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Colombia Travel Information

Colombia Travel InformationThe authorities have declared a national state of emergency and implemented strong measures against the covid-19 virus. Colombia's land and port borders are closed, the airspace as well as ordinary passenger transport. Compulsory isolation/curfews have been introduced for all citizens. Colonial stores, banks, pharmacies and other health care providers can still operate. Only one family member at a time can go to the store. In some places, additional restrictions have also been introduced locally. It is therefore recommended to familiarize yourself well with local regulations. The national measures are announced to last until April 26. For more information about coronavirus, see the section Health.

Safety

Most journeys in Colombia happen without problems, but caution should be exercised in general.

Fecode ('Teachers' Union') has notified national strike 48 hours on 20 and 21 February. The strike can affect accessibility and violent clashes cannot be ruled out.

Since November 2019, national and more local strikes and demonstrations have been held in the country. Trade unions, students and a number of other civil society groups have conducted demonstrations all over Colombia, especially in the time leading up to Christmas and there have been riots and clashes between protesters and security forces. Although the situation has normalized, several smaller demonstrations have also been held in the New Year, especially in the major cities of the country.

Norwegians who live in Colombia, or who are considering traveling to the country, are encouraged to keep up to date on the situation where they are, such as through local media reporting and local government calls, exercise extra caution, be aware and avoid any demonstrations or major crowds. Changes may occur at short notice. During the strikes, the authorities warn that road transport could be paralyzed around the country. The accessibility of the airport in the capital Bogota and other cities may be affected, possibly also air traffic and border crossings and it is encouraged to plan travel with good time margins.

  • Countryaah: Bogota is the capital of Colombia. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

There is still an armed conflict between the country's military forces and the guerrilla movement ELN. A process of peace negotiations between the government and Farc was officially opened at a meeting in Norway in October 2012, and a final peace agreement was signed on November 24, 2016. Violent actions and armed clashes have a limited scope, but can occur in many different parts of the country.

Ordinary crime is also high, although in some areas there has been a marked improvement in recent years.

As a result of the crime and violence problems, the Colombian community is characterized by a number of preparedness measures. Military forces and armed police have a visible presence in many places. At large shopping malls and other important buildings, there are often strict controls. Vehicles, handbags, backpacks and bags are often investigated.

Against this background, it is important to listen to local advice on which areas should not be traveled. For domestic flights, aircraft should be used as far as possible. Bus routes can be used, but the journey should take place during the day, with known bus companies and preferably by direct routes. In regions where illegal armed groups have a significant presence, the mode of travel should be carefully considered.

Road travel has become safer in recent years, and Bogota and other major cities have become significantly safer. However, as in other countries in the region, a great deal of caution must be exercised and reasonable precautions taken, especially in the evening. The Embassy is occasionally notified that Norwegian tourists have been stolen passports and valuables by organized and possibly armed robbery.

The tourist area in Bogota's historic center is particularly exposed even during the day, but robberies, etc., also occur in the modern areas of the north of the city. evenings. Only the much needed money and a copy of the passport should be carried. It is advisable to keep money, jewelry, passports and credit cards in the hotel safe and to dress soberly. Avoid using cell phone and camera on the street. Robbery and pocket theft can be accompanied by violence.

The traffic is unclear and the accident statistics are high. Taxis are cheap, but these should be booked per night. telephone, or you can use specially registered taxis that work with malls or hotels. Today, applications can also be downloaded on mobile for safer taxis. "Tappsi" in Bogota, Medell¨ªn, Cartagena, Bucaramanga, Armenia, Manizales, Pereira and Barranquilla, and "Easy Taxi" for all medium and large cities.

At the airports, there are often special booking hatches for taxis or special taxi queues organized by airport staff. Taxi should not be praised on the street. Uber also operates in Colombia and it is generally safe to use this service, even though it is basically illegal, on a par with Norway.

Colombia is potentially severely exposed to damage caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, extreme weather, floods and landslides, etc. This is also due to the nature of the landscape and the quality of urban planning, infrastructure and buildings.

Due to the country's location with three mountain ranges and with many cities built on areas where there were previously lakes, there is a danger of major damage from severe earthquakes. The most powerful earthquake Colombia has experienced in modern times took place in 1999, when Armenia and the coffee zone (the area of ​​central Colombia where coffee cultivation is common) were hit hard.

