Are you planning to take a solo trip to Colombia? We will walk you through everything you need to know before embarking on your Colombian adventure.
From safety concerns to the best places to see and tips to meet other solo travelers, we cover it all.
So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable experience as we help you discover the beauty of Colombia.
Last updated on: 10-01-2024
Is it safe to travel alone to Colombia?
Colombia can be safe for solo travelers if you take the right precautions. While Colombia still has some issues with petty crime, violent crimes such as murder and kidnapping have decreased significantly over the past two decades.
Colombia holds the 140th spot on the Global Peace Index. The GPI is a creation of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and stands as the foremost global measure of worldwide tranquility.
It is important to note that Colombia still requires extra precautions, and travelers should be aware of the risks and take steps to stay safe. Here are some tips to consider:
- Stay in well-traveled areas and avoid wandering into unfamiliar neighborhoods.
- Keep your valuables hidden from view and avoid flaunting expensive items and electronics.
- Dress modestly and try to blend in with the locals.
- Be cautious when using public transportation and avoid traveling alone at night.
- Consider joining a tour group or hiring a local guide.
Overall, Colombia is much safer than it used to be, and many solo travelers have had positive experiences there.
What is the best time to visit Colombia for solo travelers?
In general, the recommended time to visit Colombia is from October through the end of March. During this time, days are hot and sunny, making it an ideal period for beach hopping along the Caribbean coast.
Here are some highlights of traveling to Colombia during the dry season:
- Better weather conditions for outdoor activities and beach visits.
- More opportunities to meet other travelers, as it is a popular time for tourists.
- A chance to experience Colombia’s rich indigenous history and Afro-Caribbean roots.
Colombia does not have distinct seasons like other countries, as it is located near the Equator. Instead, the country experiences two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season:
- Dry Season (Summer): December to March, June to August. This period is characterized by less rainfall and more sunny days, making it a popular time for tourists to visit.
- Rainy Season (Winter): April, May, September to November. During this time, Colombia experiences heavier rainfall, which can affect travel plans and outdoor activities.
Keep in mind that the weather in Colombia is more dependent on location and altitude than on the time of the year. The country has several climatic zones, including the Caribbean coasts with hot climates and rain seasons, and the Andes region with a temperate mountain climate.
What are the most important holidays and festivals in Colombia?
Colombia has a variety of important holidays and festivals throughout the year. Some of the most notable ones include:
- Carnaval de Barranquilla: Held in February or March, this carnival is considered the second-largest in the world and features parades, music, dance, and other cultural expressions.
- Semana Santa (Holy Week): Celebrated in March or April, this religious event features elaborate processions, musicians, and performers, particularly in Popayán.
- Feria de las Flores (Flower Festival): Taking place in Medellín during the first two weeks of August, this festival showcases the country’s diverse flora and includes parades, concerts, and an orchid exposition.
- Carnaval de Negros y Blancos (Blacks and Whites’ Carnival): Celebrated in Pasto in January, this carnival dates back to 1607 and features parades, music, and dancing.
- Feria de Cali (Cali Fair): Held in Cali in December, this fair includes salsa schools, parades, and concerts, showcasing the city’s rich cultural heritage.
- Feria de Manizales (Manizales Fair): Celebrated in Manizales in January, this fair welcomes the New Year and features bullfights, parades, and other traditional activities.
- Vallenato Festival: Taking place in Valledupar in April, this festival celebrates the traditional Colombian music genre of vallenato.
- Festival of Andean Music: Held in Bogotá in September, this festival promotes Andean music and culture.
Keep these festivities in mind when planning your trip to Colombia, as they may impact prices of accomodation and transport.
How to meet other solo travelers in Colombia
When traveling solo in Colombia, socializing and meeting other like-minded adventurers is a great way to enhance your experience.
One way to do this is by staying in hostels, where you can connect with fellow solo travelers and exchange travel tips. Look for hostels with common areas that encourage interaction among guests.
