Colombia is mostly tropical and wet. It really has no dry season, but summer typically sees the most rainfall. Coastal lowlands have high temperatures and humidity all the time. Rainfall can average 10cm each year. The mountain areas are cooler and weather conditions vary depending on the altitude, the topography and the winds.
When to fly to Colombia
December through February is peak season, which is the dry season.
The weather is relatively good throughout the year so travelling at off-peak season can save money on prices and should still find warm temperatures.
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Getting around Colombia
Domestic flights are the most convenient and also the safest way to get around the country. There are services from a number of airlines; the biggest two are Avianca and SAM. Colombia has one of the best developed airline networks of all South American countries.
Be cautious with all other types of transport. There is no train service in the country, but there are various different types of bus and taxis that service all the main towns. Check the route you plan to travel before you set off and secure all your possessions.
For a bit of adventure, take a cargo boat along the Magdalena River. This is a slow way to travel, but offers views of the country you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.
Colombia insider information
- Before travelling anywhere in Colombia it is vital that you check the travel advice and warnings. Take extra special care of your possessions when travelling, avoid travelling at night if possible and always make sure that the route you plan to take has not been subject to attacks from bandits in recent months. Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance, which includes all types of theft.
- Bogota is a vibrant city, but one that can feel daunting to the tourist on arrival. To get orientated, head to the central Plaza Bolivar in the heart of the historical part of town. Named after Simon Bolivar, the square contains his statue, as well the Justice Palace, the National Capitol and the Primate Cathedral. Visit the sights, or just relax on one of the benches and feed the pigeons.
- The coastal walled city of Cartagena is more picturesque, with brightly painted buildings and numerous avenues and villas. The old city wall remains in place round most of the old town and you can walk along it. The views of the sea and the city are impressive. The modern part of the town, Bocagrande, has most of the hotels and also the beaches.
- The Ciudad Perdida in Sierra Nevada translates as the Lost City. It was built between the 11th and 14th centuries and discovered only in 1972. The city is made up of more than 150 terraces that have been carved into the mountainside. The city can only be accessed by a substantial trek (at least six days). The trek itself is tiring, but there are chances to stop along the way, admire the views and swim in the occasional waterfall.
- English is understood to some extent in most tourist regions, but speaking at least a little Spanish is essential. Learn basic greetings as a minimum for courtesy – as long as you are polite and friendly, everything else can be mimed if necessary. For travel outside tourist areas, Spanish is essential.