clear and I’m a big fan of their writing style.

Website: The unconventional route

Pacific Coast Hammock Colombia Travel blog
Guachalito – Pacific coast

Along dusty roads: Gorgeous pictures

Andrew and Emily sold everything to live from their passion: travels & Photographies. After 2 years in South America, they began to become famous and make a living from their website.

They liked Colombia so much that they’ve decided to travel there a 2nd time.

They always try to keep their content updated and their pictures are fantastic. It’s a great Colombia travel blog to be inspired for your next trip.

Website: Along dusty roads

Mon voyage en Colombie: French

Colombia travel blog

Samuel and Angelica are a friendly French-Colombian couple who, like us, helps travelers to plan their trip to Colombia. They advocate tourism sustainable and write about local travel agencies. Moreover, articles are always updates thanks to their many contacts in the country.

This travel blog is only about Colombia and you’ll find plenty of useful information. Learn French or use Google Translate :D.

Website: Mon voyage en Colombie

Medellin Guru: Great Medellin tips

Colombia travel blog

Jeff and other fellows travel writers give lots of amazing travel tips about the city of eternal spring.

Through this Colombia travel blog about Medellin, learn about the best restaurants, bars and day trips. Moreover, Jeff helps every year tens of new expats to settle in Medellin. You will find resourceful information about retirement and relocation tips.

Website: Medellin Guru

Moravia district in Medellin
Moravia – Medellin

Cartagena Explorer: Great Cartagena tips

Colombia travel blog

Adam has been living in Cartagena since 2012 and he won’t leave any time soon. He loves sharing about his travel adventures in the Walled City. Don’t hesitate to read his Colombia travel guide before coming to Cartagena.

Website: Cartagena Explorer

Cali Adventure: Great Cali tips

Colombia travel blog

Patrick is one of the owners of Lifeafar – they provide furnished apartments – and he lives in Cali.

I love Cali, and I’m surprised to see how many travelers don’t even consider to add it to their Colombia itinerary.

Thanks to Patrick, you will know all the Cali’s hidden gems.

Website: Cali adventurer

Bogotastic: Bogota travel tips

Colombia travel blog

Jade is an expat who describes Colombia the way she sees it. There is no happy ending and bull-shitting. She loves writing about her cultural experiences and give tips to help other travelers to settle in Colombia.

Through her Colombia travel blog, find out many trip ideas to explore the region around Bogota!

Website: Bogotastic

Lagoons in the National park Chingaza

Flavors of Bogota: Coffee and food

Karen is a joyful coffee expert who is in love with Colombia. Through her blog, she gives lots of tips about food and coffee! She even published a book about it!

Her writing style is smooth and you will devour her articles.

Ps: Don’t hesitate to book her tours to decide how you like your coffee.

Website: Flavors of Bogota

Colombia Calling Radio: Podcast

Everything in Colombia is complex… history, politics, food, safety, social marginalization…

Fortunately, the Anglo Canadian Richard McColl clarifies many interesting topics with its podcasts. Don’t hesitate to download them so you can listen to them while driving to your job. It’s ideal to improve your knowledge of Colombia.

Website: Richard McColl

How to Bogota: Expat Blog for the capital

Naomi is a freelance content marketing writer who came to Colombia for love. Bogota is huge and can be quite overwhelming. You need to understand it to start liking it.

Naomi helps you out with this.

Her blog is perfect for people who want to explore or settle in the capital.

Website: How to Bogota

Coffee Axis Travel: Coffee region

Colombia travel blog

Erin has been living and working in Colombia since 2012, in Caldas, one of the 3 departments in the coffee region.

She tells the story of life and travels in Colombia through creativity, open-minded philosophies and an artistic approach to blogging.

Recently, she also owns another travel website called Open mind travelers.

Website: Coffee Axis Travel

Buenavista View Colombia Travel Blog Coffee Region
View in Buenavista

Desk to Dirt Bag: Backpackers

Ryan explains to his readers how to travel cheaper, live better, and embrace the “buy less, do more” mantra.

He lived in Medellin and stayed over three years in total, traveling everywhere with its truck. As you can understand, Ryan knows Colombia pretty well.

Read his blog to explore Colombia on a shoestring budget.

Website: Desktodirtbag

Laidback trip: Colombia stories & travel tips

Lucie and Martin wrote some awesome and recent articles about Colombia. They always put a lot of effort to create practical travel guides about their travel adventure. Besides, they take amazing pictures!

Check out their website to find some inspirations and recommendations.

Website: Laidback trip

Youtube Channels about Colombia

  • Sam is an adventurer and a businessman who fell in love with Colombia. Explore the country on his motorbike!
  • Zack is a funny guy who loves doing pranks and creates entertaining videos.
  • Veni, Qué hay pa’ hacer create awesome travel guide videos to discover off the beaten places. In Spanish.

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Our favorite Colombia places

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

Get our FREE guidebook to decide where to travel to Colombia

All you need to create your itinerary

Why bother if we do it better?

Have fun while we do the hard job

Colombia travel blog
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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. It’s a nice gesture to thanks us for the many hours we put in Tomplanmytrip 🙂 
Colombia Travel blog

Sample of our Itinerary Developer Guide For Colombia

Hola!

You’re on the list to get a sample of our itinerary developer guide! You should receive an email in a few minutes.

Don’t forget to check your promotion and junk boxes.

Thanks to our Itinerary Developer Guide, we want to help travelers to create efficient and unexpected Colombia itineraries.

I’m sure our sample will convince us in a few pages 😀

PS: In a few days, we will send you a promotional code. Be attentive!

Stop Paying Outrageous Bank Fees in 2020 While Traveling

This is a Non-sponsored post and a genuine N26 Bank Review

Bank fees with Credit card Paiement
How do Bank fees work ATM

When I planned my first trip to South America, I was dreaming to find a credit card with 0 $ bank fees. But it was a utopia, a sad world without N26 Bank review on the internet.

If you’re lucky, your bank is a member of a vast bank network and you will be able to withdrawal with cheaper bank fees penalties when traveling abroad.

However, you will have to find specific ATM’s to be able to enjoy these benefits. Good luck with that.

And, it wasn’t my case anyway.

Yes, my traditional bank was shit wasn’t the best.

I paid for an expensive credit card, and I traveled with tons of money in my pocket – As I had to withdraw the maximum from the ATM’s to reduce the bank fees.

I hate bank fees.

And if you do the math, banks are stealing a lot of your travel money.

Are you ready for the equations?

Of course, you are.

N26 Bank Review

Let’s say you decide to travel for 2 weeks in Colombia.

You like fun activities, great hostels, and cocktails on the Caribbean Coast. Carpe Diem is your religion.

  • Your budget should be around 1500 $ per person.

You wast too much money with a classic credit card (+)

  • 3-5% of each bank transactions – Withdrawals & Payments.
  • The difference between the exchange rate applied by the bank and the official exchange rate represents another 3 % of the amount paid
  • Some fixed bank fees

*See the comparative table at the beginning of this article.

At the end of the month, you’ve paid:

  • 1500 * (3% + 3%) = 90$ in bank fees.

And it’s only for ONE PERSON!

If you’re a couple traveling in Colombia, it represents 180 $

Would you prefer to drink more rum instead of giving your money to your bank? I bet you do.

Now, this time is over.

Thanks to mobile banking, my old dreams became true.

Let’s get a genuine N26 bank review.

Important: N26 is now available in the United States!

N26 Bank Review: Pricing, Exchange rate, and Transferwise

1. N26 offers a mobile banking service

With a traditional bank, you always have to speak with your advisor before taking action. It means you have to make an appointment first. Or wait for him to reply to his emails.

It’s time-consuming and boring.

With N26, you manage everything from your mobile phone (+)

  • Don’t remember your PIN code? Change it in 2 seconds from your phone
  • Did you lose your credit card? Block your card in 3 seconds

And so on.

And don’t worry, It’s safe too.

You can’t be automatically connected to the App on your phone, and you will receive a notification each time there is a movement of money in your bank account.

2. N26 is a real German Bank

They got a German banking license. It means your deposits are guaranteed. Plus, you’ve got an IBAN and a BIC.

Your bank details are also written on your credit card. It’s very useful.

3. With N26, get the best exchange rate on the market

N26 doesn’t apply an awful exchange rate when you pay with your Mastercard.

They use real-time exchange rates. And it’s for every currency in the world.

Moreover, N26 has a partnership with Transfirewise. They are the best to make cheap international transfers.

4. You get the basic N26 Mastercard and a bank account for FREE

Could you imagine, a bank account and a credit card for Free? And N26 doesn’t require that you keep a minimum amount of dollars in your account.

How crazy is that!

The n26 mobile bank offers different credit cards.

The n26 mobile bank offers a Free Basic N26 Mastercard (+)

With the Standard N26 Europe Mastercard or the Standard N26 US Mastercard, you can:

  • Withdraw 5 times/month some Euros without paying any fees. Then, they will charge 2$ for each extra withdrawal
  • If you withdraw another currency, N26 will charge you 1,7%

Therefore, you should use your N26 credit card as much as you can and keep your cash.

Where are we going today?

Take the N26 Black if you travel a lot (+)

Yes?

In that case, there is another credit card you could fall in love with.

With the credit card N26 YOU, you won’t pay any bank fees:

  • Illimited withdrawal for every currency – 0$ bank fees 
  • Always the best exchange rates

Plus, you’ve got travel insurance with it.

But, this credit card is not free. 

  • It costs 9.9 euros/month

If you think that you will withdraw more than 600 € per month on average every year, then you should take it.

600*0.017= 10.2 euros > 9,90 euros

Cost Credit Card

It’s perfect if you’re a couple who likes to travel. You can subscribe to a basic N26 credit card and the N26 YOU. 

N26 Bank review: Why do you need their credit card

1. Avoid carrying large sums of money (+)

Because I had to pay outrageous bank fees, I was always withdrawing the maximum from the ATM. Petty thefts can happen in South America. So, I hid my cash everywhere: socks, dirty laundry, secret pockets, butt hole.

I don’t have to do it anymore. And my butt is more than happy with that decision.

2. Stop exchanging currency at a local bank before leaving (+)

Don’t do it! They apply awful exchange rates, and you will have to carry tons of cash. Use your N26 credit card instead.

3. How can you get local currency (+)

Even with a shitty credit card, the best way is to use an ATM.

With N26, your phone is your bank. Moreover, there is no hidden bank fee. Just go to a local ATM and withdraw money with the best exchange rate.

4. Use your card for every transaction (+)

Stop asking yourself Should I or Should I not. Just pay with your credit card.

Which banks should you use in Colombia (+)

While traveling, don’t use a random ATM. Look for a major bank instead. They won’t apply extra bank fees. In Colombia, you should use the following banks:

  • BBVA
  • Davivienda
  • Colpatria

Also, if the ATM asks you if you want to use their currency exchange rate, say no! You should still be able to terminate the operation and get a better rate – the one from N26 Bank.

N26 Bank Review: Do It Now

Many of us love to procrastinate. We lie to ourselves.

I will do it tomorrow. I’m busy right now – I watching Game of Thrones to be ready for the last season.

We waste time and money because we procrastinate.

Bank account and credit card matter. It’s normal that we want to think about it. I get it.

But the N26 credit and the bank account are free!

Once it’s done, you can keep it in your wallet and add some money on it when you’re ready

How to open an N26 bank account

It's super easy, and it takes less than 10 min (+)

First, click on one of the links/banners in this article. These are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. It helps us to live from our passion and write free content about Colombia. 

Once on their website,  fill a form to set up an account:

  • Your identity: First name, last name, the birth of date
  • Passport number
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Password

Then, N26 needs a confirmation/proof of your identity

  • Send a picture of your passport
  • Take a selfie

Done.

Congratulation, your mobile banking account is now created. You will soon receive your credit card by mail at home. 

Easy peasy, no?

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. It’s a nice gesture to thanks us for the many hours we put in Tomplanmytrip 🙂 

However, my N26 Bank review is provided for general educational purposes only and does not provide professional advice, services, opinions or treatment to you or any individual. Tomplanmytrip cannot be held responsible or liable for any purchasing decisions you make after reading this post.  As pointed out numerous times, it is essential to read your full policy wording and choose a bank that suits your particular travel needs.

Mobile Bank Colombia

Travel Insurance For Colombia: Stop picking randomly

I’ve to be fair with you guys. When I booked my flight ticket for traveling to Colombia, I wasn’t thinking

– “hm, should I take travel Insurance for Colombia or not?”

Insurance is a word that gives you goosebumps, except if you work in an insurance company. When you’re a kid, your parents pay for it, then it’s your boss. In the end, it’s like unicorns. You’ve heard about it many times but you’ve never seen one.

Nevertheless, insurances (and unicorns) are important. We don’t realize it because they’re part of our daily life. If you buy a car, you take car insurance. If you buy a home, you subscribe to home insurance. And, you also pay for health and liability insurance.

But did you know that most of the time, you’re not covered 100 % when traveling abroad?

And you’re in this situation, you should seriously think about travel insurance.

