Colombia Backpacking Preparation Checklist
What to do – How to prepare
Planning a tip to Colombia? Below is a full preparation list to help you plan your trip!
Also check out our Colombia Packing Checklist
Most holidays in Colombia are completely trouble free, and i did not experience any trouble during my month long visit. However it is recommended to check Government travel advice before travelling. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/colombia The map below shows which regions of the country are safe to travel in:
(Last updated 18 June 2017)
This is the exciting part! Start planning where you want to go. You may not have a strict route, but it is useful to have a vague idea of what you want to see and where you want to visit. Bear in mind that your plans will almost certainly change! Start reading guidebooks and looking online and write down a proposed route. Once you have decided where you would like to visit, think of a suitable travel route. Indietraveller has some useful route planning advice.
Once you've decided where you want to go you'll want to book your flights! You may not want to book any internal flights, but you'll need at least a flight from home to Colombia, most probably Bogota. I use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights on the day I want to travel, or to explore the cheapest month to travel. I f you know how long you are travelling for, and where you'll be when you want to return, book a return ticket, otherwise you could book a one way ticket and plan to book your return flight when you are away. STA travel offer a MultiFLEX pass, starting at £29 these passes let you change your flights; this is good, as you may wish to stay longer than you initially planned! Flights through STA are usually a good price.
Travel insurance is essential. It is often difficult to find travel insurance which will protect you for an elongated holiday. On my most recent trip I booked through Go Walkabout, but World Nomads is also highly recommended.
UK Citizens do not require a Visa for a stay of up to 180 days. Check whether you need a Visa to travel to Colombia here. Also ensure that you have a blank page in your passport for a Visa on entry, and that your passport is valid for 90 days following your departure date. You should see if you need a Transit Visa for any of your connections here.
Vaccinations must be organised at least a month and a half before your trip as most courses take a month to complete Free Vaccinations you require: -Hepatitis A & B -Tetanus/Diphtheria/Polio Paid Vaccinations you should consider - Rabies - Typhoid - Yellow Fever (*Note that no Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is required to enter Colombia.) (I definitely recommend getting the Rabies and Typhoid jabs) Make sure you are up to date on all regular vaccinations as well. Check the Fit For Travel website to check what vaccinations you may require.
Getting a prescription for malaria tablets is essential for travel in some parts of Colombia. To check if the area you are travelling to is effected by Malaria check the Fit For Travel website.
(Last updated August 2017)
Most doctors offer three different types of Malaria tablets, from cheapest to most expensive: • Mefloquine • Doxycycline • Atovaquone/Proguanil I ordered my tablets from nomadtravel , but, especially if it is your first time travelling, you should consider having a consultation with your doctor to see which tablets are right for you. Personally I recommend Doxycycline, it is relatively cheap and I haven't experienced any serious side effects. Read reviews and side effects carefully before you make your decision. And make sure you have enough tablets to last for the duration of your trip, and the allocated time for after your trip. Even with Malaria tablets it is important to take bite prevention precautions, read about how to avoid bites at Fit For Travel.
For long trips I do not recommend that you bring enough cash to last your entire trip, as you risk having it lost or stolen! Instead I recommend that you bring enough Colombian Pesos to last 1 week, and a few US dollars. You can compare exchange rates here. Then bring a card, or travel money card to withdraw money for the rest of your trip. If your bank does not offer competitive exchange rates consider a Caxton Fx currency card or an STA Travel Money Card. These card boasts no withdrawal fees at ATMs, and you load them with money as you go, so that if they are stolen, you do not have to worry about all the money being withdrawn from your bank. You can also get someone at home to load the money onto your card for you. Take a look at this website to review other currency cards. There is access to ATMs through most of Colombia, excluding some national parks.
It is important to book your first few nights accommodation, so that when you arrive in your first destination you are not lost and vulnerable. I usually book through Hostel World or Agoda. You could also try Booking.com or Trivago. Find and print out detailed directions to your accommodation from the airport and show these to your taxi driver.
Just before you leave you should photocopy all important documents twice: • Passport • Travel Insurance Details • Flight Boarding Passes Take one copy with you and leave one at home in case of emergency.