From its ancient burial sites to skyscraper cities pulsating with Spanish-inspired beats and Cuban cuisine, wherever in Colombia your trip takes you, there will be a great story to tell. The country’s white-washed homes that hug the hillsides and its national parks are the backdrop for South America’s fourth-largest country.
Colombia has seen its share of turmoil, but it remains one of the top economic forces in South America.
Travelers visiting Colombia won’t be disappointed. There are hundreds of festivals and events throughout the year. Some of the biggest events include Carnaval de Blancos y Negros (Pasto; January), Semana Santa (Holy Week; Popayán and Mompós; March or April), Feria de las Flores (Medellín; August) and Carnaval de Barranquilla (Barranquilla; February or March).
Colombia is mostly tropical and wet. It really has no dry season, but summer typically sees the most rainfall. Coastal lowlands have high temperatures and humidity all the time. Rainfall can average 10cm each year. The mountain areas are cooler and weather conditions vary depending on the altitude, the topography and the winds.
The peak season varies slightly depending on where in Colombia you are flying, however, July, August and December tend to be the most popular. This is when the weather is driest and usually when some of the best festivals take place. If you’re in Medellin during July then you’ll be able to enjoy the Colombiamoda (or fashion week). It’s a 3-day event that can be a great day for fashion lovers. July also sees the Salsa Festival. There’s a dance competition, different workshops you can look into and just general dance during the evenings. Bogota sees a huge increase in tourism during August from the annual Carnival of Bogota. It involves orchestras, salsa dancing and lots more, including live music from thousands of different genres.
December can be very busy around Christmas and you definitely shouldn’t pass on the chance to see the decorations, especially in Medellin, as they are absolutely spectacular. You’ll need to make sure you secure your flight tickets well in advance if you’re to have any chance of finding cheap flights to Colombia.
There isn’t too much of an off season in Colombia as the weather is warm almost all year-round. April to June and September to November are classed as the wettest months of the year which does decrease tourism slightly. That said it makes it easier to find the cheapest flights to Colombia if you search for the wetter season.
You’ll find discounted flight tickets from October through to March if you plan ahead although you can find the cheapest flights to Colombia in December, January and February. This does vary of course depending on where exactly in Colombia you are hoping to go. Flexibility is your best friend when trying to find the cheapest flights to Colombia so if you’re not governed by a particular week of the year then you’ll have much better odds of saving money. Aim to have your flights to Colombia secured and booked at least four months in advance but if you can book your flight tickets earlier than that then you should. Depending on the weather conditions you should aim to sit on the right hand side of the plane to get the best views. This can, and does, change frequently due to different wind conditions as you approach so as long as you try to avoid sitting beside a wing you should be okay.
Hundreds of flights originate in major cities throughout the U.S., Europe and South America, with flight times to Bogota that vary depending on your location of departure. For example:
When planning your trip, please check with your carrier as some flights may take up to 30 hours depending on the destination or waiting duration during layovers between connecting flights.
The following airlines make it easy to get to Colombia from major hubs in these cities:
The climate in Colombia is generally tropical with high humidity, especially in summer when rainfall is most plentiful. The coastal lowlands are very hot and humid, while the mountain areas are cooler, although weather conditions depend on the altitude, winds and whether the area is hilly, flat or has rivers or creeks.
The types of clothing you pack depends on the locations you plan to visit. However, generally include a pair of sturdy walking shoes and several pairs of socks. T-shirts, shorts and jeans are popular wearables in Colombia, so pack as many as you can fit into your bags. Sundresses are terrific for scorching-hot days and nights of dining and dancing. Be sure to take swimsuits if you plan to go whale watching, take a whitewater raft excursion or swim with the dolphins at the Oceanario in Cartagena. Also include a waterproof jacket for those raining days and wear it on the plane to save packing space.
It takes around an hour to get into the city center from Jose Maria Cordoba International Airport, which is around 40 miles away from the city itself. One of the cheapest ways to get into the city is to get the official airport bus. If you turn right as you leave the airport and walk down the path you’ll come across a white bus. It’s small and can be very crowded but it’s certainly cheaper than a taxi, and also reliable, as it runs until 9pm. If you can’t get the bus or would rather not, then the most convenient way of travel is a taxi. You can find the taxis outside of arrivals.
Bogota is the capital of Colombia so getting from the airport to the center of the city is relatively painless. The most convenient method of transportation is to hail a taxi. First of you’ll need to go to a stand where you’ll explain where you want to go. You’ll be given a ticket which states the price and then you can go and tell a taxi driver your destination. At the end of your journey you’ll simply have to pay the indicated fee on your ticket. The second option of choice is to get a bus. You’ll find the ‘paradero’, or bus stop, a few meters away from the entrance to the airport. The downside to getting a bus is if you’re not familiar with the city you could end up getting dropped off anywhere. It’s a huge place in which to get lost. That said, most drivers are friendly and will help you where they can.
Columbia’s urban core is pedestrian-friendly and taxicabs can be found near the hotels and waterfront. Although the city has a decent bus system, it is scheduled and routed to meet the needs of local citizens; tourist destinations are not well-served. Many tourists choose to rent a car, particularly if planning to visit the city’s surrounding parklands.
Domestic flights are the most convenient and also the safest way to get around the country. Colombia has one of the best developed airline networks of all South American countries.
Be cautious with all other types of transport. There is no train service in the country, but there are various different types of bus and taxis that service all the main towns. Check the route you plan to travel before you set off and secure all your possessions.
For a bit of adventure, take a cargo boat along the Magdalena River. This is a slow way to travel, but offers views of the country you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.
The Colombian people are warm, friendly and welcoming, with lots of hotels and hostels to choose from in this sweet vacationing spot that fits perfectly between off-the-beaten-track and populated with visitors.
When it’s time to leave beautiful and friendly Colombia, with arguably the best coffee in the world, it’s easy to chart the next leg of your journey by using the Cheapflight “find deal” search engine.
Bogota is a huge city when you consider that the only North American cities larger than Bogota are Mexico City and New York City. It takes about 20 minutes from downtown to get to El Dorado International Airport (IATA: BOG) via taxi when traffic is good.
The taxis in Bogota are regulated, making fares reasonably priced and safe. You order a taxi at a stand, pointing out your destination. A ticket is printed with the price for the ride. Once you pick up a taxi and arrive at the airport, you only pay the price printed on the ticket. The typical range for a taxi is COP20,000 up to COP35,000, or approximately $7 to $12 in U.S. currency.
Another safe and convenient way to the airport is via the sophisticated bus rapid transit (BRT) system that runs directly to the airport along El Dorado Avenue. However, the system is limited to those with “small luggage.”
Choose a private transportation company such as Moveco or Tedecol with easy online scheduling for a comfortable and reliable trip to the airport.
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(prices quotes are from London)