FAQ

Frequently asked questions

On this page we answer frequently asked questions about Colombia, getting there and the stay in this country.

Do I need a Visa for Colombia?
Which immunizations do I need?
Where do I get cheap flights?
How do I get from the airport into the city?
How is the climate in Colombia?
How safe is Colombia?
How do I pay in Colombia?
How is the cost of living in Colombia?
How much time in advance should I apply for an internship?
Does Inside Colombia offer paid internships?
How important is the knowledge of Spanish?
Can I do a second internship after my first one?

Do I need a Visa for Colombia?
As a citizen of the EU (except Polonia and Bulgaria) and as a person with the Swiss nationality you just need a valid passport to enter Colombia. It still has to be valid for at least six months when you enter Colombia. If you come by plane you need to have a return ticket or a ticket for another destination. You can stay in Colombia for a maximum of 180 days. When entering Colombia you get a seal from the Colombian immigration authority Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS), which counts as a tourist visa and defines the duration of stay. Showing your return ticket or an invitation you can ask the border official to allow a duration of stay that corresponds with the time you really want to stay in Colombia. If you stay longer than the duration of stay stated in your document you must ask for an chargeable elongation at a DAS office. You find their offices in all bigger cities of the country. If you enter the country overland, especially at night, you should make sure to get a seal in your passport when entering the country.
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Which immunizations do I need?
When travelling to Colombia you should possess the usual immunization protection of your home country (tetanus, diphtheria, mumps, measles, rubella…). Immunization protection against hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhus is also recommendable. If you travel to the Amazonas region, you should also consider to be protected against yellow fever and malaria. In general, we recommend to turn to your family doctor in sufficient time before you travel.
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Where do I get cheap flights?
Several international flight companies offer flights to Colombia, for example Delta, American Airlines and Air France. On special Websites on the internet you can find cheap offers. You can find a selection of travel websites here
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How do I get from the airport into the city?
The international airport El Dorado is situated 15 kilometers northwest of the city centre by the Avenida El Dorado. It has two terminals. The service of Inside Colombia includes te transfer from the airport to your accommodation. If you don’t use our service you have different options: You can take a cheap city bus (“busetas”), but it’s not a good option if you have a lot of luggage. Or you can take the smaller and slightly more expensive “colectivos”. We recommend to take an official (mostly yellow) taxi, waiting at the exit of the main terminal. For security reasons you shouldn’t take a non-official taxi. In the airport building you can find a taxi office where you can name your destination in order to get a printout with the estimated fare. This helps you to avoid paying too much for the trip.
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How is the climate in Colombia?
The annual average temperature in Bogotá is about 14 °C. Since Bogotá is situated close to the equator, there are no big differences throughout the year. Temperatures rarely climb higher than 23 °C, in some cloudless nights they can reach the freeze point. Most rainfall is in April and October, least in January.
The equator passes through Colombia. This means, the country is situated in the tropical clime. The Caribbean coast in the north is much drier than the rest of the country. Colombia is divided into four climate regions. In the plains (Llanos) we find tropical climate with temperatures above 24 °C, between 1.000 und 2.000 m moderate tropical climate (17–24 °C), between 2.000 and 3.000 m cold-tropical climate (12–17 °C) and in the mountain regions (Páramos) above 3.000 m high-alpine glacier climate (below 12 °C). The western border of the Andes is the most rain-laden region of Colombia. Some places are among the most rain-laden places in the world! In the eastern parts of the country there is less rain. Parts of the Caribbean cost are rather dry because of the trade wind (less than 400 mm annual precipitation). The first months of the dry season are December and January the first months of the rain period are May to July. At the end of rain period tropical storms are common. The high plains can be very cold at night.
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How safe is Colombia?
Security without doubt is a concern for anyone travelling to Colombia. The media concentrate in their coverage on negative topics like drug traficking and armed conflicts which draws a rather partial picture of the country. The mentioned problems truly exist, but most Colombian regions are not directly affected by armed conflicts. In general, tourist can safely travel in Colombia, always taking into account the usual precautions for travelling in South America.
Theft and robbery – like in any metropolis worldwide – occur and being a “gringo” you call the attention if you want it or not, which is why we recommend to pay attention to the following precaution list:
* Don’t visit poor districts or only go there with locals you know and trust and who know the place.

