Adventures in
Colombia

Colombia Tours

 

On a Colombia adventure tour you will discover the Andes mountain range running from north to south through the length of the country. Warmed year-round by the equatorial sun, the mountains are green and lush providing fertile land for farming and of course Colombian coffee beans, renowned throughout the world.

Cosmopolitan cities like Bogotá with its famous gold museum and sultry Cali, home of salsa dancing, plus charming Spanish colonial towns like well-preserved Villa de Leiva and the ancient walled city of Cartagena are all gems to be explored on a Colombia adventure tour. Why not relax on the white sands of the Caribbean coastline in Tayrona National Park and trek to explore ancient ruins from lost civilisations at Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) nearby. Our Colombia adventure tours will also reveal how friendly and welcoming the local people are and you are bound to come away with fond memories of this fascinating country on your adventure holiday.

Featured Tours

All Tours of Colombia

Open Filters

15 Tours

Display By:
Sort By:

Added to
Shortlist
5%
OFF
CCX
Route: Cartagena to Bogota
Code:
CCX
Days:
8
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$1,049
From:
US$996
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
Route: Cartagena to Bogota
Code:
TMFC
Days:
9
Style: Tailor-made Tours
From:
US$1,579
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
5%
OFF
BXSES
Route: Cartagena to Quito
Code:
BXSES
Days:
14
Style: Adventures for 20s and 30s
On Sale! US$819
From:
US$778
+ local payment US$260
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
5%
OFF
BXSSE
Route: Quito to Cartagena
Code:
BXSSE
Days:
14
Style: Adventures for 20s and 30s
On Sale! US$819
From:
US$778
+ local payment US$260
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
5%
OFF
CCC
Route: Bogota to Cartagena
Code:
CCC
Days:
14
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$1,829
From:
US$1,737
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
Route: Bogota to Cartagena
Code:
TMHC
Days:
14
Style: Tailor-made Tours
From:
US$3,469
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
10%
OFF
CCE
Route: Bogota to Bogota
Code:
CCE
Days:
20
Style: Worldwide Adventures
On Sale! US$2,729
From:
US$2,456
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
15%
OFF
BXRTL
Route: Cartagena to Lima
Code:
BXRTL
Days:
27
Style: Adventures for 20s and 30s
On Sale! US$1,479
From:
US$1,257
+ local payment US$490
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
15%
OFF
BXRTC
Route: Lima to Cartagena
Code:
BXRTC
Days:
27
Style: Adventures for 20s and 30s
On Sale! US$1,479
From:
US$1,257
+ local payment US$490
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
15%
OFF
BXSBM
Route: Cartagena to La Paz
Code:
BXSBM
Days:
48
Style: Adventures for 20s and 30s
On Sale! US$2,479
From:
US$2,107
+ local payment US$860
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
15%
OFF
BXSMB
Route: La Paz to Cartagena
Code:
BXSMB
Days:
48
Style: Adventures for 20s and 30s
On Sale! US$2,479
From:
US$2,107
+ local payment US$860
View Tour

Added to
Shortlist
15%
OFF
BXSSA
Route: Cartagena to Buenos Aires
Code:
BXSSA
Days:
62
Style: Adventures for 20s and 30s
On Sale! US$3,289
From:
US$2,795
+ local payment US$1180
View Tour

Colombia Travel Articles, Inspiration & Information

Top tips for an adventure in Colombia

Do you have a hankering to visit Colombia but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you have always wanted to get under the skin of this feisty country but have been unsure where to begin? Have no fear! We have compiled some top tips that will help if you’re planning an adventure to one of the most exciting countries in South America. Read more

The Spectacular Cocora Trek

On a map, the Zona Cafetera (“Coffee Zone”) of Colombia is relatively small, however the extremely hilly landscape of the region helps the Andean country to be the second largest coffee producer in the world. This very same landscape, recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also allows for some incredible hiking. Read more

Making the most out of Bogotá

From the old preserved neighbourhood of La Candalaria to the thriving fashion-driven district of Chapinero, the centre of Bogotá gives its visitor a unique experience of contrasts in what is often referred to as South America’s Athens. The name comes from the high number of universities in the city and the level of education found here.  Read more

Independently Verified Travel Reviews From Past Clients

Colombia Travel Guide

Colombia Travel Guide

Brief history

Colombia’s Pre-European cultures existed in scattered pockets in the Andes and Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Among the most notable were the Tayrona, Sinú, Muisca, Quimbaya, Tierradentro and San Agustín. Alonso de Ojeda, a companion of Christopher Columbus, landed on the Guajira Peninsula in 1499. Colombia won its independence in 1819 with the appearance of Venezuelan liberator Simon Bolívar and his army. Ten years of uneasy confederation with Venezuela and Ecuador followed in the form of Gran Colombia. In the course of the 19th century, the country experienced no less than 50 rebellions and eight civil wars, culminating in the bloody War of a Thousand Days in 1899. After a period of relative peace, the struggle between the Conservatives and the Liberals broke out again in 1948 with La Violencia, the cruelest and most destructive of Colombia's many civil wars and left 300,000 died. Modern day history has been a continual run of violence from left-wing guerrilla groups and drug traffickers, but since the election of the former President Uribe things have improved considerably.

