Why travel to Colombia
Travel to Colombia to experience all the glorious things we love about South America, in one fascinating country. Here you’ll find over 300 magnificent beaches fringing the Caribbean and Pacific, the splendour of the Andes mountains, the exotic Amazon jungle, plenty of fascinating archaeological sites, natural beauty, modern cities and colonial towns. The capital, Bogota, blends history and modernity with ease. It’s a vibrant, colourful city, in complete contrast to many of Colombia’s historic towns, some of which, like the UNESCO-listed Cartagena, have been meticulously preserved.
Colombia is a country of vibrant diversity, offering a range of exciting holidays. For so long it was inaccessible to the outside world. But now, Colombia is open to visitors who want to enjoy unique beach holidays, ski trips and explore fascinating cities and towns. Travel to this remarkable country on an unforgettable holiday before it’s on everybody’s radar.
Why travel to Colombia
- Discover a unique landscape where the Amazon meets the Andes in the Serrania de la Macarena National Park.
- The weather is superb – Colombia has a year-round tropical climate.
- Colombia's history and architecture date back centuries.
- The fresh produce is exceptional – as is the coffee.
- Colombia’s Barraquilla Carnival rivals the Rio Carnival for colour and excitement.
- Its cuisine is unique and delicious.
- The nightlife is legendary, especially in Cali.
Colombia has it all – a touch of the Caribbean complete with palm trees swinging in the breeze, Andean mountains to explore, adventure sports aplenty and more unique experiences than anyone could put on their bucket list. Let Thompsons Holidays put together a Colombia holiday package for you to enjoy a holiday of a lifetime.
Things to do in Colombia
Colombia’s diversity is what makes it such a charming travel destination. This lively country offers so many unique experiences and activities, and the varied landscapes, from desert to jungle, soaring mountains and glorious beaches, are all ideal locations for an unmatched holiday.
In Colombia, the choice of things to do is endless, especially if you love the outdoors. The shores will delight you with exceptional diving and snorkelling opportunities, fantastic surfing and thrilling cliff diving. White-water rafting, abseiling, bungee jumping, rock climbing, horse riding through the mountains, hiking through the valleys, trekking through the Amazon are also on the menu. And if you prefer quieter pursuits, there are plenty of those too, including magnificent museums and ancient ruins to explore… it’s all up to you.
Things to do in Colombia
- Enjoy whale watching on the Pacific coast.
- Visit the underground salt cathedral in Zipaquirá.
- Take the heritage train through Bogota for a unique perspective of Colombia’s capital.
- Discover the lost city (Ciudad Perdida) of Teyuna in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
- Go diving off the islands of Providencia or Santa Catalina, home to the world’s third-largest coral reef system.
- Explore Cartagena, one of Latin America’s most exquisite colonial cities.
- Take a jungle tour to explore the Amazon Basin.
- Search for pirate treasure on a Caribbean island.
- See extraordinary 3,000-year-old statues in San Augustín.
- Discover Colombia’s famous Coffee Zone and sample coffees en route.
- Stay in the beautiful ‘City of Eternal Spring’, Medellin.
- Climb inside the Totumo Mud Volcano.
No matter what you decide to do in Colombia, it will be exciting, exotic and enthralling. A bucket-list location, Colombia offers a choice of holiday packages to suit every traveller, from families and friends to adrenaline junkies – and everyone in between. Discover Colombia’s magic with Thompsons Holidays on an excellent adventure.
Know before you go...
- The best time to visit Colombia is December to March, in the dry (summer) season.
- Winter also has a dry season, from July to September.
- Low season months to visit: November, February and March.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Santa Cruz: 15 hours, 12 minutes with one stopover.
- There are few regular flights from South Africa to Colombia.
- South African passport holders do require a visa to enter Colombia. These are available through the Colombian Consulate in South Africa.
- Passports must be valid for 6 months after departure from Colombia.
- Colombia is 7 hours behind South Africa.
- The official currency is the Colombian Peso (COP).
- Unlike many other South American countries, US Dollars are not accepted in Colombia.
- Credit cards are widely accepted & ATMs are prevalent.
- Tipping is not customary in Colombia.
- The official language is Spanish.
- English is only spoken in certain areas.
- Catholicism is the main religion in Colombia.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- It is not safe to drink tap water in Columbia. Bottled water is readily available. Make sure that the top is screwed on tight when you purchase it.
- Many public restrooms charge a small fee for use, so keep change on hand for this.
- Smoking is not permitted in public areas such as restaurants, bars and indoor work places as well as on public transport. Airports offer designated smoking rooms.
- Yellow fever vaccinations are required - please check with your travel clinic regarding other vaccinations before you go.
What must I pack?
- Lightweight clothing in summer, layerable clothing for winter.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Transport within Bolivia revolves around taxis and buses.
- Towns in outlying areas may have less sophisticated transport infrastructure – it depends where you are going.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Instead of using plastic bags, take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!