Last updated: 17 Feb 2021

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 2021: 

Jan 1, 6, 11; Mar 19, 22; Apr 1, 2; May 1, 17; Jun 3, 14, 29; Jul 5, 20; Aug 7, 15, 16; Oct 12, 18; Nov 1, 11, 15; 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.

Travel Alerts

COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Colombia has opened for international flights.

Requirements for entry

  • Negative PCR Test taken at least 96 hours before departure
  • Pre-registration 'Check-Mig', which can be found on the website www.migracioncolombia.gov.co
  • Download Corona App

Please refer: colombia.travel/en/covid-19-lockdown

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

Embassy of Colombia
177 Dyer Road, Hillcrest Office Park, 2nd Floor Woodpecker Place, Hillcrest, Pretoria, 0083
Tel: +27 (12) 362 3106 Fax: +27 (12) 362 3118
E-mail: cpretoria@cancilleria.gov.co
Web: https://pretoria.consulado.gov.co/
Hours: Mon - Fri 09h00 - 13h00 and 14h00-16h00

Visa Requirements

South African Passport Holders do require a visa for entry into Colombia
 
All applications for Colombian visas must be completed and submitted online: https://tramitesmre.cancilleria.gov.co/tramites/enlinea/solicitarvisa.xhtml

The Consular section at the Embassy of Colombia in Pretoria reserves the right to call upon applicants for a personal interview. If such is the case, the applicant must bring along his/her valid passport.

Gather all the relevant required documentation, according to the type of visa you will apply for. A complete list of requirements and documents for each type of visa is available at: http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/tramites_servicios/visas/clases  for all cases, without exception, applicants must submit the following:
* A scanned copy of the information page of the applicant’s passport.
* A scanned copy of a valid proof or valid booking for accommodation.
* A valid proof or valid electronic information of air tickets, including details of the return flight to the country of origin.
* Before starting the online application process, you must have: a photo size 3x4cm, in color, with white background, recent, head-on, without accessories, clear visage, in JPG format with a maximum size of 300 KB.
* Other documents may be requested, depending on the type of visa you are applying for. The maximum size allowed for the total of documents attached to an application is 5MB.
* Invitation letter from Colombia

Once you have completed your online application, the system will automatically send to your e-mail address a confirmation of completion. Please forward that e-mail to: cpretoria@cancilleria.gov.co The Consular Section at the Embassy of Colombia in Pretoria will respond to your e-mail, with further information on how to go about with the payment of the corresponding processing fees.

Visa Processing Time

The processing time for a visa application is 10-15 working days, upon receipt of a complete visa application and its corresponding processing fee deposit. In this regard, you are kindly requested to start your application process well in advance to your date of departure.

SA Representative

Representation accredited from Caracas, Venezuela.

Travel Health

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