Geography and weather

Colombia has an equatorial climate and therefore does not have dramatic seasonal changes. The best time for the country as a whole is December-March as it rains the least then.

The rainy season is May-July and October-December, when heavy rains can fall (though they're usually followed by bright sunshine). The elevation in the country ranges from sea level to 3,050 metres, so temperatures can vary greatly. Coastal cities have day temperatures from 23-32°C, with nights at about17-27°C year-round. The inland cities' year-round day temperatures are generally around 17-27°C (nights can get down to 5-16°C in the winter). A sweater is needed along the coast at night and a jacket in the mountains (this includes Bogota, which lies at 2,650 metres).

Visit www.worldclimate.com to get an idea of what the weather will be like on your tour.

Visas

Most nationals of Europe, Australasia and North America do not need a visa to enter Colombia, however many Asians do (it is important to check the rules for your nationality with your nearest embassy, consulate or travel agent). Entry for those not requiring a visa is granted on production of a passport valid for more than six months and proof of funds to support yourself (although this proof not usually requested). As a tourist you are entitled to 90 days, however depending on the immigration official you may be allocated 30, 60 or 90 days.

Important: you will have to fill out an immigration form on arrival which will be checked, stamped and left in your passport for the duration of your stay. Do not lose this piece of paper.

Money

Important: In Latin America you will have problems changing the US$100 CB B2 2001 series notes and it is important you do not to bring them. In some countries banks won't even take them. The serial number is located in the top left hand corner and bottom right hand corner on the side with the President’s face. This serial number starts with CB and then a few more numbers and then directly under that B2. At the bottom of the note near the signature of the Treasurer it says which series of notes it is and it is there that it says 2001 series.

The monetary unit in Colombia is the Colombian peso, which is divided into 100 centavos. For up-to-date exchange rates with your own currency visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com.

US dollars (cash) are rarely accepted for  purchases in Colombia and you will need pesos for most purchases. Even if you have the choice of paying for things in US dollars it will be in your favour to use the local currency. Often the easiest way to obtain local currency is to use the ATMs (‘cajeros automaticos’) located in every city throughout the country. Visa, Plus, MasterCard and Cirrus/Maestro are accepted in most Colombian ATMs, as long as you have a four-digit pin number. Although bank cards are often the easiest way to go, there are times where they will not work for you even if your bank at home tells you it will! Do not rely on your card as your only source of money. Always have a few back-ups with you.

US dollars and travellers cheques can be changed at casas de cambio (exchange bureau), banks and border crossings. Your tour leader will give you details of when and where best to change money. Casas de cambio are privately owned, usually have longer opening hours and attend to you faster than banks. The rate may be slightly lower but you must weigh this up against the convenience of not having to queue. In Colombia you get the best exchange rates in the cities of Bogotá and Cartagena where the casas de cambio offer about the same rate as the banks. Also, these places will quite often exchange other currencies and cheques. Hotels/restaurants will sometimes change US dollars, but at a much poorer rate.

You should also be able to get a cash advance at the bank (usually only possible for Visa and sometimes Mastercard) although most banks will require a copy of your passport and quite often take your photo.

In Colombia they can be very particular about the condition of the US dollar bank notes. You will quite often NOT be able to use notes which are torn or marked even slightly. If your notes are at all damaged you may use them in Ecuador, but probably NOT in Colombia, so save them until then.

Remember that once you leave Colombia you will generally not be able to use or exchange pesos (so please change all left over pesos at the border).

Entrance fees

Generally speaking most museums in Colombia cost between US$2 and US$5. There are many interesting museums to visit, but please bear in mind that many museums close on Mondays.

The many beautiful churches and cathedrals of Colombia are always free to enter, but flash photography is strictly forbidden, and opening hours vary greatly. There are sometimes cultural events going on and galleries/exhibitions which are free to enter. Your tour leader will give you more details on these.

Shopping

Shop for hand-worked silver, emeralds, pottery, “chiva” pottery buses, leather, textiles, hammocks, wall hangings, gold, large mobiles (not the phone variety) and ponchos.

Each different region has its own regional handicrafts/ jewellery etc. so if you like something, buy it! You may never see it again (or if you do it will probably be more expensive). Bargaining is expected while shopping in the markets, but in shops it is usually considered rude to bargain. You may however ask for a ‘discount’ (“descuento” in Spanish).

Bear in mind that it can be very expensive and not always reliable to send packages home so try to buy only what you can carry home!