Travel insurance for Colombia

Pick your travel insurance in 2 minutes

You already know why you need travel insurance and just want to pick quickly? Here are our three favorite travel insurance for Colombia:

  • You’re from Europe: Chapka. It’s easy for subscribing, affordable and they offer a good cover. I used them for 3 years and they always reimbursed me – If you follow the procedures. Learn more
  • You’re NOT from Europe or you’re already traveling: Worldnomad. They’re a bit expensive, but you’ve got an excellent cover. Moreover, you can subscribe to their Extreme activities travel insurance. Learn more.
  • You’re a digital Nomad: SafetyWing. They listened and understood the Digital Nomad’s issues to offer kick-ass travel insurance. It’s exactly what we need right now. It’s maybe your case too. Learn more

Table Of Contents: Travel insurance for Colombia

  1. What the hell are travel insurances?
  2. Are you already insured abroad?
  3. How to choose travel insurance for Colombia?
  4. How to involve your travel insurance in case of a problem?

Why Do You Need Travel Insurance For Colombia?

In short, travel insurances for Colombia serve about two things:

  • To reimburse your bookings in case of unforeseen problems.
  • To pay or reimburse your medical issues (in case of emergency)

The two important words you have to remember are unforeseen and emergency. Travel insurance is not health insurance. They won’t reimburse your teeth whitening.

In case you are living abroad (Expat), there is a second option. It’s the travel health insurance.

Let’s find out the different uses of travel insurance for Colombia

Travel insurance for Colombia

1. Colombia Trip cancellation or interruption coverage beyond your control (+)

The travel insurance company could reimburse the non-refundable booking of your canceled Colombia trip.

Examples:

  • Death of a relative: Yes
  • Break up with your girlfriend: No

2. Travel accident or Medical emergency while traveling to Colombia (+)

You’re injured in an accident and need emergency medical treatment. The travel insurance will cover your expenses.

Examples:

  • You break your arm: Yes
  • A painful toothache: Yes
  • Health checkup or a vaccine: No

3. Medical repatriation from Colombia (+)

You’ve got a serious accident and you need a medical evacuation.  Your Colombia travel insurance takes care of everything.

Examples:

  • Helicopter evac: Yes
  • Medical expenses at home: No

4. Somebody steals your luggage in Colombia (+)

You can ensure your expensive electronic stuff.

Examples:

  • Someone stole your computer: Yes
  • You forget your computer on a table: No

5. Liability insurance (+)

In case you damage a good/propriety or hurt someone by accident.

6. Car insurance for Colombia (+)

If you have an accident.

Depending on the travel insurance, you won’t be covered for everything. This is why it’s important to read the boring policy documents.

But first, you have to know if you’re already covered. It would be silly to pay twice, isn’t it?

Travel insurance for Colombia

Are You Already insured Abroad?

1. Make a list of your different insurances (+)

First, you have to make a list of all the insurances you’re already paying for:

  • Health insurance. If you’re an employee, it’s probably paid by your company
  • Credit card insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • House and car insurance

Then, call them

2. Call and tell them you're going to travel to Colombia (+)

You have to know:

  • If you’re still covered while traveling to Colombia for the different situations mentioned in the previous section
  • Within what limits

3. Information about Credit Card Insurances (+)

  • Almost all credit cards have insurances.
  • You can rely on credit card insurance only if you use it for your purchase! (Not because you have it in your wallet)
  • You can ask for an upgrade before paying for your trip. Thus, your Credit Card insurance will improve. Like Visa and MasterCard
  • Limits are usually low
  • You’re covered for maximum 90 days abroad

Learn more about Credit Card Travel Insurance

Do you have travel insurance with your credit card?

How To Sort The Different Travel Insurances For Colombia

1. What will be your needs?

You have to define your needs. Otherwise, you won’t be able to compare the different travel insurance. What’s your plan for your trip to Colombia?

  • Do you book all your accommodations, transport and activities in advance?
  • Do you love extreme sport?
  • Do you want to volunteer somewhere? Rent a car?
  • Do you travel with expensive electronic stuff?
  • How long for? If you travel for more than 3 months, it could be cheaper to pay for backpacking travel insurance

Done? Awesome.

Are you a Digital Nomad?

Nowadays, more and more people decide to go with the flow. After all, we only live once.

Thanks to the internet, many new businesses have been created online. These entrepreneurs – like myself – can work wherever they want! They just need an internet connexion.

If it’s your case, you absolutely need travel insurance! And it can be super expensive.

Fortunately, SafetyWing came to our rescue. They offer you travel + medical insurance for less than 40$/month. It’s like a phone subscription.

Their service proposal is even more favorable for families! 1 young child per adult, up to 2 per family, age between 14 days and 10 years old, can be included on your insurance without added cost.

As I’m from Europe, I love using Chapka ( but it only works for European Country).

And I’ve heard from famous travel bloggers like Nomadic Matt and Expert Vagabond that Worldnomads is one of the best on the market.

Are you a Digital Nomad? SafetyWing is what you need to be perfectly covered for an affordable price.

I’m sure there are other great travel insurance for Colombia, but I will only use 3 as examples.

2. Which activities are covered in your Colombia Travel insurance?

In Colombia, there is no ski station or famous deep blue hole in the ocean. It’s something less to worry.

Usually, travel insurance does not cover accidents in case of official competition or race. And they have different policies regarding the practice of extreme sports. It may happen that travel insurance companies propose various plans.

With Worldnomads, you’ve got the choice between “Standard” and “Explorer”. Find the list of the different extreme sports here

Chapka offers only one plan for its Cap Assistance 24/7. They cover a bunch of sports except:

  • Official competition, trials or race during motorsport practice
  • If you drive a 125cm3 or more engine
  • Bobsleigh/ Skeleton/Luge sport/Rock climbing/Alpinism/Aerial sport

SafetyWing covers a wide range of activities, however, some extreme sports like paragliding and base jumping are not covered.

3. What are the limits of the reimbursements

a. Medical expenses / Evacuation / Repatriation in Colombia (+)

In Colombia, There are 20 of the top 49 hospitals and clinics in Latin America and it’s a lot cheaper than in Europe or the United States. However, you still have to put some money up.

But you don’t need to get a 1 trillion dollars coverage.

  • WorldNomads: 100 000 $ for Medical Expenses
  • Chapka: 200 000 Euros for Medical Expenses
  • SafetyWing: 250 000 $ for Medical Expenses

Important, they don’t cover pre-existing conditions.

b. Colombia trip cancellation/ Delay / Interruption (+)

If you’re a traveler who likes to book everything in advance, it might be something you would like to think of, especially if you pay expensive deposits.

Cancellation, delay or interruption have to be beyond your control. You can’t ask for a reimbursement if you decide to go back home because you don’t like the country.

  • Worldnomads: 2500 $
  • Chapka: 8000 Euros. However, it’s not included in the initial offer. You have to pay an extra 3.8% of the booking. More explanation here
  • SafetyWing: Up to 5 000 $

c. Luggage (+)

The limits included in the initial plans are low. It could be enough if you don’t travel with expensive electronics stuff. However, if you are a digital nomad who loves photography or a musician with a fantastic guitar, you could be interested in more specific travel insurance for South America.

You have to check the total limit, the per-article limit and the exclusions.

  • Worldnomads: 1000 $ total limit | 500 $ max per article
  • Chapka: 3000 Euros | Valuable max 1500 Euros | No Smartphone
  • SafetyWing: Up to 3 000 $ | 500 $ max per article

The insurance won’t pay back if you’re responsible for the damage or the loss.

4. The policy excess

It’s like a deductible. It’s the amount you are required to pay for each claim arising from any event.

It will depend on your country of residence and the travel insurance company.

  • WorldNomads: 0$ for the United States / 100 $ for a Europe country
  • Chapka: 0$ | Except for Travel Cancellation: between 10 to 20 %
  • SafetyWing: 250 $ Per certificate period

5. The Not Covered section

There are exclusions for every type of insurances. But there is also a general not covered section. There are inside the terms and conditions PDF file. Read them all. Be brave.

In short, the travel insurance won’t pay you back if you’re:

  • Drunk or on drugs
  • Arrested by the police

6. How to subscribe and renew travel insurance for Colombia

  • Do you have to subscribe before going on a trip to Colombia
    • Chapka: Yes
    • Worldnomads: No need
    • SafetyWing: No need
  • Is it possible to renew by email
    • Chapka insurance: Yes – But only once
    • Worldnomads: Yes – As many times as you wish
    • SafetyWing: You can choose the option “Auto-Renewal”

Be careful. In the case of renewal, the injured or diseases who occurred before the date of the new contract would be considered as pre-existing medical conditions. It’s not the case with the “Auto-Renewal” option with SafetyWing.

Cheat sheet Travel insurance for Colombia

I’m interested in Worldnomad travel insurances


IV) How To Involve Your Colombia Travel Insurance In Case Of Problem

Once you’ve got travel insurance for Colombia, you generally hope for one thing only.

To not use it.

Unfortunately, shits happen sometimes. And travel insurances are strict and heartless with procedures. You HAVE TO follow their guidelines if you want to be reimbursed.

Worlnomad explains you everything here

1. You have to call first in case of Serious Medical issues (+)

For serious medical issues, you have to call the 24 hours of assistance services. Travel insurance can:

  • Help you to deal with the hospitals
  • Advance the payment
  • They have to agree to the medical cares and transportation

It’s why you should write down on your phone/notebook:

  • The name and telephone number of your Travel insurance
  • Your policy number

2. Filling a complaint with the police in case of robbery (+)

  • Worldnomads: Within 24 hours
  • Chapka: Within 48 hours
  • SafetyWing: 60 days

3. You need proof (+)

In any case, you have to proof that:

  • You have been a victim of an accident
  • The costs incurred => Receipts are keys guys.

Regarding your valuables, the best is to take pictures of the receipts and the serial number before going on a trip to Colombia.

Important: In any case, you should call your travel insurance within 24 hours to know all the procedures to follow

Get a Quote with WorldNomads

 

Get a Quote with Chapka 

Get a Quote with SafetyWing 

All you need to create your itinerary

The content of this post is provided for general educational purposes only and does not provide professional advice, services, opinions or treatment to you or any individual. Tomplanmytrip cannot be held responsible or liable for any purchasing decisions you make after reading this post.  As pointed out numerous times, it is important to read your full policy wording and choose a travel insurance policy that suits your particular travel needs.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. It’s a nice gesture to thanks us for the many hours we put in Tomplanmytrip 🙂 

Travel insurance colombia

Best time To Travel To Colombia: Avoid bad weather and tourists

Find in this article all you need to know to decide when it’s the best time to travel to Colombia. Make your choice by taking into consideration the weather, the main events and the high season.

Best time to travel to Colombia: What you must know

Temperatures in Colombia: They stay stable all year long. The temperatures changes according to the altitudes and sunshine.

Is Colombia cold: When you’re at an altitude above 1500 m sea level, the night is coldish. Take a jumper.

The rainy season in Colombia: The rainiest months are April, May, October, and November. There are many different microclimates in the country.

Can you travel to Colombia during the rainy season: 100% yes, especially on the Caribbean coast. It usually rains in the afternoon or at night.

High season in Colombia: Mid-December to Mid January, Holy week, Mid June to July, every 3-day weekends.

My favorite months to travel to Colombia: February – March, June – September

Cheapest months to go to Colombia: March-June, September-November

Whale watching season: July to September

Months to go to Caño Cristales: Mid-June to November

Best tips: Try to stay in big cities during the weekends. Don’t trust the weather on the internet.

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Table Of Contents: Best Time To Travel To Colombia

  1. Weather in Colombia
  2. How to avoid the tourists
  3. When and how to find cheap flights
  4. Best time for planning activities
  5. Weather and events in the largest cities
  6. Conclusion
  7. Plan your trip step by step
  8. Use our premium service

The weather in Colombia

It’s THE big recurring question I receive every week. Nobody wants to travel with an umbrella and a bathing cap.

Best time to visit Colombia for the weather

As Colombia is near the equator, there are only two seasons: dry and rainy

But, I want to reassure you. There is no monsoon. It means you shouldn’t cancel your backpacking trip because you just realize you will be there during the rainy season.

#1 Best time to travel to Colombia for the Temperatures

The temperature doesn’t vary much throughout the year. It means the degrees are proportional to the altitude. Basically, it’s:

Temperatures in Colombia (+)

  • < 1000 m -> More than 24ºdeg Celsius – Cartagena, Santa Marta, Cali
  • 1000 – 2000m -> Around 20ºdeg Celsius – Medellin, Manizales
  • 2000 – 3000 m -> Around 14º deg Celsius – Bogota, Pasto
  • > 3000 m -> Less than 10º deg Celsius

Source: Wikipedia

However, the sun can be extreme during the day. You should always use sunscreen if you decide to go on a hike.

#2 Best time to get sunny days

In theory, there are two seasons in Colombia:

  • Dry season: Decembre to Mars
  • Raining season: April to June
  • Mini Dry Season: July to Septembre
  • Raining Season: October to November

But, it’s a little more complicated in reality.

Sunset Tatacoa desert Best time to travel to Colombia
Sunset in Tatacoa desert

First, don’t think it will rain all day long during the rainy season. Usually, it’s sunny in the morning and cloudy/rainy in the afternoon.

Also, the weather can change fast. And because of the high percentage of humidity, don’t trust the forecasts. Facebook told me to stay inside my hostel 30 days in a row. Facebook is dumb. True story.

Second, there are different kinds of weather in Colombia.

1 - When visiting the Pacific (+)

The Pacific Coast and the Amazon are rainforests. It means there are important rainfalls all year long. Although it’s less rainy during summertime.

The weather on the Pacific Coast:
  • January – February: Blue sky and almost no rain
  • April & May: Heavy rain. Great for surfing
  • October & November: Heavy rain
  • Other months: It depends

It usually doesn’t rain in the morning. But, it might also rain for several days in a row.

