Confidence Guarantee - Read more

Practical information about Colombia

Practical information about Colombia
Practical information about Colombia

Practical information about Colombia

CLIMATE
Best time to travel

Colombia is a big country with a diverse landscape, and the climate there depends heavily on which part of the country you are visiting. Colombia has a tropical climate with a rainy season and a dry season.

Temperatures do not vary greatly throughout the year, as Colombia is near the equator. What decides the temperature is altitude. The country can be divided into 3 geographical zones:

Northern Colombia and the Caribbean coast (Santa Marta, Cartagena):
This area can easily be visited during the rainy season, as the rain often comes in brief, powerful showers in the afternoon.

  • The rainy season is approx. May to November.
  • The dry season is approx. December to April.

The Andes Mountains (Bogotá, the Coffee Axis, Medellín)
Temperatures here depend on your current altitude. Please note that the temperature at night in places such as Bogotá may be quite chilly.

  • The rainy seasons are from around April to May and from September to November.
  • The dry seasons are from around December to March and from June to August.

The Amazon Rainforest in south-eastern Colombia
This area does not have a rainy season and a dry season like the other areas. Here, it is hot, wet, and humid all year round.

The country has the highest numbers of visitors between December and March and between July and August. Colombians themselves go on holiday in December and January, and hotels quickly get fully booked in this period, particularly near the Caribbean coast.

Weather statistics for Cartagena:

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Daytime temp. 30 31 31 31 31 32 32 32 32 31 31 31
Night-time temp. 23 23 24 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 24
Rain mm 8 2 6 34 102 110 98 130 140 218 129 35

 
Weather statistics for Bogotá (2,600 metres):

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Daytime temp. 16 17 17 16 16 16 15 15 16 16 16 16
Night-time temp. 5 6 7 8 8 8 8 7 7 8 8 6
Rain mm 30 40 50 90 80 40 40 40 70 110 70 50

Weather statistics for Armenia, the Coffee Region (1,500 metres):

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Daytime temp. 27 27 27 27 26 26 27 27 27 26 26 27
Night-time temp. 15 16 16 16 16 15 15 15 15 15 15 15
Rain mm 115 124 174 250 253 173 120 136 167 260 242 150

Weather statistics for Amazonas:

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
Daytime temp. 28 29 29 31 31 30 31 32 30 30 30 29
Night-time temp. 23 23 26 26 27 26 25 27 25 25 25 23
Rain mm 471 248 445 318 242 133 47 114 226 153 220 272
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR TOUR
Passport & visa

As a British citizen, you must be in possession of a valid British passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your return home.

As a British citizen, you do not require a visa to visit Colombia for stays that do not exceed 90 days.

Please note: It is your own responsibility to check whether you need a visa for transit airports en route.

 

If you are travelling via the US, the following applies to British citizens:

To travel via the United States, you must apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Without ESTA, you will not be allowed to travel through the United States. Apply for the travel authorisation in good time at least 72 hours before your departure to the US. All travellers must apply, regardless of their age. You can apply and find the price via the following link: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. You should have your passport, itinerary, credit card and e-mail address to hand when making your application. The travel authorization is electronically connected to your passport and is valid for 2 years or until your passport expires (whichever is earliest). We recommend that you bring a physical copy of your ESTA with you if, for example, the system is down on your arrival, however this is not a requirement.

If you get a new passport, you must apply for a new ESTA.

Note that you must contact the United States Embassy to apply for a visa if you have visited any of the following countries:

  • Cuba as of 12 January 2021
  • North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen as of 1 March 2011

Stricter requirements will also apply if you hold dual citizenship with any of these countries.

For further information on filling out your ESTA application, please see the overview of frequently asked questions and their answers here: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/faq?lang=en.

You can also get in touch by telephone at: +1-202-325-8000

 

If you are travelling via Canada, the following applies to British citizens:

To travel via Canada, you must apply for an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization). Without eTA, you will not be allowed to travel through Canada. Apply for the travel authorisation in good time. eTA costs 7 CAD per person and all travellers must apply, regardless of their age. You can apply via the following link: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.aspYou should have your passport, itinerary, credit card and e-mail address to hand when making your application. The travel authorization is electronically connected to your passport and is valid for 5 years or until your passport expires (whichever is earliest). We recommend that you bring a physical copy of your eTA with you if, for example, the system is down on your arrival, however this is not a requirement.

