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Cost of Travel in Colombia

The commonly used 50,000 Mil (thousand) and 20,000 Mil Colombian Peso bills.

Wondering about the cost of travel in Colombia? Look no further; we've got you covered.

In this guide, we'll break down the cost of travel in Colombia, from accommodation to food and nightlife, and help you choose the Colombia budget that fits your travel style! 

The comparatively low cost of travel in Colombia has helped make it a popular South American destination in recent years.

Introduction to Colombia Travel Costs

Most ATMs accept international checking and credit cards, though the maximum withdrawal allowed will vary between 300,000  to 720,000 COP.

ATMs usually allow withdrawals in 10,000 COP increments, and most will dispense a mixture of 50,000, 20,000, and 10,000 COP bills.

Colombia uses the Colombian Peso (COP). Exchange rate (July 2019): $1 = 3,207 COP

Boarding a Viva Air Colombia flight (photo: Dave Lee)
Boarding a Viva Air Colombia flight

Cost of Transportation

The cost of travel in Colombia is on par with other Latin American countries.

Colombian cities, pueblos, and significant points of interest are connected by an extensive network of bus and air routes.

Within the cities, taxis and buses can take you everywhere. Share jeeps and moto-rickshaws are available in the pueblos.

Ground Transport Prices

  • City buses: $0.75 – $1 (2,000 – 3,200 COP)
  • City taxi (metered, average distance): $2.30 – $6 (7,000 – 19,000 COP)
  • Medellin metro: $1 (3,000 COP)
  • Regional (inter-city) buses: $6  – $11 (19,000 – 35,000 COP) for up to a few hours. $45 (144,000 COP) to go 8-12 hours between major cities like Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Cartagena, and Santa Marta

Domestic Flights

Between Avianca, Viva Air, and Copa Airlines, you can fly just about anywhere within Colombia, as well as fly to/from the USA and neighboring countries in Latin America.

Economy tickets for flights between major cities within Colombia can often be purchased on short notice for as little as $55 (176,000 COP).

We use Skyscanner to find the cheapest deals. Pro tip: use the “show whole month” feature to find the cheapest day to travel.

Here are some sample prices:

International Flights

More and more carriers fly international routes to/from Colombia, including JetBlue (Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin) and Spirit Air (Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena).

Again, check prices on Skyscanner. Here are some example prices:

Technically, you're required to have an onward or return ticket to enter Colombia; however, it's more likely that the airline from your departure airport will be the one to verify this before you leave. Enforcement varies by airline.

Flights departing Colombia for international destinations tend to be more expensive.

Download the Skyscanner App to easily find all the great deals in Colombia and beyond – for iOS, click here, or Android, click here.

Costeno Beach Hostal
Costeno Beach Hostal on the Caribbean coast

Cost of Accommodation

Accommodations in Colombia range from cheap hostel dorm beds to 5-star luxury hotels.

In the middle, there's a wide range of budget hotels and short-term room and apartment rentals for those who prefer to stay in one spot for a few weeks or months.

In the small pueblos, room rates are often higher on the weekends to take advantage of the Colombians visiting from the bigger cities.

For a complete list of Colombia hostels, B&Bs, and hotels, click here.

Nightly Rates

  • Hostel dorm beds: $6 – $14 (19,000 – 45,000 COP)
  • Hostel private rooms (based on double occupancy): $11 – $44 (35,000 – 141,000 COP)
  • Budget hotel rooms: $11+ (35,000+ COP)

Compare prices on Hostelworld or Hotels Combined.

How To Find the Best Accommodation Deals in Colombia

All the mainstream accommodation search sites (Booking.com, Agoda, Hostelworld, etc.) have plenty of accommodation options in Colombia. However, we'd recommend starting with Hotels Combined.

Hotels Combined is a meta-aggregator. It searches booking sites to find the best price and then connects you to that site to book directly with that search site.

It's a perfect way to compare all the major booking sites at once.

It doesn't include Hostelworld, so you'll need to compare that site separately. But in many cases, we've found cheaper deals on Hotels Combined.

