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Practical tips for traveling to Colombia

Colombia is a very large country with a lot of places to visit. Immense and frenetic cities, charming towns, movie landscapes...


When we hear about Colombia, the first thing that comes to mind is if it is a dangerous country, how will I be able to move around the country from place to place... There are countries that are not more difficult to decide, sometimes because of the confusion about some aspects . For this reason, I am going to tell you about my experience and in this post I am going to talk to you about practical tips for traveling to Colombia, everything you need to know in order to prepare your trip.



PRACTICAL TIPS FOR TRAVELING TO COLOMBIA


Is it dangerous to travel to Colombia?


The big question... Traveling always carries risks. To any country. Even walking around Barcelona (my city) has its dangerous part.


It is true that Colombia for many years has been linked to drug trafficking and many parts of the country were "off limits" to tourists. To this day, they say that drug trafficking has passed into history, the entire country has made a lot of effort to clean up its image, improve its security and make tourism part of its daily life. Nowadays, you can travel anywhere in the country.


In my experience around the country, we traveled on our own, organizing the itineraries ourselves, taking public transport, wandering aimlessly through its cities... and we didn't have any problems, nor did we see anything that might seem dangerous.


As in any country, keep in mind that you must be careful, be cautious and not get too obsessed. The most important thing is to go with an open mind, without prejudice: the vast majority of people will make you feel at home, they are friendly and kind.


Do I need travel insurance to travel to Colombia?


Yes absolutely. For any trip, even in your own country, you should travel with additional travel insurance.


Although I have Spanish private health insurance, when I travel I ALWAYS take out specific travel insurance. I assure you that it has gotten me out of more than one trouble. Accidents happen, we get sick, we lose or steal our luggage, passport... Not to mention if you have to be hospitalized, operated...


I always travel with IATI INSURANCE. After trying several, it is the insurance that I like the most and it offers me the most. Although I also have discounts from some other insurers, I leave you the links so that you can calculate the cost in each one of them and see the benefits;



How many days do I need to travel to Colombia?


Depends on what you want to see. We were touring various places in the country and we stayed 21 days. And we still need to see the whole part of the Amazon (I was really looking forward to it).


We visited Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena de Indias, Santa Marta and the Tayrona National Park, Barranquillas, Capurgana, Sapzurro, Cabo de la Vela, Barichara (the most beautiful town in Colombia), Villa de Leyva, Mongui, Guatape, Salento, Cocora Valley (coffee region), San Andrés, Caño Cristales and Ipiales.


If you plan to see the whole country quickly, consider about 3 weeks. If you want to leave out the Amazon, you can organize yourself to visit most of the places in 2 weeks approx.


I have to go back to visit Cali and the Amazon.




What is the best time to travel to Colombia?


Any time is good to travel to Colombia. I am one of those who thinks that even traveling to Seville in August is a good idea, hehe

As long as you have days off to travel, find a good flight... whether it's the perfect trip depends on you, on your attitude...


Colombia is a very diverse country in terms of climate and ecosystems. The season does not depend so much on the calendar but on the area. You can be in Cartagena de Indias experiencing a very humid and sticky heat and then arrive in the coffee zone and be cold. Therefore, let take into account a series of things to prepare the backpack.



What to pack?


Having such a variable climate you must take into account what to pack in your suitcase. First of all I recommend traveling in a backpack. forget about dragging a suitcase if your intention is to tour the country. A few years ago I bought a large backpack, the maximum size allowed to put it in the cabin. Then I carry a small wheeled suitcase that I check in with products that do not allow entering the cabin. In this way, it is easier to handle. And what to pack?


Light clothing, don't forget to add long pants and a long-sleeved shirt (for when you visit areas with mosquitoes)

Two sweatshirts, one thin and one thick

A jacket

a raincoat

Some light sports

Some walking sneakers

Swimsuit and light towel (there are some very thin decathlon ones that are great and don't weigh or bulk) + flip-flops.

