My Colombia Travel Budget & Costs

One of the questions I get asked the most when divulging my current travel plans is about the cost of it.

How can you afford it? Are you rich? Did you win the lottery? Would you marry me?

My answer to most of these questions (3 out of 4) is that yes, I did work for a while to be able to afford to travel for as long as I plan to, but at the same time travel is not as expensive as it might first seem.

Through my Colombia trip I kept track of all my costs down to every single penny. And now in the hopes of proving that travel is indeed affordable, here is in excruciating detail, the travel budget and cost of the 5 weeks I spent in Colombia.




Number of Days Spent in Colombia: 36 days / 35 nights

Total Money Spent: 3618447 COP ($1670.12 CAD / $1248 USD / €1156.51)
Average Money Spent Per Day: 100512 COP ($46.39 CAD / $34.68 USD / €32.13)

Accommodation: 841000 COP ($384.21 CAD / $288.16 USD / €266.97)
Transportation: 602000 ($277.94 CAD / $207.77 USD / €192.51)
Food: 
787743 COP ($363.65 CAD / $271.88 USD / €251.89)
Activities & Tours: 235000 COP ($107.18 CAD / $80.45 USD / €74.55)
Entrance Fees: 61000 COP ($27.80 CAD / $20.84 USD / €19.33)
Entrance to Colombia (for Canadians): 171000 COP ($78.39 CAD / $58.73 USD / €54.44)
Flight from Bogotá to Mexico City: 559584 COP ($256.07 CAD / $191.74 USD / €177.84)
Miscellaneous: 361120 COP ($166.75 CAD / $124.64 USD / €115.45)

Cities Where I Stayed: 8

These include all costs incurred in the city, including accommodation, food, activities and entrance fees.

Average Cost Per City & Per Night:

  • Pasto (3 nights): 81417 COP($37.25 CAD / $27.90 USD / €25.87)
  • Popayán (3 nights): 89066 COP ($40.79 CAD / $30.55 USD / €28.33)
  • Tierradentro (2 nights): 53550 COP ($24.50 CAD / $18.35 USD / €17.02)
  • Salento (8 nights): 58675 COP ($26.85 CAD / $20.11 USD / €18.65)
  • Medellín (6 nights): 85965 COP ($39.33 CAD / $29.46 USD / €27.32)
  • San Gil (5 nights): 101980 COP ($46.67 CAD / $34.94 USD / €32.41)
  • Sogamoso (4 nights): 56750 COP ($25.97 CAD / $19.45 USD / €18.04)
  • Villa de Leyva (3 nights): 36783 COP ($16.98 CAD / $12.69 USD / €11.75)

The most expensive city was San Gil, however this is mainly due to the fees of the activities I did while there (bungee jumping and water rafting).

The least expensive city was Tierradentro, which is mainly a cause of how remote this city is and how little there is to do other than hiking. Also I did not have to pay for the “passport” to do the hike (click here to know why). Had I paid, Sogamoso would have been the least expensive city.

Cities Visited on Day Tours: 10

These costs include the price of the bus ticket back-and-forth from the city I left from (e.g. Pasto – Tuquerres – Pasto), as well as all expenses of spending the day in the city.

Average Cost Per City Per Day:

  • Ipiales: 48000 COP ($21.96 CAD / $16.45 USD / €15.25)
  • Tuquerres (from Pasto): 39500 COP ($18.07 CAD / $13.53 USD / €12.55)
  • Silvia (from Popayán): 28600 COP ($13.10 CAD / $9.81 USD / €9.10)
  • Filandia (from Salento): 48400 COP ($22.14 CAD / $16.58 USD / €15.38)
  • Manizales (from Salento): 80550 COP ($36.85 CAD / $27.60 USD / €25.60)
  • Guatapé (from Medellín): 50000 COP ($22.88 CAD / $17.13 USD / €15.89)
  • Barichara / Guane (from San Gil): 20750 COP ($9.50 CAD / $7.11 USD / €6.59)
  • Playa Blanca / Iza (from Sogamoso): 38500 COP ($17.92 CAD / $13.19 USD / €12.23)

Accommodation

Total Cost Of Accommodation: 841000 COP ($384.21 CAD / $288.16 USD / €266.97)

Accommodation here refers to mainly hostel dorm rooms with shared bathroom (I say “mainly” as I booked a private room for 3 nights in Pasto and 2 nights in Tierradentro, the difference on the overall is less than 1 CAD/USD/€ on the average per night).

Accommodation Avg. Per Night: 24735 COP ($11.31 CAD / $8.49 USD / €7.87)

The average per night above was divided by 34 nights instead of 35, as I took one overnight bus during my stay in Colombia, and therefore did not need to pay for accommodation that night.

Accommodation Prices Per Night Per City:

Transportation

1958 Kms between each destination, 100% of my movements through Colombia were done by bus (intercity buses and colectivos). I did not look for plane ticket prices as most of my destinations were within a few hours distance by bus, and because I love to see the scenery 🙂

The below prices include buses I took when changing locations (e.g. Ipiales to Pasto), as well as buses I took for one-day visits (e.g. Salento – Manizales – Salento).

Total Cost Of Buses: 499100 COP ($230.30 CAD / $172.23 USD / €159.36)

  • Number Of Buses Taken: 41
  • Average Cost Per Bus Ride: 12173 COP ($5.62 CAD / $4.20 USD / €3.89)

Intercity buses are not necessarily cheap in Colombia. Although there are many companies servicing similar routes, the prices vary little between them. On average, expect to pay between 7000 to 8000 per hour of travel.

