Last Updated on August 28, 2023
Millions of travelers visit Colombia every year. If it’s not the allure of the sandy beaches, it is the vibrant culture that will draw you in instead. Festivals, authentic food, excitement, fiestas, carnival, and incredible views are just some of the things that this country has to offer, and it never disappoints. However, much like other South American countries, there are some things to be aware of before you go. Keep reading to find out exactly what they are.
Colombia has lots to offer from a traveler perspective, but you must be mindful about staying safe. There are high crime rates, and tourists are an easy target. This means understanding all the places you absolutely have to avoid, and learning to tread carefully in busy areas too. Keep your valuables protected and remain vigilant at all times so you don’t fall for any scams or fall victim to pickpockets. Also: I highly recommend purchasing travel insurance just in case. You can read my thoughts on if safety in Colombia here: Is it safe to travel to Colombia?
Stay Vigilant When Crossing the Road
Columbia is a vibrant city filled with people and vehicles. Unlike other countries in the world, there are fewer expectations for cars to yield to you when you are crossing a busy road. This means, you must pay attention if you want to avoid an accident and injury!
For all UK citizens with a valid passport, there is no need to apply for a visa to travel to and around Columbia. However, you do need to prove that you are medically fit and able to be there. This is easy to do by completing a check-MIG form, and you are able to apply online before you go so you won’t face any barriers as you move through your trip.
Learn a Little Spanish
South American Spanish is different to Spain’s dialect, and it is undeniably worth picking up a phrase book for tourists and trying hard to learn some common iterations before you travel, or to use one of the many language learning apps to help you memorize a few essential phrases. You never know how handy it might be to be able to understand or utter a few words here and there. It can be the difference between a great experience and a dud one, and locals will definitely appreciate the effort. English is usually understood and you can get by without any Spanish, but not everyone speaks English and traveling can become frustrating with communication barriers.
Prepare for Higher Costs
Colombia, while not the most expensive country in the world, is certainly up there in terms of food costs and more. Budget well for the trip and do as much advance research as you can so you have a better sense of how much things cost. That way, you don’t have to worry about running out of cash. You can look up prices for dishes at restaurants on Googlemaps, for example, and check hotel prices on one of the many online hotel booking websites.
Don’t Be Alarmed by All the Police
You will never be far away from a police officer when walking around the Colombian cities. It should give you peace of mind that this is a purely preventative strategy, as the country has had its fair share of trouble on the streets.
Traveling to this country is a trip you have to plan, but one you will certainly enjoy. There is so much to be experienced that you could happily spend a month bouncing around the country and still have plenty left to do and see. If you have six or eight weeks to spare, that’s a good amount to really get to know Colombia, but no matter how much time you have in this beautiful country, I guarantee you that you will enjoy your time there.