Discover the best places to visit on the Pacific coast.

2 - When visiting the Amazon (+)

The Weather in the Amazon:
  • January – February: Blue sky and a bit rainy. Very hot and humid
  • Other months: It depends. There is more chance of rain during late afternoons than mornings

The season regarding the water level of the Amazon is more important as it will have an impact on your activities there.

  • From December to May: The water level increases
  • From June to November: The water level decreases

Discover the best places to visit in the Amazon.

3 - When visiting the South (+)

The South of Colombia is usually drier than the Caribbean Coast during October and November. However, it rains more from April to July.

Discover the best places to visit in the South of Colombia.

3 - When visiting the Caribbean (+)

The rainiest months are May, Septembre, October, and November.

Discover the best places to visit in the Western caribbean coast.
Discover the best places to visit in the Eastern caribbean coast.

4 - When visiting Providencia (+)

The best months to travel to San Andres and Providencia islands are from December to May.

For more information about Providencia: consult our guide.

Weather in Colombia best time to travel to Colombia

You can check out the average rainfalls on world weather online

#3 Weather in Colombia for each month of the year

As I said earlier, it’s kind of complicated to know what will be the weather in Colombia as there are many micro-climates. Let’s give a try to get an overall idea for your Colombia itinerary:

Weather in Colombia per month (+)

  • Colombia in January: Sunny days and lots of people on vacation, especially on the Eastern Caribbean coast.
  • Colombia in February: Sunny days and fewer tourists. Good period to plan a multi-day hike.
  • Colombia in March: Sunny days and low seasons. In humid regions like the Pacific coast and the Amazon, rainfalls are more frequent in the afternoons. Everyone is on holiday during the holy week.
  • Colombia in April: The rainy season begins. Plan your activities for the morning.
  • Colombia in May: Rainiest month, especially on the Pacific coast, zona cafeteria, and Antioquia. It’s better to stay on the Caribbean Coast.
  • Colombia in June: The weather varies between sunny days and rainy afternoons. You can visit caño Cristales.
  • Colombia in July: Mostly sunny days, except in some around San Agustin. The whales watching season starts.
  • Colombia in August: Mostly sunny days. Good period to plan a multi-day hike.
  • Colombia in September: The weather varies between sunny days and rainy afternoons.
  • Colombia in October: Rainiest month. It will rain most of the afternoons. It’s better to stick to the Caribbean coast if you don’t like to be wet.
  • Colombia in November: Rainiest month. It will rain most of the afternoons. Don’t go to the Pacific coast.
  • Colombia in December: Mostly sunny days, especially after the 15th. It’s also the beginning of the high season.

Best Time To Travel To Colombia To Avoid The Tourists

There are two main summer vacations in the world:

  • Northern Hemisphere (USA / Canada / Europe): July and August
  • Southern Hemisphere (South America / Oceania): December and January

Colombians love to travel in their country during their holidays. And many of them are going to the Caribbean Coast. Prices explode in Cartagena from December to February.

Most of the Colombians leave on vacation the last weeks of December, the holy week (Easter), and during their 17 public holidays. If you’re looking for quietness, you should avoid going to the most famous highlights of Colombia during these periods.

Touristic seasons in Colombia (+)

From December to February: It’s the high season in Colombia. Prices increase on the Caribbean Coast because many Colombians and Americans travel to Cartagena de Indias. It’s also the period where South American Students and Australians explore the continent with their backpacks.

From March to June: Fewer foreigners are traveling to Colombia. However, many Colombians travel during the holy week (Easter)

From July to August: Then comes the turn of the Europeans to discover the secrets of Colombia. And Colombian students are on vacation in July.

From September to Novembre: It’s the low touristic season in Colombia.

colonial town in the old center of Cartagena
A colonial house in the old center of Cartagena

Best Time To Travel To Colombia For Booking A Cheap Flight

First, there are five principles to follow if you want to book a cheap flight to Colombia.

  • Say yes to shitty flights
  • Travel during the low tourist season of your country
  • Be flexible
  • Navigate Incognito (On the internet)
  • Use a VPN and change your localization

From Europe, the cheapest flights are usually from Spain. And from the USA, there are cheap flights from Miami / Fort Lauderdale to Cartagena de Indias.

How to find cheap flights (+)

Tools to find cheap flights to Colombia

Nowadays, there are many new websites to help you to find the cheapest flights. I wrote down a list of the ones I like to use.

1 – Apps to know where you should take off

With Google flights, you quickly know where is the cheapest city to take off by clicking on “Explore destinations.”

Kiwi is another excellent website with even more features! Besides selecting the cheapest airports, they offer a guarantee for the flight connection (If you book two flights or more from different airline companies).

2 – Apps to know when it’s the best time to travel to Colombia

On Google Flights and Kiwi, prices are directly on the calendar. You can easily navigate throughout to find the perfect dates to visit Colombia.

Another option is to use Hopper. They have analyzed the last 30 years of all flights to understand the algorithms which calculate the price tickets. Thanks to all these data, they advise you about the future evolution of the price regarding your flight ticket.

3 – Apps to add a FREE STOP in your Colombia itinerary

I guess you know the expression “Layover” when you’re at the airport. It’s the number of hours you have to wait in an uncomfortable aluminum chair before taking your next flight. And in general, more you wait, and cheaper is your flight ticket.

But did you know you also can get a “Stopover”? Instead of dying of boredom at the airport, you visit a city for a few days. Moreover, it’s often cheaper than direct flights!

Many travelers try to find these fantastic opportunities. And it wasn’t easy a few years ago. However, today Airwander has built the perfect tool to help you to add a free stop during your vacation.

4 – Apps to find airlines mistake fare

The best way to travel cheap is to find airline mistake fares. Indeed, it’s possible that a human error or a computer glitch happens. Suddenly, a flight costs 40 $ instead of 400 $.

Secret flying has a team that scans the web to find these great deals.

5 – Apps to quickly find the best prices to travel to Colombia

If you already know where/when you want to fly and you don’t want to spend more hours looking for flights, you should use the “classic 3”.  They compare millions of flights to find you the cheapest deals. I have got a preference for Kayak and Momondo.

Best Time for planning activities in Colombia

Depending on where you plan to travel to Colombia, there are months better than others. It would be unfortunate to miss the whales season on the Pacific coast or the river of 5 colors if you travel to Caño Cristales.

Orange boat and pier with view of San Andres y Providencia
Isla de Providencia

Where to travel in Colombia ( More than 45 places)

 

#1 Best time to visit Providencia and San Andres in Colombia

  • The sunniest months are from December to May.
  • However, beaches are covered by algae in December and January.
  • The rainiest months are usually June, and from October to mid-November.
  • The best period for diving is from July to September.

Read our Providencia travel guide

#2 Best time to visit the Amazon in Colombia

In the Amazon, the weather doesn’t matter. But the months have an impact on the water level of the river.

  • From December to May, the water level increases
  • From June to November, the water level decreases

When the water level is low, there is more chance to observe turtles and migratory birds. But it’s complicated to navigate. Whereas when the water level is hight, you can travel more in-depth in the jungle with the speedboat or kayak between the trees!

Read our Leticia travel guide

#3 Best time to visit Caño Cristales and San Jose del Guaviare in Colombia

The aquatic plants that give beautiful colors to the river in Caño Cristales and San Jose del Guaviare only appears during the raining season. You will be able to visit the National park of Caño Cristales from June to the end of November.

#4 Months to observe the whales and turtles on the Pacific coast

Don’t miss the whale season from July to October.

Or the turtles from July to December

Where to travel on the Pacific coast

#5 Best time for diving in Colombia

On the Caribbean Coast, the sea is rough during the dry season because of the wind. However, there is fantastic visibility underwater during the rainy season. The sea is like a mirror. The best months are from May to September.

On the Pacific Coast, the best conditions for diving are from January to February. Also, you can swim with whale sharks from March to April!

#6 Best time for hiking in Colombia

The Cordillera mountains offer many choices for mountain lovers. During the hikes, the weather can suddenly change. You should always carry a rain jacket and warm clothes.

And, the Paramo landscapes (kind of tundra/wetland between the timberline and the snowline) are beautiful but also very humid. During the rainy season, you risk hiking in the mud. Be prepared 😉

The best months for hiking in Colombia are from January to March and July to August.

Best Time To Travel To The Biggest Cities Of Colombia

Although it’s safe to travel to Colombia, be more cautious in big cities to avoid being the target of petty theft.

#1 Best time to visit Medellin in Colombia

Medellin is called The city of the eternal spring. The temperature is perfect however don’t suppose it will never rain.

The rainy months are usually April, May, September, and October.

And there are two awesome events you should try to attend.

  • Feria de las Flores (Fair Flower): 10 days in August
  • The Christmas lights: December

Read our Medellin travel guide

#2 Best time to visit Bogota in Colombia

Bogota is one of the highest capital in the world. Don’t expect warm temperatures at night. And the weather is often cloudy/rainy in the afternoon, especially from April to June and September to November.

Bogota host many awesome music festivals like:

  • Baum festival: May
  • Rock in the Park: July
  • Jazz in the Park: September
  • Theatre Festival: April

Read our Bogota travel guide

Sunset over Bogota
Sunset over Bogota

#3 Best time to visit Cali in Colombia

The weather is warm and humid in Cali. It doesn’t rain often, and you don’t have to care as you will spend your days and nights dancing salsa.

From Cali, you’re near the Pacific coast. It could be a good occasion to observe the whales from July to September.

Cali is the capital of the Salsa in Colombia. There are 2 important events during the year:

  • Festival of Music Petronio Alvarez (Pacific music): Mid August
  • The world Salsa Festival: September
  • La Feria de Cali (Cali Fair): End of December

Read our Cali travel guide

#4 Best time to visit Cartagena de Indias in Colombia

Cartagena de Indias is invaded by visitors from December to February. Prices explode, and sweaty tourists are everywhere.

But it’s also the best period for the weather. There are a cool breeze and no rain. The best option is to travel to Cartagena just after the high season (In March) and from June to August.

The rainy months are the same as Bogota: April-May and from September to November. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of sunny days during the rainy season.

There are two major events in Cartagena:

  • Cartagena International Film Festival: March
  • Independence day and Miss beauty: November

Read our Cartagena travel guide

Conclusion For The Best Time To Travel To Colombia

Because I’m in love with Colombia, I only have one sentence to say:

There’s no bad month to travel to Colombia

Yes, I’m maybe not 100% objective. But it’s what you should retain from this article. The temperature doesn’t vary much throughout the year, and there are plenty of sunny days during the rainy season, especially in the morning.

You should plan your trip according to the weather only if you want to spend most of your time on the Caribbean Coast, visiting the astonishing Caño Cristales river or watching the whales.

Also, Colombia is not too touristy yet. You won’t be bothered by an army of travelers, even during the high seasons – Except Around Cartagena and Santa Marta.

Don’t forget to check out the different events occurring during your stay. Colombians know how to party, and it would be too bad to miss the opportunity to discover this fantastic aspect of the country.

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

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Best time to travel to Colombia

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Why is it safe to travel to Colombia (2020): 25 truths and safety tips

Some of your friends went to Colombia and they surprisingly came back alive and happy. Therefore, you want to know if Colombia is safe to travel or if your friends have just been lucky.

Thanks to this post, you will be able to decide by yourself if Colombia is a dangerous country and you’ll get a bunch of tips to travel safer.

Is Colombia safe: What you must know

Political situation: In 2016, there was a peace agreement between the FARC and the government. There are still various illegal armed groups and paramilitaries in remote areas in Colombia. The actual government doesn’t seem keen to improve its relationship with the rebels.

How do rebels act inside Colombia: Most of them lived in remote areas where there is no military presence. All these groups fight for the control of the drug business. Many social leaders are murdered for this reason. However, they do not attack or kidnap tourists.

Tourism in Colombia: Since 2007, more and more travelers come to visit Colombia. You won’t meet any illegal armed groups in the touristic areas. It’s safe to visit Colombia.

No dar papaya: Most of the bad situations happen because of tourists looking for drugs and hookers. Stay away from that and you will be perfectly fine.

Petty theft: Colombia is a South American country. You have to be more careful when you go out at night and don’t expose your valuables in the streets.

Solo travel: There are thousands of solo backpackers, female or male, in Colombia. You’ll be safe.

Countryside: Little towns are a lot safer than big cities.

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Why is Colombia safe to travel?

I won’t tell you that Colombia is an all happy and lovey-dovey world. Let’s have a closer look at the actual situation to decide if Colombia is dangerous for tourism or not.

1. No more drug empire (+)

Nowadays, there is still an important drug issue in Colombia (it’s also the case for every country on earth). However, drug empires like the Cartel de Medellin or de Cali have been disbanded. And no future drug organization will be able to face the actual government. Paramilitaries and illegal group armed are hidden in remote areas (far from the touristic areas) to continue their drug business.

2. Peace agreement since 2016 (+)

In December 2016, the government signed a peace agreement with the FARC. Those have laid downs arms, and they are authorized to create a political party.

There are still some rebels scattering in the deepest corners of Colombia but they focus on specific areas, far away from the military presence.

Some minor negotiations are still going on with the ELN.

Also, don’t think you’re going to be kidnapped. This strategy has been used by the FARC to fund their movement but it’s no longer true since the early 2000s.

3. Other Illegal armed groups (+)

None of the illegal armed groups are active in the entire national territory. They covered specific areas considered as strategic for cocaine production and trafficking abroad (borders).

