Fire and rescue services
Call 123 or go to the hospital.
Call 112 or go to the local police station.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Colombia due to high levels of crime and terrorism.
Higher levels apply in some areas.
Exercise a high degree of caution in Colombia due to high levels of crime and terrorism.
Higher levels apply in some areas.
Do not travel to areas within 20km of the Venezuela border, within 20km of the Ecuador border (except the Pan American Highway border crossing of Ipiales and the Santuario de las Lajas), the cities of Buenaventura and Tumaco and the Darién Gap (except the town of Capurganá).
Do not travel to:
due to the high risk of terrorism and violent crime
Reconsider your need to travel to Antioquia (except Medellin and its Valle de Aburrá metropolitan region; the south-eastern Oriente subregion; and the towns around Medellin of Santa Fé de Antioquia, Jericó and Jardín), Arauca, southern Bolivar, Caquetá (except Florencia), Casanare (except Yopal), Cauca (except Popoyán), the Sur subregion of Cesar, Chocó (except the towns of Nuquí, Bahía Solano and Capurganá), the Alto Sinú and San Jorge subregions of Córdoba, Guainía, Guaviare, Meta (except Villavicencio and the tourist site of La Macarena/Caño Cristales), Nariño (except Pasto, the border crossing of Ipiales and the Santuario de las Lajas), Norte de Santander, Putumayo, the San Jorge and La Mojana subregions of Sucre, Valle del Cauca (except Cali, Buga and Palmira) and Vichada.
due to the high threat of terrorism and criminal activity.
Health advice due to COVID-19 is continually changing. Rules and restrictions to prevent outbreaks can change quickly. It’s important to regularly check the rules in the destinations you’re travelling to and transiting through.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Violent crime and gang activity is common.
'Express kidnapping' also occurs. Criminals abduct people and force them to withdraw funds from ATMs before releasing them. The victim may be held overnight so a second withdrawal can be made the next day. There have been incidents where those who have resisted have been killed or injured. Hailing taxis on the street can make you vulnerable to this threat. Use a phone dispatch service or taxi service app to book a licensed taxi. Ask for help from staff at hotels, restaurants or entertainment venues.
Hikers are sometimes robbed at gunpoint, including when hiking on trails in and around Bogotá. Reduce your risk by hiring a reputable, experienced tour guide.
Drug-related criminal activity also creates danger in places where cultivation, processing and transport takes place. There is evidence of high levels of coca cultivation and related criminal activity in the following Departments in Colombia:
It also creates increased danger in:
There is a risk to your safety in any area where coca, marijuana or opium poppies are cultivated and near to cocaine processing labs.
In these areas, criminal groups attack, extort, kidnap, detonate car bombs and damage infrastructure.
Don’t take risks or make yourself a target for criminals. To protect yourself from violent crime:
Always be alert to your own safety and security. If you suspect criminals have drugged you or your fellow travellers, get urgent medical help.
Criminals also target foreign citizens and tourists using popular dating applications and websites, particularly in larger cities such as Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and Cartagena.
If you travel to remote areas, travel with recognised tour operators and arrange for your security throughout your visit. Look for up to date advice from the local authorities before each stage of your journey. Be aware that mobile and internet connections in rural areas are often limited.
The towns of Bahía Solano, Nuquí and Capurganá in Chocó are popular eco-tourism destinations. However, most of Chocó department is remote. Illegal armed groups are active and involved in the drugs trade throughout the department, and particularly near the border with Panama. If you travel to these towns, only do so by air and don’t travel inland or along the coast out of town.
If you travel to Ciudad Perdida (The Lost City) in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, do so as part of an organised tour. If you travel to Parque Nacional Tayrona, don't venture inland. Stick to beach areas and resorts.
The tourist site of Caño Cristales is located in the Department of Meta, in the Parque Nacional Natural de la Macarena. If you are travelling to Caño Cristales, only do so with a reputable tour company, and travel by air to and from the town of La Macarena.
If travelling in La Guajira, avoid the area close to the border with Venezuela. Be aware that medical services are limited. Hire the services of a reputable tour company. Be ready for high temperatures, scarce potable water and food (bring enough water and food).
When travelling to the archaeological park at San Agustin in the department of Huila, only enter and leave the park on the main road through Popayán or Neiva.
Criminals in Colombia are increasingly using drugs to subdue their victims. This may include the use of scopolamine or other similar drugs that temporarily incapacitate the victim. Robberies and assaults take place after victims accept spiked food, drinks, cigarettes or chewing gum. Thieves also administer these drugs by aerosol spray or paper handouts.
These drugs can cause serious medical problems, including loss of consciousness and memory loss. Unsuspecting victims become disoriented quickly and are vulnerable to robbery, sexual assault and other crimes. Hotspots include nightclubs, bars, restaurants, public buses and city streets, where criminals usually target people that are alone.
Always check that your drink has been opened or prepared in front of you. Avoid leaving food or drinks unattended and don't take anything from strangers.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, is also common, particularly in larger cities such as Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Cartagena. This can occur anywhere, including in major tourist areas, and at the airport in Bogotá and near hotels. Don't carry large amounts of money or wear valuable watches or jewellery. Avoid using your mobile phone, cameras and other electronic equipment in the street. Tourists have been robbed at gunpoint.
Organised criminals operate in urban areas, including Bogotá and Medellín.
Criminals pose as police officers, both in Bogotá and in popular tourist towns to conduct scams (asking to verify documents or foreign currency). People have reported harassment, theft and extortion. If approached, ask to be escorted to the nearest CAI (‘Centro de Atención Inmediata’) – the local police station.
Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents are secure at all times. Always keep photocopies with you, as local authorities often conduct identity checks.
Be alert on public transport. Don't leave your luggage unattended, in overhead bins or under the seat on buses, as they could be stolen while you're not watching or asleep.
Card overcharging is common. be careful 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 unauthorised transactions on your account statements. Pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others and cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN.
Smash-and-grab attacks are common. Thieves snatch items from cars stopped at traffic lights. Keep vehicle doors locked, windows up and valuables out of sight, even when moving. Be alert to threats, including when stopped in traffic.
Ayahuasca or yage tourism
Ayahuasca or yage tourism is a growing industry, especially in the jungle regions of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Shamans perform psychedelic rituals of spiritual cleansing with this traditional plant.
Yage is not illegal in Colombia, but its consumption is not regulated and its interaction with existing medical conditions is not well understood.
Most facilities lack basic first aid or emergency plans for people who suffer physical or mental health effects after ceremonies. Participants report symptoms from being more alert but out of control through to amnesia. Effects could also include strong vomiting and diarrhoea.
Ceremonies often take place in remote areas with no access to medical or mental health resources and limited communication with local authorities.
Some participants have also been assaulted and robbed.
If you decide to take part in ayahuasca tourism:
Terrorist attacks remain a significant threat, even though security has improved.
Attacks could occur anywhere and at any time in Colombia.
Possible targets include:
The most well-known terrorist groups, the dissident groups of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) guerrillas:
The FARC handed in their weapons on 27 June 2017 as part of a peace agreement with the government. However, dissident groups continue to operate.
A temporary ceasefire between the Government of Colombia and the ELN ended on 9 January 2018. The ELN resumed attacks against government and economic targets and has announced a number of national ‘armed strikes’.
Cartels also operate, the most well-known being the Clan del Golfo.
In some regions, the security situation could deteriorate rapidly as a result of these groups.
Some recent attacks include:
Terrorists, criminals and armed gangs operate from small towns and rural areas. This creates danger for travellers. Armed gangs are called 'BACRIM' in Spanish.
Violence due to the BACRIM has spilled over into major cities. These groups are involved in drugs, extortion, kidnapping and robbery.
