Language

Colombia’s official language is Spanish.

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Money

Colombia’s official currency is the Colombian Peso, which is then broken down into 100 centavos. Cash, especially US dollars, is best exchanged at casas de cambio, money exchange bureaus. Banks have differing policies on exchanging money. Outside of Bogota, you will have difficulty exchanging traveler’s checks. You should also watch out for fake US dollars that are printed in Colombia. Credit cards are gaining acceptance and can usually be used at high end hotels and restaurants or travel and car rental agencies. ATMs are also increasing in number in the bigger towns, but they aren’t always secure.

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Communications

Colombia’s international country code is 57. The code used to make foreign calls varies according to what network you’re using. The entire country is well connected to the Internet. Bogota has dozens of Internet cafes around town.

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Tipping

Visitors are expected to tip 10 to 15 percent of their restaurant bill. Porters usually get around $0.50 for each bag. Taxi drivers don’t expect gratuity, but a 10 percent tip is always appreciated. Hotels often add a 16 percent service charge to the bill.

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Safety

Traveling to Colombia is risky, and travelers should always be highly alert of their surroundings. Domestic terrorist groups are known to target public locations like bars and restaurants, and pick pockets and drug traffickers target foreigners in urban areas. Always book taxis through your hotel and never hail them off the street. Don’t accept drinks, food, gum or cigarettes from strangers.

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Health

Yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid vaccinations are recommended for all visitors to Colombia. You won’t need to worry about malaria in Bogota, but prevention is wise if you’re heading into the rural areas. Don’t drink tap water, unbottled drinks or drinks with ice cubes. Make sure fruits and vegetables are peeled, cooked and eaten before they cool. Don’t take a chance with undercooked meat or fish. The major cities have decent medical care, but the quality varies in the rest of the country. Carry your own medical insurance.

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Electricity

The electrical current is 110 volts, 6o Hz. Both two-pinned, flat blade plus and three-pinned plugs are used.

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Melisse Hinkle
A New England native but explorer at heart, Melisse has lived in four U.S. cities, spent a summer in Hawaii, made her way through wine-producing regions in Australia and New Zealand, and traveled around Europe while studying abroad in London. She is the Content Manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cheapflights.
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    Cheap flights to Colombia

    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
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    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
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    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
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    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
    from$381RTwith Smartfares.com
    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
    from$381RTwith Smartfares.com
    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
    from$381RTwith Smartfares.com
    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
    from$381RTwith Smartfares.com
    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
    from$381RTwith Smartfares.com
    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
    from$381RTwith Smartfares.com
    New York (JFK) to Bogota, Colombia (BOG)
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    Approx flight times

    John F. Kennedy International to Ernesto Cortissoz:
    4 hr 50 mins
    John F. Kennedy International to Eldorado:
    5 hr 35 mins
    Newark International to Eldorado:
    5 hr 52 mins
    John F. Kennedy International to Alfonso Bonilla Aragon:
    5 hr 43 mins
    John F. Kennedy International to Jose Maria Cordova:
    5 hr 25 mins
    John F. Kennedy International to Matecaña International:
    9 hr 7 mins