World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Colombia

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


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


48,829,027 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

43.9 per sq km.





Head of state:

President Iván Duque Márquez since 2018.

Head of government:

President Iván Duque Márquez since 2018.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against all but essential travel to:

  • the departments of Arauca and Guaviare (except their capital cities Arauca and San José de Guaviare)
  • the department of Chocó (except its capital Quibdó, the whale-watching towns of Nuquí and Bahía Solano, and the tourist site of Capurganá)
  • the Ariari region of southern Meta (except the tourist site of Caño Cristales - if travelling to Caño Cristales, travel by air to and from the town of La Macarena with a reputable tour company)
  • the South Pacific, Sanquianga and Telembi regions of Nariño
  • the Western region of Cauca
  • Buenaventura in the department of Valle del Cauca
  • the Urabá and Bajo Cauca regions of Antioquia
  • the region of Southern-Bolívar
  • the region of Southern-Córdoba
  • the Catatumbo region of Norte de Santander
  • Orito, San Migue, Valle del Guamuez, Puerto Caicedo, Puerto Guzmán, Puerto Asis and Puerto Leguizamo in Putumayo
  • Cartagena del Chairá, San Vicente del Caguan, Puerto Rico, El Doncello, Paujil and La Montañita in Caquetá
  • the municipality of Puerto Carreño in Vichada, except the departmental capital
  • within 5km of the Venezuelan border, except the cities of Cúcuta, Arauca and Puerto Carreño
  • within 5km of the Ecuadorian border, except for the border crossing on the Pan-American highway at the Puente Internacional de Rumichaca and the city of Ipiales.

Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Colombia’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check your cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.

Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Colombia. The security situation can change very quickly in many areas of the country. You should pay close attention to warnings issued by the Colombian authorities. See Terrorism

State and local elections will take place on 29 October. Expect a heightened risk of demonstrations, possible violence and police and military presence. Potential travel disruptions are possible. British nationals are advised to avoid large gatherings or political rallies and remain vigilant around polling stations. See Safety and security.

Protests can occur at short notice, impacting roads and transport. These demonstrations can be confrontational and may turn violent. A number of people have been killed and injured in previous protests. You should remain vigilant, avoid all demonstrations, and monitor local media for the latest information.

Despite high levels of crime, most visits to Colombia are trouble-free. See Crime

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. Consular support is limited in parts of Colombia where we advise against all but essential travel and areas where there is a limited state presence. When consular support is unavailable, the British Embassy will liaise with local authorities to request assistance.

If you need to contact the emergency services, call 123 (in Spanish).

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.

The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.

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.

While the use of surgical masks for air passengers is now voluntary, masks (and their equivalents) are recommended by Colombian authorities for passengers above 60 years of age and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Entry and borders

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

Travelling from and returning to the UK

Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.

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-19. 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

Face masks are no longer mandatory in open spaces, in municipalities with a record of complete vaccination coverage greater than 70%.

In municipalities with a record of vaccination coverage greater than 70% and at least 40% booster doses, masks will also not be required in closed spaces, with the exception of health services, nursing homes and all modes of transport.

Face masks continue to be mandatory in medical facilities and in elderly care facilities nationwide.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in public spaces.

Regional, departmental and city authorities may be implementing local measures. 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.


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


Protests can occur at short notice, impacting roads and transport. These demonstrations can be confrontational and may turn violent. A number of people have been killed and injured in previous protests. You should remain vigilant, avoid all demonstrations, and monitor local media for the latest information. There is an increased risk of unrest and possible violence around elections.


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 2022.

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 how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.

Armed Actors

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.

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.


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.

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.


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.

Colombia has severe penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs. Conviction leads to severe penalties.

Colombian drug trafficking detection methods are sophisticated and anyone attempting to traffic drugs should expect to be arrested.

Do not get involved with illegal drugs of any kind.

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.
  • Lock your luggage to protect it from tampering and theft from carousels or hotel staff.
  • Do not carry any items for other people (packages, bags, suitcases, etc.)
  • Never exchange money for strangers, as this is a common practice among money launderers.

Incapacitating drugs

Criminals in Colombia may use drugs to subdue their victims. This usually includes the use of scopolamine, a drug that temporarily incapacitates the victim who become quickly disoriented and are vulnerable to robbery, sexual assault and other crimes. These drugs can cause serious medical problems, including loss of consciousness and memory loss.

They often work in teams, with women easing the victim into a false sense of security. They then steal the valuables once the victim has been incapacitated.