To protect yourself from terrorism:
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
There is a risk of kidnapping in Colombia. Criminals sometimes kidnap and murder foreigners, including children. In the past, criminals have kidnapped foreigners.
Most kidnappings are for ransom. Groups such as the FARC dissident groups and the ELN in rural areas are involved in kidnapping.
If, despite the risks, you travel to an area where there's a threat of kidnapping:
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Demonstrations and protests take place regularly throughout Colombia, especially in large cities. Protests and rallies may occur around elections or on commemorative days.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. Strikes are also common.
This can affect local transport and traffic. Protesters or criminal groups may set up roadblocks, especially in rural areas.
If you visit areas affected by strikes and roadblocks, you may be unable to leave for days or weeks.
Get advice on current road closures from the Colombian Highway Police information line. Call #767.
It's illegal to participate in local political activities, rallies or public demonstrations if you've entered Colombia for tourist purposes or on a visa. Political involvement may result in deportation.
To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
Don't attempt to cross the Venezuela-Colombia border by land, even if it's open. Avoid travelling to within 20 km of the Venezuelan border.
Some volcanoes are active. Get advice on recent volcanic activity from local authorities if you plan to go hiking.
Colombia can experience tsunamis.
In the Pacific Ocean large and destructive tsunamis happen more often. This is due to large earthquakes occurring along major tectonic plates and ocean trenches.
Many parts of Colombia experience heavy rainfall. Landslides, mudslides and flooding are common. This can affect travel to some parts of the country.
Monitor the news and ask for local advice before entering affected areas.
Coastal areas of Colombia can experience hurricanes. Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November.
If a hurricane is approaching:
If there's a hurricane:
To stay safe:
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Colombia. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating:
You may find most medication in pharmacies in large cities, but medicine for complex treatments may be unavailable in rural areas and small towns. Pharmacies (called droguerías) require a prescription from a local doctor to acquire some medications. In larger cities most pharmacies have delivery services.
COVID-19 remains a risk in Colombia.
If your vaccination was administered in Colombia, you can download the certificate online.
For information on Colombia's COVID−19 vaccination program, refer to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection website (Spanish). You should consult your local health professional for advice on vaccine options, including assistance that may be available locally. The Australian Government cannot provide advice on the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines that have been approved for use outside of Australia's regulatory process.
Yellow fever is widespread in Colombia. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal virus spread by mosquitoes. It's prevented by vaccination. Get vaccinated before you travel.
You'll need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Colombia. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.
If you are in Colombia, you can get a yellow fever vaccine at Red Cross offices, some of which are located in major shopping centres.
Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever.
Zika virus is widespread. If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care advises you to discuss travel plans with your doctor. Consider deferring non-essential travel to affected areas.
Malaria is a risk in all areas below 800m, which excludes Bogotá.
Other insect-borne diseases that are a risk include:
To protect yourself from disease:
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
Many areas are above 2500m, including Bogotá (2640m).
You may suffer altitude sickness above 2500m, especially if you ascend quickly.
Altitude sickness can be life-threatening. It can affect anyone, even if you're physically fit.
You're at more risk of altitude sickness if you:
If you plan to travel to high altitude areas, see your doctor before you go.
HIV/AIDS is a risk for travellers. Take precautions if you engage in activities that expose you to risk of infection.
Foreign citizens have died or have been seriously injured when undergoing cosmetic or other elective surgeries using non-reputable providers. Use only reputable health-care providers.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common, including:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
If you're bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help straight away.
Get medical help if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
The standard of medical facilities in private hospitals in Bogotá and other major cities is reasonable.
Services outside major cities can be limited.
Public medical facilities are generally poorly funded and equipped. They often lack adequate medical supplies. Ambulance services in remote areas are unreliable.
Treatment at private clinics and hospitals is expensive.
Doctors and hospitals expect cash payment or confirmation of travel insurance before treating you. This includes emergency care.
