Colombia, or officially the Republic of Colombia, is divided into 32 departments, departamentos and one capital district distrito capital belonging to Bogotá. Colombia is located in the Northwest of South America by the coast of Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, sharing its borders with: Panama to the Northwest, Ecuador and Peru to the South and with Venezuela and Brazil to the East.
49,755,971 inhabitants in year 2018 (ranked 25th)
1,141,748 km2 (ranked 25th)
The official currency is called Colombian Peso. 1€=3326,42COP. Colombian’s banknotes contain $1,000 $2,000 $5,000 $10,000 $20,000 and $50,000 denomination notes and $20, $50, $100, $200 and $500, $200, $100 and $50 pesos coins. If you don’t have the possibility to change EURO or American Dollars for Colombian Peso in your country, you can easily exchange it after your arrival, at the airport or by withdrawing cash from an ATM. Moreover, most of the restaurants and stores accept credit cards. At the moment, the VAT, or Impuesto de valor agregado rate in the Colombia is 20%. Tipping in Colombia is not required, however 10% tip to the bill for the service is always welcome and most of the people do leave a tip.
Climate and Weather
The country is located in the equatorial climate zone. Atmospheric conditions prevailing on the site are hard to bear most of the year. In the lowland region, the average air temperature is between 25 and 28 ° C, and the relative humidity is high. In the mountainous part of the country, we can select five different climatic zones, which can be ringfence due to the heights:
- I zone, the lowest – it is the warmest, where the average air temperature is 24°C
- II zone – it is humid and the temperature in this place is from 17 to 24°C
- III zone – cool, the temperature is between 12-17°C
- IV zone – cold, temperatures hover from 0-12°C
- V zone – the highest one, is the glacial part, where there are eternal snows and glaciers
If you want to catch good weather, the best time to visit is in January. Colombian’s temperature is almost the same all year round oscillating around 30°C. The months with the highest level of rainfall are April and October.
Despite the month of April, when the rainfall level is the highest possible about 618mm in the month, it is always a good time to visit Medellin. The weather is warm all year round. November is known as the coldest month during the year, the maximum temperature is 25°C and it rains about 427mm during this month. The warmest months in Medellin are January, February, March, May, June, July, August and September. In October it is getting bit colder but still the thermometers can show 35°C which is a reported record during this month.
The best times for going to Colombia
Because Colombia is almost on the equator, there are no seasons and it is warm during the whole year. The temperature differences are noticeable rather according to the altitude and its changing – the higher you are, the colder it is. The seasons and its temperatures changes are more visible in the North of the country. Because there are officially no seasons, Colombians from Bogotá used to say that they have 4 seasons within one day. Spring in the morning, midday is summer, in the evening autumn and during the night winter, it is common to see the people dressed in a winter jacket and flip-flops. During one day the temperature difference can change rapidly, even Europeans who got used to the cold can be surprised how chilly it can be. The best time for hiking in the Colombian’s mountains is between January and March. In the North of Colombia it is better to avoid our summer time (June-August), this is the time when in that region is very rainy, very muggy with lots of mosquitos. The best time for the trip to Colombia is European winter (December-March), you can catch cheaper flights and also the prices of the hotels are usually lower at this time. Also, during this time there are not many tourist crowds, because less people have holidays, the worst time to go is our summer, when many people have summer vacations and the prices are rising.
Tourist Seasons in Colombia:
- Low Season in Colombia: April, September, October and November.
- High Season in Colombia: May, June, July, August
- Very high Season in Colombia: January, December + Semana Santa (March or April)
Phone and internet
It is possible to use your mobile phone in Colombia. From the main phone providers Tigo, Claro, Movistar you can for example purchase a SIM Card for less than 4 € 42 and easily communicate via WhatsApp, Facetime, Messenger etc. you can easily top up your phone online.
For international calls:
– From the UK to Colombia 00 + 57 + city code + number of the correspondent.
– From Colombia to the UK: 00 + 44 + number of the correspondent.
The main access for citizens to casualty and emergency assistance is through the 24 hour Single Emergency Number: 123.
The Hotspots in Colombia which you cannot miss
Discover all the must-see Travel destinations in Colombia
Entry Requirements for Colombia
Colombia allows tourists to stay in the country for 90 days without a VISA. It is sufficient to hold a European Passport which must be valid min. 6 months at the arrival day to Colombia. Too see if you require a VISA, contact the Embassy of Colombia in your country or visit Colombian’s immigration and naturalization office. Tourists who are willing to stay longer than 90 days must apply for a tourist extension called a prórroga de turista. In order to be apply for prórroga de turista you need to go to the immigration office. Who is eligible for an extension, however, is also debatable. It’s also a hassle to get an extension. Nevertheless, when entering Colombia as a tourist you are not allowed to undertake a paid activity. When immigrating as a tourist without a working Visa you can only do an unpaid internship. For all paid activities/remunerated internships a Visa is mandatory. The Visa must be requested from the Colombian Embassy in your country prior to your departure.
Warning: In case of entering Colombia through the US it is mandatory to have an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The registration for the Travel Authorization can be made online via their website. The ESTA registration costs 14USD (11€71) and is valid for 2 years. It is recommended to register for the ESTA at least 72h before the departure (Minimum response time). If purchasing the ESTA at the airport through an agency the costs amount to 50 Euros.
Carrera 9, No 76-49, Piso 8
Edificio ING Barings, Bogotá
Tel: (57) (1) 326 8300
Stay tuned about exhibitions, concerts and events, local restaurants and transportation and start feeling like a local in no time through these helpful and free apps: redBus, Calendario Festivos Colombia, Colombia Travel Guide, Restorando, TransmiSitp, Tappsi, Civico. For more information about these apps follow this link.
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