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Colombia travel guide

Colombia is a glorious mix of contrasting Latin American and Caribbean cultures, stuffed full of diverse jungle, magnificent mountains and sun soaked coastal utopias. Whatever you thought about Colombia prior to arriving, prepare to be constantly surprised. You’ll be struck by the ever-changing colours, the constantly smiling faces and the relaxed vibe that pervades every iota of our favourite new South American travel destination.

Fast facts on Colombia

language in colombia

Languages Spoken

The official language spoken in Colombia is Spanish

Colombian currency


Colombian peso (COP)

Symbol: $

1000 COL$ is 25p, so 4000 COL$ is approximately £1.

time zone in colombia

Time Zone

UTC-05:00 - meaning you'll be five hours behind UK time when you travel there.

Colourful street in Colombia
Colombia Express | 9 days
9 days. Where do you go? The answer: Colombia. Duh. But if you think a nine days isn't enough to tour the beaches, coffee regions, and metropolitan cities of this re-emerging country, think again! Check out the culture and art of Bogota and Medellin, shake it off in Caribbean style Cartagena and recharge on fine Colombian coffee. 
People trekking into a village in Colombia
Lost City Trek | 5 Days
Venture deep into the jungle in search of the Lost City on an intrepid trek where you will hike through indigenous villages, forge the Buritaca river, sleep in hammocks and climb 1,200 mossy steps to reach one of the largest Tayrona cities in Latin America. 
Cartagena cafe
Cartagena to Quito on a Shoestring |21 days
This one has it all. Journey from Colombia to Ecuador via warm beaches, lively towns and sprawling national parks. Trek to the famous Lost City, shake your tail feather in Colombian dance halls, learn of Escobar's drug reign in Medellin and explore bustling Bogota before flying down to Ecuador where you'll hike Cotopaxi Volcano and stay with a local family. Coffee, anyone?

Colombia Travel Costs

cost of beer in brazil


 A typical drink in Colombia will cost anywhere from $1,500COL (£0.70) for a beer in one bar to $14,000COL (£3.50) down the street at higher end establishments.

cost of food in brazil


Grab a bite to eat for lunch for about $14,000 COL (£3.50)... or even less if you hit up the local street food stalls.

taxi prices in brazil

Taxi Ride

Catching a taxi? You're looking to pay about $6,000 per mile - that's £1.50. 

transport in brazil


Public transportation in Colombia is a little pricier than it is in neighbouring countries like Brazil and Panama. A Metro train ride can cost you as little as 50p, and local busses around towns or cities are not much more. Longer distance coach rides however, can cost up to £30.

hostels in brazil


Want a cheap bed? A dorm bed in a hostel can cost you as little as £4 a night. For a private double room in a hostel, expect to pay upwards of £8-10 per person.

hotels in brazil


Colombia is full of quant family run guesthouses which can range from £15 to £30 per person per night. You'll be able to find cheaper 3* or 4* hotels with swimming pools for around £40 or upwards a night.

Getting around Colombia

Factor in plenty of time to explore this HUGE country. It's easy to travel independently via public transport, but many STA Adventurers opt for an adventure tour (which can range from 5 days to well over six months!) spanning just Colombia, or multiple South and Central American destinations. Another fun and flexible option is our independent hop-on hop-off bus passes.
South America bus passes

Do I need a visa to visit Colombia?

If you have a British passport, you'll be granted a free 90 day travel visa upon entry in Colombia. If you want to extend for up to 120 days you can head to Bogota's migration office. If you're entering by land, make sure there's an official on hand to stamp your passport!

When is the best time to visit Colombia?

Colombia has a tropical climate and is quite unique in the sense that it has two mini wet seasons a year, instead of just one. The months of April and June see some rainfall. August and September tend to be a little drier and of moderate temperature, before the heaviest rainfall comes during October and November. Dry season in Colombia spans between late November and March. Plan ahead if you're visiting at this time, as it's the busiest time for backpackers and tourists. 


Colombia's Caribbean coast, including Medellin, is warm and dry most of the year, making it an ideal holiday choice any time of the year. If you're heading south, to the Andes, wrap up warm, as nights can get chilly. 


If you're visting Colombia around Easter time, you may be lucky enough to party at Carnival de Barranquilla... the second largest carnival in the world after Rio's!

What is there to eat in Colombia?

You'll no doubt end up living off one of our favourite South American snacks, the arepa! A kind of fuffy bread made with corn. Typically, you'll have it as a sandwich filled with meat, salad or cheese. Another popular snack is empanada - the ridiculously cheap and cheesy fried pastry snack you'll find on most street corners.

Also try fritanga - another word for offal, a heaped plate of meat - chorizo sausage, ribs, chops, steaks or kidneys in any combination, fried with potatoes and/or cooking bananas in a deep saucepan. 

What is there to buy in Colombia?

Nepal is pretty off the beaten track, especially once outside of the capital Kathmandu. Local transport does connect to top destinations such as Pokhara, but a guide is needed when attempting any mountain ascents. Many visitors opt to join a combined trek-culture tour offering the best of what this amazing country has to offer. Check out some of our top options below and get in touch for more information.

Need a little more inspiration? Check out the STA Travel blog!

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