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Colombia travel guide

About Colombia

Since emerging from decades of civil unrest, Colombia has established itself as one of the world’s top destinations. And rightly so: this exquisite South American nation is blessed with natural beauty – think high Andean peaks, Caribbean beaches, pristine Amazon jungle – not to mention mysterious archaeological sites, colonial treasures and thriving cities. It’s a joy to travel around.

At the heart of it all is Bogota, the pulsating capital. Once synonymous with drug cartels and gangs, the city has recast itself as one of South America’s trendiest destinations; a place of hip bars and street art, vibrant markets and colourful architecture. Sprawled across the Andean plateau, Bogota offers a fabulous mix of old and new; the cobbled streets of La Candelaria offer a stark contrast to the urban chic of Zona Rosa. But it works.

Elsewhere, Colombia’s colonial towns have been lovingly preserved, most notably the UNESCO-listed city of Cartagena. But don’t stop there. Other historic settlements also warrant a visit, amongst them the cities of Mompós, Villa de Leiva and Barichara. The mysterious “lost city” of Ciudad Perdida is also worthy of a detour, but you may leave with more questions than you arrived with.

The more you travel around Colombia, the more you marvel at its diversity. While the Caribbean and Pacific shores boast beautiful beaches, islands and coral reefs, the lofty Andes offer high-altitude plains, snow-capped mountains and limpid lakes. Then there are the eastern lowlands with their grassy wetlands and bountiful birdlife, not to mention the virgin forests of the Amazon.

Colombian culture is no less magical. Garcia Marquez’s land of magic realism is alive with festivals and music; the high-energy city of Cali is recognized as the salsa capital of Colombia, while bustling Barranquilla hosts a dazzling carnival to rival Rio’s. To cap it all off, visitors can expect a warm welcome from the country’s friendly inhabitants, who, after years in the wilderness, can finally show their true colours. And what a picture they paint.

Key facts

Area:

1,141,748 sq km (440,831 sq miles).

Population:

48,829,027 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

43.9 per sq km.

Capital:

Bogotá.

Government:

Republic.

Head of state:

President Iván Duque Márquez since 2018.

Head of government:

President Iván Duque Márquez since 2018.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Colombia on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travel

Commercial flights are now operating to and from Colombia on a limited number of routes.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Colombia.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. You should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities (only available in Spanish).

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Public places and services

The health emergency has been extended until 31 August 2021.

The use of masks is mandatory in public (including on public transport and in taxis).

Any gathering where it is not possible to maintain 1 meter of social distancing between each person is prohibited.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in public spaces.

Regional, departmental and city authorities may be implementing local measures, including restrictions based on gender and/or identification numbers, curfews and lockdowns. These may be introduced at short notice. You should check official guidance from the relevant local authority (please see websites for key cities below) as well as national COVID-19 regulations and updates by MinSalud (Ministry of Health):

Healthcare in Colombia

If you present symptoms in Colombia, you should contact your health care provider or call the national health line for coronavirus in your area

For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our list of healthcare providers.

Pharmacies in Colombia are known as “droguerías”. They can be identified with a cross on the logo and can be easily accessed in the main cities in Colombia, but are less accessible in rural areas. Most pharmacies in Colombia will have a delivery service. You should note that prescriptions must be written in Spanish, in the metric system and using the medicine’s generic name.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Colombia.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Colombia

We will update this page when the Government of Colombia announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Colombian national vaccination programme started in February 2021 and is using the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) and Sinovac vaccines. The Government of Colombia has stated that British nationals resident in Colombia and registered with an EPS, are eligible for vaccination if they choose to join the programme. You can find out more information about this on the Colombian government’s ‘Mi Vacuna’ platform (website may not be accessible outside Colombia).

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Colombia, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Crime

Despite improvements in security, crime rates remain high in Colombia. Illegal armed groups and other criminal groups are heavily involved in the drugs trade and serious crime including kidnapping (for ransom and political purposes), money laundering and running extortion and prostitution rackets.

