Hi there! I’m Sarah (but people call me Sarepa). First up, thanks so much for stopping by! If you’re looking for information about travelling to or living in Colombia, then you’re in the right place.
Below I have compiled a list of information, resources and posts that might just come in handy if you’re planning a trip to Colombia. Let me be your virtual guide and assist you with anything from booking accommodation to organising your own tours. My goal is to help you get the most out of your trip, without spending a fortune while you’re at it! Here are some resources and services to make sure you have everything on your side to help you create a memorable experience in Colombia
Books about Colombia
Colombia a comedy of errors: A joint effort by British journalist Victoria Kellaway (of Banana Skin Flip Flops) and British-Colombian artist and writer Sergio J. Lievano, Colombia a comedy of errors explores Colombia’s history through tongue-in-cheek humour and satirical observations. Including more than 160 caricatures of some of Colombia’s most recognisable faces, including Shakira, Bolivar, Botero and Uribe, the book explores what being Colombia really means and what the country is all about.
Was Gabo an Irishman?: In Bogotá, a Spanish humanitarian worker attends a funeral without a body, as a storm of yellow butterflies swirls outside. In the jungle, an English anthropologist finds a tiny peace community fighting to preserve their way of life. And, somewhere in the Andes, an Australian coffee farmer confronts a guava-throwing witch in his tree. This collection brings together 26 personal essays by writers from across the world, all of whom have lived in Gabriel García Márquez’s homeland.
Short Walks from Bogota: Short Walks from Bogota is a commentary on Colombia’s complex socio-political history as told by journalist Tom Feiling. Author of The Candy Machine, Tom talks to women who disappeared at the hands of paramilitaries, to former guerrilla fighters and their ex-captives, and the nomadic tribe who once thought they were the only people on earth and now charge $10 for a photo. Full of interesting characters and rich insights.
Badt Travel Guide to Colombia: With its jagged, volcanic peaks; sands of gold, black and silver; palm-trimmed Pacific and Caribbean coastlines; tufted fields of coffee; dense jungles, snow-capped mountains and idyllic islands; numerous indigenous cultures and exciting buzzing cities, Colombia is ‘ten countries in one': a diverse and little-explored succession of eye-popping geological highlights on one of Latin America’s most varied terrains. Now in its third edition Bradt’s Colombia enchants wildlife fanatics and provides plenty of first-hand insight into striking colonial cities, rainforests, beaches, historic villages and secret gems.
Exclusive Colombia offers:
Expats in Colombia
Read all about other expats who have decided to call Colombia home.
Arrival and entry into Colombia
According to Immigration Department of Colombia, foreigners who visit Colombia do not need to organise their visa before making travel plans or to be allowed into the country. On entering Colombia, you will be given a 30- or 60-day tourism visa.
The length of your visit will be decided by the immigration officer who stamps your passport, and the amount of time can vary. But generally a 60-day visa is given. It is also important to have a ticket proving your onward journey available, as you will generally be asked to provide this at either the international airport when you arrive in Bogota, or in the United States, if you are flying via Los Angeles.
Of course, if you’re anything like me, then you might find yourself not wanting to leave the country at all. If that is the case then there is the option to extend your stay. There is a process of extending your visa, though, and it includes going to the Immigration Department in Bogota (Calle 100 #11B-29 ph: (571) 408 8000).
When you arrive at the Immigration Department you will be asked to queue for an extension, if your extension is granted then you will have to make a short trip down the road (walking distance) to the Banco Occidente where you will pay your extension fee.
Then you’ll bring this back to the office and get your passport stamped. Be aware, though, that tourist are only able to stay in the country for six months of the calendar year – 180 days. That means if you arrive in July, then you will be able to stay until the following June, given all your extensions are approved.
There are no entry taxes upon arriving in Colombia, but there is an exit fee which must be paid in cash. This fee is updated every year, and is generally between $35-$70USD. Entry taxes are not required upon arrival in Colombia.
Things to do in Colombia
If you’re wondering what to get up to while you travel to Colombia, well, here’s a whole stack of blog posts about some of my own experiences travelling around the country.
- 11 Things to do in Medellin
- 100 Places to visit in Colombia
- 10 Things to do in San Andres
- 15 Things to do in Bogota on a Budget
- 10 Things to do in Salento
- 13 Things to do in Manizales
- 8 Must-try adventure activities in Colombia
- Places to visit in Cartagena
- Things to do in Santa Marta
- 5 Bars in Cali if you’re not into Salsa
Living in Colombia
Thinking about living in Colombia? I’m not surprised! Take a look at some helpful information before making the move:
- House hunting: How to find a place to live in Colombia
- 8 Habits I brought back to Australia after living in Colombia
- What’s it like living in Colombia?
- Top 50 reasons I love living in Colombia
- A list of my favourite expats in Colombia
- Information about buying a property in Colombia
Food. It’s always about the food. Here are a series of posts and recipes about Colombian food.
