Official Global Travel Advisory
Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines. Many airlines are suspending flights. Many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving. Exit bans are becoming more frequent. New restrictions may be imposed with little warning. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted and you may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected. Canadian travellers should return to Canada as soon as possible.
Contact your airline or tour operator to determine options for cancelling or postponing your trip.
If you must travel despite our advisory:
- You may have difficulty returning or may be unable to return to Canada
- You may have difficulty obtaining essential products and services such as food, water, medication and medical services
- You may face strict movement restrictions and quarantines
- You may face penalties, fines, or imprisonment if you do not follow the restrictions and orders of local authorities
- Your insurance may not cover your travel or medical expenses.
- We may have limited capacity to offer you consular services
You should also:
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media to stay informed of the situation and of the available transportation options to return to Canada
- Regularly check your destination’s Travel Advice and Advisories and register with us for the latest updates
- Check our COVID-19 safety and security advice for Canadians abroad
- Get the Government of Canada’s latest updates on COVID-19
- Check the Pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice
- Ensure that you have sufficient finances and necessities, including medication, in case your travels are disrupted
- Check with your travel insurance provider to know more about their policies related to COVID-19 and find out if you are covered for medical treatment if you become infected with COVID-19 as well as for extended stays outside of Canada (more about travel insurance)
Financial help for Canadians affected by COVID-19 outside Canada
Canada has announced the creation of the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad to help Canadians return home. For more information on this program, visit COVID-19: Financial help for Canadians outside Canada.
Avoid all cruise ship travel due to COVID-19.
Colombia Register Travel insurance Destinations
Last updated: ET
Still valid: ET
Latest updates: Safety and security - Nation-wide quarantine; Assistance - essential consular services by phone and email only
COVID-19 – Global travel advisory
Effective date: March 13, 2020
Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.
This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel.
Colombia - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Colombia due to high levels of crime.
Border areas - Avoid all travel
Avoid all travel to the following border areas due to the risk of kidnapping and violent crime posed by the presence of illegal armed groups and other criminal organizations:
- within 50 km of the border with Venezuela, excluding the city of Cúcuta
- within 100 km of the border with Panama
- within 50 km of the border with Ecuador
- the Port of Tumaco
Regional advisory - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the following departments due to drug-related criminal activity by illegal armed groups and other criminal organizations:
- Antioquia, north of the city of Buriticá and west of highway 62-25B-60 along the borders with other departments, with exception of the cities of Jardín, Andes and Hispania
- Cauca, excluding the city of Popoyán
- Chocó, excluding the cities of Bahia Solano and Nuquí)
- Córdoba, south and west of the city of Montería
- Meta, excluding the city of Villavicencio and Caño Cristales
- Nariño, excluding the cities of Pasto and Ipiales
- Norte de Santander, excluding the city of Cúcuta Putumayo
- Valle del Cauca, (excluding the citiesofBurga, Cali and Palmira
If you intend to travel to the any of the above excluded areas, do so by air. Exercise a high degree of caution at all times.
Safety and security
Safety and security
The Government of Colombia has declared a nation-wide mandatory quarantine from March 25 to April 13, 2020. During this period, you must remain inside your home or accommodations unless you need to:
- go to work if your work is essential
- go to a financial institution
- buy essential goods, including food and medication
- seek health care
- care for minors, the elderly, the disabled, or other dependents
- leave due to an emergency
Only one family member is allowed in public to access basic services such as grocery shops and drugstores.
These measures could be reassessed and extended.
You could face fines or put in jail if you don’t comply. Comply with any restrictive measures and directives issued by local authorities such as self-isolation and quarantine orders.
Crime is a problem throughout the country. Purse snatching and armed robbery are most common. In some cases, extreme violence leading to death has occurred.
Muggings and assaults occur even in the safer areas of Colombia’s cities, and violence can accompany these incidents. Firearms and other weapons are common in Colombia. Armed robberies may occur on streets, in buses and in taxis.
- Avoid walking alone in isolated or deserted areas
- Avoid travelling alone after dark
- Dress down, avoid wearing jewellery or watches and keep cell phones, cameras and other electronic equipment out of sight
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
- Refrain from using your cell phone on the street
- Use ATMs inside banks, shopping malls and other public locations during business hours only
There is a risk of kidnapping for ransom in Colombia. Armed groups may target foreigners in all parts of the country, especially those who work for oil and mining companies. Business travellers and Canadian companies establishing operations in Colombia should take enhanced security measures to protect both personnel and company assets. Choose living accommodations that have significant security measures in place and modern office facilities.
“Express kidnappings” are frequent and often occur in affluent areas, as well as in tourist areas. In this scenario, criminals kidnap the victim from the street or a taxi and force her/him to withdraw funds from an ATM. The victim is sometimes held overnight so that a second withdrawal can be made the next day
- Avoid hailing taxis on the street
- If threatened by armed criminals, stay calm and don’t resist
Street crime, including pickpocketing, purse snatching, assault and robbery, is common, particularly in larger cities such as Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and Santa Marta.
- Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
- Leave your passport and other travel documents locked in your hotel safe.
- Always keep photocopies with you, as local authorities often conduct identity verifications.
- Stay in reputable accommodations with good security.
In the Bogotá metropolitan area, petty crime is common in:
- the Ciudad Bolivar neighbourhoods in the south of the city
- El Codito in the northeast, between calles (streets) 174 and 182 from Carrera 7 to Carrera 1, and in the northeastern hills from calle 182 to 200
- Kennedy and Soacha in the southwest
It is not recommended to go to these areas. You should also avoid the following neighbourhoods after dark:
- Monserrate and its surroundings
- the downtown area of La Candelaria and surrounding neighbourhoods
Remain cautious at all time in the Chapinero neighbourhood.
In Medellín, thefts occur frequently in the city centre and areas not covered by the metro system. Avoid the Metrocable.
In Cali, remain in the hotel zone and the south of the city. Violent crimes occur throughout Cali, even in wealthier neighbourhoods and shopping malls.
Santa Marta and the coastal region of La Guajira
There is a high rate of violent incidents in both the city of Santa Marta and the coastal region of La Guajira.
People travelling on the roads outside of Riohacha are often targeted.
Violence directed at tourists is much lower in resort areas such as Baru Peninsula, Cartagena, Providencia and San Andrés islands, Rosario Islands, the Amazon resorts near Leticia and the coffee-growing area known as Eje Cafetero (in Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda departments).
Common criminal strategies
Thieves posing as police officers have approached foreigners to verify their documents or foreign currency in the intend to rob them.
- Don’t hand over your money or documents unless you feel threatened, in which case you shouldn’t resist.
- If possible, request to provide your documents or currency at your hotel or other public place, to maximize your safety.
Illegal armed groups
The presence of illegal armed groups and terrorist groups pose a major risk to travellers. These groups carry out terrorist activities and finance themselves through extortions and kidnappings. Attacks often result in casualties.
Remain on well-travelled roads and paths when visiting remote locations
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times
There is a threat of domestic terrorism. Terrorist groups are active in some parts of the country - see the regional advisory. Attacks occur periodically. Targets may include:
- government buildings
- military and police installations and vehicles
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- infrastructure, including energy
Public places like tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, cafes, shopping malls, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners have also been targeted by these terrorist groups.
- Avoid any unattended package or parcel and bring these to the attention of police or security personnel.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Monitor local media for the latest updates.
Nationwide protests have taken place sporadically in several cities across the country since November 21, 2019. These could continue in the coming days.
Demonstrations could happen without notice and suddenly turn violent. Clashes between protesters and security forces have occurred, resulting in casualties. Police have used tear gas to disperse crowds.
Local authorities may impose curfews without notice. Roadblocks may be erected. The situation could significantly disrupt the following essential services:
- transportation, including air travel
- emergency services
- medical care
If you are currently in Colombia:
- avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- expect a heightened security presence
- follow the advice of local authorities
- contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation could affect your travel plans
Demonstrations and strikes take place regularly throughout Colombia, especially in large cities. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
It’s illegal for Canadians who enter Colombia for tourism purposes or on a visa to participate in local political activities, rallies or public demonstrations. Political involvement may result in your deportation.
Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Card overcharging also happen. Exercise caution in popular tourist areas, where scammers target tourists by charging them elevated prices for services, food and drink. Ask for a printed price list before ordering and check for any unauthorized transaction on your account statements.
Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum, cigarettes or anything else from new acquaintances or someone in the street. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
Scopolamine and other incapacitating drugs
Scopolamine is a drug that temporarily incapacitates unsuspecting victims, who become disoriented quickly and are vulnerable to crime.
Thieves may slip the drug into food and drinks or blow it into the face of the victim. They often work in teams, with women easing victims into a false sense of security and then stealing their valuables once they have been incapacitated. Dating applications and websites have been used by criminals to identify and lure foreigners travelling alone and looking to meet local women.
Incidents occur in nightclubs, bars and restaurants, on public transportation and in the streets. They occur most frequently in larger cities such as Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena and Medellín.
Use extreme caution when dealing with strangers offering pamphlets, requesting information or selling street wares.
Spiritual cleansing and ayahuasca ceremonies, offered by shamans and other individuals, involve consuming substances that can cause medical complications and severely impair cognitive and physical abilities. Exposure to these substances has led to serious illness, injury, assault and even the death of several tourists.
