Like a conjurer, Colombia will charm you, mesmerize you, and slowly lure you in. You will wander through this blurred shadow world, this realm of deception, where reality and fiction mingle, and you will get lost.
But you will not object. At first, you will want to linger. After a while, the thought of forsaking this enchanted land will vanish altogether. You will be captivated by Colombia’s rawness, its vibrant colours, and divers culture, and you will fall in love with its people.
Colombia is much more than violence and bloodshed. It might have lost its innocence long ago, but its soul remains pure.
Travelling Colombia is living life at its fullest, because in Colombia life is celebrated.
“There is a reason magical realism was born in Colombia”
VISA | Colombia grants visa free entry (up to 90 days) for 100 countries, including all European countries, with the exception of Belarus and the Kosovo. All other nationalities can apply for an eVisa.
Check Passport Index to see whether your country is eligible for visa free entry or not.
MONEY | Currency: Colombian peso (COP). In the larger cities ATMs are widely available. If you are venturing off into the more rural, remote areas of Colombia, make sure to bring enough cash though.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT | Buses are the way to go in Colombia. Coaches are used for long distance travel, whereas colectivos (minibuses) will serve shorter routes.
While coaches will have a fixed itinerary, colectivos generally wait to fill up before departing. Keep that in mind if you have to be somewhere on time. They are significantly cheaper, however.
DRUGS | Colombia is the world’s leading exporter of cocaine, as well as the 5th largest producer of cannabis. As a consequence, drugs are easily available throughout the country and prices go as low as 1-2$ for a gram of coke.
Hence, it is not surprising that a lot of tourists consume while travelling Colombia. The police is aware of that fact, however, and has been known to purposely target Westerners in hopes of finding drugs, especially in the more touristy/party areas of Colombia’s larger cities.
The cops will be far more interested in your wallet than the drugs, however. Police wages are extremely low and accepting bribes is a common way to boost the meagre income. While this might seem like an easy escape for tourists, do not take it lightly! Although imprisonment is very unlikely to happen (unless you get caught with a suitcase full of coke), your bank account might suffer severely. If you venture out in search for illicit substances, be aware that you are not only risking a run-in with the tenacious and oftentimes greedy Colombian police but the loss of a substantial chunk of your travel budget, as well.
SECURITY SITUATION | The security situation in Colombia has increased significantly in the last couple of years, mostly due to peace talks with the largest guerrilla group FARC. However, even though FARC officially disbanded in 2017, other guerrilla groups such as ELN and EPL, as well as a steadily rising number of FARC dissidents, are still operating, especially in the remote mountain and jungle areas of the country. Kidnappings are a rare occurrence nowadays and overland travel is deemed safe.
Robbery and petty theft is what tourists should be most aware of though. As long as you keep your wits about you, inform yourself on potential no-go areas for travellers, and don’t show unnecessary signs of wealth, you should be fine, however.