General safety and sanitary standards in Colombia are often not as high as those in Europe. Public health facilities are available, but these are often only rudimentary. In most parts of Colombia, private facilities are both modern and of a good standard, and many private doctors have had training in Europe or the United States. It is therefore essential that you take out comprehensive health insurance so you can make use of private health care. Pharmacies in Colombia are well stocked, and most products (even antibiotics) can be bought over the counter.

All the inoculations/vaccinations you will need (with the common exception of yellow fever), are available from your local GP or from a travel clinic (these centres will make a charge). Please refer to your local sanitary authority for more relevant recommendations.



Yellow fever is a viral infection that is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito which mainly bites during daylight hours. Travellers are advised to use personal protective measures when entering areas where yellow fever is present. This includes using insect repellents and wearing appropriate clothing. Certain countries have yellow fever requirements. Always carry with you your International Certificate of Vaccination, signed by a doctor and validated with an official stamp, as you may be required by local health authorities or border control to prove that you have been inoculated against yellow fever.


Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles; you should take extra precautions against being bitten. Malaria maps for each destination can be found on


Dengue fever occurs in Colombia throughout the year. There has been a marked increase in the number of reported cases in recent years. Dengue fever is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti species of mosquito which mainly bites during the day; you should take extra precautions against being bitten.


The Zika Virus is spread by the Aedes species of mosquito which predominantly bites during the day. Based on current knowledge this virus poses no greater threat to most visitors than other mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue or malaria found in tropical regions around the world and similarly you should take precautions against being bitten.  There are, however, two groups of people who should show caution: those who will be pregnant (or may be pregnant) during, or immediately following, their visit and those with severe chronic illness or immune system disorders. More information can be found at


At altitudes over 2,500m (i.e., Bogotá), most travellers notice a headache and dizziness or breathlessness and this usually improves with acclimatisation. So rest, take it easy and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine) as you get used to the thin, dry air. If you are pregnant or taking the contraceptive pill, have a medical condition such as heart or lung condition, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure you should seek the advice of your GP. We also recommend you check if your travel insurance covers travel to high altitude. If you’re taking the family, remember small children may be less capable of communicating altitude related symptoms effectively: keep an eye on them too. Further advice on travel to altitude is available on:

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