In other words, they are in places where nobody wants to go. Don’t travel along the borders (Except Capurgana, Sapzurro, and Leticia). Here is the simple rule of thumb:

If there is a tourist attraction (for Colombians or foreigners), you can move there without any concern. Otherwise, don’t. Why would you like to get there anyway?

Map to show where it's safe for the tourists to travel to Colombia

Source: Gov UK

4. Important military presence (+)

I know, it can be scary to arrive in a country where militaries are very present. You’re immediately thinking Oh.. It has to be dangerous here.

But it’s actually quite the opposite.

For a short period of time (1995 – 2003), many roads were controlled by FARC. Colombians and foreigners had to take flights if they wanted to move around in the country.

After 2003, the government (with the help of the United States) declared the war to the illegal armed groups and secured the roads in Colombia.

Nowadays, Militaries are usually there to reassure inhabitants and foreigners. Don’t hesitate to speak with them if you’re looking for information. Don’t be scared 😉

Also, it’s totally safe to take the night buses to travel to Colombia. Don’t hesitate to take them. It’s the optimal way to explore the country for tourists.

5. Tourism is an income (+)

The number of visits went from 1 000 000 in 2007 to more than 3 000 000 in 2017, and for the last three years, Colombia’s tourism growth is superior at 10%.

Colombia Tourism's growth
Source: Colombia Reports

Everyone in Colombia is aware that tourism will play an essential role in the growth of their economy and the stability of their country. Also, it creates job opportunities where it would be hard to live otherwise.

Because of that, the government cares a lot about its safety reputation on an international scale. I’m not saying you will be protected against any petty theft. But nobody will jump on you to put you in the trunk of his car.

6. The United States agrees (+)

We all know that Governments are VERY protective. If there is any doubt about a country, they write on their website that you shouldn’t travel there. I understand their point of view as they want to protect their citizens. However, it’s sometimes a little exaggerated.

But since 2018, Colombia has been upgraded as a Level 2 Country by the U.S State Department! It means they consider that travelers can visit – still being cautious – the main areas of Colombia. It’s fantastic news!

Is Colombia safe to visit in 2020? The USA government says (almost) YES.

Source: U.S Department of state

7. Everyone loves Colombia (+)

I asked the question Did you enjoy your trip to Colombia through an anonymous survey.

I’ve got 44 YES and 1 NO. I think you might agree that it’s hard to do better 😉

Find out more about the results here – Point Number 40

Thanks to all the information above, I personally consider that Colombia is safe to travel to.

Now that we have proved that you won’t be killed by an AK-47 or kidnapped by a bearded man under cocaine, It’s time to give you safety Colombia advice regarding South America.

Is Colombia safe in 2017 ELN Colombia
You WON’T Meet these guys during your trip

Credit: Flickr 

How to travel safer in Colombia?

If you travel to South America, your iPhone – I know you love it more than your boyfriend – will worth more than 3-4 times the minimum monthly wage.

Petty thefts are the main problem in South America, and the best way to avoid it is to No Dar Papaya.  It’s a Colombian saying which means Don’t give them the opportunity. In other words, don’t deserve it.

Unfortunately, it can happen to everyone, even if you take all the precautions. So, don’t come without travel insurance.

Sunset over Bogota View from Monserrate
Sunset over Bogota View from Monserrate

A – How to travel safely in the largest cities of Colombia

8 - Find the safest districts (+)

There is a large social gap between poor and rich people in big cities like Medellin and Bogota. According to their wealth, inhabitants live in different districts (from 1 to 6),  6 being the best. And the level of safety differs a lot between these areas.

So, yes, you can live and enjoy the biggest cities in Colombia. However, you have to be more vigilant.

9 - Take a taxi at night (+)

When the party is over, don’t try to walk back to your hotel (Except if every Colombian told you it was safe), because you will maybe cross an unsafe district without knowing it – Invisible borders. And I don’t think you want to be alone in a dark alley at 4 am.

10 - Be cautious with your phone

During the day, don’t be scared to take pictures if you see that other people are doing the same. But once the job is done, put it back in your bag or your pocket.

11- If you go out, take cash only (+)

And at night, let your valuables in your room and just take some cash. You will save money and if by misfortune someone wants to rob you, you will lose Colombian Pesos only.

12- Be cautious when partying (+)

There are a few things you need to know before enjoying the nightlife in Colombia.

  • Don’t let your glass unattended. There is a drug called Scopolamine or Devil’s breath that turns you into an obedient zombie. You will give your credit card number, your phone and you won’t remember anything. Pretty scary, right?
  • Be careful with hot girls jumping on you in a club, especially if it’s a trendy-expensive-i’m-rich one. It can be a hooker. Moreover, some of them steal their clients after sex (or before if you’re unlucky)
  • Don’t take your passport. A copy is enough. You will need it to get in the clubs
  • Use Beat (Colombia Uber) instead of a taxi after a party. A Beat’s car can pick you up in front of the club. It’s more simple. Moreover, some scrupulous fake taxi drivers can try to rob you, especially if you’re drunk.

13 - Use a daily payment limit (+)

Only a few banks let you do that. And it’s too bad because it’s great!

If you’ve got a mobile bank like N26, you can change the different limits of your credit card in 5 sec. Therefore, thieves can’t do huge withdrawal in case of robbery.

14 - Is Medellin Safe to travel for tourists? (+)

In my opinion, Medellin is one of the safest big cities in Colombia. Travelers like to go out in El Poblado or Laureles district. And many ex-pats live in Envigado.

I wouldn’t recommend to hang out near the center at night. Take a cab if you need to get there.

Because many foreigners like to spend their money in expensive bars of Poblado, there are more problems with drugs, hookers, and Scopolamine. However, it’s safe to walk around as long as the clubs are open.

Also, don’t hesitate to use the metro – Exception maybe for the last ones.

Don’t give Papaya, and you should be able to travel safely in Medellin.

Read our travel guide to plan your trip to Medellin.

15 - Is Bogota Safe to travel for tourists? (+)

Yes, Bogota is also safe to visit but some districts area bit dodgy at night.

La Candelaria is the old city center of Bogota. During the day, many students and officials walk through the streets. But after 9 pm, most of the restaurants close and the streets become empty and badly lit.

Moreover, there are many poor districts around la Candelaria. Be always on your guard for petty thefts.

Above the Avenida El Dorado, there are wealthier districts.

Read our travel guide to plan a trip to Bogota.

Here is a list of the safest ones if you wanna look for accommodations in Bogota.

  • Chapinero Alto
  • Zona G
  • Quinta Camacho
  • El Retiro
  • Zona T (Zona rosa) – It’s the party district. You can safely walk around at night but take a uber when you go back home.
  • Chico Norte
  • Usaquen

16 - Is Cali Safe to travel for tourists? (+)

Cali has a bad safety reputation among travelers, especially at night.

The city is poorer than its sibling, but it’s not a reason to avoid it.

Avoid the east side of Cali and book your accommodations in one of the following districts: San Antonio, San Fernando (Parque del Perro), Granada (Zona Rosa – Party district) or El Peñon.

You won’t get any trouble once you’re in clubs. The most interesting within the city of Cali is the nightlife. Learn Salsa!

Nota: There are many hostels and backpackers in San Antonio. It attracts thieves. Be careful at night after 10 pm.

Read our travel guide to plan a trip to Cali.

17 - Is Cartagena Safe to travel for tourists? (+)

You don’t have to walk on large distances when staying in Cartagena as all the interesting sights are nearby.

The old city center is a safe area and Getsemani is the “party graffiti district” where travelers like to hang out at night. Be a bit cautious after 10 pm as the area around Getsemani isn’t 100% safe.

Boca Grande is also another district where you can wander without any worries. But I found this area pretty useless.

Read our travel guide to plan a trip to Cartagena.

18 - Be cautious with Taganga and Santa Marta (+)

Taganga and Santa Marta are both touristic destinations on the Caribbean Coast. They are safe to walk during the day but be careful at night.

Read our travel guide to plan a trip to Santa Marta.

B- Scams to avoid when traveling to Colombia

Some scrupulous Colombians have an incredible imagination to find ways to rob the tourists. Be aware of their tricks and you will travel safer in Colombia.

19- Main Colombian Scams (+)

  • They use Scopolamine to drug you and turn you into a nice zombie – More in trendy bars in El Poblado (Medellin) or Zona T (Bogota)
  • A fake policeman officer asks you to check your bills and gives you a receipt in exchange
  • A true Policeman officer finds drugs on you and asks for a bribe
  • A fake taxi driver sequesters you with his friends and they drive you to different ATM to empty your bank account (Bogota)
  • A hot girl comes back with you to your apartment and calls her friends to rob you. Work also with Tinder.
  • The classical Gringo tax if you don’t ask for the price before buying anything
  • Skilled Pick-Pocket. Don’t put stuff in your back pockets
  • They give you back the wrong change – Sometimes it’s an honest mistake

C- Colombia’s countryside

Except in Taganga, I’ve never felt unsafe in the countryside of Colombia while traveling alone. Most of the time, the inhabitants were joyful and curious to know more about me.

20- The countryside is safer (+)

Everyone knows everyone, and there is less occasion for the tourists to be drunk in the streets. Don’t be scared to travel out of the traditional gringo trail and try to visit places like Capurgana or Jardin.

As I said previously, you only should avoid traveling to places where there is strictly nothing to do for the tourists.

View on Sapzurro, a village near the border with Panama
View on Sapzurro, a village near the border with Panama

4. Are the transports safe to use in Colombia?

Yes, you can use public transportation in Colombia.

The night buses are the best way to travel through the country, and the roads are safe.

However, many drivers believe they are the new Mickael Schumacher. It can be a bit scary at first.

21- Night buses, taxi and Beat App

This is why I don’t recommend you to rent a car in Colombia (except for short distances). Furthermore, the rentals are expensive.

Regarding the taxis, apart from Bogota, you will usually pay the fair price. In big cities, they’ve got the taximeter. If it’s not the case, ask for the price before getting in.

In Bogota, they use a taximeter with points. Then, they need to convert them into COP. Tell them to press the button to get the price in pesos. Also, it’s safer than you order a taxi from an App like Easytaxi or ask restaurants/hotels to call one.

If you don’t want to bother, use BEAT. It’s working perfectly fine in the largest cities.

5. Can you eat in the streets of Colombia and drink the water?

Yes! Don’t hesitate to try the street food! However, as in every country, avoid stands where the meat doesn’t look fresh – or surrounded by flies.

22 - Enjoy natural juices (+)

Regarding the water, you can drink the tap water in the biggest cities apart maybe from Cartagena and Santa Marta. I also never had problems eating fruits, vegetables or drinking delicious juices.

6. Can you consume drugs in Colombia?

No, you can’t. If a policeman catches you with drugs, he can expulse you from Colombia. Although he would probably ask for a bribe.

23- Cocaine = problems (+)

I don’t have problems with weed, Mdma or LSD. But don’t do cocaine in Colombia – or any other parts of the world. This white shite powder brought enough blood on the hands of the consumers.

Countries like Colombia suffer from the vices of wealthier countries. Be smarter than that.

Why do people think it’s not safe to travel to Colombia?

Because of its bloody past, the TV and the Netflix series, most of the people liken Colombia to drugs and kidnapping.

24 - Who speaks about Colombia?

First, there is the TV-Show lover. He watched Narcos 2 times, and he believes that Narcos had a great and funny life. Today, he has got a mustache and a fat belly like Pablo.

Then, there is the Drug addict lover. For him, Colombia is just a giant swimming pool full of cocaine, and he is stupid enough to book a Hooker + Drugs + Unicorns tour for 3 000 $.

I also should mention the TV News lover. He believes and repeats everything the journalists say. Unfortunately, only bombs, murders, and puppies are perfect to get a good television rating. Hence, he thinks the world is dangerous and evil.

Finally, there is the traveler who has been to Colombia and who is now preaching his Colombia travel experience to everyone. You’re bored to listen to his stories, but his adventure sounds great.

Is Colombia safe in 2018 & 2019 - Type of personalities

Was Colombia safe in the ’90s?

Since its creation, the Republic of Colombia didn’t enjoy much of an economic stability environment. There have been many conflicts between the Liberal and the Conservative parties. The rivalry was so tense that Colombia has experienced ten years of the civil war called “Violencia” between 1948 and 1958.

25 - Colombia's history (+)

Then, because of many problems of corruption and social inequalities, extreme left wings like M-19, FARC, and ELN took up arms to protest against the government during the ’70s.

Simultaneously, Pablo Escobar started his cocaine venture in the jungle.

Pablo_Escobar_
A famous picture of Pablo Escobar when he has been arrested for the first time

Source: Wikimedia

You can understand why it was totally fucked up.

Also, you have to realize we were in the ’80s. There was still the Cold War between the United States and the URSS to compete for who has the biggest one.  And Americans were hunting communists like Salem witches. They didn’t want to let Colombia into the hands of the RED.

With their help, the Colombian government armed paramilitaries to attack the communists.

Then Pablo became a bomb addict to protest against the extradition. And he was also fighting with the Cartel de Cali to maintain his Cocaine business.

Yes, Colombia was a big mess.

Situation in Colombia in the 80's

And as you can see in the diagram above, everyone was fighting with everyone. Hence, Colombia wasn’t safe to travel in the ’80s

Then Pablo died in 1993. It didn’t improve much the situation of Colombia, but at least the bombs stopped. However, the commerce of Cocaine and Diamonds was (and still is) too lucrative. Drug Cartels, paramilitaries, and left wings weren’t willing to stop.

