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What We Spent In Colombia


by Marnia Cornell



Colombia, the vibrant and diverse country located in South America, is a destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality. From the stunning Caribbean coast to the lush Amazon rainforest and the majestic Andes mountains, Colombia’s landscapes are an absolute treat for every traveler.


But before embarking on any adventure, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the expenses involved to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. In this article, we will delve into the various costs that travelers can expect when exploring Colombia, helping you to plan and budget accordingly.


It’s worth noting that the cost of traveling in Colombia can vary greatly depending on your travel style, preferences, and the season of your visit. However, by providing an overview of typical expenses, we aim to give you a general idea of what to expect and how to manage your finances effectively.


So, whether you’re a budget-conscious backpacker or a luxury-seeking adventurer, this comprehensive guide will provide valuable insights into the expenses you’re likely to encounter during your time in Colombia. From accommodation and transportation costs to food, activities, shopping, and miscellaneous expenses, we’ve got you covered.


By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how much you should budget for your Colombian adventure, allowing you to make the most of your trip and create unforgettable memories. Let’s dive in!


Accommodation Expenses

When it comes to accommodation in Colombia, there are options available to suit every budget and travel style. Whether you prefer the comfort of luxurious hotels, the vibrant atmosphere of hostels and guesthouses, or the authenticity of homestays and eco-lodges, Colombia has something to offer for everyone.


The cost of accommodation in Colombia varies depending on the city or region you’re staying in, as well as the level of comfort and amenities you require. In major cities like Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena, you can find a wide range of accommodations to choose from.


If you’re looking for budget-friendly options, hostels are a popular choice among backpackers and solo travelers. Prices typically range from $10 to $30 per night, depending on the location and facilities provided. Hostels usually offer dormitory-style rooms, but some also offer private rooms at a higher cost.


If you prefer a more comfortable and private experience, mid-range hotels and guesthouses are plentiful throughout the country. Prices for these accommodations can vary between $50 and $100 per night. These establishments offer a range of amenities such as private bathrooms, WiFi, and sometimes breakfast included.


For those seeking luxury and indulgence, Colombia boasts a selection of high-end resorts and boutique hotels. Prices for these accommodations can range from $150 to upwards of $500 per night, depending on the location and level of luxury.


It’s important to note that prices for accommodation in popular tourist destinations such as Cartagena or San Andres Island tend to be higher compared to more off-the-beaten-path locations. Additionally, prices may also increase during peak travel seasons, so it’s advisable to book in advance to secure the best rates.


To save on accommodation expenses, consider options like Airbnb or vacation rentals, especially if you’re traveling with a group or family. These can offer more affordable rates and the added benefit of having your own space and kitchen facilities.


Overall, Colombia offers a wide range of affordable and comfortable accommodation options. With proper research and planning, you can easily find a place that fits your budget and preferences, ensuring a pleasant stay throughout your Colombian adventure.


Transportation Costs

Getting around Colombia is relatively easy and offers a variety of transportation options to suit every traveler’s needs. From domestic flights to buses, taxis, and even boats, you’ll have no shortage of ways to navigate the country’s diverse landscapes.


If you’re traveling long distances, domestic flights can be a convenient and time-saving option. Colombia has several airlines that offer domestic flights between major cities like Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena. Prices for domestic flights can vary depending on the season and how far in advance you book, but on average, you can expect to pay between $50 and $150 per one-way ticket.


For shorter distances or those on a budget, buses are a popular mode of transportation in Colombia. The country has a well-developed bus system that connects cities and towns, offering both economy and luxury options. Economy buses are more budget-friendly, with prices ranging from $5 to $20, depending on the distance. Luxury buses, known as “coaches,” provide more comfort with amenities like reclining seats, onboard WiFi, and air conditioning. Prices for luxury buses can range from $20 to $50.


Within cities, taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber and Beat are widely available and convenient for getting around. Taxis in Colombia use meters, but it’s always a good idea to confirm the rate with the driver before starting your journey. Ride-hailing services offer upfront pricing, ensuring transparency and avoiding any potential language barriers. Taxis and ride-hailing services in Colombia are generally affordable, with starting fares ranging from $1 to $2, and additional charges based on distance.


