Colombia Tourist Guide

Colombia Tourist Guide

Southern America

According to a2zgov, Colombia is located in the northwest of the South American continent. This is the only country in South America with access to the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Its total area is equal to the territories of France, Spain and Portugal combined, or almost double the area of ​​Ukraine.

The capital is Santa Fe de Bogota (Bogota).

Time: 8 hours behind Moscow in winter (GMT-5) and 9 hours in summer.

Rules for entering Colombia
With many countries, including Russia, Colombia has a visa-free entry regime for tourists. All necessary formalities are carried out at the airport. There are no restrictions on movement around the country for Russian citizens with general civil, service and diplomatic passports, with the exception of areas of warfare.

Safety: Vaccination is recommended for children.

Language: Spanish (state); the legislation recognizes the superiority of the languages ​​of national minorities in the territories of their compact residence and provides the right to education in two languages.

Customs rules: Import and export of national and foreign currencies is not limited. Quantities in excess of $10,000 (or equivalent) must be declared upon arrival.
Persons over the age of 18 are allowed duty-free import of up to 250 cigarettes, up to 50 cigars or up to 50 grams. tobacco, up to 2 bottles of strong alcoholic drinks, as well as a reasonable amount of perfume (for women).
It is forbidden to import vegetables, plants or materials of plant origin, meat and meat products, firearms and ammunition (requires a permit from the local police), as well as objects and things of historical, artistic or archaeological value.
The export of drugs and narcotic substances, skins and stuffed animals of wild animals, objects and things of historical, artistic or archaeological value is prohibited. When exporting wool and leather products, jewelry, local souvenirs, jewelry and emeralds, you must present a receipt from the store where these products were purchased, as well as an export stamp (for emeralds and jewelry made of gold or platinum).

Airport Tax: The $19 airport tax is charged in cash only in foreign currency and is charged only to passengers whose stay in Colombia exceeds 2 months. Passengers in transit who continue their journey on the same day and do not leave the international area of ​​the airport are exempted from paying the fee. All international air tickets purchased in Colombia are subject to a tax of 15% (one-way tickets) or 7.5% (round trip).

Post and telephone: A modern telecommunications system of a nationwide operator has been established in the country. The call can be made through telephone booths located on the streets, as well as in call centers. Payment for telephone booths is carried out using telephone cards, which are sold in kiosks and shops. There are several dialing numbers: direct and through the operator. When calling through an operator, dial 05 (Orbitel operator) or 09 (Telecom), and then state the country code, city code and the number of the called subscriber.

Transport: Most of the transport is by cars, trains and planes.

Car rental: To rent a car, you must have an international driver’s license, insurance and a credit card.

Climate of Colombia: Most of the country is dominated by an equatorial and subequatorial climate with little temperature variation throughout the year. In the highlands of the Cordillera, the climate is mountainous, in the foothills it is close to tropical (on the western slopes) and equatorial. The average monthly air temperature in low-lying areas and on the ocean coast is about +29 ° C almost all year round, in mountainous areas (at altitudes of 2000-3000 m) – from +13 to +16 ° C, higher along the slopes of the Cordillera – about +12 ° C in the summer months (from May to August), the rest of the time from +16 to +9 °C.
In winter, Bogota is quite warm (January temperature is about +20 °C, at night it can drop to +11 °C) and dry. Summer (March to October) is relatively cool (+16 °C) and rainy. At the end of summer, frosts are not uncommon in the surrounding mountains, and in August – hurricane winds.
The water temperature on the Caribbean coast is from +20 to +26 ° C all year round. The Pacific coast is a little cooler – the average water temperature there is from +18 to +25 ° C, depending on the region.

Beaches: Ocean waters (especially the Pacific coast) are very restless – there are quite strong currents and many zones of turbulence. Therefore, you should choose places for swimming carefully. Tidal currents are also quite strong off the coast of Colombia. At low tide, gentle zones are formed with a bunch of shells, algae and just garbage. In the Caribbean Sea, the tidal bands are usually quite narrow (from 0.5 to 4-5 m), but on the Pacific coast they can reach 10-40 m in width. The beaches of Cartagena and Santa Marta are distinguished by dark silver sand, on the beaches of San Andres and Providencia – fine white sand.

Shopping & Stores: Colombia is the leading country in Latin America for gold and silver mining. In addition, this country is the world’s largest exporter of emeralds. Accordingly, “for a long memory” from Colombia, you can bring items made of gold and silver with emeralds.
In addition, original Colombian souvenirs are very interesting – symbols of the ancient Tumaco, Nariño and Maya tribes, as well as various ritual masks, folk musical instruments, and clay things. High-quality textile products and fragrant Colombian coffee are also brought from the country.