Plaza Bolivar - Bogota
Plaza Bolivar in Bogota

Sample Accommodation Budget in Colombia

We've priced out three different budgets based on a 14-day sample itinerary to help you figure out the cost of travel in Colombia.

The prices listed are for July and will vary throughout the year.

  • 3 Nights in Bogota
  • 2 Nights in San Gil
  • 3 Nights in Cartagena
  • 3 Nights in Medellin
  • 2 nights in Manizales
  • 1 Night Bogota (before returning home)

We priced the itinerary out with three different travel styles in mind: “On the Cheap” (this consists of dorms beds & as cheap as possible), “Upscale Budget” (dorm rooms in 'boutique' style hostels), “Affordable Flashpacker” (this will include private rooms in boutique and ‘higher end' hostels, and some 3-star hotels).

We've used Hotels Combined to find the best hostels and hotels in Colombia.

Barichara
Barichara

On The Cheap

3 Nights Bogota ($21 to $27) — About $7 (23,000 COP) per bunk per night at Musicology Hostel (rated 7.6/10) to $9 (29,000 COP) per bunk per night at Swiss Hostal Martinik (8.1/10 on Hostelworld) – both hostels are located in Barrio La Candelaria, the historical center.

2 Nights San Gil ($12) — This is a great little town close to picturesque Barichara. It's known for its water sports on the river.

A cheap and cheerful stay can be had for $6 (19,000 COP) per night at Bacaregua Hostal (rated 10/10).

3 Nights Cartagena ($27 to $30) — Cartagena is a trendy destination for Colombians and travelers, so expect prices to be higher here than in other cities.

Pachamama Hostel (rated 8.0/10) about $10 (32,000 COP) per bunk per night, or Mi Llave (rated 7.5/10) about $9 (28,900 COP) per bunk per night  – both are very close to each other in the old town where the action is, and about a 15-minute walk to the castle.

3 Nights Medellin ($21 to $24) — There are a few relatively cheap places like in Medellin for about $7 (22,000 COP) per bunk, per night.

But for a bit more, a place like Waypoint Hostel (rated 9.3/10) for $8 (26,000 COP) per bunk per night would be a good bet too.

2 Nights in Manizales ($18 to $20) — Spend some time in the coffee region! Most of the hostels in Manizales are reviewed quite highly, Mountain Hostel (rated 8.0/10) for about $10 (32,000 COP) per bunk per night or Casa Blanca (rated 9.0/10) for $9 (28,900 COP) per bunk per night.

1 Night Bogota ($11) — Obviously, you could stay in the same place as the start, but if you have an early flight and prefer to be closer to the airport, Violeta Hostel (rated 7.8/10)  is the closest — about a 15-minute drive.

It looks peaceful and cozy, and pretty much all negative comments are related to distance from sightseeing. But for getting to the airport, it's fine. About $11 (36,000 COP) per bunk per night.

Compare on Hostelworld

Total ‘On the Cheap' Accommodation Costs for 2 Weeks in Colombia: $110 to $124

See also: The Best Hostels in Colombia

Private room with AC at a hostel in the Getsemani neighborhood of Cartagena
Private room with AC at a hostel in the Getsemani neighborhood of Cartagena

Upscale Budget

3 Nights Bogota ($33 to $42) — From about $11 (36,000 COP) per bunk per night at both El Pit Hostel (9.3/10 on Hostelworld) and 12:12 Hostel (rated 9.0/10).

Both have fantastic reviews, are well located, and are a favorite among backpackers.

For something a bit more unique, but also a calm and peaceful ‘non-party hostel,' check out Fernweh Photography Hostel (9.3/10 on Hostelworld) from $14 (46,000 COP) per bunk per night.

2 Nights San Gil ($16.00) — About $8 (27,000 COP) per bed, per night at SamS VIP Hostel (rated 9.1/10) or Open House Hostel (rated 9.2/10) from about $8 per bunk, per night, as well which looks like it has a laid back vibe.