If you prefer a more immersive and scenic experience, consider taking a boat or ferry ride, particularly along the Caribbean coast or the Amazon River. Prices for boat trips can vary depending on the route and duration, but expect to pay around $30 to $100 for a day trip or a few hours of exploration.


It’s important to keep in mind that transportation costs can add up, especially if you’re visiting multiple destinations within Colombia. To save on transportation expenses, consider purchasing transportation passes or tickets in advance, as they often offer discounts and unlimited travel for a certain period of time.


Overall, transportation costs in Colombia are relatively affordable, allowing you to explore the country at your own pace and convenience. By planning your routes and choosing the most suitable mode of transportation for each leg of your journey, you can optimize your budget and make the most of your Colombian adventure.


Food and Drinks Expenditure

One of the highlights of visiting Colombia is indulging in its diverse and delicious cuisine. From traditional dishes bursting with flavors to international delights, the country offers a wide range of culinary experiences to satisfy every palate.


The cost of food and drinks in Colombia can vary depending on where you choose to dine. In upscale restaurants and popular tourist areas, prices may be higher compared to local eateries or street food stalls. However, even in touristy areas, you can find affordable options if you’re willing to explore a bit.


If you’re looking to save money, sampling the local street food is a great way to experience authentic Colombian flavors on a budget. Street vendors and food stalls offer a variety of delicious snacks such as empanadas, arepas, and buñuelos, with prices ranging from $1 to $5 per item. These tasty treats are not only affordable but also a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture.


For a more substantial meal, local restaurants and “comidas corrientes” (daily set meals) are excellent options. These establishments offer a variety of traditional Colombian dishes like bandeja paisa, ajiaco, and sancocho, at affordable prices ranging from $5 to $10 per meal.


If you prefer international cuisine or want to treat yourself to a fine-dining experience, higher-end restaurants can be found in major cities and tourist hubs. Prices at these establishments can range from $15 to $50 or more, depending on the location and level of sophistication.


When it comes to drinks, Colombia is known for its delicious coffee, so don’t miss the opportunity to try a cup of freshly brewed java. Prices for a cup of coffee can range from $1 to $5, depending on the establishment and whether it’s a specialty coffee shop or a local cafe.


If you’re a fan of alcoholic beverages, Colombia offers a wide range of options. Local beers like Aguila, Club Colombia, and Poker are affordable and can cost around $2 to $4 per bottle in most places. Imported beers and craft beers can be pricier, ranging from $4 to $7 per bottle.


When it comes to budgeting for food and drinks in Colombia, it’s important to consider both your preferences and the location you’re visiting. Generally, you can expect to spend around $10 to $30 per day on meals and drinks, depending on your choices and dining habits.


Overall, Colombia’s culinary scene offers a delightful mix of flavors and experiences, catering to a range of budgets. Whether you’re dining on the street, in a local restaurant, or indulging in a lavish feast, you’re sure to be satisfied with the abundant and delicious cuisine that awaits.


Sightseeing and Activities

Colombia is a country brimming with captivating attractions and exciting activities to suit every traveler’s interests. From exploring ancient ruins and colonial cities to hiking through lush national parks and relaxing on pristine beaches, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this diverse nation.


The cost of sightseeing and activities in Colombia varies depending on the specific destination and the type of experience you’re seeking. Some attractions have entrance fees, while others are free or offer guided tours for an additional cost.


When visiting popular tourist sites such as the historic walled city of Cartagena or the awe-inspiring Lost City, you can expect to pay entrance fees ranging from $5 to $20 per person. These fees contribute to the maintenance and preservation of these cultural and natural sites.


For nature enthusiasts, Colombia’s national parks offer a wealth of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife spotting. Some national parks may charge an entrance fee, usually ranging from $5 to $10 per person.


If you’re interested in cultural experiences, attending local festivals or visiting museums and art galleries can provide insights into Colombia’s rich heritage. The cost of museum and gallery admissions varies, but on average, you can expect to pay around $3 to $10 per person.