But the situation improved progressively since the early 2000’s thanks to an important military presence, many actions from the government and the will of the Colombian people. It’s now safe to travel to Colombia.

In 2020, it’s safe to travel to Colombia

The situation in Colombia has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Every day, efforts are made to increase the dialogue with the last illegal armed groups and improve the stability of the country.

Thanks to a viral word of mouth from the travelers, Colombia knows an increase in the number of visits since 2007 (from 1 000 0000 to 3 500 000).  It brings new incomes for Colombian families, and it helps to reduce the gap between poor and rich people.

I know it usually takes time for people to change their opinion about any societal subjects. But I have good hope they realize soon that the bloody past of Colombia is far behind. However, as any country from South America, you should be cautious with your valuables.

I’ve written a long list of precautions and you’re maybe a bit scared right now. But, you shouldn’t because now you’re aware of it. Moreover, the huge majority of travelers don’t have any issues while traveling to Colombia.

In the end, most of the problems happen to tourists who look for drugs, hookers or who are too drunk to walk straight.

Don’t give papaya and everything will be fine 😉

Is it safe to travel to Colombia in 2020? In my opinion, yes. And you, what’s your feeling about it?

*I’m using pictures from Shutterstock 

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Which places can you safely visit in Colombia?

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

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Safety tips Colombia

Top Interesting Colombia Facts To Plan a Trip in 2020

There are many Colombia facts a lot more interesting than Pablo Escobar or the FARC. Let’s speak about all the fun facts you should know to get a better understanding of the county.

Colombia facts: What you should know

  • Colombia is twice the size of France.
  • The paramos are a unique ecosystem that you can only find in 3 countries, including Colombia.
  • It’s safe to travel to Colombia.
  • There are 2 coastlines: The Pacific and the Caribbean.
  • You can only visit a tiny part of the Amazon.
  • Colombia is one of the best countries for birdwatching.
  • The whale watching season is from July to September.
  • There is a 5-color river called Caño Cristales.
  • The country is a paradise if you like canyoning.
  • The weather in Colombia is a bit more complicated than distinguishing the rainy season and the dry season.
  • Los Llanos is a vast tropical region that nobody knows.
  • 95% of travelers are doing the exact same itinerary.
  • Colombia shares its borders with 5 countries.
  • The highest peak is at 5700m in the Sierra Nevada.
  • There 87 ethnic groups in Colombia.
  • They drink hot chocolate with melted cheese.
  • Colombians are the most adorable people on earth.
  • Cali is the World Capital of Salsa.
  • You will probably hate Bogota if you don’t know where to go.
  • Cartagena is superb but overrated.
  • Night buses are freezing.
  • Don’t slam the taxi’s doors.
  • Colombia cultivates numerous tropical fruits that you’ve never heard of before.
  • It’s Colombia, not Columbia.
  • “Salsa Caliente” doesn’t mean hot sauce.
  • It’s “No Hay Problema” instead of “No Problemo”.
  • “Ahorita” is a time frame between 5 min and never.
  • You can contemplate the tallest palm trees in the world in Salento AND Salamina.
  • The most famous Colombia hero, Simon Bolivar, is from Venezuela.
  • Colombia is one of the cheapest places for scuba diving. Isla Gorgona and Isla Providencia are a must.
  • Football is a religion.
  • Tejo is a game with beers and gunpowder.
  • Colombia’s coffee is the best.
  • The third biggest Carnaval is in Barranquilla.
  • Avoid going to Colombia during the Holy week.
  • 99% of the inhabitants love dancing and listening to music.
  • The only risk is that you might never leave (like us).

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Table of contents: Fun Colombia Facts

Caño Cristales, the river of 7 colors

Interesting Geographical facts about Colombia

1. Colombia is a vast country

Interesting Colombia facts

Don’t think that you will be able to visit every corner of Colombia in one month. The surface of the country is equivalent to the sum of France + Spain + Portugal.

More about this fact (+)

Also, even though the trunk roads are acceptable, you will have to be patient if you plan to travel off the beaten path.

Fortunately, internal flights are cheap, especially if you book them in advance.

2. Colombia has many neighbors

Interesting Colombia facts

Colombia shares land borders with five countries. It’s a great hub to travel to the nations around. Going up north, you can be island-hopping on San Blas before arriving in Panama from Capurgana or Cartagena. In the South of Colombia,  you can book a multi-day trip on the Amazon river and travel to Peru or Brazil.

More about this fact (+)

And if you’re not keen to take the boat, you can catch a bus in the direction of Ipiales and cross the border to reach Ecuador.

Colombia is also sharing its most significant land border with Venezuela. But considering the political and economic situation in the country, you should avoid getting there.

Also, you won’t be able to reach Panama by land as there is no road in the Darien Gap.

Border Lands Colombia

3. Colombia has two coastlines

Interesting Colombia facts

Colombia is the only country in South America with access to the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

More about this fact (+)

The Pacific region is very humid, with one of the highest precipitation rates in the world. This part of Colombia is not touristy yet and offer unique landscapes made of black beaches and lush vegetation. Boats are the common modes of transport to move from one place to another.

The Caribbean coast is part of the usual Colombia gringo trail with the visit of the old city in Cartagena and the exploration of Tayrona Park. But you will still be able to find hidden gems like Capurgana or Punta Gallinas.

If you’re looking for white beaches and crystal blue water, the best would be to explore the islands instead of staying on the coast. Fly to Providencia or travel to the archipelago of San Bernardo or the Rosario Islands from Cartagena.

Pacific coast - Beach Colombia
Islands of San Bernardo, Colombia

4. The Andean mountains are divided into 3 branches

Interesting Colombia facts

Another interesting fact is that Colombia is at the intersection of 3 tectonic plates (Nazca, Caribbean, and South American). The important activities between these plates gave birth to the Colombian Cordillera.

More about this fact (+)

The Cordillera Occidental is the lowest one and makes the separation between the Pacific coast and the Cauca Valley (Cali). You can hike around Popayan (La Purace)

The Cordillera Central is probably the most famous because of its popular treks in Los Nevados –Cocora Valley, Tolima, El Ruiz, Laguna Otun, etc.

The Cordillera Oriental separates the Magdalena Valley (A large river crossing Colombia from South to North) from the Llanos (A vast savanna mainly flooded during the rainy season). There are many day trips from Bogota to discover fantastic Paramos like Sumapaz or Chingaza. And from Guican or Cocuy, you can explore the marvelous Sierra Nevada del Cocuy near the border with Venezuela.

Andean Cordillera in Colombia

@Credit: Initial map from Wikipedia.

5. The 2nd highest coastal mountain range in the world

Interesting Colombia facts

Another interesting fact about Colombia is the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. These mountains on the Caribbean coast are isolated from the Andes chain. The peak Cristobal Colon is the highest summit of Colombia with 5700 m.

For the indigenous living there, the mountain is sacred and the access it’s not open to the public. However, some companies organize The Lost City Tour.

The Sierra Nevada Colombia

The Sierra Nevada

6. Bogota is one of the highest capital in the world

Interesting Colombia facts

As you can see on the previous map, Bogota is in the middle of the Cordillera Oriental. With more than 8 million inhabitants and at an average of 2640 m above sea level, it’s the third-highest capital in South America (after La Paz and Quito).

Because of its elevation, Bogota is located in Tierra Fria (Cold land). The temperature drops at night. Don’t forget to take a warm jacket if you’re going out 😉

Read our Bogota travel guide

View Bogota Colombia

Don’t hesitate to use these interesting facts about Colombia, South America, to plan your future trip!

Interesting Facts About Colombia: Nature

Because of its geographical situation and its different landscapes, Colombia is a paradise for the fauna and flora. The following interesting facts about Colombia should excite more than one wildlife lover.

7. Colombia is one of the seventeen megadiverse countries

Interesting Colombia facts

Megadiverse countries are nations that possess the highest number and diversity of animals and plants on earth.

Colombia represents more than 10% of all the species (Fauna and Flora) on earth! And if you compare the surface (Km2) and the number of species, Colombia is 2nd.

More about this fact (+)

Also, with more than 1880 species of birds and 71 of which being endemic, Colombia is ranked at the first place for the avian biodiversity.

Even though there is plenty of room for progression, the government is doing its best to protect its astounding environment. 59 natural areas belong to the Parque Nationales Naturales de Colombia. It represents more than 11% of the global surface of the country.

Statistic Environment and nature in Colombia

8. The tallest palm trees in the world

Interesting Colombia facts

It’s one of my favorite interesting facts about Colombia.

Salento is not only famous for its delicious red coffee beans. From the colorful city center, you can jump at the back of a jeep and reach Cocora Valley in 20 min.

Consider staying in Filandia instead of Salento if you’re allergic to other travelers.

More about this fact (+)

After a lovely hike through the forest and a steep hill, you will have a panoramic view of a vast valley where giant wax palm trees are popping up like mushrooms. Some can measure up to 60 m!

Jaw-dropping guaranteed.

Moreover, Salento is a fantastic place for enjoying the countryside of Colombia. Read the best things to do in Salento.

Read our Salento travel guide

Tallest wax palm trees in the world

9. The best Páramos in the world

Interesting Colombia facts

Páramo is a specific biome that occurs mainly in the Colombian Andes. To put it in simple terms, it’s the tundra/tussock grass/wetland between the timberline and the snowline.

More about this fact (+)

Frailejón is another specific plant that belongs to this unique ecosystem. It looks like a magic troll doll without arms and with a brown-green skin.

Also, the temperature can vary a lot due to the high altitude. Don’t forget to apply your sunscreen before going on a treck in the Páramos. And take your boots and a rain jacket. The weather can change in a few minutes.

The Páramo de Oceta near Mongui is deemed to be the most beautiful in the world and Sumapaz near Bogota is the largest one.

Paramo de Ocetta Mongui Colombia

Páramo de Oceta with frailejón, Mongui, Colombia

10. El Eldorado, a lake full of gold

Interesting Colombia facts

Did you already hear about the legend of El Eldorado?

A secret city where gold is supposed to be present in every corner. Treasure hunters have spent hundreds of years to find this place lost in the jungle.

We even use its name in our everyday life to describe a great opportunity.

More about this fact (+)

During the XVI century, conquistadores were greedy for gold. They could have done anything to find this precious metal. When they heard about a lake where the Muiscas used to throw hundreds of jewelry made of gold, they didn’t hesitate one second.

For many years, they tried to empty the lagoon. But they failed and never found the treasures they expected. For them, only one conclusion came to their mind:

The treasure has to be somewhere else

Guatavita lake near Bogota, Colombia

Historical Facts about Colombia

After the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Colombus, Spain quickly became a dominant empire. And thanks to viceroys, they have been able to manage a vast kingdom for more than 3 centuries remotely. But everything started changing when France invaded Spain in 1808. Let’s learn interesting historical facts about Colombia.

11. Colombia had 5 different appellations within 5 centuries

Interesting Colombia facts

Why is Colombia called Colombia? And not ColUmbia!!!!

After the establishment of the first colony – Santa Marta – in 1525 by Rodrigo de Bastidas, the Spanish conquered Colombia in only 25 years.

To keep an eye on its new territories, Spain created The Audienca in 1549 to manage the different governments. But, the communication with the Viceroyalty of Peru wasn’t effective – Because of the landscapes.

More about this fact (+)

200 years later, they established in 1740 the Viceroyalty of New Grenada to improve the centralization of their authority. It was in charge of Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

When France invaded Spain in 1808, some governments and subjects took this opportunity to gain more freedom and ask for independence. The first attempt didn’t last long, but it gave a decisive push in this direction. And in 1819, Simon Bolivar – a revolutionist from Venezuela – defeated the Spanish armies in Colombia, before leading his army to Venezuela and Peru.

While the Empire of Spain was collapsing, Bolivar created The Gran Colombia in 1819. His dream was to unify Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, and Venezuela into a great nation. Unfortunately, only a few of his so-called friends shared his point of view.

After many rebellions, Gran Colombia exploded in 1830. Only Colombia and Panama remained together under the name Republic of New Grenada.

It was the beginning of a long arm-wrestling between the Liberal and Conservative Party. And in 1886, the country officially became the Republic of Colombia.

In 1903, because of constant civil conflicts and the implication of the United States – to build a future world-famous canal -, Panama became in his turn independent.

The Different Appellations of Colombia

12. Simon Bolivar is the most well-known hero in Colombia

Interesting Colombia facts

Simon Bolivar was born in Venezuela and grew up in a wealthy family. After the death of both parents, well-educated tutors took his instruction in charge. And thanks to Simon Rodriguez  (one of the tutors), Bolivar met many European rationalist thinkers like Montesquieu and Rousseau during his second travel in Europe.

More about this fact (+)

Bathed by the Enlightenment and impressed by the coronation of Napoleon, Bolivar decides to break South America free from the Spanish Empire.

The task was not easy, and he had to run away a few times from the Spanish armies. But after many attempts, Bolivar struck a decisive blow against the Viceroyalty of New Grenada. With a small army, he crossed the Andean mountains and attacked by surprise the city of Bogota.

In three days the capital fell into his hands. It was the beginning of the end of the Spanish Empire and the birth of Gran Colombia.

Simon Bolivar Statue Colombia

Facts About Colombia: Entertainments

I’m sure the poet Horace went to Colombia before writing his famous sentence “Carpe Diem.” Because of its bloody past, Colombians learned to enjoy life to the fullest. The music, the dance, and the sport are an integral part of their cultural legacy.

