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How to Plan a Trip to Colombia: Frequently Asked Questions

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Salguero Beach, Santa Marta, Colombia

Salguero Beach, Santa Marta, Colombia

Colombia is culturally diverse and naturally beautiful, and our answers to your travel questions can help you plan your dream vacation.

Whether you wander the City of Eternal Spring, Medellín's floral gardens, or sample the best coffee in the world, you can use our ideas to curate your Colombian itinerary with a travel specialist. We share insight for family vacations, romantic trips, and seniors’ tours to help you experience the best of Colombia.

When searching for the best time to visit, how many days to spend on vacation, or what to do during your trip, you can find the information to inspire your travels here.

  1. When is the best time to visit Colombia?
  2. How many days should I spend in Colombia?
  3. Where is Colombia?
  4. What are the most popular destinations in Colombia?
  5. What should I do on my trip to Colombia?
  6. What are the most popular islands to visit in Colombia?
  7. Does Colombia have good beaches?
  8. Is Colombia a good place for hiking?
  9. Where can I see wildlife in Colombia?
  10. How do I travel around Colombia?
  11. Is Colombia a good destination for families?
  12. Is Colombia suitable for senior travelers?
  13. Is Colombia suitable for couples or honeymooners?
  14. What food should I try in Colombia?
  15. Is Colombian coffee good?
  16. Is Colombia safe to visit?
  17. What language do they speak in Colombia?
  18. What vaccinations do I need to travel to Colombia?
  19. Which airports should I plan for?
  20. What currency does Colombia use?
  21. Should I tip in Colombia?
  22. How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Colombia?
  23. Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

When is the best time to visit Colombia?

The best time to visit Colombia is from December to February, as the country welcomes dry weather everywhere except in the Amazon.

Beyond tours of Colombia during the dry season, other times of the year can be great for specific experiences. For example, couples adore the shoulder season months of August and September as romance abounds along the coastline, while surfers take advantage of large swells that batter the shores during this time.

As a year-round destination, the best time for your trip depends on your itinerary and the experiences you wish to have. Whether visiting during the dry season for sightseeing or planning rainy season activities like whitewater rafting, you can find the right time for your vacation when planning early with a travel specialist.

Learn more: Best Time to Visit Colombia

How many days should I spend in Colombia?

Ten days is an ideal amount of time to spend in Colombia, with opportunities to tour popular places like Medellín and lesser-known parts of the Andes Mountains, with days in between to relax and unwind.

Our travel specialists plan Colombian trips around your ideas and expectations. They have experience arranging week-long trips, two-week vacations, and longer adventures. Seven-day trips are excellent for travelers with limited time who would like to explore highlights like the coffee plantations and the famous city of Medellín. In contrast, two-week trips are perfect for vacations that combine these highlights with adventures in the Amazon.

You can also visit neighboring countries on multi-country trips from Colombia should you have 14 days or longer to spend on vacation.

Learn more: 1 Week Colombia Itineraries10 Day Colombia Itineraries2 Week Colombia Itineraries

Where is Colombia?

Colombia is a South American country that borders Ecuador, Brazil, and Peru, with Panama and the Caribbean Sea to the north. You can visit Colombia on South America Tours & Vacations or combine it with other neighboring countries on Latin America Tours & Vacations.

Tours of nearby destinations: Ecuador Tours & VacationsGalapagos Islands Vacations & ToursBrazil Tours & VacationsPeru Vacations & Tours

What are the most popular destinations in Colombia?

The most popular destinations in Colombia include artistic and cultural cities like Medellín and coffee-growing regions with rolling hills like Eje Cafetero. Below, we highlight our recommendations:

  • Medellín
  • Bogota
  • Cartagena
  • Eje Cafetero
  • Popayan
  • San Agustin

Whether you wish to experience Colombian culture passing through bustling cities in the foothills of the Andes or discover its famous coffee culture in the countryside, you can learn about these destinations and more in our 9 Best Places to Visit in Colombia. Home to the colorful villages that inspired the animated film Encanto, you can also discover the Cocora Valley with our guide on how to Experience the Real Encanto: How to Plan a Trip to Colombia.

What should I do on my trip to Colombia?

There is no shortage of things to do in Colombia and the following are some of our top recommendations:

  • Explore pre-Colombian heritage on architectural tours of colonial towns
  • Taste Colombian coffee on guided tours of world-famous coffee plantations
  • Experience Colombian cuisine on street food tours of markets in colorful villages
  • Hike along Andes trails weaving through the mountains or to waterfalls in the Amazon
  • Wallow in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean or surf the epic waves
  • Discover the endemic wildlife of national parks and marine creatures in eco reserves
  • Race down the rapids on whitewater rafting adventures or kayak across the waterways
  • Trot over the Colombian countryside on horseback tours

The Top 9 Things to Do in Colombia can introduce you to a country that expresses its culture proudly and immaculate landscapes that unfurl from the Andes Mountains.

