If your idea of a heavenly vacation involves seeing new plants and animals, a trip to Colombia deserves your attention. Colombia is one of 17 “megadiverse” countries on earth, meaning it is one of the earth’s richest and most diverse environments.
Colombia’s tourism industry is still in its nascent stages, which means there are many bargains to be had. How much a trip to Colombia will cost depends greatly on what sorts of accommodations you seek and what parts of the country you decide to check out.
Our writers break down the cost category by category so you can gauge how much you’ll spend on a trip to this tropical paradise.
Average Trip to Colombia Cost in 2023
A week in Colombia costs around $1,700 for two people:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $75 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $400 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $20 per person, per day
- Transportation: $30 per day
- Total Cost: $1,700
Your costs, of course, are going to depend on factors like where in the country you go and what sorts of accommodations and foods you seek out. Someone visiting the country will pay less than someone in the city.
You’ll pay more for sit-down meals than you will for an empanada from a street stall.
Our researchers have gone over real traveler reports to find out what you can expect to pay for each aspect of a Colombia trip. We break it all down below.
Colombia Trip Cost: Average by Item
One of the best ways to figure out what a trip will cost is to look at each category individually. This way, you can decide where you want to invest extra funds and where you can cut back. Take a look at each of these categories to figure out where you’ll spend your money.
Colombia has a lot of highly affordable hotel options. Prices will depend on where in the country you want to go and what sorts of amenities you are looking for.
For $65 a night, you can get a room at the Hilton Garden Santa Marta in Magdalena. This hotel is located near the beach with a view of the Caribbean and is about 16 kilometers from Simón Bolívar International Airport.
If you feel like splurging, the Grand Marina Suites Santa Marta offers their Deluxe Apartment for about $225 a night. Amenities include air conditioning, a balcony, washer and dryer, and a seasonal outdoor swimming pool.
Colombia has a number of hostels where you can get bare-bones amenities for less than you’d spend on a pizza in the US. Hostel Boutique Musa Paradisiaca, for instance, has spare and basic rooms for less than $20 a night.
Visitors praised the good security and the on-site restaurant, which also offers room service. In the interior of the country, expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 for a room.
Reserva Natural Tierra Adentro is close to outdoor activities and has a great view of the forest. The $100 per night fee includes breakfast. Nearby Sierra Sounds House, Hotel y Restaurante has rooms for around $40 a night.
A flight from New York to Medellin costs between $300 and $450, depending on whether you go for a direct flight or one with layovers. You may save money by flying into Cartagena instead, with an average cost of $300 to $350 for a flight.
Colombia is a large country. If you want to visit more than one city, you may consider flying instead of spending hours on the bus.
A flight from Bogota to Cartegena will cost around $125. This is significantly more than the cost of going by bus, but will save you around 20 hours on the road.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
How much it will cost to eat in Colombia depends on what foods you want. Many local dishes can be had for around $10 per person. For instance, a plate with steak, potatoes, and vegetables costs about $11 at Divanga Bar & Restaurant in Magdalena.
Empanadas are a popular street food and come stuffed with fillings that can include ham and cheese, eggs, spinach, or spiced chicken. You can expect to pay about the equivalent of 25 cents.
Beers from the local grocery will set you back a little under a dollar a piece. In a bar or nightclub, expect to pay about $2.50. A rum and Coke will be around $5 to $6.
Salsa and bachata dancing are common nightlife activities. Nightclubs also typically have a cover charge to enter. Usually, this will be between $2 and $5. Not a skilled dancer? Private dance lessons for you and a friend will cost around $15 per hour.
Walking tours of cities like Bogota and Medellin are popular activities. Often, the tour itself is free, but the tour guide gets by on tips. Most tour guides are happy with a $5 tip.
Bike tours are a bit more because they include the rental of the bike. Expect to pay between $10 and $15 to tour a Colombian city by bike. Both coffee and cacao are grown in Colombia, and a farm tour is a great way to learn more about these products.
Most tours cost about $5 per person before tip. For safety, some people choose multi-day tours when heading to the wilderness.
A Colombia Amazon tour costs around $600 to $700 per person per day. If you want to save a bit of money, consider a visit to the National Museum of Colombia. They have free admission every Sunday.
Colombia is a fairly large country. If you are planning to visit multiple regions, you may wish to rent a car. Car rentals cost around $200 to $300 on average.
There are also frequently tolls when driving. Expect to pay $20 to $30 in tolls when driving across the country. If you want to save money on travel from city to city, consider taking the bus instead.
The “night buses” often either leave or depart in the middle of the night, but can be the most economical way to travel, with fairs under $20 for a trip from Medellin to Cali or Bogota.
Premium buses may cost a bit more, but offer amenities that can make long trips more pleasant. For instance, a ticket on a premium bus from Bogota to Cartegena will cost around $30, but has TVs, free WIFI, reclining chairs, and refreshments.
Public buses are widely available throughout the cities. They typically run from 5:30 in the morning to 11 or 12 at night. Passes can be purchased for a single ride or for a full day or week. A day pass will cost around 75 cents.
Be sure you always have small bills when taking the bus.
Using anything larger than a $10,000 COP bill may result in you being unable to get change. Beach towns and cities like Bogota are also very walkable. Bogota in particular has added a pedestrian zone to the historic city center.
Things to Consider
- Most banks do not exchange currency inside at the counter. You can use your debit card or credit card at an ATM to get pesos.
- Colombia is one of only 17 megadiverse countries worldwide. It has the world’s highest number of species per square.
- If you travel by car, be prepared to spend a lot of time in traffic. There is no time of day that is free from it; Colombians say that traffic is just a fact of life in the country.
- Count your change when you leave the store. You should also double-check to be sure larger bills are genuine. According to expat writer Sara Burdick, counterfeits aren’t common, but they are not unheard-of.
- Colombia is a country in a time of transition. Many guides do not recommend going out alone at night, or traveling alone between cities. Stick with a group and stay aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe and memorable trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Colombia cheap to visit?
Colombia can be a pretty affordable country if you watch your spending when it comes to food and hotels. Compare prices and figure out in advance how much you want to spend.
What is the cheapest month to go to Colombia?
Colombia’s off-season months typically include April, May, September, and October. This time of year can mean deals on hotels, airfare, and activities.
What is the tipping etiquette in Colombia?
Tourism to Colombia is somewhat new, so there isn’t a set tipping etiquette yet. If you are visiting a small cafe or taking a cab, most experts recommend rounding up to the nearest thousand pesos as a tip. In mid to high end restaurants, a tip between 10% and 15% is expected and may even be automatically added to your bill. Most people tip travel guides around $5 to $10 for a day-long tour.
Should you carry cash in Colombia?
Most travelers recommend taking just the amount of cash you need with you each day. Most shops and restaurants accept credit cards.
Should I bring US dollars to Colombia?
People who have been to Colombia say to take a combination of US dollars and Colombian pesos. You can usually get pesos from an ATM.
So, What Is the Average Trip Cost for Colombia?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$75 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$400 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$20 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$30 per day|
|💲 Total Cost||$1,700|
On average, you’ll pay around $1,700 for a one-week trip for two people. A trip to Colombia is very possible on a shoestring budget.
There are also enough luxury accommodations and activities to fit your dream of a posh tropical vacation. How much you’ll spend will depend on what you want to do and where you want to go.
Whether you have your heart set on a river cruise or plan to spend your nights doing the salsa, you can find an adventure fit for you. Happy travels!