Colombia is a tantalising mix of old and new: charming city centres and cobblestone streets left behind from Spanish colonial times, interwoven with a thriving cultural scene and a spicy-hot nightlife that extends to the early hours of the morning. Whether you want to feel the Caribbean sand between your toes on the beaches of Tayrona National Park, rappel through Colombia’s tallest waterfalls in San Gil, or grab a partner and dance to the pulse of Afro-influenced rhythms. Colombia is calling as the best kept secret of South America.
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Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Colombia, you may find yourself travelling by:
Rub shoulders with locals while travelling on a local bus – it’s a great way to mix with different crowds and a cheap way to get around.
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Colombia you may find yourself staying in a:
Stay at a traditional coffee estancia – a family property on the grounds of a coffee plantation surrounded by sloping green hills and valleys.
Trips on or before 31 December 2022
If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of the itinerary for more information.
Many Colombians receive low wages and leaving a 10% tip at mid-range and Western-style restaurants is customary and appreciated. Some restaurants automatically add a gratuity to the bill, in which case, there is no need to add any more. Tipping is not expected at more casual restaurants and cafes.
Internet is easy to access at internet cafes and hotels in Colombia’s larger cities, although may be harder to find in more remote areas.
Mobile phone coverage is generally good in Colombia's large cities and urban areas. Coverage may not be available in more remote areas, especially mountainous regions. Ensure global roaming is activated with your service provider before leaving home.
Western-style flushable toilets are the standard in Colombia. It’s a good idea to carry some toilet paper with you as it’s not always provided. As a rule, never flush toilet paper. The toilets in Colombia can’t handle the paper so there’s usually a wastebasket provided to use instead.
Soft drink = 1,500 COP
Beer = 2,000 COP
Simple meal in a local restaurant = 6,000 COP
Meal in an international restaurant = 15,000-20,000 COP
Tap water in larger cities is safe to drink but should be avoided in rural areas. Avoid drinks with ice and peel fruit and vegetables before eating them in these areas as well. Help the environment and try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle. Ask your trip leader as to where you can find filtered water. Some hotels may also provide water dispensers.
Credit cards are usually accepted by hotels, large retailers and tourist sites but are less commonly accepted by smaller vendors in rural areas. Always carry enough cash for smaller purchases in case credit cards are not an option.
ATMs are widely available in larger cities like Bogota and Medellin but are less common in small villages or rural areas. Make sure you have enough cash before leaving urban areas.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Please note many of these public holidays are religious holidays and change each year as they are celebrated on a lunar cycle. For a current list of public holidays in Colombia go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/south-america/colombia/public-holidays/
No vaccines are required in order to enter Colombia but some are recommended for protection against disease. Visit your doctor or travel clinic for advice and make sure to schedule vaccinations 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some require time to become effective.
Same-sex relationships were declared legal by the Colombian government in 1981 and same-sex marriage has been legal in Colombia since 2013. While homosexuality is accepted in Colombia, perhaps more so than in other parts of South America, it remains an underground culture. Discretion is advised for LGBTQI travellers in Colombia.
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
In Colombia, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.