Adventure seekers can indulge in thrilling activities such as paragliding in Medellin, white-water rafting in San Gil, or trekking in the Cocora Valley. Prices for these activities can range from $30 to $100 or more, depending on the duration and level of difficulty.


One budget-friendly way to explore Colombia’s cities and towns is by taking a walking tour. Many cities, including Bogota and Medellin, offer free or low-cost guided walking tours, allowing you to discover the highlights and hidden gems of each destination while learning about its history and culture.


As you plan your sightseeing and activities in Colombia, it’s advisable to budget an average of $20 to $50 per day, depending on the number and type of attractions you plan to visit.


Regardless of your interests, Colombia offers a wide array of sightseeing opportunities and activities that will leave you in awe of its natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture.


Shopping Expenses

Shopping in Colombia is a delightful experience, with a wide range of unique and locally made products to choose from. Whether you’re searching for traditional crafts, designer fashion, or delicious coffee, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your shopping desires.


Colombia is known for its talented artisans, and shopping for handmade crafts and traditional souvenirs is a must during your visit. Popular items include woven textiles, pottery, hammocks, and indigenous jewelry. Prices for these artisanal products can vary depending on the complexity of the design and the quality of materials used. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $100 for these unique and beautifully crafted items.


In cities like Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena, you’ll find a variety of shopping malls and boutiques offering international and local fashion brands. Prices for clothing, shoes, and accessories can range from affordable to high-end, depending on the brand and location.


If you’re a coffee enthusiast, Colombia is the perfect place to stock up on high-quality coffee beans. The country’s coffee plantations produce some of the world’s finest coffee, and you can purchase bags of freshly roasted and ground coffee to take home with you. Prices for coffee can vary depending on the brand and quality, but expect to pay around $5 to $15 for a 250-gram bag.


When shopping for groceries or daily necessities, you’ll find supermarkets and local markets in every city and town. These offer a wide range of products at reasonable prices. Prices for groceries, toiletries, and household items are generally comparable to prices in other parts of the world.


It’s important to note that bargaining is not common in most stores and markets in Colombia. However, if you’re shopping in local markets or dealing with street vendors, you may have some room to negotiate prices, especially when purchasing multiple items.


When budgeting for shopping expenses in Colombia, it’s advisable to set aside an average of $20 to $50 per day, depending on your shopping preferences and the items you intend to purchase.


Remember to check the customs regulations of your home country regarding bringing souvenirs, coffee, or other products back with you. There may be restrictions or additional fees for certain items.


Overall, shopping in Colombia is a fun and rewarding experience, offering a plethora of unique and high-quality products. Whether you’re looking to support local artisans, update your wardrobe, or bring home some delicious coffee, you’re sure to find something to treasure during your shopping adventures in Colombia.


Miscellaneous Expenses

When traveling to Colombia, it’s important to account for miscellaneous expenses that may arise during your trip. These expenses can include items or services that are not directly related to accommodation, transportation, food, drinks, sightseeing, or shopping, but are still essential for a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.


One of the key miscellaneous expenses to consider is travel insurance. While it’s not compulsory, having travel insurance is highly recommended to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or lost luggage. The cost of travel insurance depends on factors such as your age, the duration of your trip, and your coverage needs. It’s advisable to shop around and compare different insurance providers to find the best coverage at a reasonable price.


Another miscellaneous expense to consider is communication and internet services. Purchasing a local SIM card for your mobile phone will allow you to stay connected during your travels and access the internet. SIM cards can be purchased from mobile network providers or at electronic stores. Prices for SIM cards vary depending on the data and calling plans you choose.


If you plan on using public facilities, such as public restrooms or bathing facilities, be prepared to bring some coins as these facilities often require a small fee for use.


Tipping is not customary in Colombia, but it’s becoming more common in tourist areas. If you receive excellent service at a restaurant or from a tour guide, leaving a small tip is appreciated. A typical tip is around 5-10% of the bill or a few thousand pesos.


Lastly, it’s always a good idea to set aside some extra money for unexpected expenses or souvenirs that catch your eye. Having a buffer for these miscellaneous expenses will give you peace of mind and allow you to fully enjoy your time in Colombia.