Street crime is a problem in major cities, including Bogota, Medellin, Cali and the Caribbean coast. Mugging and pickpocketing can be accompanied by violence. British nationals have been robbed at gun point in the Candelaria area of Bogotá. Be vigilant, particularly if you are in public places used by foreigners, or near official buildings. Avoid deprived areas of cities. Take care on city streets, especially after dark or if you are on your own. Don’t carry large amounts of money or wear valuable watches or jewellery. Avoid using your mobile phone in the street.

The British Embassy has received reports of criminals in Colombia using drugs to subdue their victims. This includes the use of scopolamine, which temporarily incapacitates unsuspecting victims. Drugs can be administered through food, drinks, cigarettes, aerosols and even paper flyers. Victims become disoriented quickly and are vulnerable to robbery, sexual assault, rape and other crimes. Avoid leaving food or drinks unattended and don’t take anything from strangers.

Where possible, plan how you will travel to and from your destination. Only use pre-booked taxis. Be wary if you are approached by a stranger.

Fake police are known to operate in Bogota and elsewhere to conduct scams, e.g., asking to inspect money to see if it is counterfeit. If approached, you should ask to be escorted to the nearest CAI (‘Centro de Atencion Inmediata’ – local police station).

Express kidnappings - short-term opportunistic abductions, aimed at extracting cash from the victim - also occur. Victims can be targeted or selected at random and held while criminals empty their bank accounts with stolen cash cards. Most cases in major cities involve victims that have been picked up by taxis hailed from the street. There have been incidents where those who have resisted the kidnappers’ demands have been killed.

Drugs, organised crime and terrorism are inextricably linked. There’s evidence of high levels of coca cultivation in the following Departments in Colombia: Nariño, Cauca, Putumayo, Caquetá, Meta,Guaviare, the Catatumbo region in the Norte de Santander department, northern Antioquia, and southern Bolivar. There’s a risk to your safety in any area where coca, marijuana or opium poppies are cultivated and near to cocaine processing labs.

Illegal armed groups and criminal gangs are active in all of the departments where coca is cultivated, processed or transported, as well as in many cities. The risk is particularly significant in rural areas near to the borders with Panama, Venezuela and Ecuador; in the Parque Nacional Natural de La Macarena in the Department of Meta; and the port towns of Buenaventura in the Department of Valle de Cauca, Turbo in the Department of Antioquia and Tumaco in the Department of Nariño.

Local travel

In many rural areas, the authority of the Colombian state is limited, and the British Embassy’s ability to help British nationals in trouble in these areas will also be limited. If you travel to remote areas, travel with recognised tour operators, and make arrangements for your security throughout your visit. You should also seek up-to-date advice from the local authorities before each stage of your journey. Mobile and internet connection in rural areas is often limited.The Pacific coast of Chocó is a popular eco-tourist destination. However, much of Chocó is remote. Illegal armed groups are active and involved in the drugs trade throughout the department and particularly near the border with Panama. If you intend to travel to the whale-watching towns of Bahia Solano and Nuqui, only do so by air and don’t travel inland or along the coast out of town.

If you travel to the ‘Lost City’ in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, you should only do so as part of an organised tour.

The archaeological park at San Agustin is located in the department of Huila. You should enter and leave the park on the main road through Neiva or Popayán.

The tourist site of Caño Cristales is located in the department of Meta, in the Parque Nacional Natural de la Macarena. If you’re travelling to Caño Cristales, only do so with a reputable tour company, and travel by air to and from the town of La Macarena.

Public transport

You should exercise caution when taking public transport in Colombia. Do not hail taxis on the street. There have been reports of express kidnappings, assaults and robberies in unlicensed taxis. Use licensed telephone or internet-based taxi services whenever possible or book through your hotel. Many restaurants in Colombia will book a taxi for you.

El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá only allows authorised taxis to pick up passengers at their terminals. Authorised taxi booths are present in El Dorado and most airports in Colombia.