The last volcanic eruption occurred southwest of Colombia, near the border with Ecuador. It was Galeras volcano that spewed out ash and smoke in the early morning of August 25, 2010. No damage was reported to either people or buildings.

In 2010, the country was exposed to a major flood disaster. In May 2015, the small town of Salgar in Antioquia was taken by landslides after heavy rain and approx. 100 people were killed.

The Caribbean coastline is often hit by floods following the major hurricanes that pass through the southeast coast of the United States annually and suffer flooding during the rainy season twice a year.

Colombia has its best holiday weather in December, January and a bit in February. In March, April and part of May it is rainy season, which is often followed by relatively nice weather, but with a lot of wind, in June, July and August. In September, October and November it is new rainy season. The capital Bogot¨¢ has a somewhat cooler climate than the rest of the country due to the altitude (2600 m). In recent years, the climate has become warmer and it is more difficult to predict the rainy season.

Entry

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Norwegian citizens do not need a visa to visit Colombia. Permission to stay for 90 days is granted, but it must be noted that a shorter stay period can be stamped in the passport, and then you must present yourself to extend the stay of the country's immigration police (Migraci¨®n Colombia).

Exceeding the visa period can result in large fines on departure. It is also important to make sure that you get a stamp in the passport as staying without an entry stamp can cause problems when leaving. One has to pay a departure tax when leaving Colombia (300-500 NOK) which is included in the air ticket.

If you are going to stay longer or work in Colombia, you can apply for a visa before or after entering. From Norway you apply for a visa online through the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Cancilleria). In Colombia, you can also apply for a visa online or at the head office of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Bogota (Cancilleria).

Persons with a Norwegian residence card must ensure that the card is valid upon departure from Norway to avoid problems when returning to Norway and the Schengen area.

One cannot enter Colombia with emergency passport. If the passport is stolen or lost in Colombia, you can return to Norway on an emergency passport, but not through the United States.

Contact the Colombian Embassy in Oslo for more information:
Embassy of Colombia
Oscarsgt. 34
0258 Oslo
Tel: 23 12 01 50
Fax: 23 12 01 51

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged all Norwegian citizens traveling abroad to consider returning home as soon as possible, in a safe and quiet manner, in consultation with their travel or airline. Norwegian citizens who live abroad should heed the advice and guidance of local authorities.

Norwegian travelers should generally stay abreast of the development of the corona virus. Follow local authorities' advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. Information from Colombian health authorities can be found on the Ministry of Health's website.

You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.

Other important information:

  • Colombia's land and port borders are closed.
  • It has been announced that airports will also be closed for international arrivals from 00:00 on Monday 23 March. The ban will apply for 20 days.
  • Foreigners, with certain exceptions, are not allowed to enter the country.
  • Anyone who has arrived in Colombia as of March 16 must sit in a 14 day home quarantine. It is allowed to break the quarantine to leave the country.
  • Some flights still depart from Colombia, but departures are characterized by changes and cancellations.
  • Travelers are encouraged to contact their travel or airline to confirm the flight reservation and, if necessary, find alternative itineraries.
  • The status of flights can also be found on the airports' websites.
  • The president declared the state of emergency in the country on March 18 and announced several measures, including that all people over the age of 70 should isolate themselves in their homes from March 20 to March 31.
  • In the capital Bogot¨¢, there will be a curfew, with some exceptions, from. 23.59 Thursday, March 19 through 23.59, Monday, March 23. People who have documentation on air tickets (electronic or physical) will be able to travel to the airport.
  • Several regions in Colombia also prohibit portions of the clock.

Authorities also regularly publish updated information on Twitter:

  • Colombia Health Department: https://twitter.com/MinSaludCol
  • Colombia's Migration Authority: https://twitter.com/MigracionCol
  • President of Colombia: https://twitter.com/IvanDuque
  • Colombia's Ministry of the Interior: https://twitter.com/MinInterior
  • Colombia's Foreign Ministry: https://twitter.com/CancilleriaCol
  • Bogota Mayor: https://twitter.com/Bogota

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All travelers in Colombia should be in possession of travel insurance to receive the necessary medical treatment in Colombia.