Robberies and assaults take place after victims accept spiked food, drinks, cigarettes or chewing gum. Thieves also administer these drugs by aerosol spray or paper handouts.

Dating applications and websites are also often used by criminals to identify and lure foreigners travelling alone and looking to meet local people to commit these crimes. Hotspots also include nightclubs, bars, restaurants, public transportation (including taxis) and city streets.

  • Avoid leaving food or drinks unattended and do not take anything from strangers.
  • Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum, cigarettes or anything else from new acquaintances or someone in the street.
  • Avoid accepting invitations from or inviting strangers to their or your accomodation

Spiritual cleansing

Traditional hallucinogens , often referred to as Yagé/Ayahuasca are found in Colombia. These substances are often marketed to tourists as ‘spiritual cleansing’, and typically contain dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a strong hallucinogen that’s illegal in the UK and many other countries.

There are many risks involved. Consumption isn’t regulated. Intoxicated travellers have been assaulted and robbed. There have also been reports of sexual assault during these ceremonies.

Health risks are not well understood and on occasions people have suffered serious illnesses and in some cases deaths after taking these drugs, which are often taken a long way from medical facilities making the risks even greater. Some retreats have basic medical services, including first aid, but others don’t. Some don’t even have an established plan for how clients can access medical facilities in case of an emergency.

If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.

See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.

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.

If you take prescription medication, you will be responsible for determining their legality in Colombia. Always keep your medication in the original container, bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you, pack your medication in your carry-on luggage and carry a copy of your prescriptions.

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.

Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Colombia, including Bogotá and areas in the Departments of Cundinamarca, Boyacá, Nariño and Antioquia. More information about altitude sickness is available from TravelHealthPro.

This page has information on travelling to Colombia.

This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.

The authorities in Colombia set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Colombia’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.

All travellers

You will be required to show an onward or return ticket valid within the 90 day period allowed for their entry into Colombia as a visitor.

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.

While the use of surgical masks for air passengers is now voluntary, masks (and their equivalents) are recommended by Colombian authorities for passengers above 60 years of age and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Colombia’s land, sea and river borders are open. Neighbouring countries may still implement their own border closures.

For cruise ship arrivals, check the latest entry requirements with the cruise line company before traveling.

If you’re fully vaccinated

There are no vaccination requirements to enter Colombia.

Proof of vaccination status

There are no requirements to present vaccination certificates or COVID-19 test results to enter Colombia.

If you’re not fully vaccinated or are unvaccinated

There are no vaccination requirements to enter Colombia.

Entry and exit requirements might change at short notice. Check the Colombian authorities’ official websites for up-to-date information on updates to entry requirements.

Children and young people

Children aged 17 and under do not need to show proof of vaccination or negative PCR test to enter Colombia.

If you’re transiting through Colombia

Transiting through Colombia on your way to another country is permitted as long as you comply with all of the standard mandatory COVID-19 entry requirements.

The ‘Check-Mig’ form, available on the Migración Colombia website, is not mandatory for internal flights in Colombia, including transit flights.

For further information about transiting through Colombia please contact your airline or tour operator.


Local authorities have not set out any exemptions to the above stated standard COVID-19 entry requirements for Colombia.

Check your passport and travel documents before you travel

Passport validity

If you are visiting Colombia, your passport must be valid on entry. You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Colombia.

There are different turnaround times if you’re applying to renew or replace your British Passport from another country,

Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.


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 (in Spanish) 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.

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.

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 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.


Volcano activity in Colombia is monitored by Colombia’s Geological Services (Servicio Geologico Colombiano, SGC). 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.

Update April 2023 - The Nevado del Ruiz volcano is one of the 25 active and monitored volcanoes in Colombia.

There has been a warning issued by Colombia’s Geological Services (Servicio Geologico Colombiano, SGC) about the change in volcanic activity of Volcan Nevado del Ruiz.

Colombian authorities continue to monitor its activity.

The departments of Tolima, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindio, and Cudinamara might be affected.

If you are in the areas mentioned, you should be prepared to make travel arrangements or even follow evacuation plans at short notice. If you are planning to visit affected areas, you should avoid the area and consider altering travel plans.

Volcanic ash may impact flight availability and airport operations.

You should notify friends and family of your safety, remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local security authorities and/or your tour operator.

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.

To learn more about The Nevado del Ruiz volcano (in Spanish), visit Servicio Geologico Colombiano SGC. To check the latest daily bulletins about the volcano activity (in Spanish), visit Boletín extraordinario page on the SGC website.

This page will be updated as the situation develops.

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, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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