Cuisine and restaurants of Colombia: The national cuisine of Colombia still preserves the culinary traditions of the peoples who lived here even before the foot of the man who gave the country its current name set foot on the continent. They, of course, are “mixed” with the sophistications of European settlers and immigrants from the Asian continent. As in most neighboring countries, legumes and maize (corn), rice, potatoes are widely used here, as well as many vegetables and spices, often used in the most unimaginable combinations with meat and seafood.
Worth trying: “ahiko” (soup with chicken, potatoes and vegetables, popular in Bogota), “arepa” maize pancakes, “arros con coco” (rice cooked in coconut oil, a delicacy on the coast), “bandeja paisa » (a dish of ground beef, sausages, legumes, rice, bananas and avocados), casuela de mariscos stewed seafood.
Hot chocolate is considered a traditional drink in the country. Rum, beer, cane vodka “agaurdiente” and “refresco” – various fruit waters are also common.

Currency: Colombian peso (COP), equal to 100 centavos. In circulation there are banknotes of 5000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 pesos, as well as coins of 1000, 500, 200, 100 and 50 pesos. All banknotes, except for the banknote of 50,000 pesos, are issued in several modifications that differ from each other in design.

Banks and currency exchange: Banks in Bogota are usually open from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 15.00. In other cities of the country – from Monday to Thursday from 8.00 to 11.30 and from 14.00 to 16.00, on Fridays – from 8.00 to 16.30. On the last business day of each month, banks close at 12.00. Most banks work with foreign currency only until 10.00.
Currency can be exchanged at numerous exchange offices, at the airport, banks, hotels, shops and transport agencies, but an additional tax is charged on most transactions (usually up to 4% of the amount). The exchange rate is usually somewhat lower on the Caribbean coast and higher in Medellin, Bogota and Cali. There are usually no difficulties with the exchange, the exchange rate used in hotels, shops and transport agencies differs from the bank rate quite slightly, in exchange offices it usually coincides with the bank rate. In many places, US dollars are also accepted for payment, this is especially advantageous when buying jewelry. In all other cases, it is more profitable to pay with local money.
In the capital and large resort areas it is possible to pay by credit cards of the world’s main payment systems. It is also possible to pay with a credit card for purchases of goods in large stores or for hotel stays, however, credit card verification can take quite a long time. It is not possible to use credit cards in the province.
Traveler’s checks can be cashed at the branches of the capital’s Banco de la Republica (usually a photocopy of the passport is required). Outside of Bogota, it is almost impossible to use traveller’s checks. To avoid additional costs associated with exchange rate fluctuations, it is recommended to bring checks in US dollars.

Tipping: Tipping in bars and restaurants is usually 10-15% depending on the level and location of the institution.
In most hotels, additional payments are often already included in the bill. Doormen, guides, maids and hairdressers expect a tip of $0.5-1 or 500 pesos. Taxi drivers usually do not expect tips, but it is recommended to leave them up to 10% of the cost of the trip – this significantly reduces the risk of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Price level: Bogota is one of the most expensive capitals in the world, all prices here are usually two to three times higher than in the capitals of neighboring countries. In the provinces, prices are one and a half times lower than in the capital, and in many cases you can bargain.

Electricity: Voltage – 120 Volts.

Useful phones: Embassy of Colombia in Moscow:
119121, Russia, Moscow, st. Burdenko, 18
Phone: (+7 495) 248-3417, 248-3042, 248-3073
Fax: (+7 495) 248-3025
Russian Embassy in Colombia:
Carrera 4, 75-00 Apartado Aereo, 90600 Santafe de Bogota, DE Colombia
Phone: (8-10-571) 212-1881, 212-5560
Fax: (8-10-571) 210-4694

Important: All airports in the 27 countries of the European Union must check the hand luggage of passengers and prevent the carrying on board of aircraft of liquids in volumes greater than 100 milliliters, with a total volume of not more than 1 liter. Medicines and baby food are checked separately and are not limited in volume. Perfumes, drinks, alcohol and aerosols purchased from duty-free shops at the airport and packed in sealed plastic bags can also be carried in hand luggage. BUT!!! If a passenger has a flight with a transfer, liquids purchased at the airport of departure will not be allowed on board, they can only be purchased at the transfer airport.

Colombia Tourist Guide