Ceremonies often take place in remote areas with no access to medical or mental health facilities or resources and limited communication with local authorities. Most of the time, the facilities lack basic first aid or emergency plans for those suffering from physical or psychological illness from these ceremonies. Ayahuasca ceremonies are not regulated and there is no way to assess the safety of any of the services, the operators or the shamans.
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
Road conditions and road safety can be poor throughout Colombia, including in Bogotá. Road signs are difficult to see. Drivers are extremely aggressive and reckless. They often drive at excessive speeds, are frequently distracted and ignore traffic controls.
Motorcycles are common and are often involved in traffic accidents.
Pedestrians don’t have the right of way, including at stop signs.
Driving conditions may be particularly hazardous during the rainy seasons.
Due to a break in the Pan-American Highway caused by dense, mountainous jungle known as the Darién Gap, it’s not possible to drive between Colombia and Panama. If you wish to take you vehicle to Panama, you must ship it from Cartagena to Colón, Panama.
Never hitchhike in Colombia.
When travelling by car in Colombia:
- always place all belongings under your seat
- keep your doors locked and windows closed at all times
- carry a cell phone
- park your car in a guarded parking lot when in a city
Unauthorized roadblocks and bandits pose a threat. Undertake any road travel during the daytime and use main roads only. Local authorities may deny you entry to certain areas due to emerging security threats. Military checkpoints outside cities are common.
Labour strikes by truck drivers and agricultural workers occur in Colombia. Associated roadblocks on major transit routes may cause significant travel disruptions.
If you’re planning to travel by land in Colombia:
- dial 767 from your cell phone to receive advice on current road closures from the Colombian Highway Police information line (in Spanish)
- consult local media
- follow the instructions of local authorities.
Public transportation isn’t safe in Colombia.
City and rural buses are frequent targets for theft. Armed groups frequently stop and rob rural buses.
If taking an overnight bus, keep your belongings close to you, not on the floor or in storage compartments, as they could be stolen while you sleep.
Express kidnappings and assaults often occur in unlicensed taxis.
- Avoid hailing taxis on the street
- Use only reputable taxi companies through establishments such as hotels or ride-hailing apps
- Booked your ride in advance when possible
If you have no choice but to hail a taxi on the street:
- avoid cabs without licence plates
- never enter a cab if it already has one or more passengers
- note the licence plate number and name of the driver when you travel
- immediately communicate this information to family or friends
The El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá only allows authorized taxis to pick up passengers at its terminals. If possible, arrange pickup in advance with your travel agency or hotel.
Transportation services - El Dorado International Airport
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Colombian authorities have announced the suspension of all commercial and private flights in and out of Colombia and the closure of land, sea and river borders for a period of 30 days, starting on March 23, 2020. These measures could be reassessed and extended.
Contact your airline or tour operator regarding your travel plans.
In an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions for their territory. Before travelling, verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any specific restrictions related to this situation. Consider even your transit points.
Restrictions imposed could include:
- Entry bans, particularly for non-residents
- Exit bans
- Quarantines of 14 days or more upon arrival, regardless of where you are arriving from
- Health screenings
- Border closures
- Airport closures
- Flight suspensions to/from certain destinations, and in some cases, all destinations
- Suspensions or reductions of other international transportation options
Additional restrictions can be imposed suddenly. Airlines can also suspend or reduce flights without notice. Your travel plans may be severely disrupted, making it difficult for you to return home. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance related to changes to your travel plans.
- Monitor the media for the latest information
- Contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans
- Contact the nearest foreign diplomatic office for information on destination-specific restrictions
Foreign diplomatic offices in Canada – Global Affairs Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Colombian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Colombia.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: not required (for stays of up to 90 days)
Business or work visa: required
Student visa: required
You must obtain an entry stamp in your passport when you enter Colombia by land. If you don’t, border officials may require you to go back to your border entry point to obtain this stamp. You may be fined if you fail to obtain an entry stamp.
Length of stay
The permitted length of stay for tourists is determined by the immigration officer upon entry to Colombia.
A tourist stay can be granted for up to 90 days. You will be fined if you stay in the country longer than the specified period on your entry stamp. To extend your stay, you must obtain authorization from the nearest Migración Colombia office. Tourists may extend their stay up to a maximum of 180 days per year. The final decision remains with the immigration authority.
- Migración Colombia - Government of Colombia
Other entry requirements
You must show proof of onward or return travel to enter Colombia.
Colombia employs strict screening measures at its international airports to detect narcotics smuggling. Customs officials may search you and your luggage. They may fingerprint you. They may also require you to undergo an X-ray inspection upon arrival or departure.
Most airport customs inspectors speak only Spanish.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Exit requirements for dual citizen children
Whether travelling to a domestic or international destination, underage Canadian-Colombian dual citizens must present:
If travelling alone or accompanied by a single parent and under 18
- Written authorization to travel from both parents. The authorization must be in Spanish and notarized at a local notary public or at a Colombian embassy or consulate abroad; and
- A Colombian birth certificate showing the parents’ names or a long-form Canadian birth certificate and its official Spanish translation.
