Last updated: 2 Jun 2018

Colombia

About

Colombia is jammed with unspoilt mountains, coastline and jungle, not to mention stunning archaeological sites and vibrant culture. And there is plenty to explore. Natural attractions include rippling mountains, expanses of the Amazon Basin, large lakes, vast plains and a Caribbean coastline that twinkles with azure water. Meanwhile man-made wonders include lost cities, fabulous pre-Columbian sculpture and colourful colonial houses adorn the towns.

Climb the snow-capped Nevado del Ruiz: the 5,400m (17,717ft) peak is one of five permanently white-tipped volcanoes in Los Nevados National Park .Guided treks are available from Manizales.

Take a jungle tour into the Amazon basin, which covers almost one-third of Colombia’s territory. Boat trips depart from Leticia to the nearby Amacayu National Park and often include visits to Indian tribes.
Official Name: Republica de Colombia
Capital:  Bogotá (BOG)
Currency:  Colombian Peso (COP). USD may also be accepted. 
Language:  Spanish. 80 local languages and dialects are also spoken. English is widely spoken, especially in San Andres and Providence Islands. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 57
Time Zones: UTC / GMT -5 (7 hours behind South Africa)
Public Holidays 2018: 

Jan 1, 8; Mar 19, 29, 30; May 1, 14; Jun 4, 11; Jul 2, 20; Aug 7, 20; Oct 15; Nov 5, 12; Dec 8, 25

Side of the Road:  Right.
Best time to go:  Year-round along the Caribbean Coast. Dry season is December – March and July – August. 
Best for:  Coffee, Amazon Jungle, Archaeological Sites, Colonial Architecture
Plugs:  Mostly 110 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style two-pin plugs.
Drinking Water: All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it. In rural and jungle areas, medical facilities are very limited. It is advisable to carry basic medical supplies. Preventative measures against mosquito bites should be taken. 
Customs: Normal social courtesies. Homosexuality is not widely accepted, and public displays of affection between same sex couples should be avoided.  Coffee is usually drunk black.
Local Offences  /Laws: It is prohibited to take photographs of military installations and personnel. 
Travel Tips / Warnings:  Check the local political situation before travelling. There is a high risk of terrorist activity and foreigners are usually targeted by criminals.
Duty Free: The following items may be taken into Colombia by travellers 18 years of age and older without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars and up to 50g of tobacco.
• 2 bottles of alcoholic beverages.
• Goods for personal use to the value of US$1,500.
Prohibited Imports: Ammunition and firearms (unless prior authorisation has been obtained), vegetables, plants or plant material, and meat and animal food products.
Prohibited Exports: Taking cultural artefacts out of the country is prohibited, so if tour guides offer to sell you goods from tombs, politely decline. Colombian coffee is not prohibited, but will most likely be opened and checked. Drugs are absolutely forbidden, with harsh penalties for non-compliance.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of Colombia
177 Dyer Road, Hillcrest Office Park
2nd Floor Woodpecker Place
Hillcrest, Pretoria
0083
Tel: (012) 362 3106/7 Fax: (012) 362 3118
E-mail: cpretoria@cancilleria.gov.co
Web: www.cancilleria.gov.co
Hours: Mon - Fri 09h00 - 13h00 and 1400-1600

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SA Representative

Representation accredited from Caracas, Venezuela.

Travel Health

Compulsory:  Yellow Fever
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, Tetanus, Polio
  Malaria Risk