Learn more: Top 7 Things to See & Do in Medellin, Colombia

What are the most popular islands to visit in Colombia?

Colombia is a country of immense natural beauty, from the inland mountains down to the coast, where you can cruise to several iconic Colombian islands. Below, we list the most popular:

  • Providencia Island
  • Malpelo Island
  • Gorgona Island
  • San Andrés Island
  • Tierra Bomba Island
  • Santa Cruz del Islote

Does Colombia have good beaches?

With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on another, Colombia boasts some of the best beaches in South America. They offer something for everyone, whether traveling to family-friendly shores to enjoy the translucent waters or escaping to the Colombian islands for romance by the sea. Below, you can find our top picks:

  • Playa Manzanillo, Providencia
  • Cerro Pilón de Azúcar, Cape La Vela
  • Playa Blanca, Cartagena
  • Playas de Palomino, Palomino
  • Bahia Concha, Santa Marta
  • El Cabo San Juan, Parque Tayrona

Learn more: 15 Best Beaches in South America

Is Colombia a good place for hiking?

Colombia’s lofty hills, Andes peaks, and national parks are perfectly explored on hiking tours and active adventures. Visitors can easily access many trails in and around the untouched regions of the country from surrounding cities and towns. Some of Colombia’s best hiking trails include, but are not limited to:

  • Cocora Valley Hike
  • Ciudad Perdida Trek
  • Nevado del Tolima summit
  • El Pulpito del Diablo Trail
  • Puracé Volcano
  • Caño Cristales Hike
  • Coffee Triangle

Where can I see wildlife in Colombia?

From the Eastern Plains to marine sanctuaries and national parks, one can find an abundance of wildlife, avifauna, and marine life throughout Colombia. Here are some of the best places to spot the endemic creatures and what wildlife to be on the lookout for:

  • Los Llanos • Anteaters, caimans, capybaras
  • El Chocó • Whales
  • Colombian Amazon • Pink dolphins
  • Chingaza National Park • Cauca guan and green-bearded helmet crest
  • Parque Tayrona • Cotton-top tamarin, jaguars, caiman

How do I travel around Colombia?

It is relatively easy to get around Colombia, knowing that planes, buses, private transfers, boats, and more are available to travelers.

Not all transportation is as reliable as the next, so booking with a travel specialist can help you select the most appropriate for your itinerary and activities. You may, for example, find it less stressful to arrange private transportation to and from the airport and when traveling from one city to another. While exploring the cities, buses can be an efficient option, with hop-on and hop-off opportunities to see the highlights of Medellín, for example.

Jeeps are popular off-road options for visiting coffee plantations or making one’s way to national parks. Additionally, you can sail on catamarans, speed boats, and other marine vessels around the beaches or to the Colombian islands.

Is Colombia a good destination for families?

Boasting magical towns hanging on emerald hills and adventure destinations with activities for all ages, Colombia is an exciting destination to visit as a family.

Families can get wrapped up in the charm of Colombia’s colorful villages in the Cocora Valley that inspired the animated film Encanto on our Experience the Real Encanto in Colombia tour. Beyond fairytale places to visit, the outdoor adventures are exhilarating for those with older children. In epic natural environments, you can enjoy watersports like whitewater rafting, kayaking, and surfing with your teenagers.

You can also see the Colombian countryside on horseback with younger children or tour the street art of cultural cities. Finally, a family trip to Colombia would not be complete without a culinary class, at which you learn the art of Colombian cooking with your kids.

Is Colombia suitable for senior travelers?

Colombia is a thriving tourist destination with lavish bungalows by the sea and gorgeous country towns, making it a comfortable place for seniors on cultural tours or active seniors on outdoor adventures.

Destinations like Cartagena and Bogotá are great places for senior trips. Caribbean culture and pre-Colombian heritage mingle in old towns that retain the art, architecture, and traditions of bygone eras. On your senior vacation, you can enjoy fragrant local coffees while learning from the creators at famous plantations, or cruise to the Colombian islands on luxurious yachts.

Active seniors can hike to waterfalls flowing within the Amazon forest or walk to viewpoints overlooking the Cocora Valley, where traditional villages welcome visitors eager to learn more about Colombian culture.

Is Colombia suitable for couples or honeymooners?

Colombia’s dreamy Caribbean beaches and secluded slices of rainforest lure couples on romantic trips or honeymoons.

In and around the cities, the pre-Colombian architecture backdrops beautiful photography for wandering partners and the fragrant aromas of Colombian dishes guide you to market stalls. You can explore the countryside and pair coffee with Colombian chocolate on culinary tours.

