FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COLOMBIA
1. What is the weather like?
Colombia is located on the equator, which causes its weather to be the same all year round, and you can visit at any time of the year! Generally, most of the country has a hot, tropical weather. However, the temperature varies based on the altitude and season. Dry season typically runs from December through March, and this can be the busiest time for tourism as well. The rainy season typically runs from May through July or August. The dry and rainy seasons can vary from region to region, so please note that there may be rain outside of these months, depending on the location. The lowlands can be quite warm and higher elevations can get pretty cold, especially at night.
Bogota is 2500 meters above sea level, which makes it one of the coldest places in the country, although it is often still warm during the day and the average temperature during the day is 18 °C . Having said that, you should still wear pants and a t-shirt, making sure you always carry a sweater or a jacket in case the temperature drops, especially at night. It tends to rain a lot, so make sure you carry an umbrella or a raincoat.
Cartagena is located on the northern coast of the country and it has a warm, tropical weather, with a very pleasant breeze at nights.
2. What currency is used in Colombia?
Colombian Peso (COP). In order to know how much you are paying, a simple calculation to do is to divide by 3,000 to convert to US Dollars, by 3,500 to convert to Euros, and by 4,000 to convert to British Pounds.
However, please check the current exchange rate when you travel as these rates constantly fluctuate.
As a general guideline:
$ 1 US Dollar = 3,000 COP
€ 1 Euro =3,500 COP
£ 1 GBP = 4,000 COP
We recommend exchanging dollars and other foreign currencies for pesos at authorized money exchange houses in airports, hotels, and banks. You should never exchange currency on the street.
3. Do you have any medical advice for Colombian travelers? What about recommended vaccinations?
Most visitors travel to Colombia without any health incident, but there are certain medical conditions to be aware of. You should consult your local doctors for any recommended vaccines, and make sure you have the Yellow fever vaccine if travelling to the Amazon.
Most illnesses are the result of Colombia's tropical-zone location. If traveling anywhere along the coast or jungle, you might have infected bug bites or rashes, or get sunburned, so please take the necessary precautions to avoid these. Dengue fever, and Zika are at low risk in lowland population centers, although all these epidemics have passed and very few cases are being reported at present.
Soroche (altitude sickness) is another health condition that might arise at high altitudes, as your body is not accustomed and will feel dizzy. However, this only occurs during the first few days or when engaging in strong physical exercises, such as trekking, and rest and water and rest will usually be the best cure. You might experience this in Bogota and surroundings, or when traveling alongside destinations in the mountain ranges.
Contact Us if you need Health Insurance and any medical help or attention before and during your trip.
4. What are Colombia’s main cities?
Colombia has five major urban areas, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, and Medellin, each with more than one million inhabitants. Moreover, there are several mid-sized cities around the country.
You can read our city reviews for:
5. Is Colombia Safe to Visit?
6. Do I need to speak Spanish?
You don't need to speak Spanish, especially if you are traveling with us. We will always be in constant touch and you can contact us for any translations or anything you need.
Having said that, most of the population doesn’t speak English or any other languages, so it is a plus if you understand Spanish and get to interact more with the locals. In Bogota and Cartagena, and in most hotels we work with, you will find people that speak English, but you can always request taking Spanish classes as part of your trip. We have local hosts who do this and who will be happy to take you around the country and teach you Spanish as you go. We can also organize structured classroom Spanish classes if you want to do this.
Here are some words that might help you:
How's it going? = ¿Como vas?
Thank you = (Muchas) Gracias
Good morning = Buenos Días
Good evening = Buenas Tardes
Good Night/ Evening = Buenas Noches
Goodbye =Adiós / Ciao ('Chao')
See you soon = Hasta Luego
Yes = Si
Ok! = Ok!
My name is ... = Yo me llamo (your name)
I am from... = Yo soy de (your country)
Please =Por Favor
I need = Necesito
Perfect! = Perfecto!
7. Do I need to leave a tip, and how much do I leave?
By law, you are not required to leave a tip but it is common to leave a tip at restaurants, and it is also accustomed to tip tour guides. Anything between 5% and 15% is appreciated, but you can leave anything you want. Colombians are usually very grateful and they will thank you for anything you leave.
Tipping for taxis is not customary but rounding up to the nearest 500 or 1000 peso is appreciated.
8. Can I take taxis in the street?
Except for Bogota, Taxis in all other cities are safe and you can take them in the streets. However, it is always better to tell your hotel to order a taxi and to organize additional tours and day trips. Uber and other Apps work very well in Bogota and other main cities, but it is always better to use registered, official taxis that we can book for you, or that any hotel or restaurant can request for you.
Taxis have a taximeter and they have a table that says how much you should pay depending on the time and distance covered, and the number of units marked by the taximeter. When you order transportation through an app, it will tell you how much you should pay.
If you are staying for a few days or more in Bogota, we recommend downloading Easy Taxi or Tappsi.
Please do not get into cars of unidentified drivers, and when you arrive at all airports make sure you stand in the line of Authorised Taxis.
9. Do I need a visa to Colombia?
Most nationalities do not need a visa to enter Colombia, and travelers only require a valid passport. No visa is required for travellers from UK, US or Canada. Contact Us for visa requirements for other countries.
10. What electric outlets are used in Colombia?
Electricity in Colombia runs at 110 volts, so transformers are not necessary for tourists from the US, and the plugs are the same. You can get converter plugs at most airports, and hotels tend to have some as well.
11. What type of clothing should I pack?
This depends entirely on the type of trip you choose, and on your itinerary.
In terms of clothing, most of Colombia enjoys a hot, tropical weather, except for places that are located in the mountains. Bogota is the coolest one of the big Colombian cities, and most people dress in long pants and use jackets or sweaters at night as it gets cold and it can rain a lot. Medellin, the coffee region, Santander, and other places with high altitude, are warmer, but it also gets cold at night and it is good to bring a sweater or a light jacket. The rest of the country, and other popular destinations such as Cartagena, La Guajira, the islands, or the Amazon, are hot and you will need sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent.