Daily Travel Costs in Colombia on a Shoestring Budget
US$30 | 90,000 Colombian Peso
Colombian falls into the category of average South American country in terms of costs. It’s overall perhaps a fraction more expensive than neighbours Ecuador and Peru but compared to our Brazil backpacking budget, you aren’t spending as much and it has got cheaper in recent years thanks to the depreciation of its currency in comparison to the US Dollar, which is used in Ecuador.
The cost of eating and drinking out and most day-time activities are actually pretty similar but what makes Colombia a bit more expensive than its neighbour is its size and the difficulty in getting around it due to its mountainous nature. You’ll need to spend several days on a bus to get from the North Coast to one of its Southern borders and as such are likely to end up spending pushing $200 on transport alone during your time in Colombia. Providing you don’t rush through the country at whirlwind speed, you can get by on around $30/day on average with days where you aren’t travelling to a new town, likely to cost significantly less.
See where Colombia ranks on our World Budget Travel Table.
More Comfortable Colombia Backpacker Budget
US$45 | 135,000 Colombian Peso
If time is of the essence for you then taking a few flights, is the only way to really get to see the best of Colombia in less than a few weeks to a month. With a slightly increased budget, you can take advantage of this and although it’s a shame to miss out on some of the scenery, you will save hours and sometimes days by taking the aerial route. Even if you’re not in a particular rush, bus travel in South America can get tiresome at times and Colombia does have some of the best budget airline options. On $45/day you can afford to fly rather than take the bus for the longer journeys although some advanced booking is advisable in order to secure the better fares.
Alternatively instead of spending your extra $15 on flights, you could upgrade your accommodation from hostel dorm to a decent private room and have money left over for meals and nights out in better restaurants and bars.
Sample Prices in Colombia
Bus from Bogota to Salento (around 8 hours) – around $20
Flight from Bogota to Medellin (1 hour) – from $25 plus baggage when booked in advance with Viva Colombia
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – $3
0.5 litre local beer at a bar or restaurant – $1
Dorm bed in Bogota – from $6/night
Private double or twin room in Cartagena – from $16/night
Tour of a coffee plantation in Salento – $5
These prices are as of December 2016.
Compare Colombia prices to the cost of travel in Peru.
Currency – Colombian Peso
£1 = 3778 COP
€1 = 3183 COP
US$1 = 3003 COP
(All exchange rates are correct as of December 2016)
Unlike neighbours Ecuador and Panama, the US Dollar is very rarely accepted so you will need Pesos.
Travel insurance is highly advisable. We suggest using World Nomads, who are experts in providing cover for backpackers.
Share your Travel Costs!
If you’ve been to Colombia recently, help your fellow travellers out by sharing your typical daily costs in the comments section below 😉
This article was published in December 2016.
Get our Backpackers Guide to South America 2017-2018 for a full overview of budget travel in the region.