If you get a new passport, you must apply for a new eTA.

As these rules may change from time to time, we urge you to visit the website of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
If you are in doubt about visa conditions, please contact the Colombian Embassy in London.

Travel documents

Prior to your departure, you will receive a tour itinerary containing your flight information and the telephone numbers of our local partners at the destination, allowing you to get in touch with them if you have any questions during your tour.

On your arrival in Colombia, you will be given a welcome letter containing a QR code. When you scan this code on your phone, you can access your tour itinerary showing, among other things, important start times of your pre-booked excursions and transfers. It is important to download these documents to your phone when you have Wi-Fi at the hotel, so that you can always access them, even when Wi-Fi is not available.
You will also find exciting information about the destination, our partner’s sustainability initiatives and a feedback form, which ensures a high level of service on our Colombia tours.

Check-MIG Colombia – mandatory entry and departure form:

Check-MIG Colombia is a mandatory immigration form that optimises entry and departure checks for visitors to the country. This form was introduced in connection with the Covid-19 and also contains health information. You must complete the form before entering and exiting the country.

The form must be completed 72-2 hours before departure to Colombia and is available here: https://apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co/pre-registro/en.

We recommend that you bring a printed receipt of your Check-MIG form.

At the end of your stay, the form must also be completed 72-2 hours before starting your departure from Colombia. This is done via the same link: https://apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co/pre-registro/en.

We recommend that you download the WhatsApp app to your smartphone and add the phone numbers of our business partners. You can send messages and call them for free using the app when you have a Wi-Fi connection.

Immigration form information

Check-MIG Colombia – mandatory entry and departure form:

Check-MIG Colombia is a mandatory immigration form that optimises entry and departure checks for visitors to the country. This form was introduced in connection with the Covid-19 and also contains health information. You must complete the form before entering and exiting the country.

The form must be completed 24-2 hours before departure to Colombia and is available here: https://apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co/pre-registro/en.

Note that you must enter the name and address of your first accommodations* in the country:

Department: Bogotá, D.C.
City: Bogotá D.C.
Address: Hotel BH Bicentenario, Cra4 16-3
Phone no.: 00576017470744

*If you are not staying at our standard hotel in Bogotá, please make sure to correct the hotel name, address, and telephone number in the form.

We recommend that you bring a printed receipt of your Check-MIG form.

At the end of your stay, the form must also be completed 24-2 hours before starting your departure from Colombia. This is done via the same link: https://apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co/pre-registro/en.

Vaccinations

We recommend that you contact a medical specialist, your GP or an authorised vaccination clinic for information about vaccinations. You can also read more about the rules regarding travel vaccinations here

Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another country where yellow fever is present. Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. Your vaccination certificate should therefore always be carried with you in your hand luggage when you travel.

 

Covid-19

There is currently no Covid-19 vaccination requirement for entry into Colombia. However, these rules may change at short notice. It is your responsibility to check these rules before departure.

Please note that certain Covid-19 rules may apply at the stopover airports on your way to/from Colombia. It is also your responsibility to check this before departure.

Some locations may have mask requirements, e.g., medical clinics and hospitals.
Remain up to date on the rules through your guide or ask the hotel’s staff.

Terms and conditions of travel

Please read our general travel terms and conditions carefully, as these are part of the agreement terms for tours purchased at TourCompass. Tours purchased from us are covered under the “Package Travel Act”.

Click here to read our travel terms and conditions.

All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it.
Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate click here.

Travel insurance

We always advise you to obtain comprehensive travel insurance when heading off on your dream holiday. It is also highly recommended to acquire cancellation insurance for extra protection. 

Click here to proceed to our page on insurance, where you can read more about our recommendations.

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
Currency, price level & tipping

Colombia’s currency is called the peso (COP). The current COP exchange rate can be found here.

Bring a Visa and/or MasterCard credit card, as cash machines, or cajeros automáticos (ATMs), are common. This is the easiest way to withdraw the local currency. You can also find ATMs at the airport. There is also a bureau de change here, in the event that you are bringing USD.

