Documents and Visas
To enter Colombia, you need a valid passport. A visa is not required for stays up to 90 days but is required for longer stays and must be requested in the respective Colombian consulate. It is also possible to request a 30 day extension from the DA S (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad).
Currency and Exchange Rates
The unit of Colombian currency is the Colombian Peso. The notes are in denominations of $2.000, $5.000, $10.000, $20.000 and $50.000; and the coins are $20, $50, $100, $200 and $500 The exchange rate fluctuates from day to day and has the U.S. dollar as the official reference rate. Payment is made on the basis of the official daily rate, after discounting commissions and services, which vary between 2 and 3%. We recommend changing only in authorized money exchange bureau or “casas de cambio”, in banks and hotels and never on the street. The USA dollar is the easiest currency to exchange. Traveler’s checks are rarely used as it is difficult to change them outside of Bogotá. The most convenient brand to use is American Express, but they need to be changed in a bank and these have limited bank hours. Major credit cards are widely accepted in most important tourist destinations where Visa and Master Card can also be used in cash machines or “cajeros automáticos” to withdraw cash.
A Departure tax of USD$34 is currently levied on international flights. At the moment, international tourist (not resident in Colombia) do have an exemption on this tax.
Most immunizations are not necessary to travel to Colombia. We nevertheless recommend asking your physician or a specialized center for more detailed information. For those travelling to the southern Amazon, Amacayacu and Gorgona National Parks, a vaccination for yellow fever and tetanus 15 days in advanced is compulsory as the diseases are endemic in some areas, as well as for passengers continuing to Brazil.
All of Colombia is on the same time zone, five or six hours behind Greenwich Mean Time depending on the season.
All of Colombia uses 110 volt electricity with US type flat two pin plugs. It is best to bring an adapter.
Colombia is located near the Equator which allows for relatively minor climate variations over the year. Temperatures vary according to altitude creating different climate zones: Warm: temperatures above 24°C in altitudes lower than 1.000 meters, which comprises 80 % of the territory.
Tempered: temperatures between 17°C and 24°C above 1.000 and 2.000 meters. Cold: temperatures between 12°C and 17°C above 2.000 and 3.000 meters. Páramo (altiplano): temperatures below12°C with altitudes above 3.000 meters. Altitudes also generate differences in temperature between day and night. Clearly, as the altitude increases, so does the difference in climate. There are no variations in the low lands where days and nights are warm. Colombia experiences two seasons: the “dry” season or summer and the “rainy” season or winter. The length of the seasons and the amount of rain vary according to the regions. The Andes, for instance, have two dry and two rainy seasons a year. The main dry season stretches from December to March and July and August are rainy as well. The Llanos have a dry season from December to March and are rainy over the rest of the year. There is no uniform climate in the Amazon which is quite rainy all year round.