There are 3 hyperbaric chambers:
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a place with better facilities. People are usually evacuated to the US. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Colombia has strong laws against child sex crimes. Authorities have arrested and prosecuted a number of foreigners for these offences. Offenders face long prison sentences and may face prosecution in Australia.
Colombia has severe penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs. This includes long sentences in local jails.
Colombian drug trafficking detection methods are sophisticated and anyone attempting to traffic drugs should expect to be arrested. Convicted offenders can expect long pre-trial detention and lengthy prison sentences under harsh conditions. Colombian law may require that released offenders serve a long parole period in Colombia.
Don’t get involved with illegal drugs.
Pack your own luggage and keep it with you at all times. Don’t carry items for other people.
It's illegal to take photos of military bases and strategic sites.
If you plan to take part in commercial surrogacy arrangements, be aware of all legal and other risks involved.
Although it is not illegal, surrogacy is not regulated by Colombian law. Get independent legal advice.
Research prospective clinics to ensure that you're dealing with a reputable organisation.
The Australian Embassy can't provide:
You may need to spend a significant amount of time in Colombia before and after the birth. The processes required to obtain Australian citizenship and an Australian passport may take up to 9 months. You need to be prepared to stay in Colombia during this time.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
The Colombian Government expects Colombian citizens to enter and exit on a Colombian passport or other valid Colombian travel document. This includes dual nationals.
You could face delays at immigration if you're a dual national but you don't have a Colombian travel document.
If you're a male dual national aged over 18 years, you may be required to complete national service if you visit Colombia.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, including COVID-19 vaccinations and tests, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
Visa-free travel for short stays
If you're visiting for tourism and plan to stay for 90 days or less, you generally won't need a visa to enter Colombia.
Immigration officers can refuse your entry, even if you meet the criteria for visa-free entry. They may ask you to show proof of return or onward travel.
For other situations, you'll need to get a visa before you travel.
If you’re issued with a Colombian visa with more than 90 days’ validity, you must register the visa at a Migración Colombia office or online within 15 days of arrival in Colombia. You will face fines if you don’t register the visa on time.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the closest embassy or consulate of Colombia for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
You may be able to extend your stay once you are in Colombia by up to 120 days. As a visitor, you can’t remain in Colombia for more than 180 days in a calendar year. Contact Migración Colombia (Spanish) for further information
Don’t overstay your visa, you will be fined or risk deportation at your own cost.
You must get an entry stamp in your passport if you enter by land. Failure to do so may result in a fine on departure. If the immigration office on the border is closed, seek help at the nearest office of Migración Colombia (Spanish).
If you're travelling through the US, you must meet US entry or transit requirements.
Check your visa requirements with your nearest embassy or consulate of the United States before you travel.
If you're over 18 years of age you must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for at least 14 days to enter Colombia.
If you haven't started your vaccination schedule, are partially vaccinated or have received your last dose less than 14 days ago, you must show a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test result taken no more than 72 hours before your departure, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken no more than 48 hours before your departure.
All vaccines approved by the WHO, and those approved officially by any country or UN recognised territory, can be used to enter Colombia.
Paper and digital vaccination certificates may be presented. At a minimum, it should show the following information:
If entering via a cruise ship, please check all requirements with your cruise ship provider.
Before entering or exiting Colombia, all travellers must complete an online form ('Check-Mig') on the Migracion Colombia website (Spanish). This form must be completed between 24 hours and one hour prior to the flight’s departure.
All land, sea and river borders are open. Entry and exit restrictions at borders may change at short notice. If crossing borders, check with local migration authorities for current restrictions.
We recommend you do not travel to some border areas or cross some borders due to a high risk of terrorism and violent crime.
Check your entry stamp carefully. Officials will fine you if you stay in the country longer than your entry stamp allows.
You need to pay an airport tax when you leave. Your ticket price usually includes this fee. Confirm with your airline or travel agent at the time of purchase.