The further you get out into the countryside, the harder it may be to pay by credit card. We recommend that you always bring some cash in USD.

The prices on the Caribbean coast, particularly Cartagena, may be nearly twice as high as in the rest of the country.

Click  here to get a general idea of the price levels in the country.

It is a custom and appreciated to tip when you are in Latin American countries, but it is voluntary, and the amount you are willing to give is entirely at your discretion.

The guide below is indicative only.

  • Restaurants: for most restaurants, a 10% gratuity is included in the bill.
  • Guide: approx. 5-10 USD PP per excursion
  • Driver for excursions: 3 -7 USD PP per excursion
  • Maids: 1-2 USD PRPN
  • Porters: 1 USD per bag/suitcase
  • Guide on the Lost City trek: 10-15 USD PPPD

Our tipping guide above is in USD, but tips should be calculated in the local currency at the destination.

Food & allergies

At the vast majority of our destinations, we are able to take allergies, as well as allergens or preferences into account when it comes to food, however it is important that you inform us of this when you book the tour.

Telephones, Wi-Fi & electricity

Telephones & Wi-Fi:

It’s expensive to use data and roaming abroad if it’s not already included in your mobile subscription. Contact your mobile phone service provider to find out what services are included in your subscription and what prices apply to you at different destinations.

If data and roaming are not included in your mobile subscription when travelling abroad, we recommend that you make use of the free Wi-Fi at your hotel or in restaurants. That way, you can call and write home free of charge via various services such as Facetime, Messenger and WhatsApp.

If you would like to remain online at all times, the cheapest option will be to purchase a local SIM card with data on arrival in Colombia.

Note that there is no Wi-Fi on the Lost City trek.

 

Electricity:

Colombia has 110-volt power. Power outlets are of the American type with two “flat” pins, so we recommend you bring an adapter.

What to pack

Make sure you pack all your important and indispensable things in your hand luggage. This applies to items such as passports, visas, vaccination cards, travel documents, insurance documents, credit cards, money, computers, mobile phones and cameras, as well as information about your health and vital medicines.

Lost City:

You have to carry your own bags on the Lost City trek, so the rest of your baggage must be kept at the hotel in Santa Marta.

Download our PDF packing checklist here.

Tip: Bring 2 water-resistant pouches – 1 for your wet clothes and 1 to store your dry clothes so that they do not get soaked if it rains.

Colombia wants to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic:

The Colombian government has passed a new law banning the use of disposable plastic in the country’s national parks.

You may no longer bring disposable plastics such as plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic cutlery, straws, etc., into Colombia’s national parks. We therefore recommend that you completely avoid using plastic bags on your tour. Use fabric bags instead, or bags made of a waterproof material other than plastic, when packing your bags at home, and bring a water bottle which can be refilled and reused.

Bringing plant products into the UK

Visitors are not permitted to bring plants, seeds, fruit and other plant products into the UK from their travels outside the UK, unless they are accompanied by a plant health (phytosanitary) certificate. These rules also apply to smaller quantities of plants and plant products.

Read more about the rules here.

Travellers with reduced mobillity

Please note, our tours are generally not suitable for persons with reduced mobility. Please contact us for information about the possibilities according any specific needs.

THE FLIGHT
Airline tickets

Most airlines have electronic tickets (e-tickets).
It is important that you check your name for spelling errors, as the name on the reservation must be exactly as it appears on your passport. If your name needs to be corrected, please contact us as soon as possible. Please note that this may incur a fee from the airline.

Seat reservation

The airline will assign you a seat on the plane at check-in. If you have specific wishes regarding where you sit on the plane, you can make a seat reservation yourself on the airline’s website or in their app. Please note that most airlines require payment for a seat reservation.

It varies when airlines open for seat reservations, but as a general rule, you can book seats from the time of booking and up to 48 hours before departure.

We also point out that the airline has complete control over all seats on the plane and that they are therefore entitled to make changes to the reservation at any time.
If you do not make a seat reservation before departure, the airline will assign you a seat at check-in.

Check-in

Your passport and your booking reference, which appears on your itinerary, are required to check in.

