In Colombia, we have selected a variety of accommodations ranging from charming bed and breakfasts to comfortable city hotels with all of the modern conveniences. In general, we use small, family-run accommodations that are locally owned and characteristic of each area instead of luxury chain resorts. For more information, check out our Colombia lodging page or click on the bed icons next to each day of the tour itinerary to view pictures of our standard hotels and lodges.
Meals are included on most of our Colombia excursions. We have tried to balance flexibility and convenience regarding meal options. For this reason, we include meals on all of our tour days when you are traveling off the beaten path where restaurant choices are limited. In the major cities, where there are a wide variety of restaurants, we generally do not include meals to allow our travelers the flexibility of choosing their own food preferences. Your tour leader will recommend some great restaurant options and will usually offer to join any group members who would like to go out to eat together. Your hotel will also provide a light continental breakfast on these days. Included meals are listed in parentheses next to the tour itinerary on each tour page. An estimated meal budget can also be found under Personal Budgeting to the right of the itinerary on the tour pages.
All of our tour leaders are exceptional! They are fluent in English and Spanish. They are from the local areas where they guide and are among the very best guides available in each region. Our tour leaders treat our travelers like friends, showing visitors both the major highlights and the local treasures.
Our Colombia tours utilize a variety of transportation including private vans, comfortable tourist buses, ferries, flights, etc. We use a mix of private and public transportation to provide travelers with the safest and most efficient transportation in each area. Each tour itinerary page has a description of the transportation included on that tour. If you have additional questions, just ask!
Typical Colombian food consists of beans, rice, plantains and arepas (cakes made of corn or wheat, somewhat similar to tortillas). Meat is quite popular in Colombia and fish is plentiful along the coastal areas. There is an abundance of fresh tropical fruits in Colombia, many of which are made into delicious fruit juices. Colombia is world renowned for its coffee, so you must try some while there! Like many countries, Colombia's cuisine differs from region to region. If you're in the right place, you might just stumble upon exotic dishes such as roasted ants or guinea pig! .
In Colombia, the climate varies according to altitude and season. Dry season typically runs from December through March, and this can be the busiest time for tourism as well. The rainy season typically runs from May through July or August. The dry and rainy seasons can vary from region to region, so please note that there may be rain outside of these months, depending on the location. The lowlands can be quite warm and higher elevations can get pretty cold, especially at night. For more information, please check out our Colombia Weather page.
Yes and no. Some of our other Colombia Tours include multisport hikes and long transfers, so they are generally recommended only for kids age 12 and above. Please inquire with your Trip Planner as to what trip would be most appropriate for you and your family.
Our Family Travel Page has some helpful hints for making the most of your family vacation. We realize that you know your kids best so we will be happy to answer all of your questions and try to give you the most accurate impression of what to expect. However, please remember that these are adventure tours and flexibility is essential!
To make family tours easier, we often recommend having a private group and guide, though families with well-behaved children are welcome on our group departures as well. We have special private tour rates for families. Please ask your Trip Planner if you are interested.
Our Colombia tours tend to attract all ages. The more adventurous tours tend to attract a slightly younger group (mostly 20s-40s), but we've also had active 70 year olds do great on these trips, so don't let age discourage you if you are fit and healthy. Expect a wide range of ages and ask your Trip Planner if you are curious about the demographics for a particular departure.
Groups on our Colombia tours tend to be small with travelers from around the world, predominantly the US and the UK. Most of our groups are composed of adults (of all ages), though private groups of families with children are not uncommon.
Yes and no. Some of our Colombia tours tend to attract the large and diverse groups, so these are usually great choices for solo travelers. Many of our other Colombia tours tend to depart with very small groups (sometimes only one couple or family) so a single traveler might feel out of place. If you have a particular tour or departure date in mind, please ask your Trip Planner for recommendations. Solo travelers should also take a look at our exclusive Solo Traveler Departures.
Tour rates do not include international flights. We find that it is usually less expensive for travelers to book these separately, and this also allows you the flexibility to choose the schedule and routing that is most convenient for you. Alternatively, we can help you arrange these flights with an airfare consolidator who specializes in South American flights.
We will have someone pick you up and meet you at the airport to transfer you to your hotel that evening.
