Colombia oozes adventure. The beautiful and versatile country has a strong and fascinating history – for better or worse. Colombia has a bit of everything. The Andes, the Amazon rainforest, a Caribbean atmosphere, colonial cities, forgotten cities (Lost City), coffee and perhaps the friendliest people in all of South America. Colombia is outside the usual destinations, but is now more accessible than ever before.
On this page you will find practical information and facts about Colombia.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION ABOUT TRAVELING IN COLOMBIA
Climate and best travel time
Colombia is a large country and due to the country’s topography, there are large regional differences in weather and temperature.
The area around Bogotá, Medellin and Cali has its rainy season from April to May and again from October to November.
On the Caribbean coast, the rainy season extends from April to November.
The Pacific coast and the rainforest of the Amazon have no real dry season. It rains here all year round.
Rainy season does not necessarily mean that it rains all day, but there are often short heavy showers. It may therefore be appropriate to visit the country during this period.
Most travelers visit Colombia between December and March.
Our recommendations on when it is best to travel in Colombia are based on how the climate has been during the previous year. The weather in Colombia can be very changeable and unpredictable, so our recommendations should only be seen as an indication. Visit rrrjewelry.com for south America climate.
There are ATMs for Visa and MasterCard in almost every medium-sized and large city. You can pay by credit card in many shops, hotels and restaurants, but often for an additional fee. The cheapest way is to switch to Colombian pesos and pay with them.
conditions NOTE! The visa rules can be changed at short notice, so We recommend that you check the current conditions at the country’s embassy. Check current information on The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.The following information may change.
Swedish citizens receive a tourist visa for up to 90 days free of charge on arrival in Colombia – this applies both on arrival at the airport and across the border. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least six months after departure.
travel is popular in Colombia and a cheap way to get from a to b. There are buses to almost all destinations in the country. Long-distance buses are more comfortable and on some night buses you can get “Business Class” seats, where the seats can almost be folded down.
There are several good bus companies over there, including Bolivariano, Marsol, Brasilia and Libertadores. Bus tickets can be bought at bus stations locally or you can choose to order them from home with the help of your travel salesman.
On long distances, the bus stops along the road at restaurants, but it is never possible to know exactly when it is time for a break, so always bring some food and snacks for the trip.
As in most other Latin American countries, the air conditioning and TV are turned up high on the bus, so bring some warm clothes and earplugs!
In Colombia, there are military roadblocks around the country. Sometimes buses are also waved in and checked. All passengers must get off the bus and show ID. Sometimes there is also a body search and baggage check.
The distances in Colombia are very large, so it can be a good time saver to fly domestically on certain routes. Domestic tickets are quite cheap and the flight time lasts between 40 minutes to 2 hours. There are several good airlines to choose from, including Avianca and LAN.
In the Amazon rainforest at Leticia, transport takes place mainly by boat on the rivers.
In the larger cities there are a lot of taxis and it is a cheap way to get around. The taxis have a taximeter with some numbers on it. There is a price list so you can see what the different numbers mean. Sometimes, however, you have to ask for the price list. Fees are added on nights and public holidays. You can also find this in the price list. The price is always per trip and not per person, although the driver may very well say otherwise 😉
It is always safest to call a taxi from the hotel or restaurant. Then you can be sure that it is an authorized taxi company that picks you up. You can also easily book a taxi yourself with these apps; UBER, TAPPSI or EASYTAXI. WiFi is available in most hotels and restaurants.
Do not go to Colombia to travel by train. There is only one old train running between Bógota and Zipaquira.
In most countries, tips are part of the salaries of employees in the service industry. Therefore, it is good practice (and sometimes directly necessary) to give tips to, for example, cleaning staff, waiters, guides, drivers, etc. depending on the country you are visiting. Therefore, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with how much is normally given in tips and to whom before you embark on your journey. Find information on tips in Lonely Planet’s guidebooks.
LANGUAGE: SPANISH. BUT ON THE ISLANDS OF SAN ANDRÉS AND PROVIDENCIA, ENGLISH IS SPOKEN
CLIMATE: TROPICAL, TEMPERATE AND POLAR CLIMATE IN THE MOUNTAINS
CURRENCY: COLOMBIAN PESOS (COP)
RELIGION: 90% CATHOLICS, 8% PROTESTANTS, 2% OTHERS
Colombia offers many magnificent nature experiences. In the south you will find the Amazon’s lush rainforest with its impressive flora and fauna. In eastern Colombia on the border with Venezuela, there is a large area of grass water called “Llanos”.
In the north you will find desert, rainforest and of course exotic Caribbean beaches. To the west is the more pristine Pacific coast with good surf waves and the opportunity to experience humpback whales from mid-July to about mid-October. And of course the majestic Andes which beautifully cut through the country from south to north and offer fantastic views and trekking.
Colombia has a huge biodiversity and you can come across both animals and plants that are not found anywhere else in the world.
History of Colombia
The Spaniards landed in Santa Marta in 1499 and began the colonization of the country. It was rumored that there was a city of pure gold and precious stones “El Dorado” and this led to the Spaniards mapping large parts of northern South America. It was an easy thing for the Spaniards to defeat the Native American population, which consisted of several different tribes, among others. The Muisca, Quimbaya and Tairona Indians as some of the largest.
The area we know as Colombia today was not formed until 1903. Previously, Colombia was part of New Granada, which included Panama and large parts of northern South America. Between 1831 and 1903, the area was limited to Colombia and Panama, and in 1903, Panama also became independent. Colombia’s official name is the Republic of Colombia.
Unfortunately, Colombia has had a motley history in recent times. It has been marked by civil war, dictatorship, drug war and fighting between government forces and the FARC and ELN guerrilla groups. The conflict has cost more than 200,000 lives since the 1960s and forced more than 6,000,000 people out of their homes.
Violence has abated since 2002 and the government and the FARC are currently signing a serious peace talks.