Budgeting for your next big adventure is sometimes a daunting task. Once you see the cost of travel to Colombia, you can relax.
I have an interest in visiting every country. Some more than others. Colombia for some reason wasn’t high on my list last year. Even after many people I met on the road claimed it to be their favorite, I was still unconvinced.
When I traveled there in 2022, I realized Colombia is more than partying. It is a beautiful and diverse country with so much to offer.
Where is Colombia Located?
Colombia is the 4th largest country in South America. It borders Venezuela and Ecuador in the Northern part of the continent.
In 1830, Gran Colombia collapsed and this turned into the three countries of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.
Is Colombia expensive?
Some of the first comments I hear about Colombia from others is how cheap it is. And this is true. Colombia is super cheap which makes it a hot destination for backpackers.
But just because it is a cheap place to travel to, doesn’t mean it’s impossible to overspend. Just like in any country, you can live luxuriously in Colombia.
Before we start, let’s go over the current conversion rate of COP (Colombian Peso) to USD (United States Dollar).
At the time of writing this blog, USD 1 = $4,876 Colombian Pesos. You can find the current conversion here.
To put into perspective the level of inflation, I visited Colombia from April until June 2022. The conversion back then was around $1 USD to $3800 COP.
Budget Travel in Colombia
When you are a backpacker or simply traveling on a budget, having a daily allowance is a good tip to follow. While the cost of travel to Colombia is cheap, it could get out of hand fast if you’re not careful.
Backpacker Budget Daily Allowance: $25-$30 USD = $120,000 – $144,000 COP
This can obviously be lower if you really need to budget hard.
These numbers were based on:
- $7 hostel (that isn’t super low quality)
- $5 per meal for food
- ~$10 for activities
Luxury Travel in Colombia
If you’re one who likes to go all out when traveling or simply has money to spare, you can live a luxurious lifestyle in Colombia for cheap.
Luxurious Traveler Budget Daily Allowance: $85 -$100 USD = $408,000 – $480,000 COP
Alcohol can be a big factor in your budget no matter if you’re a backpacker or a luxurious traveler. The cost to travel in Colombia can vary drastically when alcohol is in play.
These numbers were based on:
- $35 on accommodation ($70 hotel split by 2)
- $10 on each meal
- $20 on activities
Cost of Transportation in Colombia
The beauty of Colombia is the cost of transport throughout the country is pretty cheap. If traveling from big city to big city, I would suggest taking a plane. They are super affordable and will save you a bunch of time.
When traveling in the coffee region, it is best to always take a bus. These are very cheap and in my experience seem to be on time mostly.
The best advice is to always take night buses as this will cut costs on accommodation.
All the bus prices are using the site Redbus.
Buses in Colombia
- Medellin to Cali (11 hours): $91,000 COP (day bus) and $66,000 COP (night bus)
- Bogota to Medellin (9 hours): ~$100,000 COP
- Medellin to Salento (8 hours): $73,000 COP
Cost of Accommodation in Colombia
The cost of accommodation can vary drastically when traveling throughout Colombia. There are two types of travelers. Those who spend a lot of money on accommodation and those who spend a lot on activities.
I’m in the boat of spending more on activities but you can get very good deals for accommodation throughout the country. During the holidays, prices will rise but it’s mostly the same price throughout the year.
Hostel Price in Colombia: $7 – $8 USD = $33,000 to $40,000 COP
Hotel Price in Colombia: ~$70 USD = $336,000 COP
Airbnb Price in Colombia: ~$60 USD = $300,000 COP
$100 might seem like a lot for a place in Colombia but a hotel for that price is a lot nicer than one of the same price in the United States. You can also split these accommodations pretty easily.
Cost of Food in Colombia
This is another topic that has a large variance in the cost of travel in Colombia. The lowest budget spent on food requires you to do a lot of cooking. The best place to buy groceries is from street vendors or small markets.
For instance, the cost of a liter of milk in Colombia is $0.84 USD or $4,135 COP
A fast food combo will cost you around $5 USD or $24,000 COP.
For a regular meal with a drink for lunch, that won’t cost much more at around $6 USD or $32,000 COP.
If you do go to a regular supermarket to get your groceries, the average is $40 per week for groceries.
Cheap Activities to do in Colombia
If you are on a small budget, then finding cheap activities to do is essential. This will greatly lower the cost of travel in Colombia and in return let you do more things. I’m personally a budget traveler but I also enjoy the free activities more.
Doing things such as hiking and exploring a town on my own is more enjoyable without a guide. Tour guides have their place and are extremely nice when doing certain activities.
Below are some of the cheap activities throughout Colombia that you might be interested in.
Hiking in Colombia
My number one tip in any country when trying to look for a cheap activity is to see if there are any hiking trails. Even though you might be in a city, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t trails. That’s what I thought about Medellin until I visited there myself.
Here are some of my favorite hikes throughout the country:
- 9 Amazing Hikes in Medellin
- 8 Legendary Hikes in Minca
- 5 Amazing Waterfalls in Minca
- Camp in Cabo San Juan
- 17 Unique Hikes in Colombia
My Suggested Hiking Gear
Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.
- KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
- Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
- Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.
Free Walking Tours
This is a great way to see a new area like Comuna 13. Some of these tours you can do on your own and spend money on whatever you want.
If you do take a free walking tour with a guide, it is highly encouraged to tip.
You can also visit areas like Pueblito Paisa where the only costs are buying food or visiting the museum.
Popular Activities to do in Colombia
Colombia is full of adventures. Whether that be from long boat excursions throughout the Caribbean or seeing some of the world’s tallest palm trees at Valle de Cocora. The cost of travel in Colombia can be as cheap as you want it to be and you’ll see have a blast. Below are some of the most popular activities in Colombia with great tour guides.
Final Thoughts on the Cost of Travel in Colombia
Writing this article makes me miss Colombia so much. The people I met and the experiences I had will last with me forever. I will surely be back and I know that the cost of travel in Colombia will make that possible. These prices can vary greatly with the increasing inflation but most of the prices will still be relevant at the time you read this article.
Thanks for reading my guide on the cost of travel in Colombia! I hope this has helped you budget your next adventure to this amazing country.