Colombia – Twice the size of France, and with a diversity of landscapes and cultures that would be hard to find even in countries five times its size, Colombia should by all rights be one of the world’s top travel destinations.
Pick a climate, and it’s yours—if you find the light jacket weather of Bogotá cold, drive an hour down through the mountains and sunbathe next to the pool of your rented hacienda. If you don’t want to sit still, head off into the Amazon or any of the country’s other many inland jungles, snow-capped volcanoes, rocky deserts, endless plains, lush valleys, coffee plantations, alpine lakes, deserted beaches.
For culture, intellectual Bogotá might lead the rest of Latin America in experimental theater, indie-rock, and just sheer volume of bookstores, but you could also get a completely alien education in an Amazonian malocca, or you could delve into the huge Latin music scene of salsa and cumbia, with the most exciting dance display being the enormous Carnival of Barranquilla.
For history, wander the narrow streets of South America’s original capital in Bogotá, check out old Spanish colonial provincial retreats like Villa de Leyva, trek through the thick jungle-covered mountains of the northeast to the Lost City of the Tayrona Indians. Walk the walls of Cartagena’s achingly beautiful old city, looking over the fortified ramparts upon which the colonial history of South America pivoted.
For nightlife, hot Cali is today’s world capital of salsa, claiming that competitive distinction even over Colombia’s other vibrant big city party scenes, which keep the music going long into the small hours of the morning.
For dining, you’ll find everything from the ubiquitous cheap, delicious Colombian home-style meals to world-class upscale and modern culinary arts in the big cities, with cuisines from all corners of the world represented.
And for relaxing, there are gorgeous tropical beaches along Colombia’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts, but you can find even more laidback and peaceful retreats on the idyllic and unspoilt Caribbean island of Providencia.
The political violence has subsided substantially throughout the majority of the country and savvy travelers have already flocked here from around the world—come before everyone else catches on!
Citizens of most western countries, including most European countries, all South American nations, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, Bhutan, Japan, Russia, Malaysia and Singapore don’t need a visa, unless they are staying for more than 90 days. Irish citizens no longer need to apply for a visa at a Colombian embassy, and should have the same treatment at immigration as any other visa-free travelers. Canadian citizens are now required to pay a reciprocity fee of 160000 COP at arrival, except for those staying in San Andrés Island and Santa Catalina, as well as those arriving via charter flight into Cartagena.
Colombian authorities will stamp passports from the above countries giving permission to stay for a maximum of 30 to 90 days. Immigration officials at any of the international airports of the country will usually ask you the intended length of your trip, giving you a determinate number of days that will cover it, which you can extend to 90 by going to any immigration services office.
Extending your stay
You can apply for a 90-day extension to your stay at an Asuntos Migratorios office in some of the major cities, which costs around 40.00 USD. You need two copies of your passport’s main page, two copies of the page with the entrance stamp, two copies of a ticket en route out of the country, and four photographs. The procedure takes some time and includes taking your fingerprints. For visitors, the maximum length of stay can not exceed 6 months in 1 year.
Hostels in Colombia
Alejandria Arcabuco Armenia Bahia solano Barichara Barranquilla Bogota Bucaramanga Buga Calarca Cali Capurgana Cartagena Covenas Eje Cafetero Filandia Guatape Guatavita Ibague Isla de Baru Jardin La Calera La Macarena La Vega Leticia Manizales Medellin Minca Mocoa Mompos Palomino Pasto Pereira Popayan Providencia Island Puerto Gaitan Rodadero Salamina Salento San Agustin San Andres Island San Gil Santa Fe de Antioquia Santa Marta Santa Rosa de Cabal Sapzurro Sogamoso Taganga Tocancipa Tunja Valledupar Villa de Leyva Villavicencio
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