- A Colombian birth certificate notarized at a local notary public; or
- A long-form Canadian birth certificate and its official Spanish translation.
If travelling with both parents and under 8
- A Colombian birth certificate notarized at a local notary public; or
- A long-form Canadian birth certificate and its official Spanish translation.
Useful links (in Spanish)
- Authorization to travel for minors - Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Colombian Notaries Directory - Superintendent of Notaries and Registry
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Government of Colombia
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Pandemic COVID-19 all countries: avoid non-essential travel outside Canada - March 19, 2020
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - December 24, 2019
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are arriving from Angola, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, or Uganda, or have transited through an airport in one of these countries.
- Vaccination is recommended depending on your itinerary.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus , yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- In this country, dengue fever is a risk to travellers year-round. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
- Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The level of risk of dengue fever changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. After a decline in reported dengue cases worldwide in 2017 and 2018, global numbers have been steeply rising again.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Leishmaniasis, cutaneous and mucosal
Cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.
Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.
Zika virus is a risk in this country.
Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.
Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should visit a health care professional before travelling to discuss the potential risks of travelling to this country. Pregnant women may choose to avoid or postpone travel to this country.
- Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
- If you are pregnant, always use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact with anyone who has travelled to this country for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Women: Wait 2 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy. If your male partner travelled with you, wait 3 months after travel or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer).
- Men: Wait 3 months after travel to this country or after onset of illness due to Zika virus (whichever is longer) before trying for a pregnancy.
For more travel recommendations, see the travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Medical care is adequate in major cities but varies in quality elsewhere.
Many private clinics offer emergency services. They may require advance payment in cash or by credit card. Ensure that you have access to sufficient funds. If you don’t have proof of travel insurance, you may be transferred to a public hospital, where medical care may not meet Canadian standards.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Canadian citizens have died or had serious health complications following cosmetic or other elective surgeries in Colombia. Before leaving for a medical travel, make sure you have done your research and use competent health-care providers only.
- Receiving Medical Care in Other Countries
- Colombian Society for Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery (in Spanish)
If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in Colombia. Always keep your medication in the original container. If possible, pack them in your carry-on luggage and carry a copy of your prescription(s). Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you, as the same medication may not be available in Colombia.
You may experience health problems due to Colombia’s high altitudes. Altitude sickness can be life-threatening. It may require immediate medical evacuation. A health-care professional can advise you of how to prevent or reduce the effects of altitude sickness.
The quality of Colombian tap water is better in colder regions than in warmer zones. Regardless of your location, it may not meet Canadian standards.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
No transfer of offenders’ treaty exists between Canada and Colombia. If you’re convicted of a serious crime, you must serve your jail sentence in Colombia.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.
Monitor your luggage closely at all times. Never transport other people’s packages, bags or suitcases. Never exchange money for strangers, as this is a common practice among money launderers.
Colombian law prohibits travellers from bringing firearms into Colombia. Illegal importation or possession of firearms may result in lengthy prison sentences.
It is illegal to export certain cultural artifacts from Colombia such as original paintings and sculptures with historical value. This includes fossils.
Child sex tourism
It is a serious criminal offence to have sex with minors in Colombia. Conviction may result in a lengthy prison sentence.
Colombian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Colombian society, particularly in the rural areas.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Colombia.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Colombia, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
You must carry an international driving permit.
In the event of a car accident, you must remain at the scene until the authorities (Policia de transito) arrive. Don’t move your vehicle. Failure to remain at the site may result in serious consequences.
The currency in Colombia is the peso (COP).
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Colombia is subject to various natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, torrential rains, floods and mudslides.
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
Colombia’s rainy season usually occur from March to June and from September to November. Incidents of flooding and mudslides can occur, especially in rural areas.
There are several active and potentially active volcanoes throughout Colombia.
Debris from erupting volcanoes may clog rivers and cause them to overflow, which could in turn cause flash floods and landslides. Ash clouds may also cause disruptions to domestic and international flights.
If you live or are travelling near active volcanoes:
- monitor levels of volcanic activity through the local media
- pay careful attention to all warnings issued
- follow the advice of local authorities
- be prepared to modify your travel arrangements or even evacuate the area on short notice
Colombian Geological Service - Colombia’s government (in Spanish)
Colombia is located in an active seismic area. Earthquakes occur frequently. Dangerous landslides can also occur, even after minor earthquakes.
For emergency assistance, dial 123.
Due to the nation-wide mandatory quarantine, the Embassy of Canada to Colombia, in Bogotá, will provide essential consular services by phone and email only.
Bogotá - Embassy of Canada
Cartagena - Consulate of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the the Embassy of Canada to Colombia, in Bogotá, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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