Colombia: Overview

So you’ve got a date with Colombia now what?

My date: Medellín > Santa Marta > Cartagena > Salento > Bogotá

How long? 3 months (but about 3 weeks traveling)

First Impressions: If you could only do one thing in Colombia- Tough call between Medellín and Salento. Salento is great for a few days but Medellín is amazing for a week or more. Salento has stunning nature, Medellín has history and culture and Colombian life.

Will there be a second date? Definitely! I really enjoyed my time here and met some great people. I will be back.  

 Budget: Accommodation- $25K-45K COP ($9-14 USD) /night         Restaurant- $20-40K COP ($6-14 USD) without alcohol                 Street food- $3K-5K COP ($1-2 USD)        Beer- $5K COP ($1.5 USD)

What to bring: Sunscreen, bug spray, your dancing shoes  

When to go: Dry season is December to March and April – June and Octo – November are generally wetter months, but it all varies slightly by region. Medellín and the coast enjoy a warm/hot year round with consistent amounts of rainfall (not too heavy usually). Check out Lonely Planet’s guide to the climate.

Visas: US citizens do not need a visa for stays up to 90 days. At any point you can border bounce to another country and come back or apply for an extension to reset your 90 days. Your time also resets on January 1 of the following year. However, you only have 120 days within a calendar year.

Vaccinations: Yellow fever 10 days prior to entry to Colombia if you’re coming from certain countries.

Safety: This is not the Colombia from the 80’s and 90’s that you saw on the news and depicted in Narcos. Colombia is working extremely hard to get away from a past that has haunted them for a very long time. Medellin is now the safest city in Colombia and the government is working with the guerilla groups on a peace treaty (albeit a controversial one) that has made the more remote parts of Colombia safer as well. That being said, still take precautions with your belongings and how you behave yourself- especially in Bogotá.

***Always check beforehand. Information can change so make sure you’re checking yourself for up to date information on Visas, vaccinations, and safety recommendations from your government! US citizens can check HERE***

Language: Learn your numbers!

  1. Uno
  2. Dos
  3. Tres
  4. Cuatro
  5. Cinco
  6. Seis
  7. Siete
  8. Ocho
  9. Nueve
  10. Diez

Hello- Hola                                          Please- Por favor                             Thank-you- Gracias

Where is: Donde esta…..

Left- izquierda                                   Right- derecha                                  Straight- derecho

Beer- Cerveza (ser-vay-sah)       Coffe- Café                                        

What I missed

Palomino- A surf town that is said to have nice beaches.  I saw someone’s legs after they got back and there were so many mosquito bites that I couldn’t. However, it’s an easy day trip from Santa Marta.

San Andres and Providencia- I was too hot to go to another island, but I hear is amazing and Providencia is supposed to be even better (and more remote)! The easiest way to get there is to take a flight from San Andres and I just didn’t want to spend the money on both flights.

Casa en el agua- a two and a half hour boat ride from Cartagena and exactly what it sounds like. A hostel in the middle of the water. It was outside my budget, but everyone I’ve talked to who went enjoyed their time.

San Gil- The adventure capital of Colombia! Since I have done many of these adventure sports in other places, it was just too far out of the way and my budget to get to. I hear it’s really fun and a good place to chill out.

Jardín- It is a cute little town outside of Medellin. I did the thing where I live somewhere and assume I have time to go.  And then I realize as I’m about to leave all the things I didn’t end up doing. Supposed to be a really nice weekend getaway.   

My favorite part: The people and the dancing! Colombia has AMAZING people. They’re SO NICE and so happy and so helpful and hilarious and fun. They’re also all amazing dancers and extremely good-looking. Everywhere you go you will find yourself tapping your foot or your finger or bobbing your head to the music. It’s everywhere. And it’s fabulous.