Tips are not required on any of our tours. However, it is customary in Latin America to offer a small tip for exceptional service. Tipping amounts vary widely, though some travelers report that ~$2-$10/ day for your guide and ~$1-$3/ day for your driver is common. Other travelers opt to bring small gifts from their home to give to service providers along the way.
Absolutely! We offer select trip discounts periodically throughout the year. Check out our Travel Discounts page for the latest offers and on-going discounts.
You can book your Colombia tour at any time. For most departures, 2-3 months notice is fine, though tours around the holidays may fill up 5-6 months in advance. We usually recommend that you wait to book your international flights until after your tour is confirmed. The sooner that we arrange your tour, the sooner that you can take advantage of flight deals as they become available.
We are often able to accommodate last minute travelers as well (some even departing in less than one week!!), so give us a call and we will do our best! For last-minute reservations, it helps to be flexible and organized. Your first choice tour may not be available for your selected dates, but your trip coordinator can probably recommend some other similar options that would be equally interesting! Many lodges will not hold spaces less than 30 days before departure so for last-minute bookings, you may be asked to send your registration form and trip payment in right away to secure your spaces.
YES. Please contact us if you are not able to travel on the set departure dates listed on-line. Most tours can be arranged on alternative departure dates for a minimum of two travelers as long as lodges/ hotels are available.
Absolutely! Check out our Colombia Extensions for ideas. Extra days can also be arranged in most areas if desired. Let us know how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate you.
You will receive a detailed packing list after you book your tour. Bring long sleeves and a fleece/ sweater for cool highland evenings and plenty of comfortable, breathable clothes for hot jungle days and time at the beach. Good walking shoes, insect repellant and sun protection are also a must.
Though we have not had any safety concerns on our tours, crime can be a serious problem throughout certain parts of Colombia. Travelers should follow the advice of hotel staff and tour leaders as well as taking common sense precautions. Hotels can store your valuables in a safe if desired. That said, most travelers visit Colombia without incident. Check out the US State Department travel advisories on-line for the latest information at: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1090.html.
The tap water is generally not safe to drink in Colombia. Bottled water is readily available at tourist sites, hotels, and restaurants. Don't forget to use bottled water when brushing your teeth as well! Ice is not always made with boiled/bottled water. Order your beverages without ice ("sin hielo") or ask your tour leader if the ice is safe in a particular restaurant.
No immunizations are currently required for visiting Colombia. Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended. Yellow fever and malaria exist in Colombia's lowland areas. Travelers visiting the Andes and Cartagena generally do not receive the yellow fever vaccination or take malaria prophylaxis. Please note that some countries, such as Costa Rica, require a yellow fever vaccination if traveling directly from Colombia. For the most current information, please consult your doctor and/or check out the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/.
All travelers will need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after they depart Colombia. Most travelers do not need a tourist visa for Colombia. Tourist visas are not currently required for citizens of the following countries: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Israel and many other countries. Entry requirements in Latin America change with surprising frequency. It is each traveler's responsibility to check with your Colombian consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.
The local currency is the Colombian Peso (COP). For the most up-to-date exchange rates, please check out a currency converter such as http://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/.
Most travelers bring a small amount of local currency with them and withdraw from ATMs as they need it along they way. ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and cities. Travelers can withdraw local currency at fair exchange rates using an ATM. Traveler's checks are fine, but they can be more difficult to exchange and you will usually receive a poorer rate or be charged an additional fee.
Credit cards are accepted in most major cities and large shopping areas. In
more remote areas there may be difficulties using credit cards, so you do not
want to solely rely on them for financial transactions. It is best to have local
currency on hand when traveling to more small towns or remote areas.
Check with your cell phone provider. Each company is different and they can give you the most up-to-date information.
Colombia is five hours behind GMT. Colombia has one time zone, COT, and they do not observe daylight saving time.
Electricity in Colombia is 110 volts, the same as the US. Visitors from outside of the US should bring an adapter. Plugs are either two flat prongs or two flat prongs with an additional round grounding pin.
Absolutely!!! We work with a company called TravelGuard that provides reasonably priced insurance for trip cancellation, medical expenses, medical evacuation, lost bags, etc. Please check out our Once You're Booked page for more information.