colombia reopening borders

Colombia Reopened for Tourism With Only a Few Restrictions

Disclaimer: The travel rules and official government instructions are changing rapidly during the pandemic times and this article might NOT be up to date within a matter of hours. Therefore, you should always double-check the information with local authorities or your embassy in a given destination. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel during pandemic.

UPDATED: October 15.

(Click here for Spanish version)

Colombia (South America), has finally reopened its borders for international tourism after going through the longest lockdown in the continent. Tourists are now allowed entry with only a few restrictions.

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Do I need a COVID test and quarantine to enter Colombia?

Travelers arriving in Colombia must submit proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR result taken within 96 hours before arrival. Visitors do not have to quarantine, but if showing any coronavirus symptoms they will not be allowed boarding.

What documents do I have to submit to travel to Colombia?

Travelers are required to fill out the Check-Mig form, and to download the CoronAPP to permanently update their health status and receive COVID-19-related recommendations.

What airports are currently open for international tourism in Colombia?

International airports have been progressively restarting operations. As of today, the ones receiving international travelers are,

  • El Dorado – (Bogotá)
  • Rafael Núñez  – (Cartagena)
  • Alfonso Bonilla Aragón –   (Cali)
  • José María Córdova (Rionegro, serving Medellín)

Colombia reopening – Update (Sept 20)

Land, sea, and river borders reopening

According to Migracion Colombia (Colombia’s border control) Land, sea, and river borders with all neighboring countries will continue to be close until November 1. These restrictions, of course, include the Venezuelan borders too.

Colombia reopening – Update (Sept 20)

Minister of Transport Angela Maria Orozco announced that Colombia will start resuming international flights on Sept. 21 (source).

Colombia’s airports will start resuming flights with these countries:

  • USA
  • Ecuador
  • Mexico
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Guatemala

Colombia reopening – Update (Sept 7)

  • The situation in Colombia is slowly becoming better and the positive cases are declining. At the moment Colombia has 666,521 COVID cases and 21,412 deaths caused by COVID.
  • The international flights are supposed to start resuming at the end of September and land borders should be open in October. Announced by the Colombian Government (source).

Colombia reopening – Update (Aug 31)

  • While the airports have opened ahead of schedule, they are currently operating domestic flights only.
  • International flights are still suspended through August 31st. Even when they resume, only Colombian residents and foreign diplomats will be allowed into the country.
  • They will be required to complete an online form before arrival and to undergo a 14-day quarantine once they enter the country. All travelers will be required to wear masks at all times at the airport.
  • Because of the severity of the pandemic in Colombia, the country is opening gradually. While currently hospitals are no longer overwhelmed and the number of fatalities is dropping, the government is being cautious.

Airports Opening Ahead of Schedule for Local Flights

Colombia airports - travel restrictions

While originally airports were scheduled to reopen on September 1st, thanks to a three-day decline in the number of fatalities, Colombia’s Civil Aviation Authority agreed on August 18th to allow some domestic routes to resume operations (Source: in Spanish Language).

Flights from Bogota to Medellin, Cali, Cartagena and 10 other cities will now be allowed. President Duque officiated this milestone at Jose Mara Cordova Airport (Source: in Spanish Language).

The Mayor of Bogota, Claudia Lopez, has stated that the opening of El Dorado Airport must be based on the Ministry of Health’s evaluation of Bogota’s epidemiological data. Since intensive care occupancy has dropped in the city by 10%, the Mayor gave the green light for opening up restaurants and social clubs as well.

The impact of the Coronavirus on Colombia

At the moment Colombia has 862,158 COVID cases and 26,844 deaths caused by COVID. (As of October 8.)

The country was under a national lockdown until September 21. Due to the lockdown, the country has experienced economic woes, as key sectors of the economy were closed.

These included the retail, manufacturing, construction, transportation, and the hospitality industry. Real estate transactions were not allowed and restaurants, cafes, and bars were closed. The country experienced a hit of almost 16% to its GDP from April through June. Many consider this economy to be the worst since the Great Depression.

The original lockdown was extended eight times, the most recent being on July 28th when President Ivan Duque informed the nation that lockdowns would continue through August 30th.

However, districts with low infection rates would be allowed to reopen, though people would still be required to wear masks and avoid crowds. In hard hit areas such as the capital, Bogota, quarantines of some neighborhoods and regional curfews would still be in effect.

These quarantines mandate, among other things, that only oner person per household is allowed to leave per day to shop for essentials. During this emergency, these local quarantines have been re-evaluated every two weeks.

Because of the rise in unemployment, there have been protests in Colombia during this time.

Why visit Colombia?

Colombia reopening - Travel restrictions

For eco-tourists and nature lovers, Colombia is a dream destination. Its biodiversity is second only to that of Brazil.

Colombia is Latin America’s fifth-largest country. Its rich multicultural heritage dates back to 12,000 BC, when its first inhabitants included the Muisca, Quimbaya, and Tairona.

Given the incredible beauty and rich history, its no wonder it is a dream destination for travelers.

It has more species of birds than any other country in the world, lush rainforests, unique desert and highland ecosystems, and access to the world’s third-largest coral reef.

Adventurers can enjoy traveling to the Lost City recently discovered in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It’s believed to be older than Machu Picchu. Or they can hike the Andes, or try diving from the Colombian islands of Providencia and Santa Catalina.

They will find not just a diversity of marine life but also sunken pirate ships to explore.

Another great spot for diving is the Rosario Islands which are only a quick boat ride from Cartagena. This is arguably Colombia’s most beautiful city, with exquisite colonial architecture that features ornate balconies and lovely plazas.

Tourists can enjoy views of ocean sunsets, ride a horse carriage through the city, and enjoy the flowers that bloom everywhere. The city has many outdoor dance venues and the occasional dancing flash mob.

For those who enjoy nightlife, Colombia’s version of Carnival involves four days of parades and parties.

To fuel your energy levels, there is the delicious Colombian coffee. You can also partake of a cornucopia of tropical fruits from guavas to dragon fruit to zapotes.

Check our latest post on best times to visit Colombia for weather, events and off-season. We compared different seasons and favorite reasones why people love to visit Colombia.

Conclusion

Colombia is an exciting place to visit given its unique biodiversity, rich history, and friendly party culture.

While its currently still battling the coronavirus, recent developments give travelers hope that the country will soon be able to open for tourists.