3 Nights Cartagena ($45) — Cartagena is a lively Caribbean coastal city. Check out Hostel Papaya Getsemani (rated 8.4/10) $15 (49,000 COP) per bunk per night, or Be Lounge (9.1/10 on Hostelworld) also from about $15 per bed per night. Both are well located in the old town.

3 Nights Medellin ($45 to $54)Los Patios Hostal Boutique (9.6/10 on Hostelworld) from $15 (49,000 COP) bunk, per night, or Hostel Rango Boutique (9.6/10 on Hostelworld) for $18 (58,000 COP) per bed, per night – both nicely located in the popular Poblado area.

2 Nights in Manizales ($18 to $20) — Spend some time in the coffee region! Most of the hostels in Manizales rate highly.

Try Hostal Kaleidoscopio (rated 9.0/10) for $9 (28,000 COP) per bunk, per night, or stay on a coffee farm at Hacienda Venecia (9.7/10 on Hostelworld) for about $10 (32,000 COP) per bed per night.

However, you might want to check Hostelworld for bunk rates as they only show room rates on Hotels Combined.

1 Night Bogota ($25) — If you're going to stay close to the airport for an early flight, try Hotel Parque De Normandia.

It gets decent-ish reviews on Trip Advisor from travelers staying a night to be close to the airport. From $25 (80,000 COP) per room, per night on Hotels Combined.

Compare on Hostelworld

Total ‘Upscale Budget' Accommodation Costs for 2 Weeks in Colombia: $182 to $202

Medellin, Colombia
The Poblado district in Medellin

Affordable Flashpacker

3 Nights Bogota ($87 to $105) — BoGo Hostel (9.0 on Hostelworld) has a great-looking vibe, and it's in the historical center.

A private room with a shared bath costs $29 (93,000 COP) per room per night.

Or, if you can stretch your budget, private rooms at Arche Noah Guesthouse (rated 8.8/10) look fantastic.

Prices are getting into the hotel range at $35 (112,000 COP) per night, per room for a private with an ensuite, but looks super comfortable.

2 Nights San Gil ($24)Hostel Nirvana San Gil (rated 9.3/10 on Hostelworld) has a resort feel, with a pool and a cocktail bar.

It's also situated right on the river making for a perfect, peaceful hammock nap. It has private rooms with an ensuite for $24.00 per room per night.

3 Nights Cartagena ($105 to $150)Casa Pedro Romero (9.3/10 on Hostelworld) has private rooms with private bathrooms from $35 (112,000 COP) per room, per night, or a nice and well located 3-star like Hotel San Filipe (8.2/10 on Booking.com) can be had for less than $50 (160,000 COP) per night.

3 Nights Medellin ($108 – $120)Black Sheep Hostel (9.0 on Hostelworld) is one of the most popular hostels in the city, not a boutique per se, but worth mentioning.

They have both private and double privates with shared bathrooms or ensuites, a double private with private bathrooms go for $40 (128,000 COP) per room per night.

GeoHostel (9.0 on Booking.com) is also worth a look, part hostel and part 3-star hotel with a double room for $36 (115,000 COP) per night.

2 Nights in Manizales ($92)Hotel Regine's Manizales gets excellent reviews (9.2 on Booking.com), and rooms go for about $46 (148,000 COP) per night and include breakfast.

1 Night Bogota ($35) Check out Hotel Casa Modelia, a quirky and basic but very well-liked hotel just a few minutes drive to the airport.

Breakfast is included, and they do have an airport shuttle available for a fee if you prefer, about $35 (112,000 COP) for a double room (9.7 on Booking.com).

Compare on Hostelworld

Total ‘Flashpacker' Accommodation Costs for 2 Weeks in Colombia: $451 to $526

Internet

Most (if not all) hostels have broadband internet access and Wi-Fi, which is common in Colombia.

Wi-Fi quality can vary depending on the quality and quantity of routers, as well as their placement.

Overall, Colombia is well connected and an excellent place to work if you're a location-independent professional.

