Driving in Colombia: do´s and don’ts to ensure a safe trip • Lulo Colombia

Driving in Colombia: 4 tips to consider

Driving in Colombia


Colombia certainly has uncountable wonders and beauties to visit. And there are many ways to embark on these journeys: by plane, car, bus, etc. But it’s important to understand the risks of some of these transport options.


In this article we will give you some tips for driving in Colombia, as well as some alternative ways to visit the country, while staying safe the whole time.


Get more information from a local expert here in case you are interested in living in Colombia.

1.  Watch out for the public transport and bikers


Driving around the big cities in Colombia may seem just as tricky as in any other city. However, in big cities like Bogotá or Medellín there is an issue with drivers of public transport, as well as cyclists.


In most of the cities there are special routes for bikes; however, they neither have control over their behavior nor respect for cars and pedestrians. So, if you are thinking of traveling around by car, you may consider hiring a private driver, and don’t take the cities on, on your own. (More tips about what to keep in mind for a trip to Colombia can be found here)

Driving in Colombia

2. Driving in Colombia takes time


When you are planning a trip, time may be one of the most important issues to take into account, especially if you are traveling around by car.


The big cities are notorious for their traffic jams and you usually need way more time  to  get to your destination than you anticipated.


Unfortunately, the big cities are so saturated with cars that there are almost no recommended times to drive, unless you are willing to drive at night. Keep in mind that Colombians are early risers so the first traffic jams already start around 5:30 A.M.


That’s why it’s very important for you to look into the time each trip will take, so you can avoid any surprises. Applications like Waze can definitely help you with that.


Be careful with Google Maps because its time estimations are usually not that accurate for routes in Colombia. Not all regions of Colombia have good reception so your applications will probably only work well in the populated areas.


Futhermore, Colombia is a huge country and has a very specific topography. This means that even when a route looks easy on the map, it usually is not. There are still a lot of dirt roads, mountain roads, and roads that have not been maintainted in a long time. As a results, you will drive a lot slower than you expected to do.


Additionally, the road are full of trucks and most of the times you will have to drive on single lane roads. It can be dangerous to overtake the trucks and they will definitely slow you down.


So, if you are driving in Colombia, pay attention to this information, it may cause you to reconsider some of your plans.

  • Driving from Bogota to the Caribbean  Coast


The Caribbean coast is one of the most common destinations when it comes to Colombia tourism, not only for locals, but also for tourists.


However, is also one of the most exhausting trips, since it takes around 19 hours. Therefore, the recommendation is not to make this trip on your own, and to plan a 2-day trip so that you can stop and rest at a point. Also, you will have to pay for 12 tollbooths, which costs USD 33,82.

Driving in Colombia
  • Driving from Bogota to the Coffee Zone


This is one of the most crowded roads in the country, because it connects so many destinations. The road crosses a mountain chain and you will have to go over a road called ´Alto de la Linea´. which is famous for its many accidents and dangerous conditions, especially when it has rained.


If you take this road, you will travel for approximately 8 hours. Also, you will go through 5 tolls, which will add up to around USD 14,19.

  • Driving from Bogota to Medellín


If you are traveling to Medellin by car, you will probably take the Calle 80 to exit the city. On this route, you will find a long section that usually gets very crowded, increasing the travel time to Medellín.


It will take you around 9  hours and you will have to pay 6 tollbooths USD 18,63


3. Security


Without any doubt, road trips are a fun way to travel around. However, if you are thinking about driving in Colombia on your own, it’s better to hire a private driver.


This because it can be dangerous. Since you don’t know the places, and your only guides are GPS apps, you could end up in some dangerous places.


So, the best thing you can do is to trust an expert driver. Agencies often offer Colombian tour packages for tourists, which include this service.

4. Long trips


Maybe you have heard about the wonders that the Colombian coast hides; tons of history, nature and richness. Without any doubt, this is a must if you are visiting the country. However, taking this long trip by car, on your own, may not be the best idea.


Even though it is a great road trip, it would take almost a day to complete it. Also, it may be a little unsafe if you are traveling alone.


A great idea to avoid any trouble is to look for local airlines, of which there are many. You can find low cost flights that will carry you to different cities on the coast in a few hours.



Colombia is a country full of wonderful experiences for travelers. 


However, we do not fully recommend to travel around by driving yourself. You will spend a lot of time being frustrated because of extremely long drives, difficult and dangerous roads, not having GPS signal, and the unavoidable traffic jams.


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.


It is one of the best reasons to actually choose to travel with a travel agency in order to make your trip as pleasant and efficient as possible!

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