QUICK FACTS ABOUT COLOMBIA



COLOMBIA

Money matters

Currency

· Colombian Peso.
· Exchange rate. USD 1 = COP 3,850
· ATM's and credit cards are widely available/ accepted


Spending money

Shopping opportunities will be available in Cartagena. Foreigners that visit Colombia usually find that food, shopping, taxis and other touristic services are much cheaper than in their home countries. We suggest that you bring USD 80 - USD 100 per day per person. This budget will cover dining at very good quality restaurants, activities and some shopping. Please bear in mind that Cartagena is more expensive than any other city in Colombia. If you want to do some shopping, we suggest doing it in Bogota.


Tipping

Tipping is extra and customary (10%), but completely optional. Bear in mind that most restaurants will include the tip on the bill. However, you can deny it or modify it in every case.
Cash tips for local activity guides (local guides, etc.) are also optional, yet appropriate and much appreciated.


Language

Throughout most of Colombia people only speak Spanish. In Bogota and in the tourist spots of Cartagena you’ll find people who speak English, however you cannot depend on this.


Time

Throughout Colombia there is only one timezone. All the places you’ll visit are -5 hours behind UTC/GMT.


Electricity

We recommend you take an International adapter as plug sockets can vary.
Electricity in Colombia is 120 Volts, at 60 hertz. The most common pin type is A. (2 flat prong).


Cultural considerations

Colombia is an accepting and tolerant society and is quite used to travelers and tourists. Most Colombians feel happy to help tourists and will be very amicable if you chat with them in Spanish. It is very important to behave in a respectful way towards both the people and their land. Some considerations that should be respected are: Asking locals if they mind being photographed (a simple "can I please take your photograph" will suffice).


Communication

Email – Most hotels will offer internet facilities. In remote areas as in the Tayrona National Park or in Rosario Islands access will be limited or non-existent. Access in some areas can be slow.

Mobile phones – please contact your provider for details on international roaming, access and rates.

Emergency – in the event of an emergency please have your relatives / friends contact World Expeditions and we will try to get a message to you.


Security

Colombia has an infamous past for its security problems. Despite that security issues continue to exist in several rural areas of the country and in some parts of its major cities, Colombia’s security situation is assured for touristic places in Bogota and in the Caribbean coast. Nevertheless, we advise you to be precautious while walking through the streets and to avoid doing it solo or during late hours. Additionally, please bear in mind the following:

· Money and valuables should always be stored safely when travelling.
· Keep your passport with you at all times and do not leave it in your main luggage. You will need it to change money and check into hotels.
· Where safety deposit boxes are available, we recommend that you use them.
· Keep jewellery and valuables to a minimum.

Suggested Readings

- One hundred years of Solitude - by Gabriel García Márquez

- Short Walks from Bogotá: Journeys in the New Colombia - by Tom Feiling

- The Sound of Things Falling- by Juan Gabriel Vásquez


Maps

Detailed city maps are best bought in the country however stores like Map World or other map speciality shops may be of use prior to travel.


Vaccines

There are no statutory vaccinations for Colombia but we suggest that you contact your doctor, local government inoculation centre or a travel medical specialist for all details regarding vaccination requirements.


Climate

As a tropical country Colombia has no marked seasons and weather maintains stable year-long. However, weather varies greatly between the coastal cities and the Andean region where Bogotá is located.

In particular, bear in mind that Bogota has mild weather with high chances of raining every day. A typical day in Bogota starts with chilly mornings (7- 10 degrees Celsius) and warms up to 16-20 degrees Celsius by noon. For early mornings and nights we recommend packing a fleece sweater or an autumn jacket.

Cartagena and other Caribbean cities (Santa Marta, Barranquilla, etc.) have a very typical tropical climate, warm all year round with minimal changes in seasonal temperatures. The average maximum temperatures of Cartagena are all year round 30 – 32 degrees Celsius with a very high humidity (80%).


TOP SPOTS IN IN COLOMBIA 


Discover our guides to the most exciting, memorable and inspiring places to visit. Please remember, if you can’t see it here or in our pre-designed Holidays we can still plan it for you.


Bogotá

After over two decades of living in relative peace, Bogotanos are finally getting over their fear of each other and starting to figure out their identity as a city. The result is a gastronomic revival, a rising tourism industry, a booming nightlife and a thriving arts scene—all of which have begun to lift the city […]

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Medellín

It's been more than a decade since Medellin was best known as the murder capital of the world. And it's not the first Colombian city to creep onto our radar. First the laid-back appeal of Cartagena lured us to the Caribbean coast, then Bogotá began to hum with a design and culinary buzz. But Medellin's […]

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Cartagena

The colourful, colonial streets within Cartagena’s Walled City beckon you in with horse-drawn carriages, cobbled alleys and the vibrant Palenqueras selling fruit to travellers. Get your taste buds tingling with an exclusive rum tasting session or Caribbean cooking class before our guide unveils the history of the colonial mansions and plazas that reside here. Nestled […]

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