Total Cost Of Taxis: 82700 COP ($38.17 CAD / $28.54 USD / €26.38)

  • Number Of Taxis Taken: 12
  • Average Cost Per Taxi: 6891 COP ($3.18 CAD / $2.38 USD / €2.20)

I only took taxis when the distance between a bus terminal and my hostel warranted it. I’m putting these prices apart as not everyone will take them.

Total Cost of Metro (Medellín): 20200 COP ($9.21 CAD / $6.90 USD / €6.40)

Food

Eating out is quite cheap in Colombia, with most regular eateries charging close to 10000 COP per meal. For fancier restaurants, expect to pay between 20000 COP and 30000 COP, while street food keeps being the cheapest option at less than 10000 COP per meal.

Total Cost Of Food: 787743 COP ($363.65 CAD / $271.88 USD / €251.89)

  • Total Cost Of Eating Out: 665350 COP ($307.10 CAD / $229.61 USD / €212.67)
  • Total Cost Of Groceries (7 days worth): 122393 COP ($55.83 CAD / $41.90 USD / €38.83)

Average Cost of Food Per Day: 21881 COP ($10.10 CAD / $7.55 USD / €6.99)

I could have further lowered the costs by preparing my own meals more, but life is too short for me to eat my own food.

Activities & Tours

Total Cost of Activities & Tours: 235000 COP ($107.18 CAD / $80.45 USD / €74.55)

  • Bungee Jumping (San Gil): 70000 COP ($31.93 CAD / $23.96 USD / €22.21)
  • Water Rafting (San Gil): 130000 COP / ($59.30 CAD / $44.51 USD / €41.24)
  • Páramo de Sicumsi (Sogamoso): 35000 COP ($15.97 CAD / $11.98 USD / €11.10)

I managed to keep these costs down by avoiding doing tour groups as much as I could and heading to sites on my own (see my article on Medellín for an example of what I’m talking about).

Entrance Fees

Total Cost of Entrance Fees: 61000 COP ($27.80 CAD / $20.84 USD / €19.33)

  • Cocora Valley (Salento): 2000 COP ($0.91 CAD / $0.68 USD / €0.63)
  • Acaime Hummingbird Sanctuary (Salento): 5000 COP ($2.28 CAD / $1.71 USD / €1.59)
  • Don Elias Coffee Farm (Salento): 8000 COP ($3.64 CAD / $2.74 USD / €2.54)
  • Mirador “Colina Iluminada” (Filandia): 8000 COP ($3.64 CAD / $2.74 USD / €2.54)
  • Mirador “Catedral Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Rosario” (Manizales): 10000 COP ($4.56 CAD / $3.42 USD / €3.17)
  • Peñón de Guatapé: 18000 COP ($8.21 CAD / $6.16 USD / €5.71)
  • Casa Terracota (Villa de Leyva): 10000 COP ($4.56 CAD / $3.42 USD / €3.17)

Entrance to Colombia

Canadians are required to pay an entrance fee of 171000 COP / $78.00 CAD when coming into Colombia.

Miscellaneous

  • Internet (SIM Card + 3G of data): 72000 COP ($32.82 CAD / $24.59 USD / €22.81)
  • Movie Theater (2): 18800 COP ($8.57 CAD / $6.42 USD / €5.96)
  • Postcards (4): 7500 COP ($3.42 CAD / $2.56 USD / €2.38)
  • Mail (4): 12000 COP ($5.47 CAD / $4.10 USD / €3.80)
  • Laundry (5): 46000 COP ($20.96 CAD / $15.71 USD / €14.57)
  • Shampoo, Soap (2), Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Deodorant (3): 82750 COP ($38.20 CAD / $28.56 USD / €26.40)
  • Meds: 41000 COP ($18.69 CAD / $14.00 USD / €12.99)
  • Gifts10000 COP ($4.56 CAD / $3.41 USD / €3.18)
  • Haircut: 10000 COP ($4.56 CAD / $3.41 USD / €3.18)
  • Bag check, using a washroom, tipping a waiter: 5700 COP ($2.63 CAD / $1.97 USD / €1.82)
  • Blog Promotion: 55370 COP ($25.34 CAD / $18.97 USD / €17.60)

In Summary

At less than $35 USD per day, Colombia is one of the most affordable countries I have been to.

I did not starve, did not stay in the cheapest or the worst hostels (8.0 or more score on booking.com), or stopped myself from doing the things I wanted to do, and I still managed to keep costs low.

I mentioned somewhere above that the price tag could have been much lower had I decided to cook more for myself instead of eating out. I could’ve also used public transportation 100% of the time, and lowered the amount of money I spent on miscellaneous things. But even with all of these things, the price tag was very low.

Was this useful? Did these numbers surprise you? Do tell!




2 thoughts on “My Colombia Travel Budget & Costs

  1. This is incredible helpful, thank you! I’m heading off to Colombia in ten days. I only have a week there (sadly) but I want to see as much as I can, so I’m hoovering information. This is practical and super useful and I’m happy to see I’ll be able to eat and sleep without breaking the bank.

    • I’m glad you find this useful 🙂
      Colombia is amazing, and amazingly cheap too (which is definitely a good thing).
      Avoid the tours if you can, specially in big cities like Medellin, as these are WAAAAAAYYYY overpriced, and you can do many of these on your own for about a 5th of the price.
      Good luck and have fun!!!

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