* Don’t show your personal belongings like money, cameras and watches when walking around.

* Be careful with distraction tricks in crowded places, for example when you get off a bus or when you leave a bar, restaurant or a crowded event.

* Always keep an eye on your belongings.

* Keep important things like your credit card, flight tickets, passport or huge amounts of money in a safe place or at least keep them on your body.

* Make a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a safe place, separated from other belongings.

* Only take official taxis and order them by phone. Don’t take taxis on the street. Some numbers for ordering a taxi in Bogotá are: 2 111111 and 4 111111.
* On interurban buses, always keep an eye on your hand luggage. Try to travel with big and well known companies also when it costs more – they are safer.

The North of the capital Bogotá is characterized by middle class and high-income groups so the crime rate is comparatively low here. The South of Bogotá hosts the poorer areas and the West is mainly industrial which is why we recommend to avoid the latter, except a special reason is bringing you to a concrete place in these zones. In that case you should ask a person you trust and which is familiar with the place to accompany you.
In the historical centre of Bogotá (Barrio Colonial, La Candelaria, Plaza de Bolivar…) you shouldn’t walk around with valuable possessions or high amounts of cash. In this part of town it happens if you are not familiar with the place, that you suddenly get from a calm and bonny street into a complicated one.

These notes are no attempt to frighten you. After a certain time of acclimatization and with a healthy portion of attention you will soon understand the rhythm of the city and have a good time in Bogotá.

You can find more security advices on the website of the Department for Foreign Affairs of your home country.
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How do I pay in Colombia?
In Colombia you pay with the Colombian Peso (Peso Colombiano or COP). 1 Euro currently equates to 2.307 COP (1.000 COP = € 0,43). 1 US Dollar is about 1.940 COP (1.000 COP = USD 0,51). In all bigger cities you can draw out money in the local currency in cash machines. Sometimes you are not allowed to draw out more than 100 or 150 Euro (USD 132 or 197) at once. But you can draw out money several times. We also recommend to take a certain amount of Euro or US-Dollar with you when travelling to Colombia, which you can exchange in banks and exchange offices (casas de cambio) in the country. It’s also recommendable to exchange a certain amount in your country of origin before travelling to Colombia.
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How is the cost of living in Colombia?
The cost of living naturally depends on each person. As a student in Bogotá though you can calculate spending between COP 800.000 and 1.500.000 (€ 350 – 650 or USD 450 – 854) monthly.
The rental prices vary from district to district. A room in a shared apartment or a family can cost you between COP 200.000 and 700.000 (€ 85 – 300 or USD 112 – 394), for your own apartment you will pay a monthly rent between COP 700.000 and 1.500.000 (€ 300 – 650 or USD 394 – 854).
Some food prices:
1 monthly shopping cart: +/- COP 200.000 (€ 85 or USD 112)
1 bread: +/- COP 6.000 (€ 2.50 or USD 3,28)
1 litre of milk: +/- COP 1.200 (€ 0.50 or USD 0,65)
1 dozen eggs: +/- COP 7.000 (€ 3.00 or USD 3,94)
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How much time in advance should I apply for an internship?

In general we recommend to apply with sufficient time in advance. In general we need between 4 and 8 weeks to organize your internship, but we recommend to start planning your trip even earlier.
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Does Inside Colombia offer paid internships?
Most of the internships offered by Inside Colombia are unpaid. Some companies or organizations pay a monthly remuneration.
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How important is the knowledge of Spanish?
For a successful internship basic knowledge of Spanish is required. Some companies and organizations also require advanced knowledge of Spanish. That’s why Inside Colombia also offers Spanish courses, provided by experienced language teachers and designed for individual needs.
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Can I do a second internship after my first one?
You can also use our service for a second internship after finishing your first one. The service for organizing a second internship costs € 120 (USD 130). Up

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