Travel in Colombia

There are many transport options once you are in Colombia, planes and buses being the most obvious ones as there are only touristic trains (Zipaquira, Boca de Cenizas).

And once you're in a city, taxis are the easy and relatively cheap option. For something more authentic, try the Transmilenio in Bogota or Barranquilla, the underground in Medellin or the busetas available in all Colombia.

=> If you are backpacking, you could book in advance your bus/airline ticket through http://www.undertrail.com, they accept foreign credit cards.

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Travel in Colombia by Plane

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Avianca, for us the best operatorHere's the good news: It's relatively cheap to fly within the country, especially since the arrival of some new low-cost airlines.

Colombians only have 15 days of holidays a year but have lots of bank holidays so they tend to all leave Bogotá and the big cities on the same weekend. Check when to travel Colombia and make sure you book well in advance if you travel around those big holidays and festivals.

For flight travel, a good option to compare prices is Viajala, a flight search engine like KAYAK but for Colombia, one problem is that sometimes airlines won't accept your foreign credit car or charge you a premium. That's when it is good to have a Colombian friend around with a credit card. 

Airlines in Colombia

Here are the main airlines doing domestic flights: Lan, Avianca and Copa Airlines are the traditional ones. Viva Colombia and Easyfly are the new low costs. Satena and ADA are the regional airlines taking you to more exotic places like Puerto Inírida, Nuquí, Caño Cristales....

=> Satena is the only airline with direct flights to Medellin Enrique Olaya Errera, the airport located near the city center. Seats are usually more expensive but you save a lot of time and money travelling to this aiport rather than using Medellin International Airport Rio Negro that is at about one hour in the mountains.

- Avianca: www.avianca.com
- Copa Airlines: www.copaair.com
- Lan: www.lan.com
- Satena: www.satena.com
-
 ADA: www.ada-aero.com
- Easyfly: 
www.easyfly.com.co
- Viva Colombia: 
www.vivacolombia.co

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Travel in Colombia by Bus

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Bus is an easy option but due to the topography (3 mountains ranges cross the country from west to east), journeys are usually long and prices are not that cheap. The reward is that some of the routes offer amazing mountains landscapes, try the scenic route from Medellin to Manizales or the short route from Popayan to Silvia. Buses leave freqently and there are usually different bus companies to choose from. Bigger buses and companies like Rapid Ochoa Espreso Bolivariano are safer options. There are usually 2 bus terminal in the major cities, one in the North, one in the South.

=> We do not recommend travelling by night on the bus from Colombia to Ecuador (San Agustin to Quito for example), various fatal accidents have been reported in the last few years. Take the bus during the day and enjoy the scenery.

=> If you're in a group, always a good idea to inquire for a mini van at your hotel or hostel. 

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Using Busetas in Cities

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La buseta Colombiana!These are small buses going to pretty much every corner of a city. They are cheap and convenient if you know where they are going, so probably an option for those with some Spanish skills. Just waive at them, get in, and then push the bottom wherever you want them to get off. They usually cost  between 1,300 to 1,500 COP.

=> Considering a taxi ride is between 4,000 to 10,000 COP, it is worth not pushing yourself too much. 

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Using TransMilenio, the Medellín metro and Cable Cars

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The unmissable TransMilenioTransMilenio is a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that serves Bogotá with equivalents in other cities such as Cali, Barranquilla and soon Medellin. It consists of several specially designed lines, composed of numerous elevated stations in the center of a main avenue. It is cheap, fast and convenient but really really avoid the rush hours especially in Bogotá.

=> Lots of pickpockets operate in the Transmilenio especially in Bogotá

Medellín is the only city with a metro and arguablly the city with the best transport system in the country. The metro is good, safe and cheap.

Medellín and Manizales also operate cable cars, a great way to discover those cities. Bogotá also have the touristic cable car to get to Monserrate.

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Travel by Taxi
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The cute tiny yellow taxis of BogotaTaxis are everywhere and they are a convenient and comfortable way of travelling in every city of Colombia, there are more than 50,000 of them in Bogotá for exampleThey are very easy to catch, just waive or call them. It costs usually between 4,000 to 10,000 COP for a city ride. You have to pay extra to call them, after 8pm and on Sunday and Bank holidays as well as aiports.

=> Taxis are safe but we recommend you to call a taxi company at night especially in Bogotá and Medellín  the extra cost is minimal and they will let you know the number of the taxi picking you up.

=> Always double check the price, taxis tend to apply "Gringo fares"

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