Tipping

A 10% service charge is added on to the restaurant bill throughout most of Colombia. If it is not added on, it is still expected (especially in the more expensive restaurants). There should be no other charge on top of this. However, if IVA is said to be included on the menu then it should NOT be added onto the end of the bill. You are not expected to tip taxi drivers unless they go out of their way for you although you should tip anyone who helps with your luggage, approx 50 cents. Tipping guides at the end of tours/excursions is always appreciated and your tour leader will advise you on this.

Local transport

Taxis are recommended for all journeys within cities. Most taxis have meters if not you may have to haggle with the driver to agree upon the fare. This can be fun, but it is a good idea to find out in advance, from your tour leader or the hotel receptionist, approximately how much the fare should be. It will also help if you can speak a few words of Spanish. You will almost certainly have to accept that you will pay more than the Colombians do.

Local buses are interesting and usually very crowded. The new TransMilenio buses that ply back and forth on dedicated lanes from south to north are good and regular, like an outdoor metro system using buses.

One of the most fun ways to explore Colombia’s cities is by “Chiva” bus, which is a truck chassis with brightly coloured wooden open-sided body with bench seating (these are the old typical type buses which are still used in many places in the countryside today for the locals – chicken buses, as we call them). Most cities have these tours, mostly in the evening where they will have a band/group on board playing live music and take you to many of the night spots plus hand out drinks en-route, mostly “aguadiente” (firewater, a kind of ouzo which is quite delicious once you’ve had one or two).

Security

Crime in Latin America is not as bad as its reputation as long as you are sensible and alert. Like anywhere in the world, you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Care should be taken, especially whilst walking around the larger cities. Try to keep away from dark quiet areas if on your own, particularly late at night and try to always take a taxi. It is usually better to get a taxi by phone if you can, especially at night, as there are a lot of bogus taxi-drivers around. We suggest that whenever possible you leave all of your important documents in the safe (“caja fuertes”). However you should always carry some form of ID or a photocopy of your passport.

Some areas in Colombia may be affected by current adverse political or economic situations which may disrupt the smooth running of your tour. Tucan Travel reserves the right to cancel, amend or continue the operation of a tour based on, but not solely restricted to, the advice of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Advice Service (FCO) www.fco.gov.uk, these decisions will be made with our travellers safety and best interests in mind. These situations can frequently change so if you have any questions please don't hesitate to get in touch with an Adventure Specialist.

Local food and drink

You will find a range of international and local cuisine to suit every budget. Excellent seafood is available along all coastal regions and chicken, pork and beef are available throughout.

In Colombia the basic diet focuses around chicken, beef or seafood, mostly with french fries or rice (or both) and possibly a little salad. Some of the most popular and typical dishes are: “frijoles” (kidney beans in a delicious sauce with lumps of pork), “ajiaco” (lovely soup type dish with chicken breast, maize, potato and is served with avocado, rice), “bandeja paisa” (minced beef with beans, egg, fried plantain, chorizo sausage, rice, manioc, huge meal), tomales (which is like a boiled corn dumpling filled with chicken and wrapped in banana leaf). These are just a few of the local favourites, there are many more.

Typical snacks are “empanadas” (little fried pasties usually filled with meat, chicken, cheese or even prawns) and “patacones” (fried vegetable banana chips, served as a side dish).

Much of Colombia’s food is not hot and spicy but you will find a bowl of “aji” (which is a chilli or hot pepper sauce) on most tables which can be added to spice things up.

If you are a strict vegetarian you may experience a distinct lack of variety in the food available, especially in small towns. You might find that you are eating a lot of omelettes and other egg dishes. Our tour leaders will do their best to provide interesting vegetarian alternatives when arranging group meals in the campsite, but your patience and understanding is requested.

All drinks such as water, soft or alcoholic drinks are at your own expense at all times.

You should be wary of drinking the local tap water. Bottled water, carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices are widely available and are generally safe to drink. Please note however that fruit juices are sometimes made with unboiled tap water and could upset your stomach. An easy way around this is to order juice “con leche” (with milk) instead. The choice of different juices in Colombia is incredible e.g. mora (blackberry), piña (pineapple), naranjilla (mixture between mandarin and orange), maracuya (passion fruit), tomato de arbol (tamirillo or 'tree tomato'), guanabana (a soursop, like acustard apple) and curuba (which has a great taste).

In Colombia some of the hotels we use have bars or serve alcoholic drinks. If there is not a bar in the hotel then there is sure to be a bar within walking distance. In more up-market hotels, imported beers and spirits are available but usually at a high price. If you are happy to drink the local spirits then there is an array of rums, aguadiente (a kind of ouzo) and you can get imported Chilean wine can sometimes be found quite cheaply at supermarkets. There are various brands of beers including Costeña, Aguila, Bavaria and Leona. Please don’t forget the coffee, some of the best in the world but pick a nice café style establishment with an espresso machine.

Time Difference

GMT/UTC -4. For other time differences please visit www.timeanddate.com

Voltage

110 volts, double flat-pin plug (same as USA)

Website & Online Bookings by Metafour

Login