• Do you need a visa for Colombia? http://www.colombia.travel/en/practical-information/visa
  • Do you have a stopover in the United States? You need a visa! (www.esta.us)
  • Arriving in Colombia, is your passport still valid for at least another 6 months?
  • Can you show a travel ticket leaving the country? If not, immigrations and airlines are making more and more problems…
  • In advance, make a scan of all your important documents and mail it to your own mailbox. Just in case when they get lost or stolen.
  • Write essential phone numbers down in case you might need them to block your credit card.
  • Make a copy of your passport and, if possible, take this in Colombia e.g. to the beach or disco instead of your passport.
  • Bring your student identification card with you to Colombia. You may get reduction like at the entrances of all national parks.


  • Colombia is tropical but has many different climate zones. The temperature ranges from above 30 °C (86 F) at the Caribbean coast to 10 °C (50 F) in higher regions like Bogota. Therefore it is useful to bring “layers of clothing”: put over each other in the cold and pull out in hot weather.
  • Fleece. For mountainous regions and night buses (air conditioning!). Or take along a small blanket.
  • Long sleeves/pants to protect against mosquitoes or other inconveniences during hikes.
  • Raincoat
  • Light umbrella (can keep you drier in a tropical shower than a raincoat!)
  • A smaller backpack for walks and activities
  • Waterproof bag, especially for electronic devices at the Pacific coast or Amazon rainforest as humidity can be very high. Also by boat trips your luggage may get wet.
  • Headlamp
  • Universal plug
  • Hiking shoes. During rainy season you might need rain boots, especially in the Amazon region. In most places you can hire them.
  • A small towel in case…
  • Sunglasses
  • Water shoes. Protects against rocks and sticky animals.
  • Padlock. Not too big/thick because that doesn’t fit in the holes of the lockers in most hostels.
  • When you wear contact lenses also bring your glasses.
  • Leave expensive jewellery and other unnecessaries at home.


  • Attention: right now vaccination of yellow fever is mandatory for different regions of Colombia. For the best preparation of your health, you better consult a specialized health centre at least 2 months before your trip.
  •  Suncap/head
  • Sunscreen (high factor)
  • Diarrhea inhibitors
  • Insect repellent with at least 50% Deet.
  • Water purification tablets or other solutions. Most Colombian trekking organizations take care of it.
  • If you use specific medication, take the prescription with you because medication in other countries may have a different name. Combined with a medical passport, the prescription can also prove that you are using this medication legally. If necessary, you can register online at IAMAT (International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers) iamat.org


Don’t worry, most stuff you can also buy in Colombia. But it will be very hard to get men’s shoes size 44 and women sizes from 41!

Colombia may have a different voltage (110 V, 60 Hz). Therefore, it is possible that your razor will not work but what the hell, it’s a holiday after all and that unshaven look can be sexy. Bring your universal plug or buy an adapter for very little money (± 5000 COP/adapter) in a tienda (small local shop).

Once on the road: Take occasionally a backup of all your photos. It would be a major disaster when you lose all those pretty pictures and memories! Use Dropbox, for example, to save all your pictures online for free: dropbox.com.

Plug your iPod full of Colombian tunes. Check here: Music in Colombia.

Car Rental in Colombia is expensive compared to other countries in South America. When you are planning to drive, don’t forget your international driver’s license.


Amsterdam – Bogota = ± 11 hrs
Barcelona – Bogota = ± 11,5 hrs
Brasilia – Bogota = ± 9,5 hrs
Buenos Aires – Bogota = ± 6,5 hrs
Caracas – Bogota = 1,5 hr
Lima – Bogota = ± 3 hrs
London – Bogota =  ± 11,5 hrs
Los Angeles – Bogota = ± 7,5 hrs.
Mexico City – Bogota = 4,5 hrs
Miami – Bogota = ± 3-4 hrs
New York – Bogota = ± 5 hrs
Panama City – Bogota = ± 1,5 hrs
Quito – Bogota = ± 1,5 hrs
Santiago – Bogota = ± 8,5 hrs
Sydney – Bogota = ± 20,5 hrs

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