- Bogota Food Tours with Loon Lio
- La Mesa Food Tours in Medellin
- Bogota Food Tours with Diana of 5Bogota
- Colombian street food: Best eats on the streets
- What is an arepa?
- 10 Dishes to fall in love with Colombia food
- Colombian recipes: Patacones con Hogao
- Why I can’t justify being a vegan when I travel to Colombia
- Cooking like a Colombian with cilantro
- Plain it ain’t: An ode to the plantain
- Colombian recipes: How to make cholado
- Top 5 Bogota desserts
Safety in Colombia
- 6 Completely illogical reasons not to travel to Colombia
- 5 Tips for catching taxis in Colombia
- Safety in Colombia: A guide for staying safe while you travel
- Safety in Colombia: Are we sugar-coating Colombia?
And here are some more travel tips and advice for Colombia and the rest of the world.
- What is solo female travel in Colombia like?
- How to pack for a long flight
- How to plan a trip to Colombia
- 6 Reasons why travelling to Colombia is scarier than you think
- How to plan your first trip abroad
- How to save for overseas travel
- How to plan a year abroad
- Sleeping on couches: How to be a good guest
- How to avoid a pre-overseas trip freak out
Tours and experiences
- Zipaquira and the Salt Cathedral
- Guatavita Lake
- Bogota Graffiti Tour
- Bogota Safari Food Tour
- La Mesa Food Tour in Medellin
- Medellin Cable and City Tour
- Salento mountain biking tour
- Cocora Valley Hiking
- Cartagena Mangrove Tour
Learn Colombian Spanish
Do you want to learn Colombian Spanish? Here are some of my videos and links to learn how to make like a Colombian while you’re travelling around the country.
- A beginner’s guide to Colombian Spanish
- My favourite Colombian expressions
- 10 Free resources to help you learn Spanish
Blogs and bloggers I LOVE!
Don’t just take my word about Colombia, here are some of my favourite blogs and bloggers who I’m sure you are going to fall in love with, too.
- A Little Cameo
- Anna Trigellis-Smith
- Banana Skin Flip Flops
- Barranquilla or Bust!
- Colombia Calling Radio
- Colombia de Una
- Discovering Ice
- Flora the Explorer
- How to… Bogota
- Medellin Living
- Que Pena Con Usted
- Richard McColl
- Red Wine and Lipstick
- See Colombia Travel
What have I missed? Is there anything else you want me to cover about Colombia? Be sure to send over an email and let me know!
Take a look below at some of my most popular blog posts and if you have any questions at all or just want to say hi, send me an email at info (at) sarepa.com.
I am also a fan of Banana Skin Flip Flops and pleased to find your blog. Having moved here five months ago from Seattle, I appreciate hearing and reading others impressions of Bogota and Colombia. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for sharing, Jane Ann. I hope you’re enjoying your stay in Colombia too!
hi sarepa, please come to Indonesia and travelling with me
how are you? I hope you’re hale and hearty! I’ve lived in Colombia for 9 years and just recently left to live in North america again! where are you from Sarepa? May God bless you! I lived in the Caldas region of Medellin, the town namely. !
Do you English Teach? how do you make a living there?
Thanks for getting in touch Earle! Great to hear you lived in Colombia! I am from Australia and I am a freelance writer and full-time travel blogger, which means that I am lucky enough to earn an income from wherever I am in the world. I hope you’re enjoying being back in North America. Happy travels!
Just found your blog and enjoying your posts. I’m not sure when you wrote this but I thought I’d mention a couple things about entry into Colombia.
I think the policy has changed regarding the number of days on the tourism visa. I’ve entered Colombia via air (Bogota, Cali, and Pereira) and overland (from Ecuador) over 20 times since 2013 and I’ve *always* been given 90 days, even when I tell them I’m only planning to stay a month. Same with my family when they visited for ten days this past summer.
Also I’ve never been asked for proof of onward travel upon arrival in Colombia but more and more airlines are asking for it before they will let you board a one-way (or return half of a ticket originating in Colombia) regardless of the departure city. Also they specifically require proof of return to the USA – which is not what Colombia requires. Initially it was easy to show an altered travel agency generated flight reservation but he last several times the airlines have actually entered the record locator number. If this affects you, I suggest buying a refundable return ticket and canceling it upon arrival in Colombia.
Great tips. Thanks Miriam!
You are very beautiful Sarah! As much as the beautiful Colombia! I would like working with you.
Hi Sarah- what a great blog site! It is certainly helping us get more out of this trip to Colombia…and we’re headed out to start systematically checking off your street food recommendations ( can hardly text as I’m salivating in true Pavlovian style!). Did want to bring to your attention that when we entered the country, Jan. 5th 2018, we were charged $85.00 CND per person entry fee. We were travelling under Canadian passports. If we’d been travelling with our British or German passports it would have been free entry….more’s the pity we left those passports at home. Just a FYI. Love the blog.
So happy to hear that, Neil! I hope you’re having a fantastic time in the country and eating your weight in the local food! And thanks for sharing that tip about the entry fee!