Colombia Travel Guide Overview

Colombia, the 2nd most biodiverse country in the world, is home to the highest species in the world by area, and the shelter of vast species of birds is an array of nature! With de-stressing beaches, rocky mountains, and heavenly scenes to admire, this land of extremes offers more than just leisure trips. This Colombia travel guide will help you plan an unforgettable journey and an experience of a lifetime.

Colombia Travel Guide: Top Destinations

Bogota

Bogota is the capital of Colombia. It’s a great place to visit & has so much to offer and it’s a safe place to go on a trip! You’ll be able to enjoy everything Bogota has to offer, whether you’re looking for shopping or sightseeing. Bogota has a lot of history, which makes it even more interesting than other cities in Colombia. Many museums in the city will show you what life was like during different times in Colombia’s past: from ancient civilizations until present day times! You can also visit museums about modern art or science-fiction literature written by authors who were born here such as Gabriel García Márquez (Nobel Prize winner) or Gustavo Sánchez Parra (author).

Medellin

If you’re looking for a vibrant and exciting city to visit, Medellin is the perfect place for you. The city is popular for its year-round mild weather, rich history, and vibrant culture. Owing to the pleasant climate, it is also known as the “City of Eternal Spring”. There’s so much to see and do in this Colombian city, from exploring the many museums and historical sites to enjoying the lively nightlife. And of course, you can’t visit Medellin without trying the delicious local cuisine. Medellin has something to offer everyone whether you’re interested in culture, nightlife, or food. If you are looking for a great guide contact my friend Andres at Travel is Living.

Cartagena

Cartagena is a city located in the north of Colombia. It is a popular tourist destination because of its beaches, history, and culture. Founded in 1533 by Spanish explorer Pedro de Heredia, It is a well-preserved colonial city and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Cartagena is home to many historical landmarks such as the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a 16th-century fortress, and the Palace of the Inquisition, a former inquisition headquarters. The city is also known for its colorful streets and buildings. You can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the city’s many museums and churches.

Cali

Cali is the capital of the Valle del Cauca department in Colombia. It is located in the western part of the country & is the third-largest city in Colombia. Cali is a popular tourist destination because of its year-round warm weather and its many attractions, including the Cali Zoo, the Cali Botanical Garden, and the La Merced colonial church. Visitors can also enjoy the city’s nightlife, with its numerous bars and clubs. There are many things to do in Cali, including hiking, biking, and horseback riding in the nearby Andes mountains, visiting the nearby towns of Buga and Tuluá, and exploring the city’s many museums and parks.

Guatapé

A small town located in the Antioquia Department of Colombia, Guatapé is famous for its brightly colored houses and buildings, as well as its scenic location surrounded by mountains and lakes. There are diverse activities to enjoy there like hiking and biking in the nearby mountains, swimming in the lakes, or simply exploring the town and taking in the sights. There are also several restaurants and cafes in Guatapé, offering a variety of local and international cuisine.

Colombia Travel Guide: When to Visit Colombia

Different regions in Colombia have diverse climatic conditions at different points of the year, which is why Colombia has become a round-the-year destination. However, from December to March and June to September are more suitable. Having said that, when you keep in mind that the temperature drops in higher altitudes like everywhere else, proper decisions fall into place. Surprisingly, places like Medellin maintain the same temperature all year.

In addition, the Andes are drier from December to March, making them a suitable option for Colombian travel.

Also, if you’re someone who prefers peace over climatic conditions, rainy times are the best to visit Colombia owing to fewer visitors and affordable prices.

Colombia Travel Guide: How to Reach Colombia

By air, is the best option to reach Colombia. The five international airports in Colombia are located around Bogota (BOG), Cali (CLO), Medellin (MDE), Cartagena (CTG), and Barranquilla (BAQ). Airline that fly from the USA are United, Avianca, or American Airlines. Iberia, Avianca, and Air France are the best options to visit Colombia via Europe.

By Bus: Many tourists decide to enter Colombia by bus from neighboring nations via land border crossing.
Depending on which of the five bordering states—Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela—you start from, access varies dramatically.

Colombia Travel Guide: Getting Around Colombia

For intercity travel, buses are the best way to get around. With the presence of fantastic roads and comfortable and quality seating, your commute will be smooth and relaxing. While traveling long distances, the buses generally have toilets, loud music and video facilities for entertainment, and reclining seats for convenience. The weather is cold all around us, so do have warm clothes above and underneath. For areas that yield coffee, hardy Willy Jeeps are more popular.

While the size and comfort of the bus largely depend on the region’s density and diversity, larger stations have various companies’ kiosks that you can shop from! Although, if you are someone who wants a faster trip and doesn’t mind spending a little more, choose intercity air travel. You can often find good deals on LATAM or Viva.

 

Colombia Travel Guide: Top Colombia Travel Tips

1) Save on Food. If you’re looking for an authentic experience in Colombia, make sure to eat with locals and cook your own food. This approach serves ‘one pebble for two birds’ as you can save on food and also experience the authenticity of the Colombian food culture. In addition, going grocery shopping may add up to your want to explore the place closely. If that’s not an option than at least eat at local spots versus touristy spots.

2) Skip Hostels on the Caribbean Coast. If you’re looking for a cheap place to stay in Colombia, avoid the hostels on the Caribbean coast. These hostels are often overcrowded and dirty, and you’ll be lucky if you get a bed that’s not infested with bugs.  You’re better off finding a hotel or Airbnb in this area of Colombia, where you’ll have a much better experience.

Don’t Stay in Gringolands. If you’re planning a trip to Colombia, be sure to avoid the so-called “Gringoland” areas. These are areas frequented by tourists, where prices are inflated and locals are often treated poorly. Instead, focus on exploring the country’s many other wonderful attractions. From the stunning mountain scenery of the Andes to the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean coast, Colombia has something for everyone. So don’t let the Gringoland areas ruin your trip – explore the rest of this amazing country instead.

