It’s a habit now, we like to write an article “preparations” for each of our destinations. You guessed it, we are the type to prepare our trips upstream. But our trip to Colombia “fell on us” in a rather unpredictable way, which left us really little time for the usual procedures and preparations. However, there are a few things you can do to prepare for a trip to Colombia!
How long for a trip to Colombia?
Colombia is a vast country, it would take months to go around! We stayed for two weeks in Colombia, which barely allowed us to discover two big cities (Bogota and Cartagena de Indias) and take the famous Ciudad Perdida trek. We would have loved to have an extra week to take a stroll around El ajo cafetero, walk around the coffee plantations or discover another city like Cali. Let’s say that two weeks is the big minimum to see a little of the country, and that the more you stay, the more you will benefit from it 🙂
Choosing the best season to travel to Colombia
We traveled to Colombia in December, and had a nice time both in Bogota (easy to get cooler than Canada, where we came from!) And in Cartagena de Indias.
As much to say, it is ALWAYS nice and warm in Cartagena, the travel season should rather be chosen according to the other cities that you want to add to your itinerary.
Another point to take into account, local holidays or vacations. As said above, our trip to Colombia was prepared in a hurry and we hadn’t really inquired. Finally we fell very well since our arrival in Bogota coincided with the Night of the Candles. All the doorways are decorated with candles, large fireworks are fired and a large part of the population is outside to celebrate. A superb experience!
There are many other notable events during the year in Colombia, like the famous Barranquilla Festival in February or the Cali Salsa Festival in September!
Passport and visa
French, Belgians and Canadians can enter Colombia without a visa to do tourism for a period of three months, which can be renewed for a maximum of 6 months.
Warning ! Canadians must pay a fee of CAD 85 to enter Colombia, except for children under the age of 14 and adults over the age of 79. If you only go to San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina you will also be exempt. More info on the official website of the Canadian government.
If you are under 30 and want to explore the country longer, the PVT / WHV Colombia (working holiday visa or working holiday visa) offers you the possibility of working or traveling in the country for a year! More information on the WHP in Colombia.
We strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance before leaving, to cover any eventuality! As with all of our trips, we chose ACS Globe Partner Insurance.
During our stay, Sharone twisted her ankle the penultimate day of the Cuidad Perdida trek. Fortunately, nothing too serious that only asked for rest and the last day of walking on a mule (haha). But if things were more serious, the only solution would have been a repatriation by helicopter, because we were in the middle of the Sierra Nevada where no vehicle can access. It was quite reassuring to know that in the event of a major problem, we were in good hands with our Globe Partner travel insurance. We can only recommend it!
Register on the Ariane portal
Even though Colombia is now a relatively safe country, better warn you than cure you.
To reassure your family and leave with peace of mind, spend two minutes at your computer to register on the Ariane portal.
Find a plane ticket at the best price
Colombia is a destination which is attracting more and more tourists, but which is still quite preserved, with few airlines, and therefore fairly high prices. We paid our tickets to Colombia 650 € per person from Montreal, with a stopover in New York (purchase 10 days in advance). It is therefore possible to find a much more attractive price by going a little ahead of time and using comparators of plane tickets like EasyVoyage.
Choosing the right travel guide
We have prepared our trip to Colombia with the Lonely Planet Colombia, found in English to have the latest edition. It turned out to be very rich in good information, useful and up to date, it was perfect!
If, like me, you like to discover local literature while traveling, I advise you to pack in your bag a monument of Colombian literature, the essential 100 years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. Good reading !
Book your accommodation
It is not compulsory to book in advance your accommodation in big cities like Bogota or Cartagena de Indias, there will always be an inn or guest house that can accommodate you. However, if you arrive at the end of the day, we advise you to book at least the first night so as not to risk walking around in the middle of the night looking for a roof after a long trip.
If you wish to test your limits while trekking the Cuidad Perdida, it is better to book in advance for a departure on the desired date. We will talk about it very soon in a dedicated article!
Some practical information to prepare a trip to Colombia
Jet lag : There is a difference of – 6 hours between Paris and Bogota. No time difference with Montreal.
Electrical outlets: 110v, the same as in North America, so you will need an adapter. Please note, we had a rather large adapter which was often too heavy to stay in place on the Colombian sockets. Best is a small and light adapter like this.
Internet : You will find free public wifi networks in hotels and restaurants, but if you want a fast and secure connection, we advise you to rent a wifi box for the duration of your stay. For us, it’s the freedom to have internet at all times.
Discover Phenix Telecom’s unlimited 4G mobile Wifi box
and benefit from a 10% reduction with the POVECHAM code
Learn more about the internet while traveling
Water quality : We had read a little bit of everything about the potability of water in Colombia. In the end, we only drank bottled water, but also did not worry too much on a daily basis. We drank fruit juices and ice cubes, certainly made with tap water, and we brushed our teeth normally, without any worries. There are certainly more precautions to take if you go out of the big cities.
Security : You can see your family’s eyes growing from here when you told them about your trip to Colombia hahaha. They certainly imagined you already taken hostage in the jungle, between two cartels and kilos of cocaine. We reassure you right away, we have never felt insecure in Colombia. If you are still not convinced, we are preparing a dedicated article very soon!
And now, you are now ready to discover Colombia! If you have any questions to prepare for a trip to Colombia, please do not hesitate to ask them in the comments and we will do our best to answer them.
Have a nice trip 🙂