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How to Travel in Colombia

by Kelsey Erin Shipman
  • Overview

    After many years of internal civil strife, many parts of Colombia are now safe for foreign visitors. From lush rain forests to gorgeous Caribbean beaches, travelers will find a thrilling expanse of activities. Whale-watching, scuba diving, hiking to archaeological ruins, urban clubbing and mountain climbing are just a few experiences Colombia has to offer. Travel within the country is available by air, sea and land though is limited by guerrilla and paramilitary violence.
  • Getting Around

 
  • Step 1

    Fly. Air travel is perhaps the most convenient and safest mode of travel in country. Avianca, SAM, Atena and AeroRepública are the primary domestic carriers that service the main cities. Tickets can be purchased at each airlines' respective booth at the airport or from a local travel agent. Be sure to double check the information on your ticket as mistakes are common.
  • Step 2

    Take a boat. The coastline of Colombia is regularly serviced by cargo ships that occasionally take passengers. Go down to the local dock early to inquire about schedules and prices. River boats also run safely in the area around Leticia and Mompós.
  • Step 3

    Take a bus. Buses are the main method of transportation for locals and the system is well-developed and far-reaching. All urban bus lines arrive and depart from the city's central bus terminal, usually located outside the city center. Bogotá is the central hub for international bus service. As buses are frequent, you do not need to purchase a ticket in advance but can pay the driver at the door.
  • Step 4

    Bicycle. Though cars generally rule the road in Columbia, cyclists can enjoy short trips on paved roads or in rural areas. Several major cities are building new bike tracks and instituting weekend closures of certain streets to accommodate cyclists.
  • Step 5

    Take a local train. Medellin and Bogotá both have metropolitan train systems that service surrounding areas.
  • Step 6

    Drive. Local scenery can be thrilling from a car or motorcycle but is safe only in resort areas such as San Andrés. Rent a motorcycle for a day and drive along the coastal highways of northern Colombia. Car theft is common in most urban areas of Colombia, so driving personal vehicles is not recommended outside of tourist-frequented areas.
  • 3
  • Map
  • Map
  • Taxi service is available just about everywhere in Columbia. Taxis are also available for charter for longer distances. Be sure to bargain with the driver on price or insist on using the meter.
  • Taxi service is available just about everywhere in Columbia. Taxis are also available for charter for longer distances. Be sure to bargain with the driver on price or insist on using the meter.
  • Some parts of Colombia are unsafe for tourists due to guerrilla and paramilitary violence. The Chocó, Buenaventura and rural areas bordering the Amazon are noted for violence and highly dangerous for travelers.
  • Some parts of Colombia are unsafe for tourists due to guerrilla and paramilitary violence. The Chocó, Buenaventura and rural areas bordering the Amazon are noted for violence and highly dangerous for travelers.

References & Resources