Tourism in Colombia is synonymous with experiencing a wonderful mix between the charm of historic cities and the beauty of the Caribbean Sea. A combination that works very well for us and, I’m sure, will delight you too.
Although the cities are very different from each other – some with milder temperatures, others with a hell of a heat -, one thing they have in common: the joy of the Colombian people and delicious cuisine.
We have selected some tips for those who want to discover a little more of this country that appeals to all types of travellers, from the backpacker to the king of the cabin. Discover the coolest cities to visit and organize your trip!
How to get
Avianca and Latam have direct flights to Bogotá from São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. The trip lasts about 6 hours. From there, connections to other destinations in Colombia, such as Cartagena and San Andres, leave.
Copa Airlines also offers flights with stops in Panama and takes around 7:30 hours.
>> Check prices and conditions of air tickets on ViajaNet and on Passages Promo.
Documentation and vaccine
No visa or passport is required to enter Colombia, just present your RG in good condition and issued less than 10 years ago.
However, the International Certificate of Vaccination against yellow fever is mandatory and you cannot even leave Brazil without it. the company Aerial was very strict about this. Learn here how to get your Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate.
Colombia Tourism x Travel Insurance
It is not mandatory to take out travel insurance to travel to Colombia, but it is risky not to buy it. Can you imagine if you get hurt or feel sick with some food? Unfortunately, public health services in South America are not such things.
Use this comparator of prices and services from different insurance companies to find the one that best fits your needs and travel with more peace of mind. The link is already with an exclusive 5% discount coupon for our readers.
How much does it cost to travel to Colombia?
The currency in the country is the Colombian Peso (COP), which is devalued against the real. When we traveled there, in December 2018, we took the money in reais and found R$1 = COP 700 to be the best exchange rate.
The price of traveling in Colombia can vary depending on your final destination and your travel style. On the coast, which is more touristy, food and tours tend to be more expensive than in the interior cities. But it is possible to find more local restaurants, with cheaper prices, even in regions close to tourist attractions.
We considered the prices of transport, food and tours to be reasonable, but accommodation was more expensive than expected.
Tourism in Colombia: which cities to visit
The capital of Colombia is cosmopolitan, much like São Paulo. It has a giant offer of attractions ranging from museums to gastronomic centers. The night there is also quite hectic.
I highly recommend the tour of the historic center of Bogotá, La Candelaria. Take the bus to the center and walk on foot to better explore the city.
To see Bogotá from above, visit Cerro Monserrate or the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The view is fantastic!
Anyone who likes art and history should take the Bogotá Graffiti Tour, which takes in the urban art of downtown Bogotá every day. It is also essential to visit the National Museum and the Botero Museum.
Finally, explore the Bogota nightlife a lot. Zona T, or Zona Rosa, is the busiest, full of bars, pubs, restaurants and great shops that stay open until late.
Stay 3 to 4 days.
>> Check out a complete guide to the capital in our article What to do in Bogota.
On a day trip from Bogotá you have the opportunity to visit the Cathedral of Salt, the first wonder of Colombia. The church built 180 meters below ground, in the middle of a salt mine, is located in Zipaquirá – 50 kilometers from the Colombian capital.
The underground Cathedral is inside Parque de La Sal which has several other activities such as museums, zip lines, climbing wall and city tours.
Take the opportunity to walk around Zipaquirá and visit the Casa del Nobel, which was the school where writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez studied in his youth. The guided tour is free and lasts about 20 minutes.
Just one day to visit.
>> Check out how to get there and see other tips about the small town in our article about Salt Cathedral, the first wonder of Colombia.
[su_note note_color=”#edede0″ text_color=”#0c0b0b”]Always stay online with an international SIM card Travel Connected or EasySim4u. With connection, you will be able to analyze maps or even order an Uber or taxi. Besides, of course, posting lots of photos.[/su_note]
3. San Andres
The sea with 7 shades of blue, this is the attraction of San Andrés. Located 720 kilometers off the Colombian coast, the island is an invitation to an adventure in the Caribbean Sea or even the comfort of a lounge chair facing the waves.
In addition to enjoying the beach, among the attractions are boat trips to the famous islets of Johnny Cay, Rocky Cay, and El Acuario.
Despite being in the Caribbean, San Andrés has cheap tours and simpler accommodations.
The tip is to separate 3 days to visit.
4. Cartagena de Indias
Remember that mix between historic cities and the Caribbean Sea? Cartagena is, without a doubt, the city that managed to combine both things with mastery.
Surrounded by an 11 kilometer wall, Cartagena is considered a World Heritage Site. Walking through the narrow streets with colorful houses and flowers in the windows is one of the best attractions in the city.
Those looking for a beach with a blue sea will find it on full-day trips to Isla del Rosário and Playa Branca. Within the city there is also a beach, in Bocagrande, but it is far from having that turquoise Caribbean blue landscape.
The night in the city is quite busy and there are countless bars and restaurants to enjoy a good drink and a seafood dish. All these particularities make Cartagena the highlight of tourism in Colombia.
At least 3 days to visit.
>> Check out everything there is to do in the Walled City in our article Cartagena guide.
Tourism in Colombia: what to eat
Colombian cuisine was influenced by several ethnic groups: Creole (people who inhabited the region before the invasions), Spanish, African and Andean. The combination of all this could only result in unique, delicious and substantial dishes. Therefore, tourism in Colombia is closely related to gastronomy.
Dishes like Ajiaco, Sancocho and Bandeja Paisa are more popular in cold cities like Bogotá and Medellín.
On the coast, the main thing is fish, seafood, shellfish cazuelas, shrimp and ceviches.
Among the drinks, try the lulo juice, a typical fruit from Colombia, and don’t miss one of their delicious coffees.
>> Don’t miss the post Colombian food: which typical dishes to try?
In Bogotá the average temperature is 14ºC throughout the year, as it is 2,640 meters above sea level. If it’s between December and February, or between June and September, you’re unlikely to encounter rainy days (maybe just a surprise shower in the late afternoon).
But if your trip is to enjoy the beach, go in the driest weather, between January and April.
– Colombia’s time zone is 2h less than Brasília time (3h in our daylight saving time);
– Don’t worry about the language, Colombians are friendly and like Brazil a lot. It is easy to communicate in Portuguese, but learn the basics to show interest and politeness;
– The socket is two flat pins, remember to bring an adapter.
– To visit the cities mentioned, the ideal is to dedicate 12 days, but if you have more time, know that other cities that are very visited in the country are Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and Santa Marta.
Where to stay in Cartagena: comparison of neighborhoods and tips for good hotels
Got any questions about tourism in Colombia? Talk to us in the comments!
by Nange Sá