Colombia trip cost: how much budget do you need?

Do you wonder how much it costs to travel through Colombia? We can tell you that Colombia is one of the cheapest countries in South America to travel to. Of course, you are curious how much it costs to travel through Colombia to determine your personal budget. We have traveled through Colombia for 4 weeks, the amounts we mention in this article are based on our travel route through Colombia. In this article, you can read how much budget you need and how much you spend on different cost categories. We also share the average daily budget you need for Colombia.

Tayrona National Park

Colombia trip cost: How much budget do you need for Colombia per day?

Budget traveler: if you have a tight budget and you pay close attention to what you spend, $30 – $35 per day may be sufficient.

Mid-range traveler: If you do a couple of expensive activities or stay at good accommodations, $35 – $65 per day is enough.

The amounts don’t include airline tickets. Flight costs are very diverse. We ourselves always use Skyscanner and really recommend it!

$6 – $15
Street food: $1City bus/taxi:
$1 – $6
Valle de Cocora: $15Travel guide:
Budget room:
$9 – $48
$4 – $7
Regional bus:
$6 – $12
Travel insurance 3 weeks: $120
$48 – $70
Fancy food:
$12 – $20
Santa Marta–San Gil: $30Tayrona park:
Water bottle:
Luxury hotel: +$70Local beer:
$1 – $2
Domestic flight:
 Sleeping bag:

Below you can read each part in more detail.

Colombia trip cost: Sleep

In Colombia, you can find a lot of awesome hostels and hotels. A dormitory costs an average of $6 to $15 per night at more popular hostels. A double room is between $12 to $48. In this price range, you can find great hostels or hotels. If you want a bit more luxury during your trip but still don’t want to make it too crazy, you should take into account $48 to $70. It is important to know that the prices for a hostel or hotel per destination in Colombia are varying widely. For example, Cartagena is relatively expensive and Bogota relatively cheap.

To help you select your hostels or hotels, we have written an article about the best places to stay in Colombia. You can find two accommodations per destination that we personally advise. The big advantage is that if you book through our links you can cancel two days in advance.

Colombia hotel

Colombia trip cost: Food

Colombian food is a mix of European and Latin American. Colombian food is very fresh and tasty. You can find many different restaurants in Colombia. The best way to discover Colombian cuisine is by eating at local places. Dishes from Colombia mainly consist of corn, beans, chicken, potatoes, meat, and rice. Many Colombian dishes are worth trying. Something we really liked about the Colombian kitchen is that we ate every day fish.

If you want to eat a good dish it will cost around $7. Breakfast is around $3 to $7. If you want to save money on food during your trip to Colombia, we recommend eating at local places. In general, the food in Colombia isn’t expensive. Empanadas, which is a delicious snack can be bought for $1. Also, alcohol isn’t expensive, on average beer costs $1-$2.

Dishes that you really should try when you are in Colombia are:

  • Arepas: The most served side dish in Colombia. It is made from cornmeal and is usually served with corn or butter.
  • Ajiaco: A delicious soup consisting of chicken, avocado, potatoes, capers, corn, and sour cream.
  • Lechona: This is a roasted pig filled with rice, onions, peas, and herbs. This is often served as a specialty.
  • Empanadas: This is a delicious snack that you will find all over South America. The dish is originally from Spain and Portugal. Usually, empanadas are baked and filled with various ingredients.
  • Churros: A long-shaped dough that has been fried, really delicious. You see clearly the Spanish influence in this dish. Many Colombians eat this for breakfast.
Colombia food

Colombia trip cost: Transport

Colombia is a large country, usually, you have two options how to travel to a place, using the bus or plane. It may be that the plane is cheaper than the bus. Sometimes the plane can also be better to use because it saves a lot of travel time.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use the bus. We really liked using the buses in Colombia because they are good. You sit well, have a lot of legroom and there is air conditioning. The best advice we can give is to travel long distances by night bus. The biggest advantage is that you save a lot of time, you don’t have to pay for accommodation and you don’t lose travel time during the day.

There isn’t a lot of information to find on the internet. Night buses are available in a lot of places, for example, San Gil to Bogota or from Santa Marta to Sil. Important to know: buy your ticket on time. On average a ticket is $30.

For shorter distances, you can use the regional bus. It is a good way to transport yourself and will cost around $9 for a 2-hour ride. For shorter distances, you can use buses and taxis, which are safe to use in cities like Medellin and Bogota.

Colombia trip cost: Activities

It is not expensive to do fun things in Colombia because a lot of excursions and activities can be done independently. In large cities like Medellin and Bogota, you can participate free walking tours. If you follow our itinerary through Colombia you will do a lot of awesome excursions such as paragliding in Medellin costs $36, entrance to Tayrona National Park is $15, tubing in Palomino from $17, seeing the sunrise in San Lorenzo $17, rafting in San Gil $60. In general, you can do a lot yourself in Colombia and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do awesome things.

A must, which we have unfortunately not been able to do due to time constraints is the hike “the lost city trek”. This is a five-day excursion that will cost you $380 where everything is included, highly recommended.

San Gil rafting

Colombia trip cost: Miscellaneous

How much you spend on other costs is of course very different per person. Here you can read several points that we always use during our trip and that we definitely recommend.

A travel guide provides you with detailed information about the country, weather, and culture. We always use Lonely Planet. This Colombia travel guide is the best to order.

In our opinion, travel insurance is extremely important. We will not travel without travel insurance. The risk that you run when something happens and you are uninsured is not manageable in amounts. Imagine that something is happening and you are not insured. You have to pay the final costs yourself, you don’t want to experience this! So important: take out travel insurance.

We use World Nomads for all our trips. Fill in the widget below with your details to see how much it costs to insure you during your trip through Colombia.

A water bottle is always handy to have with you. We use a Crazycap, this is a water bottle that kills all bacteria in the water using UV. This allows us to drink tap water anywhere in the world through this bottle. So we never have to buy water and can always drink tap water safely without bothering our stomachs. It is a one-time amount, but in the longer term you have this out.

Finally, you can also buy a sleeping bag, the advantage of this is that you always sleep in “your own bed”. If you find it annoying to sleep in unknown beds and do you like hygiene, sleeping in a sleeping bag is a good solution.

How much do Colombia cost us per day on average

  • Accommodation: $20
  • Transport: $12
  • Food: $23
  • Activities: $10

Total: $65 per day per person (amounts have been rounded). This does not include airline tickets and other costs. The airline tickets were $1100 per person. Total costs per person: 25 (days) x $65 + $1100 = $2725. We stayed in good hostels and hotels, enjoyed good food, and did a lot of awesome activities. Because the excursions in Colombia aren’t that expensive and you can do a lot yourself, this cost item is not that high. Colombia is an excellent country for any type of traveler. You can easily pay less than $65 per day. For example, it is easy to save money on accommodation by staying in a dorm instead of private rooms.


Colombia isn’t expensive to travel to. Now that you know this, you come to the next point in preparation for your trip: drawing up your travel route through Colombia. To help you on your way, we have put together a travel route through Colombia in which you will see all the highlights. For each destination, there is an article in which you can read everything in detail if you want to know more. Click here to open it: Colombia itinerary.

You can combine this itinerary with our article “21 best accommodations in Colombia” to book the best hotels and hostels. All you have to do is to book and your preparation is ready!

If you want to know more about Colombia and want to prepare yourself well, it is recommended to read this Colombia travel guide. You can read what the best period is to visit Colombia, what the best places are to visit, how safe Colombia is to travel to, which items you need to bring and other useful information.

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