Couples can also experience the cinematic coastlines on sunset cruises or drive through the national parks to spot wildlife roaming arresting landscapes.

What food should I try in Colombia?

Colombian cuisine highlights the tropical flavors of fresh seafood, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and mouthwatering meats. On your Colombian trip, scan the menus of restaurants and street food stalls for the following must-try foods and drinks:

  • Empanadas, stuffed pastries
  • Sancocho, stew
  • Chocolate con queso, chocolate-dipped cheese
  • Arroz con pollo, rice and chicken dish
  • Cazuela de mariscos, seafood casserole
  • Bandeja paisa, mixed platter of sausage, beef, rice, beans, avocado, eggs, and more

Is Colombian coffee good?

Colombian coffee is regarded as the best in the world and its coffee plantations continue to produce some of the finest brews.

The country owes its coffee-brewing heritage to specific microclimates, nutrient-rich soils, and hand-picked beans. All these factors combine to create the perfect brew you can enjoy as you explore the plantations or sit at a local café while staff share recommendations of the best single origin and blends to try.

The majority of Colombian coffee is also ethically produced, as the beans come direct from plantations in the countryside and workers take pride in their world-famous coffee culture.

Is Colombia safe to visit?

Colombia is a safe country to visit on vacation.

Most travel concerns come from statistics that do not reflect the nature of tours planned with a travel specialist. While we do not recommend traveling alone at night or being carefree when exploring the cities, traveling with your tour guides and following their safety tips can reduce the risks of experiencing petty crimes like pickpocketing and scamming.

We recommend listening to your travel specialist’s advice and the information from your tour guides to plan a safe and comfortable Colombian trip to areas that are friendly and welcoming.

Learn more: Is it Safe to Travel to South America?

What language do they speak in Colombia?

The official language of Colombia is Spanish.

Most Colombians speak Spanish, though English is widely spoken, and you should have little trouble communicating if you do not understand or speak Spanish. When planning with a travel specialist, you can book accommodations and tours with English-speaking hotels and guides.

Minority languages are also spoken in certain parts of the country, such as rural villages and outlying towns, though bilingual tour guides can help when there are communication barriers.

What vaccinations do I need to travel to Colombia?

Certain vaccinations are required when traveling to Colombia and your travel specialist can inform you of their recommendations when planning your trip.

That said, we advise travelers to review the Colombia CDC Vaccination Information before departure and consult their doctor or travel nurse about what vaccinations to receive for the regions of Colombia they plan to visit.

Which airports should I plan for?

Colombia has several international and domestic airports. Below is a list of those to consider when planning your trip:

  • El Dorado International Airport (BOG), Bogotá
  • José María Córdova International Airport (MDE), Rionegro
  • Alfonso López Pumarejo Airport (VUP), Valledupar
  • Antonio Roldán Betancur Airport (SKLC), Apartadó
  • Guapi Airport (GPI), Guapi
  • Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport (CLO), Cali

What currency does Colombia use?

The official currency of Colombia is the Colombian peso ($).

The Colombian peso is the most widely used currency in the country, so we recommend travelers bring it in cash with them. That said, US dollars are exchangeable in the country and sometimes accepted in major tourist destinations. Also, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are widely accepted in Colombian tourist destinations. Again, ensure you bring Colombian pesos with you in the event of an emergency.

Should I tip in Colombia?

Tipping is not expected, but is appreciated. Typically, travelers can round up their bill to the nearest thousand pesos or offer a 10 to 15% tip for great service.

How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Colombia?

Zicasso’s network of Colombian travel specialists is ready to make your travel dreams a reality. You can start by exploring our Colombia Vacations & Tours for ideas and inspiration for your trip.

With a better understanding of what is possible in Colombia and what your vacation could look like, you can complete a Trip Request to get in touch with our Traveler Care team. They will match you with Colombian travel specialists who will work with you to curate your custom trip.

When you are happy with the proposed itinerary, all that is left is for our travel specialists to plan your vacation and for you to enjoy it without the stress of making your own arrangements. Your designated travel specialist will be available for the duration of your vacation and you can contact them at any time in case of an emergency or for on-the-fly changes to your itinerary.

Learn more: How to Plan Your Zicasso Trip in 4 Easy StepsHow to Plan Your Zicasso Trip Budget in 3 Easy Steps

Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Coffee plantation, Manizales, Colombia

Coffee plantation, Manizales, Colombia

Travelers can find ideas in our Colombia Vacations & Tours. These sample itineraries are fully customizable and are examples of what one could expect or experience in Colombia. From family adventures to romantic getaways, these trips are an excellent place to find inspiration.

For more information about Colombian travel and helpful articles on when to visit, where to go, and what to do, visit our Colombia Travel Guide.

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