Joining organized group tours or activities is another effective way to meet like-minded individuals who share your sense of adventure.
Travel buddy apps or social media platforms are also a useful tool for finding local communities and meetup groups. With Likeplan, you can easily create or join travel plans and activities with other solo travelers.
Is Colombia expensive for solo travelers?
Colombia can be an affordable destination for solo travelers, depending on your preferences and budget. Here’s a breakdown of the costs you can expect during your trip:
- Accommodation: budget accommodation, such as hostels, can cost around $15-30 USD per night. Mid-range accommodation, like private rooms with private bathrooms, can cost around $50 USD per night.
- Food: local food stalls and street food can be very affordable, with meals costing around $5-10 USD. Eating out at restaurants can cost around $20-30 USD per meal.
- Transportation: public transportation, such as buses, is relatively cheap in Colombia. For long-distance travel, domestic flights can be found for as little as $15.
Tip: teach yourself a few basic Spanish words and sentences to make yourself clear in Colombia and make it more easy to navigate through the country.
What are the best places in Colombia to visit for solo travelers?
Colombia offers a variety of destinations that are perfect for solo travelers. Some of the best places to visit include:
- Bogotá: The capital city is known for its diverse culture, museums, art galleries, and musical festivals.
- Santa Marta: A coastal city with beautiful beaches and a rich history, Santa Marta is home to charming and comfortable hotels.
- Medellín: Known as the “City of Eternal Spring,” Medellín offers a vibrant atmosphere, colorful street art, and a thriving nightlife.
- Coffee Triangle: Comprising the cities of Pereira, Armenia, and Manizales, the Coffee Triangle is a must-visit for coffee enthusiasts and those interested in the coffee production process.
- Cali: Known for its salsa scene, Cali is a lively city with a rich cultural heritage and numerous salsa schools.
- Cartagena: A historic city with a well-preserved colonial center, Cartagena is famous for its beautiful architecture, colorful streets, and vibrant atmosphere.
These destinations offer a mix of cultural experiences, outdoor activities, and opportunities to meet fellow travelers. By staying in hostels, participating in group tours, and attending local events, solo travelers can easily connect with others and make the most of their time in Colombia.
What are the best ways to get around in Colombia?
There are several ways to get around Colombia, each with its own pros and cons depending on your budget, timeframe, travel destination, and personal preferences. Here are some of the best ways to travel within the country:
- Buses: Buses are the easiest and cheapest way to get around Colombia. They are widely available and can take you to various destinations within the country. Night buses are also an option for long-distance travel, allowing you to save time and money.
- Domestic flights: Air travel is a quick and often economical way to travel within Colombia, especially with discount airlines like VivaColombia. Bogotá serves as the major hub, with domestic flights departing from the Puente Aereo.
- Renting a car: Renting a car can be an option for those who prefer more flexibility and independence. However, be aware that break-ins are common, so it’s essential to take precautions and avoid renting a car unless you’re doing a specific trip beyond the cities.
What are the 5 must-try dishes in Colombia?
Here are five must-try dishes in Colombia:
1. Ajiaco: A popular chicken and potato soup with capers, cream, and corn, often served with avocado and rice.
2. Bandeja Paisa: The national dish of Colombia, consisting of rice, beans, pork rinds, ground beef, sausage, egg, black pudding, avocado, grilled plantain, and arepa.
3. Sancocho: A traditional Colombian stew made with chicken, pork, or beef, and often including tripe soup (mondongo).
4. Empanadas: Deep-fried corn pastry filled with meat, often served with a vinegary hot sauce.
5. Chocolate con Queso: A popular breakfast or afternoon snack in Bogotá, consisting of hot chocolate and cheese.
These dishes showcase the diverse flavors and ingredients of Colombian cuisine, which is influenced by indigenous, Spanish, African, and Arab cultures.
Pepijn is the founder of Likeplan. He mainly writes about solo traveling. With over 10 completed solo trips, he writes from his own experience with the mission to encourage other people to go out and explore by themselves.