Let’s find out the fun facts about Colombia.

13. Colombia, “the land of a thousand rhythms”

Interesting Colombia facts

In Colombia, the hairs of your skin can feel the pulsation of the music. From traditional Salsa music to hard rock underground parties, you will hear a full spectrum of different sounds that will invite you to move your body on the dance floor.

More about this fact (+)

With such a large number of communities and many different musical influences coming from Africa, Europe, and modern America, each region has composed its musical styles.

The music on the Caribbean and the Pacific coast have been influenced a lot by the African culture, especially after the abolition of Slavery. For example, Cumbia is more present on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia, but Champeta is typical of Cartagena de Indias. And if you hear an accordion, you’re probably listening to a Vallenato song.

The percussions played on the Pacific coast create a rhythm a lot more different. The Group Chocquibtown, which is based there, is very successful.

Small towns in the Andean Region used to dance on Bambuco music, and the Colombian cowboys (Llaneros) are driving herds with soft harp sounds (Joropo music).

But in my opinion, it’s the Salsa that transforms Colombia into such a tireless dancer. The inhabitants have quickly adopted this music coming from Puerto Rico. Kids are learning the first steps with their mothers, old grandmas are dancing near the speakers in the street and boys are kissing their first love on Salsa songs.

Different styles of Salsa appear over time, but the hips are still moving the same.

  • Fruko y sus Tesos
  • Joe Arroyo
  • La Pantera Mambo

More recently, other styles of music have become very popular in Colombia. Local artists are using their musical background to create their proper rock, pop, techno or even jazz style.

  • Mr. Perine
  • Bomba Estereo
  • Systema Solar 
  • Carlos Vives

More information about the music genres in Colombia

The Music genres in Colombia

14. Colombia is one the cheapest place for diving

Interesting Colombia facts

Do you like to dive?

I love it too. It’s like being in another dimension with colorful people doing many duck faces. And the experience is quite better if you don’t have to be bound to the instructor.

More about this fact (+)

But, you must pass your Open Water to swim alone like a mermaid in Poseidon’s Kingdom. It can be quite expensive depending on where you live.

Fortunately, in Colombia it’s cheap. It’s a situation where you’re spending and saving money at the same time – Like during the sales ^^

There are various places where you can pass your certification (around 250$)

  • Capurgana
  • Taganga – Santa Marta
  • Cartagena
  • Rincon del Mar
  • Providencia
  • San Andres

But don’t expect to observe as many colorful reefs and fishes than in the red sea or around the Philippines.

If you’re looking for something more exciting – You will probably need the Open Water Advanced-, you should check out Isla Gorgona or Bushnell near Isla Fuerte.

In the Caribbean sea, the sea is flat during the “raining season”- between April and October. Hence, the visibility will be better!

Interesing fact about Colombia Cheap Dives Map

15. Football is a religion – Funny Fact about Colombia

Interesting Colombia facts

In Colombia, the real name of Jesus is James, and his apostles are Ronaldo, Suarez, Messi, James, Falcao, Neymar, and Ibrahimovic.

More about this fact (+)

Ok, I may exaggerate a little. Many Colombians are Catholic so Jesus will be Jesus forever. But I think we can say that Football is as much important as religion in Colombia.

It’s a social/cultural thing. It unifies the country and breaks the barriers between poor and rich people. Many Colombians know more than one hundred European cities because of the different football leagues.

When the national team is playing, everyone watches the game. Plastic chairs and TV screens are set up on the streets, and Aguila’s caps (Colombia beer) are popping like fireworks.

Colombian supporter Football

16. Tejo is an explosive game

Interesting Colombia facts

Tejo is the national game of Colombia, and it’s also a great excuse to drink some beers with friends. Two teams face off by throwing iron disks into a box full of clay.

More about this fact (+)

The team with the closest iron disks from the center of the box gain points. It’s the same spirit as Petanque or curling.

And you don’t know the best yet.

They add small papers full of gunpowder on the clay. You have to target these “little bombs” to get more points and made an explosion with the impact – Like a firecracker.

Parties of Tejo are usually free, and the owner makes money by selling beers or sodas. Don’t need to say that the more you’re drunk, the harder it is.

17. Festivals are plentiful in Colombia

Interesting Colombia facts

Colombians express their feeling through the dance. Every rhythm of music has a history and a group of fans ready to spread the sounds in the country.

Festivals and fairs are all along the year, and they can last many days (From 2 to 7 days).

More about this fact (+)

Usually, people watch the parades during the day and move their hips like crazy at night.

It’s one of my favorite interesting facts about Colombia. And I highly encourage you to participate in one of them during your trip.

I wrote down the most important events:

  • Carnival of Barranquilla: February
  • Vallenato festival (Valledupar): April
  • Rock in the Park (Bogota): July
  • Feria de las Flores (Medellin): August
  • Feria de Salsa (Cali): December
  • Feria de Manizales: January
  • Festival Blanco y Negro (Pasto): January
  • Jazz festival (Mompox): October
Feria de las flores, Medellin, Colombia

18. Like the number of Public holidays

Interesting Colombia facts

Colombians only have 2-3 weeks of holidays. Fortunately, Colombia is one of the countries with the highest number of public holidays. 18!

To allow the inhabitants to enjoy the festivals and discover more of their country, the majority of the public holidays fall on a Monday.

More about this fact (+)

And let me tell you that Colombians don’t like to spend their days off at home. They rush to the coasts and other highlights.

Check out the dates in the link below as you should book a few days in advance if you realize that a “Holly Monday” is coming.
Click here to find out the public holidays in the country.

Cultural Facts about Colombia

19. Colombian Coffee Fact – third producer of Coffee in the world

After Brazil and Vietnam, Colombia is the third producer of coffee in the world and enjoys big popularity in the global market.

Why is there such a craze for Colombian Coffee? Other countries are also growing Arabica beans after all. The answer is simple.

Quality and great marketing.

More about this facts (+)

At the end of the nineteenth century, there was a crisis in the coffee market, and the prices fell. In 1927, the government created the National Federation of Coffe Growers of Colombia to help the many local Colombians producers.

To gain market shares, they opted for a differentiation strategy by selecting the best beans for the exportation. And because many farmers only have a few acres of land, the federation created the brand, Juan Valdez, to express the artisanal and local values.

Then the coffee growers sell their coffee beans to the federation, which takes care of the exportation.

Many local farmers are located in the Zona Cafetera (Armenia, Pereira, Manizales) and the Department of Antioquia. 

Coffee plantation near Manizales, Colombia

20. Shiny Colombia facts: Emeralds

Did you know the Castafiore Emeralds (cf Tintin) probably come from Colombia? Indeed, the country accounts for more than 60% of the global market!

Most of the mines are located in the eastern Andes, but buyers usually met in Cartagena de Indias.

emeralds Colombia

21. An artist in love with generous shapes

Interesting Colombia facts

Fernando Botero is a world-famous artist whose works are exposed in many countries. He is well-known to give generous curves to his sculptures and paintings.

His sculptures look like balloons fill up with air and ready to explode.

I recommend you to visit one of the two expositions in Bogota or Medellin.

Botero's Sculpture on a square in Medellin

22. A writer who popularizes the Magical Realism

Interesting Colombia facts

Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Gabo is one of the most famous writers in South America. He is known for popularising Magic realism, a literary style where magical elements appear in realistic situations.

More about this fact (+)

Gabo grew up on the Caribbean Coast, and many of his books have been inspired by the lifestyle of the Costeños and the experience he had during his childhood.

Bestsellers like  “Hundred Years of Solitude” or “Love in the time of Cholera” have been translated into many languages.

Don’t forget to pack one of them in your luggage!

Gabo's face is on the 50 000 COP Banknote of Colombia
Gabo’s face is on the 50 000 COP Banknote of Colombia

Facts About Colombian Food and Drinks

23. Tasty Colombia facts: Tons of fruits

Imagine a colossal basket of fruits without hundreds of different colors. It’s how I visualize Colombia. There are fruits for everyone and every taste.

More about this fact (+)

First, there are the ones you cut in half. Then, you eat the inside with a spoon. It’s perfect for a snack. I’m sure you know the most famous one, the Passion Fruit! You can also try Grenadilla and Lulo.

In South America, there are some fruits and staples which are supposed to increase your libido – Most of the time they smell terrible. It’s the case of the Borojo fruit.

If you like the bitter taste, you should try the Star Fruit. And the juice is fantastic too!!

And don’t hesitate to try the ones with a weird shape like the Dragon Fruit, Guanabana -a mammoth fruit-  or the Guama – You have to suck the flesh around the beans.

I kept the worst for the end. Try the Noni fruit. It stinks like an old cheese which has been forgotten in a shoebox with the runners still inside. Gross.

Fruit Market Colombia

Paloquemao Market in Bogota

24. Aguardiente, a social beverage!

Interesting Colombia facts

When doing party, Colombians love to carry around the bottle of alcohol they bought, and they give chupitos – small shots-  to everyone!

As you know, parties are the best occasions to create new friendships.

Aguardiente is the national alcohol. It’s an anise-flavored liquor that literally means “Firewater”. But relax, it’s not that strong – around 29°.

More about this fact (+)

You have to drink it very cold otherwise you won’t appreciate it. The Aguardiente de Antioquia is the one you will be able to buy everywhere. There are two different kinds, with (Red) or without sugar (Blue). If you want to maximize your chance to avoid a hangover the next morning, you should definitively choose the blue one.

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Best Colombia travel guides

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

Get our FREE guidebook to decide where to travel to Colombia

All you need to create your itinerary

Why bother if we do it better?

Have fun while we do the hard job

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Pinterest Interesting Facts About Colombia

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Best facts about Colombia

Traveling to Colombia (2020): Don’t leave without reading this!

Do you want to know all the best secrets for traveling to Colombia? We’ve been exploring this country since 2015, and we have got tons of exciting traveling tips to give you.

Discovering a country is both exciting and complicated. You have to take the time to research the necessary information and then try to guess if it is correct and up to date.

This ultra-detailed post will make the difference between a good trip and an unforgettable adventure. 

Also, don’t miss our Free Colombia Travel guide. It’s the ideal ebook to create your itinerary and select your favorite places.

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Table of contents: Traveling to Colombia

  1. Before your departure
  2. Best time to visit Colombia
  3. Regions of Colombia
  4. Mobile and Post office
  5. Colombia’s money and budget
  6. Transportation
  7. Types of accommodation
  8. Food and drinks
  9. Safety tips
  10. Tours you can’t do without a guide
  11. Colombian Culture
  12. Get your Colombia guidebook
  13. Travel stress-free: Our secret

Things to do before traveling to Colombia

1. Scan and store your important documents online

Archiva tus documentos
  • Scan your passport
  • Your travel insurance
  • Your social security number
  • Your vaccinations with certificates – Yellow fever
  • Your credit card number for a stop payment
  • Emergency contact person
  • The number of your embassy in Colombia

Don’t forget to do it before traveling to Colombia. I use Google Drive for this.

2. Get insurance before traveling to Colombia

Seguros de viaje (1)

Usually, there’s a 3-month travel insurance policy on your credit card. Check with your banker to find out the terms and conditions.

And take advantage of this opportunity to ask him how your card works abroad as well as the total amount of bank fees in case of withdrawal or payment in Colombia.

3. Warn your banker before traveling to Colombia

Mobile bank fees (1)

Also remind him/her of the dates of your trip to Colombia to prevent your account from being blocked due to several suspicious withdrawals abroad.

Take this opportunity to find out how much you can withdraw per week. We pay a lot in cash in Colombia.

We love using N26 when traveling abroad.

4. Visa for visiting Colombia

Colombia Visa each country

We are lucky, Colombia accepts many countries without asking for a prior visa. They are the blue ones on the map below.

They will deliver you a Touristic Visa for 90 days once you pass the border.  

  • Minimum 2 blank pages on your passport
  • A passport Valid for 6 months minimum

It will then be possible to extend your Visa by 3 months once you are there.

5. A proof of exit

Before traveling to Colombia

Proof of exit traveling to Colombia (1)

You have to prove that you will leave Colombia within the next 3 months.

They rarely ask for it at the land border, but this is systematically done before boarding a plane bound for Colombia. The airline won’t let you leave without this evidence.

How do I get proof of exit (+)

  • Have a return flight ticket
  • A bus ticket
  • Book a plane ticket and then ask for a refund 24 hours later.
  • Using Best Onward Ticket services

6. Photocopies of your passport and ID photos

Before traveling to Colombia

Photocopy of your passport (1)

When you go out at night, take a photocopy of your passport only. It’s enough to show it to the police or prove you’re over 18.

It’s also helpful to have some ID photos. You may need them to redo your papers (in case you lose your passport) in the country or for administrative procedures you would not have thought of.

7. Keep a few dollars in your dirty socks…

Before traveling to Colombia

Dollars (1)

I’m doing it every time I travel overseas.

The only time I didn’t do it,  some dudes stole my pants and wallet in Barcelona while I was sleeping. I ate chips for lunch.

So, hide 100 bucks somewhere in a secret place in case of an emergency.

8. Vaccines before traveling to Colombia

Vaccins

The televisions warn a lot about diseases such as Zika, Dengue, Malaria, etc.. It is important to be wary of them, but one should not become paranoid.

Remember to make an appointment with your doctor before you leave to check your vaccinations.