Colombia has a well-developed private health system, with modern, well-equipped hospitals. It is not recommended to visit the public hospitals. From 2014 and into 2015, there has been an outbreak of a disease called "chikunguna" in particularly tropical areas caused by fiery mosquitoes. In these areas, it is therefore recommended to equip yourself with large amounts of mosquito spray, take vitamin B tablets and use thin long pants and long sleeve thin shirts in the evening to avoid mosquito bites.

Travelers planning to visit the Pacific region, the Atlantic coast, Magdalena, Cesar, La Guajira and Norte de Santander are recommended to vaccinate against yellow fever. Yellow fever vaccine is required when traveling to the Amazon region. Other recommended vaccines for Colombia include tetanus, hepatitis A and B, cholera and typhoid fever. Malaria preventative drugs are only needed in regionally restricted areas. Norwegians are advised to consult a doctor or specialist in travel medicine well in advance of the journey to assess health risk and necessary vaccines. It is recommended to bring a vaccination card, as entry and exit to Colombia can in principle be denied without a vaccination certificate.

Bottled drinking water is recommended. Food can be eaten safely anywhere in cities, but normal care should be taken when traveling abroad. A so-called drinking vaccine can be recommended when traveling in rural areas, where health conditions can be poor. This vaccine also protects against cholera.

Visitors to the capital Bogot¨¢ may need a few days to get used to the altitude, as the city is 2,600 meters above sea level, higher than the Galdhøpiggen. It should be noted that there is considerable pollution from car traffic in Bogot¨¢ and vulnerable people should take precautions.

Norwegians do not need a visa to enter Colombia for stays of up to 90 days. However, one should be aware of which departure date the Colombian authorities stamp in the passport upon arrival, as you have had individual cases where only 30 or 60 days of residence time has been granted.

Exceeding the visa period can result in large fines on departure. It is also important to make sure that you get a stamp in the passport as staying without an entry stamp can cause problems when leaving. In most cases, you have to pay departure tax when you leave Colombia (about 200-300 NOK). If you stay within the visa period, you are entitled to half departure tax (contact Oficina de Exenci¨®n de Impuestos at the airport before check-in).

Persons with Norwegian residence cards should contact the Colombian authorities to ensure that they can leave the country without problems as they are no longer in possession of a visa stamped in the passport.

Practical information

Colombia has 110 volts power and sockets with two flat "legs".

There are six mobile phone networks in Colombia, and broadband is available. The prefix for calls abroad is normally 00 but may vary with operator - which can be confusing. Then country code. For example to Norway: 0047 + Norwegian number.

Most types of international credit cards are accepted, and passports or other ID (not bank cards) must be displayed as identification. It is also easy to make withdrawals in local currency from ATMs. Exchange of USD or Euro can easily be done at the airport.

Stores are usually open from 5 p.m. 10am to 7pm to 8pm on weekdays including Saturdays, often slightly later at the malls. Shopping malls are also open on Sundays. Banks are open from 08:00 to 15:00 and on a monthly basis until 16: 00-16: 30. They stay closed Saturdays.

There are many local holidays that are often flexibly added on Mondays to facilitate long weekends ("puentes"). On such holidays it is consistently closed, and traffic and street life are very quiet.

Time difference in relation to Norway: - six hours (- seven at Norwegian summer time).

Norwegian citizens who are resident or who will be living in Colombia for longer or shorter periods are encouraged to register at the Norwegian Embassy in Bogota. All information is for internal use and will not be disclosed.

In cases of crisis internally in Colombia, the national telephone number can be tel. 123 is used.

Colombians in cities often dress relatively formally in work situations: men's suits and ties and women's suits.

Lunch time is from 12:30 to 14:00, and dinner is usually eaten late, at. 20:00 - 22:00. There are restaurant areas in different parts of the big cities where there are bars and restaurants to suit all tastes.

In some shops and restaurants in Bogot¨¢ the service can speak some English.

Colombians are polite and hand greet very often. With closer friendships, one is usually given a hug on the right cheek, but preferably between people of different genders. English is not nearly as widespread as in Norway. In large parts of the country, one must speak Spanish to be understood.

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