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A QUICK BREAKDOWN OF WHAT TRAVELERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ENTERING COLOMBIA; INCLUDING, TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS AND TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS - INCLUDING WHAT FORMS NEED TO BE FILLED OUT.
Traveling can be stressful no matter what - from having to figure out visa and entry requirements, to knowing if you need any specific vaccines or forms upon landing. Add in a global pandemic and that stress can be somewhat debilitating. Luckily, if you are looking to visit the stunning country of Colombia in South America you can rest assured that the country is still very easy to enter.
Below is a quick outline of what travelers need to know about entering Colombia, from current travel requirements and restrictions to what forms you need to have filled out (really only one). If you have any questions about Colombia's entry requirements, we have the answers.
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: as you can imagine, things are changing quickly when it comes to travel restrictions and entry requirements. We will try to keep this as up to date as possible, but when in doubt, always check the country's government website.
ENTERING COLOMBIA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
\\ Colombia Entry Requirements
As of February 2022, ALL passengers over the age of 18 must show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Similarly, you must have had your final dose more than 14 days before arrival. This proof of vaccination can be either digital or printed out.
You will be required to show proof of vaccination during the immigration process, which occurs either right after getting off your international flight or as you cross the border from a neighboring country.
❔ GOOD TO KNOW: if you are only partially vaccinated, or if you have received your last dose less than 14 days before traveling to Colombia, you must also show a negative COVID-19 test. This can be either a PCR or antigen test. If you are not vaccinated against COVID-19 then will not be allowed to enter Colombia.
For adventurous digital nomads looking to explore Colombia for a while, we recommend signing up and using SafetyWing for all your travel medical insurance needs (including COVID-19 coverage). Don’t worry, policies can be purchased while already abroad.
COVID TESTING IN COLOMBIA
If you need to get a COVID test before heading out of the country (as most other international destinations require proof of a negative test, including the USA), you can easily find testing facilities in most major cities throughout Colombia. This list shows a few testing facilities in cities like Armenia, Bogota, Cartagena and Cali.
Though in our experience, most regular hospitals have COVID tests available. On average, a COVID test costs around 100000 COP or $25 USD (around €22 Euros). To get a COVID-19 test you will need to have your passport with you.
THE CHECK-MIG REGISTRATION FORM
All passengers arriving in Colombia from other countries must fill out the government-issued Check-Mig Registration Form, which you can find on the Colombian Migration website or click the link below.
The Check-Mig Registration Form must be completed 24 hours before your flight to Colombia. The questionnaire is relatively short and straightforward. You will need to have your passport handy as well as information on where you are staying in the country (including specific addresses). You will also need to fill out the Check-Mig Form when you leave Colombia.
💬 INSIDER TIP: we have personally flown into Colombia twice from the United States during COVID and both times we had to show our completed forms to the migration official. Similarly, you may need to show proof of having the document filled out before you even get on the plane to head to Colombia.
➳ Find the Check-Mig Registration Form here.
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN COLOMBIA
There are currently NO travel restrictions in place for Colombia - meaning everyone is free to enter the country as long as you show proof of having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or if not, a negative COVID test.
Within Colombia there are no restrictions on traveling and for the most part, everything is back to normal in terms of operating hours, tours and activities. That being said, in the majority of public places you are required to still wear a mask. This includes on public transportation (buses and planes especially), in malls and museums. Similarly, there are a few places that we have visited that do require proof of vaccination to enter (including in some hotels, restaurants and popular destinations).
In our experience, we would say 80% of the time the people (especially the locals) are wearing masks while traveling around, especially in more popular areas. While most of the time businesses are not very strict at enforcing mask rules, we haven’t come across a place that really needed to. We would say that if you are unsure about whether you need to wear a mask or not, follow the norm of the place you are at: if everyone is wearing a mask on a bus, wear a mask. Simple as that.
All travelers receive a 90-day travel visa upon arrival in Colombia. You will get this stamped into your passport once you land in the country - either by plane or by bus/overland. Travelers are allowed two 90-day travel visas for a total of 180 days in a calendar year.
If you are planning to stay longer than 90 days in Colombia, you can either leave the country and re-enter at an official border crossing and get another 90 days, or you can visit an embassy or go to the Colombian migration website to get an extension. You should then have another 90 days to explore the country.
\\ Colombia Travel Essentials
IS COLOMBIA SAFE?
YES! In our experience, Colombia feels very safe for tourists, including for single females and couples (and families). This includes places that are super touristy (like Cartagena and Cocora Valley) and more off the beaten path destinations like San Cipriano and Pijao. Overall, everyone we have met has been very friendly and helpful.
Now with all of that being said, there are obviously some precautions you should consider when traveling around Colombia (and every other country). A few things to keep in mind are:
Do not be flashy. This means don’t wave around expensive things like cameras, phones, jewelry, etc. - especially in busy areas.
Don’t walk alone at night and/or stick to well-lit areas if possible.
Watch your bags at all times. Pick-pocketing does happen, so always keep an eye on your bags and things. This is especially true in places like busy plazas, bus stations, on buses and in packed restaurants and bars.
WHAT DO I NEED TO PACK FOR COLOMBIA?
Due to Colombia’s highly diverse landscape, which includes everything from humid, Caribbean coastlines to one of the rainiest places on Earth, you need to make sure to pack items for almost all types of climates.
While this might seem like a lot, for the most part, you can get away with good, hardy basics. Below is a basic list of items to pack for a full-country tour of Colombia:
A rain jacket (we promise this will come in handy no matter where you are in the country; but more specifically if you are looking to explore the Coffee Region - Salento, Cocora Valley - or the Pacific Coast)
A light sweater (also works great as a blanket on the buses)
Moisture-wicking shirts, long and shirt sleeved
A few pairs of shorts, some for hiking and some for city days
Sandals, especially if planning to spend some time on the Caribbean or Pacific Coasts
Sturdy boots that can handle mud (because there is always mud)
Warm pants or tights (it can get quite chilly in places like Bogota and the Coffee Region)
A few extra good-to-have items are: a dry bag for valuables like a phone or camera, a pair of sunglasses, a notebook and a handy Spanish translation book or app.
HOW MUCH TIME DO I NEED IN COLOMBIA?
This depends on how much you want to see and how slow you want to travel around. If you are only interested in visiting say the top 5 sites (Cartagena, Cocora Valley, Medellin, Bogota and Tayrona National Park) then you can probably get away with 2 weeks. But if you are looking to explore a bit deeper and want to head out on some truly off the beaten path adventures, then we suggest at least one month (if not more).
💬 INSIDER TIP: we have spent 5 months in Colombia and we still feel like there is waaay too much to see and explore.
While the CDC puts Colombia at a level 4 in terms of COVID (aka Level - Do Not Travel), we would say that for the most part it feels like things are back to normal. While you do need to do a bit of pre-planning when looking to enter the country, specifically making sure you have gotten fully vaccinated or tested for COVID as well as filling out the Check-Mig Registration Form, overall Colombia is a super easy country to enter and explore.
If you have any questions about entry requirements and travel restrictions in Colombia - or you just want to know more about the country in general - then please feel free to leave us a comment below or reach out to us here.