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Travel to Colombia

Flying to Colombia

The national airline is Avianca (www.avianca.com), which runs direct flights from London and New York to Bogotá. United (www.united.com) also offers direct flights from the USA. Prices are similar year-round, apart from Christmas and Easter, when they tend to increase.

Flight times

From London - 11 hours 30 minutes; New York - 5 hours 40 minutes.

Air passes

The oneworld Visit South America Pass (www.oneworld.com) is valid within Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile (except Easter Island), Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Participating airlines are American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA), LAN (LA), Qatar Airways (QR), TAM (KK) and their affiliates. The pass must be bought outside South America in the country of residence. It allows unlimited travel to over 60 destinations. You can take as many flights as you like, but a you must book a minimum of three flights.

Departure tax

Transit passengers are exempt. Airport departure tax for others leaving the country varies depending on whether you have stayed longer than 60 days and which airline you are travelling with. Theoretically, your tax should be included in the ticket. To establish this, before you check in, you should queue up for the ‘Tax Exemption’ stamp in your passport, and then you can find out how much, if any, departure tax you owe.

Travelling to Colombia by Rail

Driving to Colombia

Road routes are established and decent from Ecuador into Colombia. The roads into Venezuela are also well paved, but there is frequently border tension and travellers should check the situation before travelling overland between Venezuela and Colombia. It's not possible to drive directly from Brazil or Panama into Colombia, as there are no roads.

While there are no buses crossing the Ecuador border, you can catch a bus to the Colombian border town of Ipiales, cross on foot and hop on another bus at the other side. A reliable Colombian coach service is Bolivariano (tel: +57 1 424 9090; www.bolivariano.com.co). There are some buses crossing the Colombia-Venezuela border.

Getting to Colombia by boat

Main ports: Cartagena, Barranquilla, Santa Marta and Turnaco (Caribbean coast); and Buenaventura (Pacific coast). Many ships and cruise lines visit these ports from the USA, Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean islands. If you’re travelling by boat from Panama to Colombia, you're most likely to go to Cartagena.

Ferry operators

There are no public ferries crossing the oceans into Colombia. Private boats are the only option, which you can organise at the docks or through some hotels and hostels.

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