Travel

Airports

Most international visitors will arrive at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota (BOG), although there are also international airports located at Cali (CLO), Medellin (MDE), Cartagena (CTG) and Barranquilla (BAQ). The El Dorado Airport is new and offers facilities such as restaurants, shops, ATMs and some money changers.

Bogota has two domestic airport terminals located in separate buildings but using the same runways. Most airlines leave and arrive at El Dorado Domestic Terminal, however domestic Avianca flights generally use the Puente Aranda Terminal. Make sure you check where your flight is departing from before arriving at the airport.

Check in time for international flights at El Dorado International Airport is 3 hours before your flight. Be mindful of heavy traffic and unexpected delays, particularly during peak hours.

Ground transport

Public taxis in Colombia are yellow with the white number plates written on the side of the cab. Taxis are usually small hatches with limited luggage space, although there are some sedans and station wagons.

Taxis in Bogota are metered and usually start at 24 with a placard hung over the passenger seat indicating the driver’s details and with a table of prices corresponding to the meter reading. Other cities, such as Cartagena, have flat or negotiated fees with the driver depending on where you are going and whether it is a Sunday or public holiday so it is good idea to know a rough price range for your destination before travelling by taxi.

There are some online services enabling you to download a taxi booking smartphone application to book a secure taxi. These include Tappsi and Easy Taxi which are available in the major cities.

Hotel Taxis

Hotel taxis are safe and can be booked directly with your hotel and you can make arrangements to be picked up from different locations. Hotel taxis are more expensive than yellow taxis.

Dining

The Colombian restaurant scene, particularly in Bogota, offers a range of international cuisines.

Tipping

Most mid- to high- range restaurants add a 10 per cent service charge to the bill. This is voluntary and most waitstaff will ask if you want the service included in the bill when you request it.