Colombia Independent Travel Tips

Colombia is still trying to shake its image as a dangerous no-go destination, but it’s far safer than most people think. Most travellers find it a safe, easy, and most importantly, super fun destination. Here are Colombia independent travel tips…


Colombia Independent Travel Tips


Different bus companies offer different prices, so shop around. Prices can be bargained down if you (politely) ask for a discount. And don’t believe them if they try to hurry you into buying a ticket, saying the bus is just about to leave- this is usually just to stop you from shopping around.


Viva Colombia offer flights that are even cheaper than some long distance buses (though be warned they offer a very limited baggage allowance, and excess baggage fees can really add up).


A menu del dia is not only a great meal deal, but also a great way to try some local food. These are set meals consisting of some combination of meat, rice, beans, plantain, and salad, and cost as little as $2. Veggie options are available, too (read some veggie travel tips for Colombia here).


Giant palm trees in Salento- Colombia independent travel

The giant palm trees of Salento


Though Colombia is far safer than many people think, there are still plenty of areas where it’s not safe to walk, especially alone. Ask the staff at your hostel for a safe route, and always take taxis after dark.


Colombia is incredibly cheap, and you can get by here on around £20/ $30 per month. Click here for a budget overview.


Colombia is one of the cheapest places in the world to take a scuba diving course (if you’ve been following Ailish in Wonderland, you’ll know how much I loved learning to dive!). Courses take place in Taganga, and they don’t need to be booked far in advance- just show up the day before to sign up. Shop around to find a deal that suits you, and check out my guide to booking a diving course in Taganga.


Fully qualified open water divers!

Fully qualified open water divers!

It’s not possible to pass from Colombia to Panama by land. While flying is an option, many travellers opt to enter Panama via a boat tour of the San Blas islands. While a speedboat is cheaper and quicker, it’s far less comfortable than a sailboat. The sailboat tour takes 4-5 days, and costs between $400- 600. The San Blas islands are incredible to visit, and are well worth the trip. We went with Blue Sailing, and had an amazing time!


Colombia is known for its simple accent-less Spanish, and is a good place to take lessons. However, generally speaking, people here tend to speak in long and fast speeches, and assume a good level of understanding on behalf of the listener.


Colombia is a microcosm of everything that South America has to offer- hiking, beaches, diving, jungle, dancing, markets, and nightlife. It may seem overwhelming to try and take in everything. But a month here should give you enough time to take in a little bit of everything.


Guatape view from the air- Colombia independent travel



For the full collection of Ailish in Wonderland’s Colombia posts, click here!

Got any more Colombia independent travel tips? Be sure to let us know in the comments! 

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