This page looks at the estimated cost of travel in Colombia. Read on for our suggested shoestring and more comfortable Colombia backpacking budget. We also have some sample prices and info on how to pay for things in this colourful South American country.
Colombia Cost of Travel in 2023
Shoestring Backpacker Budget
- 140,000 Colombian Pesos per day (US$30)
Colombia falls into the category of a typical South American country with average travel costs of around $30 per day for budget-minded backpackers. It’s overall perhaps a fraction more expensive than neighbours Ecuador and Peru but compared to a Brazil backpacking budget, you aren’t going to be spending anywhere near as much.
The cost of eating and drinking out and most day-time activities are low in Colombia. Local restaurants are very affordable and most have special lunch “menu del dia” offerings that are usually great value for money. You can find dorm beds for $6-10 per night in most places so accommodation shouldn’t take up a huge portion of your budget either.
You will need to spend several days on a bus to get from the North Coast to one of its Southern borders though. As such, you may end up spending $150-200 on transport during your time in Colombia, although it’ll depend on the exact routes you take. Provided you don’t rush through the country at whirlwind speed, you should be able to get by on around $30/day overall if you spend around a month in Colombia and move to a new destination every two or three days.
More Comfortable Colombia Backpacking Budget
- 210,000 Chilean Pesos per day (US$45)
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 significantly less than 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 in the region. 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 and you’ll need to factor in any baggage fees.
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. On this sort of budget, you could also instead opt for a big organised trek at some point, like the one to the Lost City, rated as perhaps the best in the whole continent.
How much are things in Colombia?
|Flight from Bogota to Medellin (1 hour)||From $25 + Baggage Fees|
|Bus from Bogota to Salento (approx 9 hours via Pereira)||$16.50|
|Meal in an affordable local restaurant||$2.50-4|
|Local beer in bar/restaurant||$1|
|Dorm bed in a hostel||From $6/night|
|Budget private room||From $10/night|
|Tour of a coffee plantation in Salento||$6-20 (basic to premium)|
|Travel insurance for backpacking Colombia||Get a quick quote from SafetyWing (from $45 depending on your age)|
Prices in Colombia are fairly typical of average backpacking costs in South America, with food and accommodation costs low when compared to the cost of travel in Chile or other more expensive countries such as Brazil and Uruguay.
There are options to cut costs further though. To have a more rewarding and perhaps more productive trip whilst saving a bit of money, you can do some volunteering work in Colombia to support your travels. Signing up to join Worldpackers (includes $10 discount) may be worth doing before you leave home for South America. It will give you access to a host of possible work exchanges (197 opportunities in Colombia as of March 2023).
These vary from hostel work to teaching placements and plenty of others. You won’t get paid but you will generally be rewarded with free accommodation and food cutting your travel costs down. Find out more about travel with Worldpackers here.
Currency – Colombian Peso
£1 = 5750 COP
€1 = 5050 COP
US$1 = 4680 COP
These exchange rates are accurate as of March 2023. The Colombian Peso has lost value against most major currencies over the past five years making it a cheaper destination for visitors. Unlike neighbours Ecuador and Panama, US Dollars aren’t widely accepted here. There may be situations where Euros or Dollar payments are possible but it’s genuinely better to use the local currency.
This Colombia backpacking budget was last updated in March 2023.