Anti-mosquitoes essential!

Sunscreen

Power adapter (American plug is used here)


Find a good flight price to Colombia


When we started looking at prices to go to Colombia, they seemed quite expensive. They will be more expensive than traveling to Southeast Asia in general. They were between 550 and 800 euros per person round trip (from Spain). We finally found very good options and prices on Skyscanner. It is a flight search engine where you can select the stopovers, the companies that you like the most, dates and, in addition, it offers you a calendar with days close to those that interest you in case there is a cheaper flight and that it is feasible for you to select. I leave you a link:



Visas


Spaniards and Italians do not need to apply for a visa to travel to Colombia: upon arrival they will give us a stamp that will allow us to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days. You must prove your departure from the country, with which they will ask you for the exit ticket.


Currency and credit cards


The currency used in Colombia is the Colombian peso. To get money, our advice is to get two free cards perfect for travel:



They are perfect for saving you fees for withdrawing money at foreign ATMs or making payments in local currency. If you prefer not to take it out (THEY ARE FREE, it never hurts to have them) it will always be better to change your € in banks and exchange houses in the city where you arrive instead of doing it at the airport. Airports are the worst option!


What to eat in Colombia, Colombian gastronomy


Colombian food is delicious. You can find from more traditional dishes, to fusion dishes and haute cuisine, especially in the city. And the fruit... the best fruit to eat in your life. Everywhere there are places and stalls where you can buy fruit. I assure you that you will be eating all day.

As I quite liked it, I'll talk to you about traditional dishes on the blog.




How to get around Colombia


In Colombia there is no train, so you can make the journeys by land by bus, transfer... and by local plane. It is convenient depending on the route you choose to look for flights, they are quite cheap and you will save a lot of time.

Some journeys such as from Bogotá to the Coffee Region (Pereira) are convenient to do by plane, otherwise you will spend hours and hours by road.


Find the best deals on local flights from this link


Another application that I use a lot to find out which transport is best for me is 12Go, you add from the place you leave from, where you want to go and it gives you a list of options; buses, taxis, planes... also, the prices are usually the same as if you buy the bus ticket at the station or the plane ticket from the company. It is a very secure application, and it gives you the option to see all the transports, the price, the duration time... in one place.



ATTENTION WITH THE TAXIS


They are usually very smart and give you millionaire rides. Before going up, specify where you want to go and agree on the price in advance. Ask hotels for updated price guidance for when you travel. We ended up using the ubers app and it is the best option in terms of price.


RENTAL CAR


The rental car is an option to move around some areas, such as the coffee region. We, in the end, did not end up renting it, but when we were there we saw that many travelers used it and it is the best option to go on your own and without having to wait for your transport to arrive or be aware of the ubers...





Take advantage of all the free tours They are free!

Take advantage and book the free tours in time. They tend to run out very quickly and if you book them on site or a day before, when you are already at the destination, there are usually no places.


Many of these cities offer more than one option, through emblematic neighborhoods, by bicycle... You can see all the activities, tours and excursions in Colombia at this link


SIM card in Colombia


Get a local SIM card with a data package to always be connected. So you can always have your mobile active to search for destinations, ubers, restaurants, Instagram hehe

I always use Holafly. Before I used another option and it always ended up failing me. With Holafly I have never had problems and they come out at a very good price. Here is a discount:



Accommodations in Colombia


Although we travel on our own, it is best to organize the tour. Take into account how many days to spend at each destination, transportation, hotels and tours or guided tours booked. Many times I've been thinking well I'll book there... and then there (especially if it's high season) everything is much more expensive.


I almost always book on Booking. Although I do use Airbnb options from time to time. Here are some discounts for you to look for accommodation in your destinations in Colombia:




I hope you enjoy Colombia very much, it is a sensational country that will make you fall in love. You can read many more articles from Colombia on the blog.


PLAN YOUR TRIP STEP BY STEP



I hope you enjoy your trip to Colombia a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.


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A hug and see you soon!

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