Buses and coach services

There have been several recent incidents of armed robberies on buses. Avoid displaying valuable items like laptops, cameras and mobile phones. Don’t wear jewellery and only carry minimal amounts of cash. Avoid travelling on your own or at night, especially at border crossings or areas where there are few other people around. When travelling to remote areas it may be safer to travel with others or take part in a tour with a reputable company.

Road travel

If you’re visiting Colombia, you can drive with a valid UK driving licence for the duration of your legal stay. If you’re living in Colombia, you will need to apply for a local driving licence. More information is available from the Colombian Ministry of Transport.

If you’re planning to hire a car, check with your car hire company for information on their requirements before you travel.

Driving standards are poor and traffic accidents are common. Avoid driving at night, which can be particularly hazardous. Don’t hitch-hike. The risk of violence and kidnapping is higher in some rural areas, and there is a risk of being caught in roadblocks set up by illegal armed groups. Main roads are generally safe during daylight hours.

The departmental capitals of Amazonas, Vaupes and Guainía are only accessible by air due to the lack of road infrastructure in these departments.

Land border crossings

The FCDO currently advise against all travel to Venezuela’s border regions with Colombia. You should not use any of the Colombia-Venezuelan land crossings

The ‘Darien Gap’ is a dangerous area renowned for the presence of several illegal armed groups, illegal migration, and drugs trafficking. There’s no road crossing between Colombia and Panama. Avoid crossing between Panama and Colombia by land.

To cross by land between Colombia and Ecuador, you should only use the crossing on the Pan-American Highway, at Ipiales.

See Entry requirements

Unexploded ordnance

Colombia is affected by land mines and unexploded ordnance. Mined areas are often unmarked. Be vigilant when visiting remote areas or travelling off the main roads.

Air travel

You can find a list of recent incidents and accidents on the website of the Aviation Safety network.

The FCDO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes lists of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices – IATA Operational Safety Audit and IATA Standard Safety Assessment. These lists aren’t exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.

Political situation

Colombia is a presidential republic with separation of powers. Since 1990 Colombia has had a multi-party system. Colombia’s last Presidential elections took place in June 2018.

Colombia suffered from internal armed conflict for over 50 years. On 24 November 2016, Colombia’s President Santos signed a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla movement to end the internal armed conflict.

This peace agreement comes after four years of negotiations. On 1 September 2017, the FARC announced the launch of their new political party, officially ending their status as an armed group.

The Colombian constitution guarantees extensive rights to indigenous and Afro-Colombian groups over their traditional territories and to protect their culture. Indigenous communities have special jurisdiction within their territories within the bounds of the national judicial system.

Political demonstrations can occur in the capital city of Bogota and throughout the country. These can be confrontational and occasionally turn violent. You should monitor local media and avoid all demonstrations.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Colombia.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

The threat comes from the National Liberation Army (ELN), dissidents from the demobilised FARC guerrilla group (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), and other illegal armed groups.

The National Liberation Army (ELN) terrorist organisation continues plotting possible attacks in Colombia. On 17 January 2019, the ELN conducted a vehicle-bomb attack on a police academy in Bogota, killing 23 people.

The FARC handed its weapons in, as part of Colombia’s 2016 peace deal, on 27 June 2017, marking the end of their status as an armed group. However, dissident groups of the FARC still exist, including one led by prominent ex-commander Ivan Marquez thought to be operating from inside Venezuela.

These groups may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas. Police and military personnel and installations, are frequently targeted.

The principal intended target of these attacks is not usually foreign tourists. However, the pattern of these attacks means that incidents in public spaces and other areas visited by foreigners can’t be ruled out. Past methods of attack have included car bombs, grenade attacks and explosive devices left in buildings. You should always remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities should an incident occur.

In many areas of Colombia, the security situation can change very quickly. You should pay close attention to warnings issued by the Colombian authorities and monitor this travel advice. You should be particularly cautious and vigilant during any major events.

