How to get to Colombia

By | May 4, 2022


Colombia is no longer just a country for the daring; it has emerged as one of South America’s trendiest travel destinations, despite decades of unrest. Nature in abundance – pristine mountains, coast and jungle – as well as breathtaking archaeological sites and a vibrant culture make Colombia absolutely worth seeing. Since the signing of the peace treaty between the government and the FARC in 2016, civil security in Colombia has improved, at least in some areas. This is one reason why more and more tourists are discovering this beautiful country. Among the natural attractions of Colombia are the mountain ranges of the Andes, the Amazon basin, vast plains and the Caribbean coast with its azure waters. Among the man-made wonders of Colombia are lost cities, beautiful pre-Columbian sculptures and neat, colorful colonial houses. Colombians are extremely welcoming and interested in visitors. In 2019, Colombia celebrated 200 years of independence. Colombians are extremely welcoming and interested in visitors. In 2019, Colombia celebrated 200 years of independence. Colombians are extremely welcoming and interested in visitors. In 2019, Colombia celebrated 200 years of independence. See other countries in South America on ehistorylib.

Getting there

Arriving by plane

Avianca (AV), Colombia’s national airline, offers non-stop flights from Frankfurt/M. and Munich to Bogotá. Lufthansa (LH) connects Frankfurt/M. also non-stop with Bogotá, Iberia (IB) with a stopover in Madrid. Swiss (LX) flies in cooperation with Avianca (AV) from Zurich via Barcelona to Bogotá; Air France (AF) with stopover in Paris. Austrian Airlines (OS) offers flight connections to Bogotá from Vienna via Frankfurt/M. in cooperation with Lufthansa (LH) and via Munich in cooperation with Avianca (AV). Air Europa (UX) and Iberia (IB) fly non-stop from Madrid to Medellin.

Flight times

Munich – Bogotá: 12 hours; Madrid – Medellin: 10 hrs 10 mins (non-stop); Zurich – Bogotá: 13 hrs 35 mins; Vienna – Bogotá: 13 hours 45 minutes (with stopover).

Departure fee

The charges are included in the fare. For all travelers staying longer than 2 months, the departure tax is US$19, which must be paid in cash.

Arrival by car

Entry by car is possible from Ecuador between Tulcan and Ipiales. From Venezuela to Ecuador there is a border crossing at Maicao. It is highly recommended to travel in Colombia only during the day and not overland. However, travelers should check with their embassy for road safety information. Long-distance bus: Ormeño offers bus connections from Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru to Colombia. Toll: The main routes and often secondary routes are subject to tolls; payment is made at toll stations. Documents: The national driving license is sufficient; In practice, however, it is advisable to also take your international driver’s license with you.

Arrival by train

There are no international rail connections in Colombia.

Arrival by ship

Colombia’s main ports are Cartagena, Baranquilla, Santa Marta and Turnaco. Buenaventura is the main port on the Pacific coast. Leticia is the port on the upper Amazon from where you can reach Brazil or Peru. Passengers can travel to Venezuela, Panama or Ecuador on cargo ships from Barranquilla, Cartagena and Buenaventura.

Cruise ships

Colombia is served by many cruise lines from the US, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. Cunard and Hapag Lloyd Cruises call at the port of Cartagena on their cruises departing from Hamburg. Other cruises from European ports with a stopover in Colombia are offered by MSC, Phoenix, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, among others.


Traveling by plane

Domestic air traffic is operated by Avianca (AV), Satena (9N) and Viva Air (FC), among others. Flight connections between the cities and to the Caribbean coast are excellent. Helicopters can also be rented. The San Andrés and Providencia Islands are also served from major Colombian cities.

Traveling by car/bus

The Colombian road network is approximately 113,000 kilometers long; approx. 26,000 kilometers of it are paved. Santa Marta and Bogotá are connected to Barranquilla and Cartagena by a highway. Cartagena has roads leading to many major Colombian cities. On the Guajira Peninsula in north-eastern Colombia, roads are generally good except for the rainy season. The coastal towns and other inland towns are connected to the capital by expressways. Tolls: Tolls have to be paid on main and often secondary routes. Payment is made at toll stations. Gas stations are usually sufficiently available. Nevertheless, it is recommended to refuel early.

Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic


Condition of the roads

The main traffic routes are in good condition. Mountain roads, but also connecting roads between the cities are usually very curvy. Country roads are often poorly developed and can also end in slopes.

Car rental

There are numerous international and domestic car rental companies at the airports and in the cities. Drivers must be at least 21 years old and have held a driver’s license for at least 1 year.


Taxis are available from taxi ranks and are metered. Travelers should make sure that these are also switched on. In larger cities, Uber is a very safe alternative. Uber calculates the actual fare after the trip, and each trip is recorded.


Bicycles and scooters can be rented in the towns. Cycling is very popular, especially in Bogotá.


Bus companies such as Flota Magdalena, Bolivariano and Expreso Palmira regularly connect a variety of locations across the country. Long journey times are unavoidable due to the size of the country and the often winding roads.


Traffic regulations: – It is forbidden to use the phone while driving; – Alcohol limit: 0.0 ‰. Speed ​​limits: – 60 km/h in built-up areas; – single lane rural roads: 90 km/h; – multi-lane roads: 120 km/h.

Roadside Assistance

The ADAC partner club in Colombia is Touring y Automovil Club de Colombia (ACC), Bogotá, Tel. +57 (1) 678 44 84, 677 59 66.


The international driver’s license is not mandatory; it is nevertheless recommended to carry it with you in addition to your national driver’s license.

Note on travel by road

Travelers should refrain from cross-country and night drives and always lock the car doors from the inside when driving.

Traveling in the city

The Bogotá metropolitan area is served by trolleybuses and buses operated by TransMilenio, minibuses and a rack railway. Shared taxis (Buseta or Colectivo) connect Bogotá with surrounding cities and the airport. Bogotá’s regular yellow taxis are marked “servicio publico”. For safety reasons, travelers should not use any other and order taxis by phone if possible. The yellow taxis are all metered. The drivers hardly speak English. Doors should be locked from the inside while driving and windows should not be opened too far.

Locally on the way by train

There are few passenger trains. The main line runs between Bogotá and Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast, east of Barranquilla. Due to the large distances, it is advisable to use the plane. The Turistren is a historic steam train that carries tourists from Bogotá to Zipaquirá and Cajicá.

Traveling by ship

The Río Magdalena is Colombia’s main thoroughfare. Boats or paddle steamers can be hired for certain routes. From Leticia on the Peruvian border, sightseeing tours and excursions into the Amazon jungle can be booked with a large number of providers. The ferry company Conocemos Navegando connects the islands of San Andrés and Providencia several times a week with their catamarans (journey time: 3 hours 30 minutes).

How to get to Colombia