There is no vaccine against malaria. However, the following vaccines are strongly recommended before traveling to Colombia:

  • Yellow fever – Don’t forget the vaccine certificate 
  • Typhoid
  • Tetanus (Obligatory)
  • Hepatitis A (Obligatory)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Diphtheria

9. Traveling to Colombia with a backpack is easier

Mochila Viajar a Colombia (1)

Even if you don’t have a tight budget, I advise you to take a backpack instead of a traditional travel bag – like those huge suitcases with wheels.

Sometimes there are limited room in taxis and small buses. It is also convenient if you take a moto-taxi.

The best option would be a 55 L bag and an extra bag to keep your valuables.

10. Practical little gadgets for your trip to Colombia

Gadgets Voyager en Colombie (1)

You’ll find everything you need in Colombia. There are a few tricks I like to use before every trip.

Our favorite gadgets (+)

  • Zipper bags (plastic) – to keep your important papers dry
  • Storage pockets to organize things in the bag and save a little space. It is a life changer!
  • A water bottle to avoid buying plastic bottles.
  • Sunscreen
  • Buy mosquito repellent once you get there. Nopikex is very effective.

When traveling to Colombia

11. There are two seasons in Colombia (but it’s a little more complicated than that)

beach in providencia

First of all, stop checking the weather on your phone. Colombia is a humid country. The forecast is going to be uninterrupted rain. And it’s not!

From mid-December to the end of March, during the windy season, it hardly ever rains. The Caribbean Sea is more turbulent during this period. Lazing on the beach or hiking are perfect activities for this season. On the other hand, there is less visibility for diving and less water flow in the rivers and waterfalls.

During the rainy season, it does not rain all the time. The weather changes quickly. In general, the weather is usually sunny in the morning and overcast or rainy in the afternoon. May, October, and November are the rainiest months.

July and August are sunny and perfect months to travel in Colombia.

12. The tourist season in Colombia

Traveling to Colombia

Crowd (1)

Colombians love to travel to their country on public holidays. This will often fall on a Monday so that they can have a 3 day weekend.

If you are in this situation, avoid very touristic places such as Minca, Salento, or Guatape.

important dates to remember (+)

  • There are 18 public holidays. Most of them fall on a Monday. Think about it if you have to take a flight or a bus during this period.
  • Between Christmas and NYE. For Colombians, the family is very important. They are all meeting somewhere on this occasion.
  • Easter holidays. Most of the Colombians are religious. There are four public holidays for Easter. The two weeks during Easter attract a lot of travelers.
  • The high season is from December to February.

We give you plenty of tips regarding the best months to visit Colombia.

Where traveling to Colombia?

13. There are 6 major regions (but 12 is better)

There are 6 regions in Colombia. The climate, the landscapes,  the people and the experiences will be different depending on where you will travel. It’s like 6 small countries!

  • Andean
  • Orinoquia
  • Amazon
  • Pacific
  • Caribbean
  • Islands

However, it’s easier to divide the country into smaller parts to plan a trip to Colombia. When creating itineraries for our clients, we use 12 different “sub-region”:

14. Our map to help you travel in Colombia

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

Get our FREE guidebook to decide where to travel to Colombia

I know it’s not easy to choose among all these places. For your convenience, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of all our favorite places!

They are classified by themes such as beach, forest, sport and so on.

Mobiles And Post Office

Traveling to Colombia

15. Buy yourself a local SIM card when arriving in Colombia

Sim Card (1)

There are 3 main phone operators in Colombia:

  • Claro
  • Movistar
  • Tigo

They all have the same prices (Around 13$ for 2 Go), but I have a preference for Claro – It seems more “compatible” with foreigner’s phones. Regarding the Sim Card, you can buy them everywhere for less than 5$!

I advise you to check that your phone is compatible with any SIM card before you leave. If it is not, you should try to “unlock” it.

16. Postcard and Mission Impossible

Traveling to Colombia

Post card (1)

In Colombia, there is no National Post office. I know, it’s a perfect excuse to avoid sending postcards to your family.

You need to use private companies like DHL. The most economical solution is to choose the company 4-72. The postcards take 2 – 4 months to arrive at the destination.

How to spend your money while traveling to Colombia

17. An order of price for traveling in Colombia

Prices Colombia Taxi

Colombians are using Colombian Pesos (COP). To make it simple, keep in mind that 3 300 COP = 1 Dollar

They mostly use bills. Tons of them.

  • 1 000 COP: 30 Cts
  • 2 000 COP: 60 Cts
  • 5 000 COP: 1.5 $
  • 10 000 COP: 3 $
  • 20 000 COP: 6.5 $
  • 50 000 COP: 16 $

It’s not the exact conversion, but it’s the easiest way to remember.

Range of prices (+)

  • Coffee (Tinto): 1 000 COP – 30 Cts
  • Beer (Aguila): 3 000 COP – 1 $
  • Avocado: 3000 COP
  • Fantastic fruit juice: 3 – 4 000 COP
  • Breakfast: 7 000 COP – 2 $
  • Cocktail: 7 000 COP
  • Menu del dia (Menu of the day): 10 000 COP – 3 $
  • Good Dinner: 25 000 COP – 8 $
  • Hostel in a dorm: 25 – 30 000 COP: 8 – 10 $

Most of the time, Colombians won’t say the “Mile” (Thousand) – If it costs you 20 000, they will say “twenty.”

Backpacker Budget  (Shoestring budget): $37 per day

More information (+)

  • Accommodation: Night in dorms l 30 000 COP
  • Transportation: Public Transports | long-distance buses | Taxis in big cities | 30 000 COP
  • Meals: Menu of the day for lunch and a mix of street food and cheap dinners | 30 000 COP
  • Activity: A mix of free and cheap activities | 30 000 COP

Backpacker Budget : $55 per day

More information (+)

  • Accommodation: Private bedroom in hostel | 50 000 COP/pers/ if 2 pers
  • Transportation: Public Transports | long-distance buses | Taxis in big cities | 30 000 COP
  • Meals: Menu of the day for lunch + dinner at a restaurant + a few drinks | 45 000 COP
  • Activity: A mix of affordable activities, usually in groups | 50 000 COP

Flashpacker Budget  : $97 per day

More information (+)

  • Accommodation : Private bedroom in a modern hostel + Finca or Eco-lodge | 90 000 COP/pers/if 2 pers
  • Transportation: Public Transports  | Planes for long distances | Taxis | 60 000 COP
  • Meals: Menu of the day for lunch + good dinner at the restaurant + drinks, coffees and parties  | 90 000 COP
  • Activity: Daily activities + trips to non-touristic areas | 70 000 COP

Large Budget: $141 per day

More information (+)

  • Accommodation: Private bedroom in upscale hostel + Boutique Hotel + Luxury hotel  | 120 000 COP/pers/if 2 pers)
  • Transportation: Public and private transportation |  Planes for long distances | Taxis | 100 000 COP 
  • Meals: Lunch and dinners in good restaurants + drinks, coffees, and parties  | 120 000 COP
  • Activity: Daily activities + private tours + trip to non-touristic areas  | 120 000 COP

Very High Budget: $176 per day

More information (+)

  • Accommodation: Private bedroom in luxury hotels, boutique hotels, and Eco-lodge | 150 000 COP/pers/if 2 pers
  • Transportation: Planes for long distances | Private transportation for almost every trip | 150 000 COP/pers/if 2 pers
  • Meals: Lunch and dinners in top-notch restaurants + drinks, coffees, and parties | 120 000 COP.  
  • Activity: Private daily activities + trip to non-touristic areas | 150 000 COP

Download our travel guide to learn more about the budget needed to travel to Colombia.

18. Always keep small change

Traveling to Colombia

Small change

Also, try to keep as many small tickets as possible as it can be complicated to pay with a 50,000 COP ticket. Merchants may not have a lot of change, especially in remote areas.

19. ATMs in Colombia

ATM (1)

ATMs are the best solution to get Colombian Pesos at the best exchange rate. Visa and Mastercard work very well and there are many ATMs in Colombia. However, the dispensers may be out of order in some remote areas.

You should always have some cash with you when traveling to Colombia

Places where the credit card is useless (+)

If your bank doesn’t give you a good exchange rate or applies high bank fees, you should use a credit card from a mobile bank.

20. Banks that do not apply bank charges

Davividenda (1)
  • BBVA | Maximum withdrawal of 300,000, but you can do it 7 times within 24 hours.
  • Davivienda | Maximum withdrawal 2,100,000 COP. Be careful, the ATM will offer you if you want to use the bank’s exchange rate. You have to say NO.
  • Colpatria | Same as Davivienda.

These banks don’t charge bank fees, but your bank might. It depends on your bank card.
In this article, we help you understand where bank fees come from and how to reduce them.

21. Negotiating prices when you travel to Colombia

Bargain Deal (1)

When I’m traveling to Colombia, I don’t have the feeling that Colombians try to rip me off with the prices.

They usually give you the local price – Except for the national park where you pay more.

It is also customary to negotiate certain purchases such as activities or transportation. Always ask for the price before saying “I’ll take it”. Otherwise, some traders raise the price at the last moment. There is rarely the amount on the labels.

With who can you bargain? (+)

You can and should bargain with the taxi driver if they don’t have the taxi meter.

It’s also usual to ask if there is a discount for long bus drives and accommodations: “Hola, hay un descuento?”

In any case, keep the bargaining process fun and with a big smile 😉

Transportation when traveling to Colombia

We have written more than 45 guides for every destination we have visited and enjoyed in Colombia.

Our goal is to give you all the information so that you can create the itinerary in Colombia that suits you best.

In each of these guides we explain how to get to each destination: by plane, bus, boat, taxi, moto-taxi….

22. National flights in Colombia

Traveling to Colombia

Flights Colombia

They are amazingly cheap. Use them if you don’t have much time when traveling to Colombia.

There are many daily flights from major cities in Colombia. I recommend booking flights at least 1 week in advance – otherwise, prices can double.

A classic flight should cost around 50$ – one way – and a flight to a slightly less crowded destination such as Leticia (Amazonia), Bahia Solano (Pacific coast), Capurgana (Darien Gap) should cost around 100$ – one way.

a. Latam (+)

Airline with basic services. It’s perfect for domestic flights.

Latam Baggage Policy:

  • 1 Checked Baggage NOT included: Max 23 Kg [Except for tariff “Plus” and “Top”]
  • 1 Cabin Baggage included: Max 10 Kg. Size: 55 cm x 35 cm x 25 cm
  • 1 Personal Item included: 45 x 35 x 20 cm

b. Avianca (+)

It’s the national airline company, but they seem to have some delay issues.

It’s not a problem if you don’t have to catch your next flight connexion. Otherwise, keep some spare time 😉

When traveling to Colombia, you should always plan your itinerary with possible delays in mind.

Avianca Baggage Policy:

  • 1 Checked Baggage included: Max 23 Kg
  • 1 Cabin Baggage included: Max 10 Kg. Size: It must measure at most 115 centimeters (height+length+width)
  • 1 Personal Item included

c. Viva Air Colombia (+)

It’s the cheapest airline company in Colombia. Don’t expect high standards and great customer service. It’s not a big deal as you can fly almost for free if you buy in advance your flight ticket and without a checked Baggage. 

Viva Colombia earns money on all optional ancillary services and possible “mistakes/oversights” made by customers (wrong reservation, forgotten ticket, nothing to eat, nothing to drink etc…).

Below is some information to keep in mind if you are using Viva Air Colombia to travel to Colombia:

Viva Air Baggage Policy:

  • Only 1 cabin baggage is included:  6 Kg and 40x35x25 cm
  • You have to do the check-in online max 45 min before the departure
  • You have to print your boarding pass
  • There is no reimbursement if you can’t take your flight
  • Extra cabin baggage: 12 Kg and 55x45x25 cm – Price: 44 000 COP
  • Check baggage: 20 Kg and 158 linear cm – Price: 42 900 COP

d. Easyfly, Satena et San German Express (+)

Avianca, Latam, and Viva air don’t deserve tiny destinations like Nuqui, El Valle, Capurgana, San Jose del Guaviare, La Macarena, or Providencia.

Fortunately, many charter companies and aircraft engines are willing to bring you to the edge of the world.

The most famous companies are:

  • Easyfly | 5 Kg hand luggage & 15 Kg checked baggage
  • Satena | 5 Kg hand luggage & 15 Kg checked baggage
  • San German Express | 5 Kg hand luggage & 10 Kg checked baggage

Extra weight is 2 – 3000 COP / Kg.

Satena has got an important air fleet and deserves many destinations in Colombia. However, the quality of their services isn’t the best. Many delays and cancelations.

San German’s reputation is excellent, we recommend their services.

23. Taxi for traveling in Colombia

Taxi Colombia (1)

Taxis are the easiest and fastest way of transportation in the cities in Colombia. They are everywhere, and they honk to seduce you.

In most of the cities, they don’t use a taximeter. Agree on a price first.

In the airports and important terminal stations, you can book your taxi at a welcome desk

Apps to book a ride (+)

UBER is illegal, but everyone uses them in big cities. It’s cheaper and easier. You will have to sit in the front seat and pretend to be a friend’s driver if the police stop the car.

Beat is our new favorite APP. It’s cheaper than Uber. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in every city.

To have access to secluded places, you can take moto-taxis.

24. Buses for traveling in Colombia

CHIVA Colombia

The bus is the most widely used means of transport. Do not hesitate to take it during your stay in Colombia. Sometimes the drivers think they are playing at Mario Kart. It’s best not to think about it too much.

There are many bus companies and each has its own counter at the bus station.