We recommend that you download the airline’s app on your phone. In the app, there is an option for online check-in, which typically opens 24 to 48 hours before departure. The app also allows you to stay informed of any flight changes and other important information about your flight.

Please note that the flight times may have changed in relation to those listed on the travel itinerary you received when you booked your holiday. It is always the flight times in the airline’s app or on the airline’s website that apply.

At the airport

We recommend that you arrive at the airport to check in at least two hours before departure. It is a good idea to check the airport’s website for the latest updates.

Baggage

We use many different airlines for our destinations. You can check the exact rules for hand luggage and checked baggage on the airline’s website or in their app.

If domestic flights are used in your itinerary, please be aware that baggage permissions may be different from how they are for your international flights. In general, you can always purchase more baggage allowance locally.

Delayed baggage

If your baggage is delayed, please contact the staff in the baggage reclaim area to report your missing baggage.

It is important that you have your baggage receipt when completing your PIR (Property Irregularity Report).

Please note that you must not leave the baggage area at the airport until you have completed the report.

In the event of delayed baggage, we ask you to contact our partner, who will ensure that your guide/driver waits for you.

Flight delays or cancellations

Should any changes occur in connection with your flight reservation before departure, we will of course contact you to let you know.

Should your flight be delayed after check-in, the airline is responsible for rebooking your flight. They will typically book the next possible flight and arrange any meals and accommodation if necessary.

Our partner checks for any changes in arrival times and will naturally still wait for you, even if your flight is delayed.

If, due to a delay or cancellation, the airline books you on another flight number after you have arrived at the airport, please contact us on TourCompass’ emergency number.

AT THE DESTINATION
Immigration & Customs

Immigration:

When you arrive at your final destination, you will go through immigration, where your passport and any entry documents and visas are checked. In many places, you will be required to provide fingerprints, and a photo of your face will also be taken for biometric recognition. You may also be asked questions about your travel plans in the country and possibly where you are staying.

Customs:
Once you’ve cleared immigration and picked up your luggage, you will head through customs. If you have nothing to declare, you can go through “nothing to declare”. If, on the other hand, you have something to declare, it is important that you go through “declare”. It’s your own responsibility to check the customs regulations that apply in the country you are travelling to.

Arrival

On your arrival, you will be met by a guide/driver who will be ready to welcome you with a TourCompass sign.

In the unexpected event that you are unable to find your guide/driver, please contact our local partner using the emergency number provided in your travel documents.

Hotel check-in and check-out

Normal check-in is typically from 2 pm, and you cannot therefore count on getting your room earlier. If you’d like to check in early, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

When you check in, the receptionist will generally register your credit card and may reserve an amount. This is not an additional fee, but customary at hotels to ensure payment of any consumption from the minibar and the like. When you check out, the amount will be automatically released if you have not made use of this.

It is very normal for hotels to take a copy of your passport. In some places, this is a requirement of the local authorities.

Check-out is normally by 10 am. If you’re not travelling until the afternoon or evening, you can have your luggage stored until it’s time to leave. If you would like a late check-out instead, this can be arranged for a fee when you book the tour.

Type of tour and transport

Our tours to Cambodia are individual tours, however excursions and transfers take place in international groups of 1–14 people and with TourCompass’ own guests only.
Most optional tours take place with TourCompass’ own guests, however some may also take place with people other than TourCompass’ own guests. This will be noted in the description.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, blocked roads or otherwise, it may be necessary to change the order of sightseeing tours and attractions in your itinerary.

Need for help during the tour?

We have a 24-hour emergency hotline so that you can always get in touch with us should anything unforeseen occur during your tour. You will also be sent the telephone numbers and emergency telephone numbers of our partners at the destination. In some cases, it may be easiest and fastest to contact our partners due to time differences, if, for example, you find yourself in a situation where your pick-up for an excursion or transfer is more than 15 minutes delayed.

AFTER THE TOUR
Feedback/Contact

We rely on happy travellers, and we would therefore very much like to hear from you after your return home. Send us an email at info@tourcompass.co.uk or call us on tel.: 01279 704 135

Latin America
Laura Arundell Trelborg

Laura loves to travel and is extremely passionate about helping others achieve their travel dreams.

Opening hours
Monday-Thursday 9-15
Friday 9-13