Hot chocolate and cheese at La Puerta Falsa
Hot chocolate and cheese and a tamale at La Puerta Falsa (Bogota)

Cost of Food

Typical Colombian food is a bargain when bought from street vendors or regular restaurants (outside a city's Zona Rosa or a pueblo's central plaza, where prices are higher due to tourism).

Street Food

  • Arepa con queso, boiled/salted potatoes, freshly sliced mango: $1 (3,200 COP)
  • Full meals including meat (chicken, carne) with a small side (potatoes, French fries, small arepa), hot dogs, hamburgers: $3 – $6 (10,000 – 17,000 COP)

Restaurants

  • Typical set lunch (soup, meat, side of potatoes, rice or beans) with fresh fruit juice: $3 – $8 (10,000 – 30,000 COP)
  • Dinner (appetizer, entree) at a restaurant in a touristy area (or Zona Rosa): $11 – $17 (35,000 – 54,000 COP)

600-milliliter bottle of water: $0.75 (2,500 COP)

Bogota Food Tour

Bogotá Food Tour: 2.5-Hour Small-Group Walking Tour – Learn about the history of the regional foods while exploring the historic center of Bogota.

Over two and a half hours and six different food and beverage tastings, you will understand how the fusion of indigenous and Spanish cuisine has shaped the cultural landscape. Learn More

See also: 10 Best Restaurants in Bogotá

Medellín Food Tour

Medellín Traditional Food Tour – A private driver and guide takes you on a 3-hour tour to the surrounding communities of Sabaneta and Envigado to try regional foods.

Unlimited samples plus pick up and drop off from your hotel, hostel, or apartment are included. Learn More

See also: 10 Best Restaurants in Medellín

Dancers in Dulce Jesus Mio
Dancers in Dulce Jesus Mio (Medellin)

Cost of Drinking / Going Out

The cheapest way to enjoy Colombia's nightlife is to purchase beer, rum, or Aguardiente from any number of small convenience stores and drink in the parks.

Drinking in public is legal unless a sign says otherwise.

Convenience Store

  • Domestic beer: $1 (3,200 COP)
  • 1/2 bottle Aguardiente: $8 (25,000 COP)

Bar or Discoteca

  • Domestic beer: $1 – $7 (3,000 – 23,000 COP)
  • 1/2 bottle Aguardiente: $19 (63,000 COP)
  • Caipirinhas (and other cocktails): $4 – $11 (13,000 – 35,000 COP)
Paragliding in Medellin
Paragliding in Medellin

Cost of Activities & Attractions

There's a wide range of things to do in Colombia, and most foreigners will appreciate the low prices, from museums to adventure sports.

  • Gold Museum in Bogota: $1.50 (5,000 COP) and free on Sundays
  • Salsa dancing lesson in Cali (1-hour private): $14 (45,000 COP)
  • Paragliding in Medellin (10-15 minute flight): $31 (99,000 COP)
  • Ciudad Perdida trek (4, 5, 6 or 7 days): $275 (882,000 COP) to $630 (2 million COP)
  • PADI open water diving certification in Taganga: $180 (577,000 COP)

Paragliding over the Andes in Medellin

Paragliding the Andes: 4-Hour Activity from Medellín – No experience required!

Get picked up from your accommodation and head to San Felix, where a certified instructor will take you on a 30-minute flight. It's an unforgettable experience. Learn More

Scuba Diving Day Trip from Cartagena

Full-Day Scuba Diving Trip from Cartagena – Dive in the crystal clear blue Caribbean waters off the Rosario Islands.

The trip includes all necessary equipment, a practice dive, and an open water dive with a PADI instructor.

Lunch and the use of hotel facilities is included during breaks. Transfer to and from Cartagena is also included. Learn More

Overall Cost of Travel in Colombia

The cost of travel in Colombia is less than in Brazil but higher than in other South American countries like Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

Budgets will vary based on the amount of partying one does.

Daily Travel Budget: $35 – $55

Monthly Living Budget: $1,250


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The 138-page, all-original Medellín Travel Guide by David Lee is available for Kindle and PDF.

Medellin Travel Guide

Last Updated on September 26, 2021 by Dave Lee