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29 Travel Tips You Need To Know Before Coming To Colombia

Boat ladies Colombia

Updated on 03/08/2024

Dear reader,
I would also like to recommend our Colombia travel guide, which provides a perfect overview of the tourist attractions in Colombia. Enjoy reading it!

Preparing for Your Trip

Essential Preparations

  1. Passport Validity: Ensure your passport is valid for your travel period.
  2. Bank Notifications: Contact your bank to enable ATM withdrawals in Colombia.
  3. Clothing and Equipment: Pack according to your activities. Note: Larger shoe sizes (over size 44) are hard to find in Colombia.
  4. Check-Mig Form: Complete the Check-Mig form required by the Colombian government for all travelers entering or leaving the country. This form must be filled out within 72 hours prior to your trip. For more information and to complete the form, visit Migración Colombia’s Check-Mig.

Health and Safety

  1. Vaccinations: Stay updated with necessary vaccinations. Refer to CDC’s guidelines for Colombia for detailed medical advice.
  2. Mosquitos: The best protection is prevention. Wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts and use repellent.

Security in Colombia

Staying Safe

  • Colombia has significantly improved in safety. Police and military presence is strong, especially in tourist areas.
  • Exercise caution with valuables and prefer carrying document copies.
  • Don’t wear expensive watches, jewellery or show of with your lates I-phone model.

Cultural Insights and Etiquette

Understanding Colombian Culture

  • Colombians are welcoming but sensitive about their history. Avoid topics like Pablo Escobar or drugs.
  • Discussing football, local cuisine, and cultural heritage is appreciated.

Financial Matters

Currency and Transactions

  1. Currency: The Colombian Peso (COP) is the only accepted currency.
  2. ATMs: Widely available, but withdrawals have limits (usually COP 700,000 or about USD 250).
  3. Credit Cards: Accepted in most hotels, supermarkets, and shopping malls.
  4. Currency Exchange: Possible at airports but expect lower exchange rates and fingerprinting.

Tipping in Colombia

  • Tipping is customary (about 10%) in restaurants. Always check your bill to avoid double tipping.

Shopping and Apparel

Fashion and Shopping

  • Colombia’s fashion industry offers quality designs at affordable prices, but size availability may be limited.

Visa and Entry Requirements

Visa Information

Customs Regulations

Entry and Duty-Free Allowances

  • Travelers can bring items like 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 250g of tobacco, 2 liters of alcohol, and gifts up to $1,500 without duty.
  • For bringing in over $10,000, fill out form 530. Some services for foreigners are VAT-exempt.

Weather and Best Time to Visit

Understanding Colombia’s Climate

  • Colombia’s weather varies by region, with both rainy and dry seasons. Plan your visit accordingly. Check out our weather guide for a better understanding.

Language and Communication

Language in Colombia

Public Safety Organizations

Police and Emergency Services

  • The national emergency number is 123.
  • Police and army are part of the Ministry of Defense, ensuring safety.

Colombian Cuisine

Food and Drinks

  • Colombian cuisine is diverse, with arepas as a national dish. Beer is favored over wine.

Public Holidays

Navigating Colombian Holidays

  • Colombia has 18 public holidays, often leading to crowded tourist spots and higher hotel prices.

Patience and Local Customs

Adjusting to Colombian Pace

  • Expect delays and slower traffic in cities. The average road speed is about 25 mph (40 km/h).

Nightlife and Party Culture

Enjoying Colombian Nightlife Safely

  • Stay vigilant at parties, watch your drinks, and use taxis or Uber for transportation.

Transportation and Driving

Navigating Colombian Roads

  • Use official taxis or ride-sharing apps. Foreign driver’s licenses are valid for stays under 6 months.

More Colombia Travel Tips


About Author



Hello! I'm Frank Spitzer, the founder and the heart behind Pelecanus, a specialized tour operator for Colombia travel. My journey in travel is vast and rich – I've explored over 60 countries, absorbing cultures, experiences, and stories along the way. Since 2017, I've been channeling this wealth of global experience into creating unforgettable travel experiences in Colombia. I'm recognized as a leading authority in Colombian tourism, with a deep-seated passion for sharing this beautiful country with the world. You can catch glimpses of my travel adventures and insights around Colombia on my YouTube channel. I'm also active on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, where I share the vibrant culture and stunning landscapes of Colombia. For professional networking, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Join me on this incredible journey, and let's explore the wonders of Colombia together!

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