If you’re travelling to the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia or Santa Catalina you must purchase a tourist card from the airport you are travelling from, usually at the boarding gate, on the day of the flight. Tourists staying less than 24 hours on the islands, and children under 7 years, are exempt. Check with your airline to confirm the details prior to your travel.
A child under the age of 18 years who is a Colombian citizen or resident travelling alone or with 1 parent must carry:
Both documents must be translated into Spanish and notarised by a local notary or by the Colombian Embassy or Consulate in Australia.
Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Colombia well before you travel.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
You must get an entry stamp in your passport if you enter by land. If you don't, Colombian officials could force you to go back to the border to get the stamp.
You can use emergency passports to enter, transit and exit Colombia. They must be valid for at least 6 months from when you enter.
The local currency is the Colombian Peso (COP).
You can enter or exit Colombia with up to US$10,000 in cash, or its equivalent in any currency. Anything in excess of this amount must be declared on arrival and may be confiscated.
You can change US dollars and euros in exchange bureaus and commercial banks.
Major hotels and tourist places accept international credit cards.
ATM and credit card facilities are more limited in rural areas. Contact your bank to make sure your cards will work in Colombia.
Credit card fraud and robbery at ATMs is common. See Safety
Face masks are mandatory on public transport, in medical centres and in aged care facilities nationwide. Face mask requirements elsewhere are dependent on vaccination rates. See the Colombian Ministry of Health website.
Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes adventure activities, such as diving.
If you plan to do an adventure activity:
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
To drive in Colombia you need both:
You must get your IDP before leaving Australia.
Road conditions, including on major highways, can vary significantly in Colombia. You're more likely to be killed in a vehicle accident in Colombia than in Australia.
Other risks when you travel by road, particularly in rural areas, include:
Major highways between large cities are of a relatively good quality, and some are suitable for land travel. For example, Ruta 25 (Barranquilla-Ipiales), Ruta del Sol (Bogota-Santa Marta), and Ruta 45 (Bogota-Medellin). Always exercise a high degree of caution when travelling by road.
Where major highways pass through a ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’ area, avoid detours off the major highway, never travel at night, and closely monitor local news and authorities for information on the highway conditions and incidents that may affect the route.
Do not cross between Panama and Colombia by land. It’s not possible to drive between Colombia and Panama, as the Pan-American Highway has a break caused by a dense, mountainous jungle known as the Darién Gap. This area is dangerous and there is a high risk of terrorism and violent crime. If you wish to take your vehicle to Panama, you must ship it from Cartagena to Colón, Panama.
Get advice on current road closures from the Colombian Highway Information line. Call #767.
To reduce your risks while travelling by road:
Check if your travel insurance policy covers you when using a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Criminals frequently rob taxi passengers. You're more at risk when travelling alone and hailing taxis from the street.
Use a phone dispatch service or taxi service app to book a licensed taxi. Ask for help from staff at hotels, hostels, restaurants or entertainment venues.
El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá only allows authorised taxis to pick up passengers at their terminals. Authorised taxi booths can be found at El Dorado and most airports in Colombia. Consult the airport’s website for more information.
Pedestrians don’t have the right of way, including at stop signs.
Public transport isn't always safe. Criminals frequently target buses.
Criminals acting as bus company staff tell people to put their personal belongings in the overhead bins. As soon as they're distracted, criminals steal their belongings. Many Australian travellers have been robbed like this.
To reduce your risks on public transport:
International cruise liners visit Cartagena.
Travel by river is dangerous. Boats are often overloaded and lack lifesaving equipment.
Always wear a life jacket, even if others don't.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Colombia's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Call 123 or go to the hospital.
Call 112 or go to the local police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Bogotá. You can only visit the Embassy by appointment.
Edificio Tierra Firme
Avenida Carrera 9 No. 115-06
Phone: +57 601 657 8030
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.