Colombia's history has left its mark; don't forget that it was named after Christopher Columbus, by the freedom fighting Simon Bolivar. Before that it was called New Granada by the Spanish conquistadors. But Colombia's history in fact goes back more than 20,000 years. You'll be blown away by the pre-Hispanic treasures that litter the country, as well as the cultural differences between its Amerindian communities.
One of the Colombians' defining features is their hospitality. Fun and friendship is the order of the day during a holiday in Colombia. Tourism is not fully developed and locals are happy and proud when visitors who come here feel right at home. In brief, it's an authentic and enjoyable place to visit!
Who hasn't wanted to sit down to a cup of coffee in Colombia's legendary 'eje cafetero' or Coffee Triangle? Apart from it being top quality, this region is magnificent, with green mountains and towering volcanoes. Take a tour of the coffee co-operatives or farms to learn about the production process from the moment the beans are harvested through to the roasting, pulping and drying stages. You'll also fall in love with the Corcora Valley and its giant wax palms, a national symbol of Colombia.
There's the legendary Cartagena, the incredible Bogota with its mural paintings and Gold Museum, Medellin's sky scrapers or even Salento, a small, colourful town famous for its crafts...Colombia's towns, whether big or small, have a lot of secrets to uncover. Be it perched on mountain tops or nestled at their feet, Colombia's towns won't leave you indifferent. Take the time to explore their nooks and crannies during your tour of Colombia.
If you're a hiking fan or nature lover, then Colombia's the place to be. There's something for all tastes and levels. The Amazon Rainforest covers half the country and is home to exotic animals including the famous pink dolphin and several species of tropical birds. Most excursions leave from the town of Leticia, which is close to the Amazon River. As for the Cordillera, it comprises of three mountain ranges - eastern, central and western - that are a hiker's heaven.
Colombia still has a reputation for guerilla warfare and drug trafficking. Let it be known that the country has moved forward and security in towns has greatly improved. There's also been a vast improvement in tourist-related infrastructures as well as the road network. That said, certain zones, such as areas in the south, should, nonetheless, be avoided at all costs. The trick is to steer clear of these areas and, wherever you are, not show off any signs of wealth.
Discover all our travel ideas for a trip in Colombia.
Travel tips from our local agencies in Colombia.
Top places to discover.
You can visit Colombia without a visa for up to 90 days. You also have the possibility of extending your stay by up to 120 days, though you cannot remain in Colombia for longer than 180 days in any given 12-month period as a visitor. You will of course need a passport valid for the duration of your stay. Its expiry date must also be no earlier than six months from the date you enter the country.
Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. A Colombian immigration officer will decide how long you will be allowed to stay (normally between 30 and 90 days) when you arrive. You will also be provided with an entry permit. For more information, visit the website of the Canadian Government.
There are no mandatory vaccinations required for travel to Colombia. However, getting vaccinated against certain conditions, such as yellow fever for example, is recommended if you are planning to visit the Amazonian forest or the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. You will also need to check that your DTP (diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus) vaccination is up to date. Additionally, vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended for most travellers to the country.
A number of illnesses, e.g. malaria, are transmitted via insect bites, so keep yourself protected by wearing long clothing and using anti-mosquito sprays.
And finally, do not drink the tap water; only eat things that have been properly cooked, and wash your hands as often as you can to avoid contaminating food.
The International dialling code for Colombia is +57.
High speed internet connections are available in all large towns and cities, so you will easily be able to connect to the internet.
British Embassy in Colombia
Carrera 9, N° 76-49, Piso 8, Edificio ING Barings, Bogotá
(57) (1) 326 8300
Colombian Embassy in the United Kingdom
3 Hans Crescent, London, SW1X 0LN
020 7589 9177
La Clinica del Country: (57) (1) 530 0470 and (57) (1) 530 1270
La Clinica Marly: (57) (1) 343 6600
La Fundation Santa Fe: (57) (1) 215 2300