Kidnapping

There is a high risk of kidnap from both terrorist and criminal groups. While Colombians are the primary targets, foreigners can also be targeted, especially those working for (or believed to be working for) oil, mining and related companies.

You should regularly reassess your security arrangements and consider carefully any travel around the country.

The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

Carry a colour photocopy of the data page and Colombian visa from your passport at all times for identification.

Homosexuality is legal but not widely accepted, especially in rural areas. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Photographing of military or strategic government sites is not allowed.

It is a serious criminal offence to have sex with a minor.

Drugs

Don’t get involved with illegal drugs of any kind. Colombian drug trafficking detection methods are sophisticated and anyone attempting to traffic drugs should expect to be arrested. Conviction leads to severe penalties. British nationals have been arrested and detained for trying to smuggle cocaine out of the country. Prison conditions are harsh. Pack your own luggage and keep it with you at all times. Don’t carry items for other people.

Spiritual cleansing

Ayahuasca, or yage, is a traditional plant used in ‘spiritual cleansing’ ceremonies by indigenous communities in Colombia, primarily in Putamayo and the Amazon region. The yage ceremony typically involves the consumption of a brew containing dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a hallucinogenic drug. Consumption of this brew is not regulated and its interaction with existing medical conditions is not well understood. People have suffered serious side-effects and in some cases death after participating in these ceremonies.

Spiritual cleansing or yage retreats are usually some distance from populated areas making it difficult to access medical attention for those who need it.

Coronavirus

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Colombia on the TravelHealthPro website.

See the Coronavirus page for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Colombia.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical treatment

Medical facilities in Colombia vary widely in quality. In large cities and state capitals, private clinics provide good quality care for routine treatments and complex treatment. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Not all travel health insurance policies provide cover for private or emergency medical care so check your policy before travelling. Public health facilities and those in smaller cities are generally ill equipped and poorly funded. Ambulance services in remote areas are unreliable and public hospitals often lack adequate medical supplies.

You can find most medication in pharmacies in large cities, but medicine for complex treatment may be unavailable in rural areas and small towns. You may need a prescription from a local doctor to get some controlled medicine.

Pharmacies in Colombia are known as “droguerías”. They can be identified with a cross on the logo and can be easily accessed in the main cities in Colombia, but are less accessible in rural areas. Most pharmacies in Colombia will have a delivery service. You should note that prescriptions must be written in Spanish, in the metric system and using the medicine’s generic name.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, you should dial 123 to ask for assistance (in Spanish). Contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Health risks

UK health authorities have classified Colombia as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever are present throughout the country, although the coastal and southern states with lower altitudes are the most affected, especially during or shortly after the rainy season between April and November. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in Colombia. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Tap water is safe to drink only in Bogota. You should drink only bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus

Entry to Colombia

Arrivals to Colombia are subject to mandatory entry requirements:

  • you cannot enter Colombia if you have symptoms of COVID-19, have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive in the last 14 days
  • between 24 hours and 1 hour before departure, you must fill out the ‘Check-Mig’ form, available on the Migración Colombia website. You will receive a confirmation email that you will need to present upon arrival in Colombia

Surgical masks must be used by all passengers above 2 years of age throughout the journey, from entering the air terminal, during the flight and at the port of arrival. N95 masks are recommended for passengers above 60 years of age and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Colombia has reopened all land, sea and river borders. Neighbouring countries may still be implementing their own border closures.

Departing Colombia

Between 24 hours and 1 hour before departure, you must again fill out the ‘Check-Mig’ form, available on the Migración Colombia website.

Passengers for international flights will be allowed entry to the airport 3 hours before departure whilst passengers for domestic flights can enter 2 hours prior to departure.

Check the health requirements of the country of destination, such as quarantines or tests.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

British nationals can enter Colombia for up to 90 days as a visitor without a visa at the discretion of the Colombian Immigration Officer on arrival. You may need to provide evidence of return or onward travel. If you’re issued with a Colombian visa with more than 90 days’ validity, you must register the visa at a Migración Colombia office or online within 15 days of arrival in Colombia or face fines. Check the latest entry requirements with the Colombian Consulate General in London before you travel.