When budgeting for miscellaneous expenses, it’s advisable to allocate around 10-15% of your total travel budget. This will give you some flexibility to handle unforeseen costs and make spur-of-the-moment decisions without feeling financially strained.


By planning for miscellaneous expenses and being aware of potential costs, you’ll ensure a more seamless and stress-free experience during your time in Colombia.


Overall Budget Summary

Now that we have explored the various expenses involved in traveling to Colombia, let’s summarize and provide a general overview of the overall budget you can expect for your trip.


Accommodation costs in Colombia can range from $10 to $500 per night, depending on your preference and the level of comfort you’re seeking. Budgeting an average of $30 to $70 per night for accommodation should provide you with a wide range of options to choose from.


Transportation costs in Colombia can vary depending on the distance traveled and the mode of transportation. Domestic flights can cost between $50 and $150 for one-way tickets, while buses and taxis within cities can range from $5 to $20 per journey. It’s advisable to set aside an average of $20 to $30 per day for transportation expenses.


When it comes to food and drinks, dining in local restaurants and enjoying street food can cost anywhere from $10 to $30 per day. For those looking to indulge in fine dining experiences or international cuisine, budgeting around $40 to $60 per day for meals and drinks should be sufficient.


Sightseeing and activity costs will depend on the specific attractions and experiences you choose. Entrance fees for popular tourist sites can range from $5 to $20, while guided tours and outdoor activities can cost between $30 and $100. Planning for an average of $20 to $50 per day for sightseeing and activities will cover a variety of options.


Shopping expenses will depend on your preferences and the items you wish to purchase. Budgeting around $20 to $50 per day for shopping will allow you to bring home unique souvenirs, fashionable clothing, or specialty coffee.


Lastly, miscellaneous expenses such as travel insurance, communication services, and unexpected costs should be budgeted at around 10-15% of your total travel budget.


Considering these estimates, a rough daily budget for traveling in Colombia could range from $70 to $200 per day on average, depending on your personal preferences and the level of comfort you desire. Please note that this is just a general guideline, and actual expenses can vary based on individual choices and circumstances.


It’s essential to plan and budget wisely to ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience in Colombia. By allocating your budget thoughtfully and considering your priorities, you’ll be able to make the most of this beautiful country and create lasting memories.



Traveling to Colombia is an adventure that offers a rich tapestry of experiences, from exploring historic cities and natural wonders to immersing yourself in the vibrant culture and cuisine. By understanding and budgeting for the various expenses involved, you can make the most of your trip and create unforgettable memories.


Accommodation costs in Colombia vary depending on your preferences and comfort level, but there are options available to suit every budget. Hostels, hotels, and vacation rentals offer a range of prices to choose from.


Transportation costs can be managed by considering domestic flights for long distances, buses for shorter trips, and taxis or ride-hailing services for getting around within cities. Planning your routes and considering transportation passes can help save money.


When it comes to food and drinks, Colombia offers a delightful array of options. Try local street food for an authentic experience and take advantage of the country’s delicious coffee. Consider dining at local restaurants and exploring markets for budget-friendly meals.


Sightseeing and activities offer a variety of experiences, from exploring historical sites to enjoying outdoor adventures. Be prepared to pay entrance fees for popular attractions and plan your activities accordingly for a well-rounded experience.


Shopping in Colombia is a treat, with a wide range of unique and locally made products to choose from. Support local artisans and explore markets and boutiques for souvenirs and fashion items.


Don’t forget to budget for miscellaneous expenses such as travel insurance, communication services, and unexpected costs. Setting aside a buffer for these expenses will give you peace of mind and flexibility during your trip.


By considering these expenses and budgeting wisely, you can create a realistic budget for your Colombian adventure. Remember that these estimates are general guidelines, and actual expenses may vary based on individual preferences, travel style, and the specific locations you visit.


Colombia offers a wealth of beauty, culture, and unforgettable experiences. By planning and managing your budget effectively, you can fully immerse yourself in this incredible country and create memories that will last a lifetime.