There is absolutely no problem travelling with children in Colombia. Colombians are warmhearted people for whom family comes first. They often travel with kids themselves so most hotels, transport and activities are well-adapted and welcome children with open arms.
Travelling in a group
Travelling in a group is a very common thing to see in Colombia. Most Colombians travel in groups themselves. This means that you probably won´t have any difficulties finding big hotels, restaurants and transport options.
Don´t worry about travelling solo. Colombians are kind and friendly people who will help you whenever they can. Hotels have single rooms and it is very easy to tag along to another group on some activities.
Food, drink and dietary requirements
Colombia boasts a great variety of food but they are not completely used to eat vegetarian or vegan. The big cities offer various restaurant specialized in vegetarian and vegan food but the further away from these cities the harder it will become to get these options. They do eat a lot fish and can present you with an incredible variety of vegetables and exotic fruits year-round. Make sure to inform us about any kind of allergies so we can inform the hotels and tour operators. You can drink water from the tap in big cities like Bogota, Medellin, Santa Marta and Cartagena. In order places it is advised not to drink water from the tap.
Nowadays it is safe to travel in Colombia as the country has been seriously improving its security situation in the past year. As long as you use your common sense and don´t do things that you would not do in your own country you will be perfectly fine. It might be a good idea to keep a copy of your passport with you.
Colombia is also safe health wise as it has professional doctors, hospitals, and medical care all over the country.
You might need the following vaccinations for your travel to Colombia: Yellow fever, Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, and Diphtheria. Make sure to bring your Yellow Fever Certificate if you are traveling to the Amazonas. You shouldn´t need malaria pills for any destination within Colombia.
The most common disease travelers get is the travelers’ diarrhea. In this case you should try to eat bananas, dry crackers and drink lots of water.
If you are tired and don´t feel like eating while your muscles hurt then you might be infected with Dengue. This is not as bad as it sounds. It will be a good idea to bring a good mosquito repellent to reduce this risk to the minimum.
BEFORE YOUR DEPARTURE
A travel insurance will be useful to have in cases of medical emergencies, or theft and loss of your belongings in Colombia. In order to make a claim on your insurance you will always have to go the nearest police station to get a detailed police report on your theft or loss. Hospitals in Colombia are legally obliged to treat you whether you can pay for it or not. So always insist.
Travelers will need a visa to enter Colombia EXCEPT for visitors of the following countries: Argentina, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Great Britain, Guatemala, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Mexico, Norway, The Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela , United States, and foreign residents of Canada and the United States. These travelers will be granted 90 days upon arrival at the immigration office of the airport.
If your country is not mentioned in the above listed countries then contact your embassy in order to get updated information on visa requirements.
The Colombian Peso (COP) is the local currency and will make you feel like a millionaire. You will find different types of coins as both the old and new coins are circulating. The smallest coin is 50 COP and is followed by coins of 100, 200, 500 and 1000 COP. There are also bills of 1000, 2000, 5000, 10.000, 20.000 and 50.000 available.
The COP is not very stable so check updated currency exchange rates online. At the time of research 1 EUR was worth 3700 COP, which is the price of a local beer in Colombia.
You can easily take out money in the ATM or exchange your currency in the big cities and airports. Don’t forget to let your local bank know that you are coming to Colombia so they make your cards available for use during your trip.
What should I bring?
First of all don´t forget your international passport. Make sure it doesn´t expire within 6 months from your arrival in Colombia.
Other important thing to pack are: mosquito repellent, sunscreen, universal plug for your electronics, specific medication if needed, anti-diarrhea medication, a smaller backpack for walks and activities, sunglasses, cap for the sun, waterproof protections for your camera, comfortable shoes, layers of clothing to be prepared for the different climate zones in Colombia, and a student card if you are under 26.
Try to be careful when receiving or changing money because some counterfeit money is circulating in Colombia. Your bills should come with a picture of a person on it and some parts have to be embossed. You can check for watermarks in the image and try to feel the print with your nails. If it comes off, it is a fake one.
ON YOUR TRIP
Colombia might be a culture shock but it won´t happen upon arrival. The big cities are huge metropolises where people live just like you. You will easily be able to connect to WiFi, find supermarkets, banks and pharmacies, and take well-organized public transport. But, once you get to the smaller villages you may notice a slight difference in way of living. It seems like time has stood still here and people live more in the moment itself. It might be difficult to get around without speaking Spanish but it gives a beautiful contrast to life at home and Colombians will always try to help you even if you don´t speak their language.
It is very common to tip in Colombia. Usually, the services charged already include the tip of around 10% but always double check. You tip mainly in restaurants and for people working in hotels.
Keeping in touch with home
Colombians don´t have a public post service so don´t expect your postcards to arrive before you come back from your trip. It usually takes around a month for mail to arrive, if it arrives.
The country code of Colombia is 0057 and you shouldn’t have problems calling your family although it might be a very expensive operation.
If calling seems too expensive then you can always wait till you have Wi-Fi in your accommodation and use Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber or email to stay in contact with the home front. Most hotels offer this service for free.
Accommodation and Transport
Most places in Colombia are relatively easily accessible, if not by road then by air or river. The big cities offer a wide net of public transport.
Accommodation is diverse and exist in all types and sizes, going from huge luxurious hotels to little huts in the desert where you can stay in the home of a family.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Colombia is a year-round destination. As it is located right at the Equator, it doesn´t really have seasons. However, there are dry and rainy periods affecting most of the country. The dry season is usually from December to March, but even outside of this period, weather variations are determined more by region than clearly defined seasons. The main differences are in the highlands, where nights become chilly in areas of higher altitude. The lowlands enjoy a tropical climate year-round with little temperature variation, though more frequent rain showers will be evident in the wetter months of April to June and again in October and November.