This article outlines the estimated Colombia cost of travel. Read on for suggested shoestring and more comfortable backpacking budgets. We also have information about Colombia’s currency and how much stuff costs there.
How much should I budget for Colombia?
Colombia Travel Costs on a Shoestring Budget
US$30/day | 95,000 Colombian Peso
Colombia falls into the category of an 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 slightly cheaper over the past five years or so 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 of 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.
More Comfortable Colombia Backpacking Budget
US$50/day | 155,000 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 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.
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 trek, like the one to the Lost City, rated as perhaps the best in the whole continent.
Volunteer & Work Placements in Colombia
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 (currently 195 opportunities in Colombia).
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.
Colombia Cost of Travel – How expensive is it?
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
Compare Colombia prices to the cost of travel in Chile.
Note, these prices were last checked in 2016. Everything else on this page was updated in early 2019.
Currency – Colombian Peso
£1 = 4028 COP
€1 = 3573 COP
US$1 = 3131 COP
(All exchange rates are correct as of January 2019)
Unlike neighbours Ecuador and Panama, the US Dollar is very rarely accepted so you will need Pesos.
This page was last updated in January 2019.