The long bus drive (+)

  • The best way for traveling in Colombia
  • Night buses are safe and useful
  • A fridge is warmer than a night bus. Take a blanket
  • Semi-Cama means that it’s an inclinable seat
  • You can bargain and ask for a discount
  • You don’t need to buy your bus ticket in advance when you’re traveling in Colombia – Except during Christmas time, Easter and public holidays. Check the schedule on the internet and just show up 1 hour before.

I like the bus companies below:

  • Bolivariano
  • Expreso Brasilia 
  • Rapido Ochoa
  • Copetran

Sometimes, they don’t show you all the buses available on their websites (Brasilia’s website loves to do that)

To know the schedules, you can also check on the bus terminal’s website – “Terminal de Transporte + name of the city (departure).” Example for Bogota

But your best option is to ask the reception of your hostel to call the bus company and confirm the bus schedules.

Below 3 other websites to help to organize your bus drive – I don’t trust them at 100% as bus schedules often change.

Collectivo (Small buses) (+)

Take the “Collectivos” to travel on a short distance. It’s a tiny shuttle which usually leaves when it’s full, and it’s the easiest way of transportation in the countryside.

  • It’s not easy to take a ride with your backpack, but it’s doable. Colombians always find a way
  • You don’t need to bargain. Just say your final destination, so they know where they have to drop you. 
  • Don’t need to care about the bus schedule – Except for the last departure
  • Most of the time, you pay when you go out of the bus
  • You will be impressed by how many people can fit inside
  • It’s fun
  • It is difficult to use them in big Colombian cities because there is no explanation on the routes of these buses.

Chiva (local colorful buses) (+)

It’s a large colorful bus that drives on small roads to reach different towns in Antioquia and the coffee region. You should try once when you’re traveling in Colombia

Private shuttle (+)

There are private companies that offer a door to door service. It’s faster but not very comfortable. It’s frequent on the Caribbean Coast. You can check on Marsol Facebook and Berlinastur.

25. Boat rides for traveling in Colombia

Lancha Colombia

The motorboat is a common means of transport on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts (Capurga, Sapzurro, San Bernardo Islands, etc.) and in the Amazon.

On the Caribbean Coast, boat rides are bumpy during the windy season. Some travelers find the experience a bit scary. Be ready.

Always put your stuff in plastic bags before a boat ride.

26. Other public transports in big cities

Colombie has a sophisticated bus system in the largest cities.

In Bogota (Transmilenio), Barranquilla (Mio), and Cali (Mio). You need to buy a bus card (1$) and add some credit to it. But for the safety reasons, avoid using them after 10 pm.

In Medellin, the metro works perfectly, and it’s cheap! 

Accommodation

Traveling to Colombia

27.  The different kind of accommodations in Colombia

Hammock Colombia

There is a wide choice of accommodation in Colombia. It will depend on the region you visit and your budget.

Various sleeping options (+)

They are many hostels in the countryside which let set your tent in their field.

On the Caribbean and Pacific coast, it’s possible to sleep in hammocks. I recommend you to try the Chinchorro in La Guajira. However, it’s a lot more expensive on the islands.

There is also the possibility of sleeping at a private home. This is often the case in areas where there are few offers of accommodation such as La Guajira or the Pacific coast.

And of course, you’ll find hundreds of hostels. It’s the perfect place to meet other travelers. You often have a choice between private rooms or dorms.

If you prefer staying in a hotel, it won’t be a problem either. Know that the standards in the hotel industry are not the same as in Europe/USA. However, some hotels offer good quality services with fantastic views.

In the department of Antioquia, the coffee region and around Popayan/ San Agustin, travelers can sleep in a Hacienda (huge estates surrounded by lands) or a Finca (coffee farm). These places are ideal if you are looking for tranquility and rest.

28. Our favorite accommodations for resting in Colombia

Patio del mundo Medellin

We regularly write about our favourite city neighbourhoods and some good addresses. Stop picking randomly!

Eat and drink

Traveling to Colombia

29. Water, Juice, and Alcohol 

Jugo naturales (1)

Colombia is the paradise for fruit juices and cheap beers but not for the water.

Water (+)

You can drink the tap water in principal cities and many towns in the Andean Region. But avoid doing it on the Carribean Coast, Pacific coast, Amazon, etc.

The best is to ask in your hostel first – Es la agua potable aqui? Or you can offer a glass of water to another traveler and see if he survives.

  • 1 L water bottle: around 3 000 COP.

Fresh juices (+)

You can buy fresh juices everywhere when traveling to Colombia. There are many choices, and it’s perfect to start the day.

You will have to choose between Water or MilkCon Agua o con LecheColombians love sweet, so don’t hesitate to ask with less sugar – Con un poco de Azucar por favor

  • 1 Fruit juice: Around 4000 COP

Alcohol (+)

What is the most common alcohol you can buy everywhere? BEER!

In any events, outside of a club, on the beach, you will always find someone to sell you a cold beer. And it’s cheap.

Local beers don’t have many flavors, so don’t expect to drink a good beer in most of the bars when traveling to Colombia.

But many artisanal breweries are opening their doors in big cities like Medellin and Bogota. Ask around you!

In Colombia, Aguardiente is the national alcohol. It has an aniseed flavor, and you drink it in shooters.

There are mainly two types of bottles. The blue and the red ones. Colombians say the blue one is less painful the next morning for the hangover;)

The party district is called Zona Rosa in the big cities.

30. Colombian food

Traveling to Colombia

Arepas con queso

Don’t be afraid to try street food. It’s good, greasy and cheap. But it’s very fried and not very healthy.

Common street food in Colombia

  • Don’t be scared to try the street foods when traveling to Colombia. The country doesn’t have a great reputation for its food, but you can still eat delicious Colombian food.
  • Arepas [ground maize dough]. It’s like Bread for them. They give it to you for breakfast with your eggs; they make sandwiches or pizzas. There are also many Arepas 2.0 – It means they add some cheese or egg directly inside when it’s cooking. Each Colombian’s department cooks it differently.
  • Empanadas [Bread or pastry cooked with a different kind of filling]. They love to fry them in Colombia. It can be with meat or veggie or cheese, etc.
  • Salchipapa: Sausage + French fries + Lots of sauces. It’s great!
  • Yucca [woody schrub]. If you’re a vegetarian, you will love that. You can boil it then fry it. Awesome results.
  • Plantains [Sweet Banana]. Delicious. You can eat it like chips, or it can be sweet. Don’t hesitate to cook it by yourself – It’s a pain in the ass to take of the skin. Cut into pieces, boil it then smash it with a plate. Once you have a thin circle, fry it.

Yes, the street food in Colombia is a lot about eating fried stuff.  So, If you want to save money and eat more healthily, ask for the menu del dia at lunchtime. They serve it in every restaurant. 

It’s a basic meal that includes:

  • Entrance: Soup
  • The main dish: Beans + Rice + 1 leaf of Salad + 2 slices of tomatoes + 2 plantains + Meat
  • A juice of the day

Safety when traveling to Colombia

Voyager seule en Colombie (1)

31. General safety rules for traveling to Colombia

  • If there is a locker in your dorm, don’t be lazy and use it.
  • You have more chance to be robbed if you’re playing the stupid tourist. What is a foolish tourist?
    • A drunk dude walking at night in a dark alley because he wants to save 3 $ – instead of taking a cab
    • A dude who accepts a drink from a beautiful and sexy girl and who wants to have sex with him after 5 min 30s.
    •  A dude walking with his iPhone 14 in his back pocket
  • Don’t take your phone or credit card at night. Be Rain Man to remember a phone number or use a pen.
  • At the end of the party, take a taxi.
  • On a bus, don’t put your day bag above your head or below your seat. The best is to keep it on your knee or against the wall
  • Don’t be drunk alone – Classic one
  • Touristy areas can be dodgy at night
  • Small towns are safe
  • Night buses are safe
  • Take your travel insurance

We give your many safety tips and explanations in this post.

32. Being in Colombia as a Solo Female Traveler

Traveling alone in Colombia as a woman is a subject that is regularly discussed on the internet. Unfortunately, I have read a lot of nonsense about it.

Yes, ladies, you can travel alone through Colombia and you can go out at night.

And, you will meet many Colombians willing to bring your back home at night in case you feel unsafe.

In the end, you might have less to worry about than guys because:

  • You’re less stupid when you’re a drunk
  • You don’t want to have sex with everyone
  • You’re not looking for hookers and wake up naked in a hotel room without pants and wallet

Travel tips for Solo femal travelers

  • Colombians are romantic. They love to listen to songs with Corazon / heart / Amor / Love in it
  • They will probably “fall in love” with you. Take it as a compliment and break their hears with delicacy
  • Always trust your guts and leave if you don’t trust the person
  • If a man has an inappropriate behavior, don’t be scared to say it to clarify the situation
  • They will ask you why you’re not married. You can lie and say your husband is at home taking care of your kids. Or tell the truth.
  • “Mona” means white girl
  • Try salsa, bachata, and other dances! Colombians love to dance, and they are great teachers

Places you can’t visit without a guide

Traveling to Colombia

In Colombia, there are certain places that you can only visit with the help of a local agency. Colombian authorities may require that you be accompanied by an official guide before entering a national park. Or you may not be able to reach some places with public transportation.

Take it into consideration when creating your itinerary.

33. Traveling to Punta Gallinas in La Guajira

Guajira Viajar a Colombia (1)

It’s the northernmost point of South America and a desert. You can’t go on your own because it’s far from everything and there is no road. The cheapest option is to book a tour from Cabo de la Vela or Riohacha. They organize two-day trips with jeeps to explore the area.

Read Our La Guajira travel guide

34. Traveling to Caño Cristales, the river of five colors

Caño Cristales traveling to Colombia (1)

It’s a fantastic five-color river. And It is one of the most beautiful natural wonders on Earth. For many years, it’s was not accessible to tourists because of the FARC. It’s not the case anymore.

Read our Caño Cristales travel guide

35. Traveling to San Jose del Guaviare, a not yet famous destination

San Jose del Guaviare voyager en Colombie (1)

It’s the “Caño Cristales for travelers with a tight budget.” The river is still amazing, and there are many excellent expeditions to explore the surroundings like rock painting, bird watching, natural pools, waterfalls, etc.

Read our San Jose del Guaviare travel guide

36. Traveling to the deepest part of the Amazon

The Amazon traveling to Colombia (1)

Leticia is the most significant city in the Amazon region of Colombia. You must take a flight from Bogota to get there.

This is the perfect place to organize an expedition of several days in the jungle.

Prices differ according to the services offered and the security set up by the agencies (insurance, number of days, accommodation, etc.).

But, be aware that it is not obligatory to go on a tour to be able to observe the fauna and flora of Amazonia.

However, if you wish to venture deep into the jungle, you will need to book a tour.

Read our top-notch Leticia Travel guide

37. Traveling to the lost city in the Sierra Nevada

Lost city trek is the most famous multi-day hike in Colombia. 

It is a 4 to 5-day trek through the jungle to reach the ruins, remnants of the Lost City.

Read our top-notch Santa Marta Travel guide

38. The Colombia natural national parks

Cocuy Viajar a Colombia (1)

Colombia is trying to preserve its national parks as much as possible.

If you wish to visit them, it is best to inquire about the park beforehand to find out about the different modalities and whether a reservation is necessary. Some have a limited number of daily admissions and others are not open to the public.

There is all the information you need on their official website (In Spanish).

Similarly, there are some national parks in Colombia for which it is mandatory to be accompanied by a local guide.

  • Cocuy
  • El Purace
  • Chingaza

The Colombian culture

Traveling to Colombia

Colombian culture

If this is your first time coming to South America, there are some cultural aspects that may surprise you. But don’t panic, you get used to it very quickly.

  • Don’t speak about drugs and Pablo Escobar except if they start speaking about it. It’s like if you were asking about Hitler to a German. What’s the point?
  • They have another relationship with time. Be ready to wait 30 min at the check out of a supermarket.
  • Don’t slam the taxi’s door
  • They are kind and curious 
  • They love sharing their bottle of alcohol
  • You have to dance with them if they friendly ask, Don’t be shy.
  • They are not good to deal with organization issues
  • They don’t speak English, except for students in the big cities. But they will try to understand you
  • Don’t say Columbia, it’s COLOMBIA
  • Yes doesn’t mean Yes 100% of the time
  • If they give you a shooter of aguardiente, drink it
  • It’s not legal to get drugs 
  • Man and Woman are tactile when they speak
  • They are religious, avoid speaking about religion 

Traveling to Colombia in a nutshell

Colombia is a vast and beautiful country.  Don’t be afraid and jump ahead.

During your adventure, you will learn some valuable lessons like “family is important” or “each day is unique, you should spend it with a smile on your face.”

Moreover, it’s an excellent playground for travelers. There are fantastic accommodations and every imaginable landscape 

Colombia is also a developed country. Don’t imagine that Colombians are people leaving in the jungle with a bone through their nose and donkeys. Medellin was elected the most innovative city of the year in 2013.

You can travel quickly and comfortably if it’s what you’re looking for.

If you have got 2 weeks, I recommend you to focus on 4 – 5 places maximum. To truly appreciate a backpacking experience in Colombia, you have to take the time and not being just a spectator.

Try new things. 

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
― Oscar Wilde

Decide where and how to travel to Colombia

Where traveling to Colombia

Where to stay? What to do? How to get there? Find easily the answers HERE

Get our FREE guidebook to decide where to travel to Colombia

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Traveling to Colombia (1)