Avoid the Surcharge on Airline Tickets. If you are not a Colombian citizen, you may be asked to pay a surcharge before traveling to Colombia. This surcharge varies in price, and it is meant to offset the cost of providing services to foreigners.

There are a few ways to avoid this surcharge. First, you can try to get a waiver from the airline. This is typically only available to those who have a valid reason for not being able to pay the surcharge, such as having a low income or being a student. Second, you can try to fly with an airline that does not have this surcharge. This may be more difficult, as many airlines are now implementing the surcharge.
If you are not a Colombian citizen, the best way to avoid the airline surcharge is to travel with a Colombian airline or by purchasing a ticket that includes the surcharge in the price.

Bring A Water Bottle. Colombia has safe tap waters and they taste great too. We also have a responsibility towards the environment due to which, it is advisable to carry a water bottle which you can refill and avoid buying single-use plastic bottles.

Don’t Shy Away From Haggling. Haggling is a common practice in Colombia, and it’s considered to be a part of the culture. Many locals will haggle when they’re buying anything from fruits and vegetables at the market to clothing and souvenirs at the shops. Being a visitor, you may be surprised at how much locals will try to haggle with you. But don’t be offended – it’s all part of the fun!

If you’re planning on doing some shopping while you’re in Colombia, don’t shy away from a negotiation session. The best way to haggle is to start with a lower offer than the amount you can pay and then negotiate from there. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you’re not getting the deal you want – the seller will likely come back with a better offer.

Stay Aware of The Unpredictable Weather. There is no such thing as “typical” weather in Colombia, as the country’s diverse geography results in a wide range of climatic conditions. From the arid deserts of the north to the humid Amazon rainforest in the south, Colombia experiences a wide variety of weather patterns.

With such diversity, it’s important to be prepared for anything when traveling to Colombia. pack for both hot and cold weather, as well as rain gear no matter what time of year you visit. And be sure to check the forecast before heading out, as sudden weather changes are not uncommon.

Colombia Travel Guide: Typical Costs

Transportation

The cost of transportation in Colombia can vary depending on the mode of transportation. For example, the cost of a bus ticket from Bogotá to Medellín can range from 34,500 COP ($8 USD) to 111,000 COP ($26), depending on the type of bus and the company. The cost of a plane ticket from Bogotá to Medellín can range from 300,000 COP to 1,100,000 COP, depending on the airline and the time of year. The cost of a train ticket from Bogotá to Medellín can range from 170,000 COP to 260,000 COP, depending on the type of train and the time of year.

Accommodation

The cost of accommodation depends on the type of it & the city they are located in. For instance, the hostel dorm rooms cost between 30,000 COP to 45,000 COP whereas they cost as low as 23,000 COP in smaller cities. In addition, private hostel room charges start at 50,000 COP while pocket-friendly hotels begin charging at 60,000 COP for a night. There are other options like Airbnb which starts at 35,000 COP & varies as per the space rented. While living near the coast or in high seasons costs start from 1,20,000 COP.

Food

Typical meals cost between 10,000 and 15,000 COP. You can find meals for between 5,000 and 10,000 COP in the countryside. Empanadas (a good snack food) are 200-500 COP while western food can cost about 20,000-30,000 COP.

Colombia Travel Guide: Top Places to Visit in Colombia

Amazon rainforest communities

The Amazon rainforest is home to many different communities, each with its own unique culture and way of life. Visiting one of these communities is a great way to learn about the people who live in the rainforest and their way of life. You will also have the opportunity to see first-hand the amazing flora and fauna that make the Amazon rainforest such a special place.

El Peñón de Guatapé

If you find yourself in Medellín, Colombia, be sure to add a day trip to El Peñón de Guatapé to your itinerary. This 200-meter-tall rock is a popular spot for rock climbing, hiking, and simply enjoying the incredible views. You can take a boat ride to the base of the rock, or even hike up the 2,135 steps to the top. Either way, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience.

Comuna 13 (Medellin)

Comuna 13 is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Medellin, Colombia. The comuna is located in the northwestern part of the city and is known for its vibrant street art and lively community. You can explore the comuna on foot or take a cable car up to the top of the hill for panoramic views of the city. There are also many restaurants and cafes in the area, making it the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring.

Salt Cathedral

The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is a stunning architectural feat and a must-see for any visitor to Colombia. This underground cathedral, built within the tunnels of a salt mine, is a place of worship and pilgrimage for many Colombians. The cathedral is decorated with beautiful salt sculptures and stunning stained glass windows. The Salt Cathedral is a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

Museo del Oro

The Museo del Oro in Bogotá, Colombia is a must-see for anyone interested in Pre-Columbian art and culture. The museum houses an impressive collection of gold artifacts from various indigenous cultures of the region, dating back to 1200 BC. The displays are well-organized and provide a fascinating glimpse into the ancient cultures of the area. The museum also has a good gift shop, where you can purchase replicas of some of the artifacts on display.

See a Fútbol Match

When it comes to fútbol, Colombia is a country that knows how to do it right. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being in a stadium full of people who are all rooting for the same team. The energy is electric and the atmosphere is truly unique. If you’re lucky enough to catch a game at one of Colombia’s famous stadiums, such as El Campín or Estadio Nemesio Camacho, you’re in for an unforgettable experience.

Lost City

The Lost City is located in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, and it’s a challenging hike to get there. But it’s worth it because the views are incredible. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot one of the city’s resident ghosts!

Photo Galleries

Itineraries

Food & Drinks

Where to Stay