Budget for Colombia: tips and tricks • Lulo Colombia Travel

Your budget for Colombia: tips for tourism that does not break the bank

One of the most important steps when planning a trip is estimating its cost. Most of the time, getting a tourist package takes care of the most significant costs, like accommodation and transportation. However, everyday expenses can add up if not kept in line. Look at some tips on how to create a sensible budget for Colombia.

Let’s start at the top: travel agencies vs. solo traveling


As we said before, solo travel in Colombia means you have to hunt for the best deals on the largest expenses of your vacation. This task can put a lot of pressure on you.


Travelers interested in having a more relaxed experience of planning a trip to Colombia turn to tourism agencies. They can usually negotiate better prices from their regular suppliers.

budget for Colombia

The basics of a budget for Colombia


Now, let us tackle the remaining essential aspects of a budget for Colombia. The national currency is Colombian peso abbreviated as COP, and symbolized using $. These are the top things to keep in mind regarding pesos:


  • There are five coin denominations: 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1.000 pesos.


  • As for bills, you will find 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000, and 100.000 pesos.


  • Coins and bills have been redesigned recently, so you will likely come across different aesthetics for each denomination. Both styles are in effect and accepted everywhere.


  • Newer bills do not display their amount in only numbers but together with words. For example, the 2.000 pesos bill says 2 mil pesos. Mil means ‘thousand’ in Spanish.


Dollars and euros have the overall best exchange rates in Colombia. You can find money exchangers in international airports, as well as in most cities nationwide. The Colombian peso is difficult to find abroad, so you will have to exchange your currency upon arrival.


Credit cards are accepted in most businesses. Visa and MasterCard are the most widely taken. However, some places accept American Express and Diners Club.

Everyday saving tips


Most accommodation includes one meal, usually breakfast. That leaves you with lunch and dinner to cover daily, plus snacks. When exploring your destinations, look for restaurants with a Menú Ejecutivo, or daily menu.


They are generally budget-friendly, as well as tasty. A standard daily menu lunch includes soup, a main course, and a soft drink (even homemade juices!).


Local fast food places are a good alternative for low-cost dining. Small stores and markets come in handy for buying fruits, vegetables, and pre-packed items, like ham or cheese.

Budget for Colombia

While most tourist packages include fees for sites of interest, you may want to visit some outside the itinerary. Check beforehand if they have free-entrance days.


If you require transportation outside your tour, most cities have efficient public bus systems, as well as many cab companies. Sometimes, especially due to heavy traffic, services like Uber can be less expensive than taxi rides. Some similar apps include Cabify, Beat, and Didi. You can also explore rural destinations with local bus routes.

Good practices for shopping in Colombia


The best tours in Colombia will bring incredible souvenirs your way. From the quintessential bag of coffee to iconic emeralds, or indigenous woven bags, souvenirs should be taken into account in your budget for Colombia. Check out this guide for what to buy while in the country.


Purchasing souvenirs requires some knowledge, especially when it comes to handcrafted pieces. Try to get these items directly from the source: they will likely give you a better price than somewhere else.


Moreover, you will be helping the livelihood of local artisans by doing so. If you come across craft markets, do not be afraid to haggle. Most times, you will be able to get a discount from one seller or the next.

budget for Colombia

Set money aside for unexpected expenses


Savvy travelers always keep extra money on the side in case they encounter unexpected expenses. When discovering a country as exciting as Colombia, you may want to explore more places than initially planned.


You may also fall in love with a sombrero vueltiao or a beautiful leather bag, so in your budget for Colombia some additional cash comes in handy. The size of this budget is up to you.

One last tip on your budget for Colombia


All foreign tourists are entitled to VAT refunds on the following products:


  • Clothing
  • Footwear
  • Leather goods
  • CDs
  • Crafts
  • Toys
  • Linens
  • House appliances
  • Jewelry
  • Emeralds
  • Perfumes
  • Hardware


Apply for yours at the National Tax and Customs Department DIAN offices in international air, land, and seaports. You will need your travel documents and a copy of them, as well as receipts of your purchases. Read tips on how to get your TAX refund here. 



Colombia is a country full of wonderful experiences for travelers. We hope these tips will help you to enjoy your trip to the fullest. 


If you need help or guidance with the planning process of your trip to Colombia, don´t hesitate to contact us. We have a team of travel experts looking forward to help you have the best holiday of your life.

RNT # 41503 Lulo Colombia | Travel Agency - Handmade @ThePappCorn