Colombia is open for healthy US travelers — but is now the right time to go?

Oct 8, 2020

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Colombia reopened its borders to tourists on Sept. 21 and is ready to welcome back international visitors.

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Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this country, located in the northern tip of South America.

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However, Colombia has one of the world’s highest rates of COVID-19 infection after the United States, India, Brazil and Russia, especially taking real population density into account. This is in addition to ongoing risks in certain parts of the country, including violent crime: The U.S. State Department currently lists a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory.

Graphic courtesy of the Colombia Tourism Board.

If you decide to go, here’s what you need to know about getting there and where to stay.

Related: Where can Americans travel internationally? 

Before travel

The State Department currently advises that tourists avoid travel to the regions of Arauca, Cauca (except Popayan), Chocó (except Nuquí), Nariño, and Norte de Santander (except Cucuta) due to risks associated with crime and terrorism.

Initial flights have resumed between Colombia and the United States, Ecuador, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala, with more to come in the following weeks.

Related: Getting a coronavirus test for travel is getting easier — but you still need to plan ahead

Before traveling, visitors should prepare the following:

  • Negative PCR COVID-19 test results dated within 96 hours before departure
  • Complete the online pre-travel registration form “Check-Mig” within one to 24 hours of your flight departure time
  • Download CoronApp to self-report your health throughout the duration of your trip
  • Wear a mask at all times and wash your hands and disinfect your belongings on a consistent basis

U.S. travelers do not need a visa to enter Colombia, and simply need one blank page available in a passport that is valid through the dates of travel.

Colombia remains in a state of selective isolation through Nov. 30, 2020.

Related: TPG’s exhaustive guide to coronavirus travel news

Arriving travelers should anticipate health screenings in airports and at customs checkpoints. Hotels and restaurants are also required to adhere to stringent safety requirements, especially for establishments with serviced tables, cafeteria-style self service, and catering services.

Beaches are subject to safety protocols as well, including rentals for huts, lockers and hammocks.

All tourism and hotel services have received VAT exemptions from the government through Dec. 31, 2020, while hotels, themed parks and leisure establishments are also temporarily exempt from energy surcharge taxes. Amongst other measures, tour guides are also receiving monetary relief from the government for three months, and the national tax on tourism has been suspended through Oct. 30, 2020. 

Getting there and where to stay

Related: Your complete guide to maximizing Google Flights

Flights to Colombia are very low right now, with flights as low as $149 roundtrip nonstop from Miami to Medellín on VivaAir via eDreams.

Flights on alliance carriers begin at $170 round trip from Fort Lauderdale to Medellín on COPA/United, or 44,000 MileagePlus miles and $80 in taxes and fees.

Round-trip travel between Miami and Bogota begins at $181 or 30,000 AAdvantage miles and $60 nonstop on American in basic economy in November.

Hotels are plentiful throughout Colombia, with nearly 1,000 available in Bogota in November 2020, and more than 700 in Medellín. The three-star Medellín Marriott has 4.7 stars on Google Reviews and costs just $68 or 35,000 Bonvoy points per night. The four-star Hilton Bogota begins as low as $65 or 22,000 Hilton Honors points per night. The four-star IHG Intercontinental Cartagena de Indias costs $94 or 17,500 points per night.


Featured photo by Starcevic/Getty Images.

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