What should you pack when traveling to Colombia?

As most of you probably already know, Colombia is a pretty diverse country, in food, in dress, in climate, in flora and fauna, and everything in between. So, if you are planning a trip to Colombia, you will need to be just as diverse in what you pack for your trip!

Cold day in Bogotá

Cold day in Bogotá

First of all, you will want to think about the diversity of climates you will encounter during your trip. Will you be traveling only to one city or region, or will you be traveling to various regions and cities across Colombia? This will affect how much you pack, for sure. In regard to clothing and accessories, keep in mind the following:

  • Bogotá generally has cool, often wet, weather with temperatures ranging from 5 to 20 degrees Celsius, often much cooler in the evenings than during the day. For time in Bogotá, you’ll want to make sure you have a good coat or jacket, preferably water proof, shoes that will keep your feet warm and dry, and generally warmer clothing you can layer. That being said, Bogotá is famous for going through all “four seasons” in 24 hours, due to the frequent changes in weather there. So, be prepared for anything and everything!
  • Medellin and the Coffee Region have warmer temperatures than Bogotá and generally receive less rain on a daily basis. For these areas, you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed pants, but you may feel it’s warm enough to wear shorts here as well. Likewise, you may want to bring a light sweater or jacket for evenings out, but short sleeve shirts will be fine for during the day. And, whereas you’ll probably see people in boots, sandals and tennis shoes are also good options for Medellin as you’re feet aren’t likely to freeze here!
  • The Caribbean Coast is hot, hot, and hot. If you are planning to spend time in this region, you will want to bring summer attire—bathing suits, sandals, flip flops, shorts, tank tops, etc… You won’t need jackets or sweatshirts, but you may want to bring a pair of jeans or two as that’s the normal dress for nights out.

*Whatever you do, don’t rely too much on the weather forecasts you find online, as I have learned they don’t often coincide with reality and don’t actually lend much help in planning your attire for the day.

Little girl enjoying a sunny, warm day in Medellin

Little girl enjoying a sunny, warm day in Medellin

Aside from clothing, you should also think about things that may be expensive or hard to find in Colombia, but that you will need during your trip. Some of these items may include:

  • Travel size toiletries: while you can find these here, they are often expensive or hard to come by. If you want travel size items (shampoo, toothpaste, etc…), bring them from home.
  • Lady’s hygiene products: while the variety of brands and options is expanding rapidly, if you have a preferred brand, you may want to bring it with you as the most common brands are still Colombian brands, and they may be a bit more expensive than what you’d be used to paying for them back home.
  • Waterproof travel belt or money holder: this may sound silly, but you won’t want to leave your money or ID on the beach unguarded and these devices are hard to find here in Colombia, so bring one with you if you are headed to beach areas.
  • Sunscreen: there is a growing variety in sunscreen brands here, but they are still pretty expensive.
  • Prescription medicines: in Colombia, you don’t need a prescription to buy “prescription” drugs, but there are some prescription medicines that you cannot find in Colombia, for whatever reason. On a positive note, though, if you get sick here, private consults are relatively cheap, and recommended prescription medicine purchases won’t be a problem for you.
Sunny, hot day in Cartagena

Sunny, hot day in Cartagena

Hopefully that’s some helpful information for what to pack. If you have any specific questions or would like to know about availability of a certain item, don’t hesitate to comment below.

Happy packing,

Paige M. Poole

About the author:

Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie.  You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog www.trotamunda.wordpress.com


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