Raquire Photo by Reg Natarajan via Flickr Creative Commons

Travelers preparing to visit Colombia are advised to check visa requirements with the Colombian embassy or consulate in their home country before departing. Visas are not necessary for American citizens for stays less than 60 days with proof of an onward or return ticket. Residents of Britain, Canada and some European nations may also visit Colombia for vacation purposes visa-free.

Health and Safety

Poverty and a powerful drug trade have contributed to high levels of crime in Colombia, although things have been improving steadily in recent years. The main cities are considered fairly safe for travel, particularly Bogota, Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cartagena, Cucuta, and Medellin, although poorer suburbs and some downtown areas should still be avoided, particularly at night. Use common sense, avoid dressing too flashy and keep valuables out of sight. There have been cases of drink spiking so always guard your cup in cafes, restaurants and bars.

It is not considered a good idea to visit rural parts of the country due to an ongoing threat of kidnapping and extensive use of land mines by guerrilla groups. Visitors should always check the latest travel warnings in your home country before a visit to Colombia.

Aside from the cities of Bogotá, Manizales, Medellin, and Pereira, which have excellent tap water, stick to bottled water and avoid ice. A Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate may be required at the airport or for entry into other countries (including when flying back home) so make sure to get proper documentation ahead of time. Other recommended immunizations include hepatitis A and B and typhoid. Altitude sickness is a risk in parts of Colombia which are over 8,200 feet above sea level, including Bogota. Visitors should use bug spray to guard against insect borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, particularly outside the major cities.

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