Colombian Holiday: Colombia is a country full of fun holiday traditions and unique ways to celebrate. From wild parties and unique light displays to burning human-sized effigies, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained during your time in Colombia.
But before you go on your trip to Colombia, there are a few things to consider, so make sure you know what to expect.
Planning Your Itinerary and Budgeting for Your Trip
Colombia is a large country, so you should plan your itinerary carefully. Pick one or two places to see each day, and make sure you stay in a comfortable hotel.
A good way to do this is by choosing boutique hotels or eco-lodges. These are often more expensive than other types of accommodation, but they offer a truly unique experience.
You should also plan for some extra money to spend on experiences such as a tour or dinner. These can be a great way to experience Colombian culture, and you will likely have a fantastic time.
Another option is to take a road trip, which is becoming increasingly popular with travelers. Many of the smaller towns are a short distance from one another, and you can rent a car or moto-taxi.
Planning Your Transportation
When it comes to transportation, the options in Colombia are endless. There are buses in virtually every city, taxis, moto-taxis, and more!
As well as the bus systems, there are also many shared vans or mini buses called colectivos which are a cheap and reliable way of traveling. These are usually operated by locals and are available in most cities where tourists are common.
The best thing to do is to negotiate a fair price before getting in the vehicle. It will save you money in the long run.
The buses in Colombia are more comfortable and safer than ever before, but make sure to book with a premium company like Expreso Bolivariano or Flota Occidental, rather than the cheaper operators. These companies have a higher safety rating and are less likely to be hijacked, so it’s worth spending a little more to travel in peace.
What to Pack
Colombia is a country with a diverse climate and landscape, so you will need to pack accordingly. You’ll find a wide range of weather conditions from the Caribbean coast, to tropical forests and mountains.
The best way to pack is to consider your itinerary and plan out what you’ll need to wear for each part of the trip. For example, if you’re going to Cartagena and Medellin, you’ll need to dress differently than if you’re visiting Bogota.
Another key element to packing is sunscreen. This is necessary for coastal regions where the sun can be very strong and UV rays can burn your skin.
A good mosquito repellent is a must too, especially in jungle areas where insects can carry malaria or yellow fever. It is also important to bring proof of vaccination for these diseases.
You can also bring a neck wallet to keep your valuables safely hidden in case you get pick-pocketed. This will make sure your wallet, passport, and credit cards are secure without taking up much space in your bag or day pack.
Where to Stay
Colombia has many unique and varying styles of hotels to offer. From city hotels in Bogota and Cartagena to rustic glamping on the beaches or eco-friendly beachfront lodges, there is something for every traveler.
If you’re looking to bond with nature sustainably, look for ecolodges that are committed to working closely with local communities. The country is home to some of the world’s most well-known ecolodge, such as El Cantil, a popular eco-lodge on the Pacific coast that offers cabins and excellent seafood, as well as whale-watching tours between June and October.
The northern Caribbean coastline also boasts a number of unique lodging options, from the jungle-laden Tayrona National Park to a few glamping spots in Cabo San Juan. For the intrepid, try sleeping in a hut at Ecohabs Bamboo Tayrona, located deep within the park and one of the only lodgings inside that isn’t actually a campsite.
For more urban fun, head to Barranquilla for its famous Carnival. The four-day fiesta is filled with colorful parades, loud music, and non-stop drinking – it’s not something you’ll forget in a hurry!
What to See and Do
If you’re looking for a culturally rich holiday that takes in some of the world’s most stunning scenery, Colombia is an excellent choice. Whether you choose to go for a coffee plantation tour, take a look at some of the country’s fascinating historical sites, or island-hop to San Andres, you’ll be in for an unforgettable trip.
There’s a reason why Bogota is the capital of Colombia: it offers up everything from high-rise skyscrapers to glittering museums and nightlife to match. But if you want to experience a little bit of local culture, there are plenty of charming towns scattered across the country that are not geared up for tourism.
One such place is Popayan, a pretty colonial town in the south of the country that’s a must-visit. Its cobblestone streets, neoclassical churches, and gleaming buildings are sure to impress.
The area is dotted with beautiful parks, making it a great spot to stop and relax after a busy day exploring the city. Hiking is another popular pastime and you’ll find a number of picturesque trails that lead through the surrounding mountains. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try a more challenging hike that leads to a natural lagoon.
Food and Drink Options
Colombia is a country with a very diverse diet. While most tourists will be familiar with a few international dishes, it’s the local cuisine that truly shines here.
One of the main highlights of a Colombian holiday is sampling all the amazing foods and drinks. Whether you’re looking for the bold, nutty flavor of coffee or the fruity and floral notes of aguardiente, there’s something for everyone here.
If you’re a fan of bread, then don’t miss Colombia’s popular patacones. These are flat-fried plantain cakes that are deliciously sweet and savory. They’re often topped with avocado and hagao, a creole sauce made from tomato and onion.
Another popular street food in Colombia is mango biche. This is a sweet-and-savory snack made with unripe green mango spears.
Other national dishes include bandeja paisa (a massive platter of meat, red beans, rice, salad, arepa, and plantain) and ajiaco (a thick chicken soup with three types of potatoes, vegetables, and corn flour). A great way to end the day is to drink a shot of rum.
Currency Exchange and Local Shopping Tips
When traveling abroad, it’s important to be aware of the currency exchange rate. This will help you to avoid being ripped off when you use your home currency to pay for items in Colombia or to send remittances to family and friends back home.
One of the best ways to get a good exchange rate is by using a money transfer service like Wise or Ria. These services will connect you with a local bank that will transfer your money to Colombia at the real mid-market exchange rate.
Alternatively, you can use your ATM card in Colombia. This is the most convenient way to receive and exchange your home currency, but be sure to know your bank’s withdrawal fees before you go.
Another option is to bring traveler’s cheques. These are widely accepted in larger hotels and cities, but they may not be accepted at smaller establishments, such as cafes and restaurants.
Safety Considerations for Travelers in Colombia
Colombian holiday: Colombia is often referred to as one of the most dangerous countries in the world, but the reality is that the country is much safer now than it was in the past. The violence and drug cartels of the past have largely been resolved, and while some violent crime still occurs, it is less than what it once was.
Travelers should be aware that a large number of armed groups remain active in Colombia, including guerilla groups and paramilitary organizations. Fortunately, most of these groups do not have much power and do not pose a serious threat to tourists.
Several narcotics-trafficking organizations operate in different areas of the country. These groups may target foreigners or those working for oil and mining companies.
Avoiding sketchy areas can dramatically lower your risk of danger, but it is also important to follow local laws. These may help reduce the risk of muggings or assaults that can escalate to violent situations.
Ensure you have travel insurance to cover any medical needs that may arise during your trip. In addition, it is recommended that you get vaccinated for yellow fever, zika virus, and hepatitis A or B before your trip to Colombia.
When planning a Colombian holiday, it is important to consider all aspects of the experience. Accommodation, transportation, food and beverage options as well as activities such as sightseeing, cultural experiences, and adventures should all be taken into consideration.
With careful research and consideration of local customs and culture, you can ensure that your Colombian holiday will be an unforgettable experience that you will cherish for years to come.