You may be able to extend your stay once you are in Colombia by up to 120 days by applying at the immigration office Migración Colombia. As a visitor, you can’t remain in Colombia for more than 180 days in any 12 month period. Don’t overstay your visa, you will be fined or risk deportation at your own cost.

If you’re a British-Colombian dual national, you must enter and leave Colombia using your Colombian passport and Colombian identification card (Cedula).

If you enter Colombia by land you should make sure your passport is stamped by the immigration authorities. Failure to do so may result in a fine on departure. If the immigration office on the border is closed, seek help at the nearest office of Migración Colombia.

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Colombia.

Departure tax

An airport tax is charged for international departures. The cost is usually included in the price of the airline ticket, but you should check with your airline prior to your travel.

Customs regulations

You can carry up to US$10,000 in cash, or its equivalent in any currency, with you when you enter or leave Colombia. Anything in excess of this amount may be confiscated.

Travelling with children

Children under the age of 18 years who have resident status in Colombia and who are travelling on a British passport will need written permission when leaving the country without both parents. The non-accompanying parent(s) must write a letter giving permission for the child to leave Colombia. The letter must be authenticated by a notary or by a Colombian Consulate. It must mention the proposed destination, the purpose of the trip, the date of departure and the return date. You can get more information about Colombian emigration requirements from Migración Colombia or by contacting the Colombian Consulate in London.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website. Under International Health Regulations (2005), a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers aged 1 year or over arriving from Angola, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Colombia. Your ETD should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Colombia. If you are a dual British/Colombian national you must have a valid Colombian travel document (passport) in order to be allowed to depart – a UK Emergency Travel Document cannot substitute this requirement.

San Andres Archipelago

If you’re travelling to the Islands of San Andres, Providencia or Santa Catalina you must purchase a tourist card from the airport you are travelling from, usually at the boarding gate, on the day of the flight. Tourists staying less than 24 hours on the islands, and children under 7 years, are exempt. Check with your airline to confirm the details prior to your travel.

Earthquakes

Earthquakes occur regularly in Colombia. In the event of an earthquake, monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities. You can find a real-time earthquake map and further information about earthquakes in Colombia on the US Geological Survey website. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, visit the US Federal Emergency Management Agency website.

Hurricanes/tropical storms

Although uncommon, hurricanes and tropical storms can affect the Caribbean coast and the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation, the US National Hurricane Centre, the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD) and the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM). See our tropical cyclones page for advice about what to do if you are caught up in a storm.

Rainy season

There is a risk of floods and landslides after heavy rains throughout the Colombian Andes. Seek local advice before travelling on mountain roads after heavy rain.

Volcanoes

Volcano activity in Colombia is monitored by Ingeominas. If you’re planning to visit areas of known volcanic activity, pay careful attention to all warnings and follow the advice of the local authorities.

The Nevado Del Ruiz volcano erupted in June 2012. The volcano activity level has since been lowered to Level III (changes in volcanic activity).

Since the earthquake on 21 October 2014 in the area of the Chiles Volcano in Cumbal (Nariño department) on the border between Colombia and Ecuador, the Colombian geological authorities have maintained an orange alert in the surrounding area. 12,000 people in southern Nariño were ordered to evacuate their homes because of a possible eruption.

Monitor local media and seek information and advice from the local authorities before travelling on the Pan-American highway, which passes near the volcano. Call #767 for information (in Spanish) from the Colombian Highway Police about road closures.

US dollars and Euros are widely exchangeable.

Credit and Debit cards are widely accepted in Colombia but use with care and keep receipts. When using an ATM, try to do so during business hours inside a bank, supermarket or large commercial building. Be particularly vigilant before and after using an ATM on the street - robberies are common, especially at night.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the FCDO in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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