Colombia trip cost: how much budget do you need?


Do you want to know how much budget you need and how to lower Colombia trip cost? Then you are on the right page. In this article, you can read how expensive a trip to Colombia is and how much daily budget Colombia you need. This is broken down by type of traveler.

We traveled through Colombia for 4 weeks and spent $65 per day, in this article we share in detail how we did this.

Colombia is one of the cheapest countries to travel through from South America. However, it is decisive which destination you visit, for example, Cartagena is expensive to visit compared to other places in Colombia.

Before you travel, it is important to know how much budget you need for Colombia. The amount of this partly determines whether or not you will travel to Colombia.

Our tips, categories, and our travel costs to Colombia are based on the journey we made through the central part and the north of Colombia. So keep in mind that when you travel south, for example, the trip to Colombia will be cheaper because this area is cheaper.

Tayrona National Park

Budget Colombia, how much do you need?

Good to know if you want to travel with a very tight budget in Colombia that this is possible. You can stay in nice hostels for less than $35 a day, eat at local places and see a lot of the country.

Budget traveler: If you’re on a tight budget and pay close attention to what you spend, $30 – $35 per person a day may be sufficient.

Mid-range traveler: If you want something a little more luxurious, doing a few more expensive activities, or staying in good accommodations, plan a budget of $35 – $65 per person per day.

Luxury traveler: if you stay in the best accommodations in Colombia and you want comfort during your trip in Colombia, you should count on a Colombia budget of +$100 per person per day.

The amounts do not include airline tickets. The flight costs are very diverse. We use Skyscanner and recommend purchasing your airline tickets here!

$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 the costs for backpacking Colombia in detail.

Colombia trip cost: Accommodation

If you travel with a tight Colombia travel budget there are several options for budget travelers. First of all, you can choose to stay in hostels and hotels. If you are traveling alone, we recommend staying in hostels so that you can easily meet other travelers. If you are traveling as a couple, it can sometimes be nicer to stay in a hotel. In general, it is cheaper to stay in hostels. You can find in Colombia many hostels where you can stay in dorms or hammocks which is cheap.

In general, staying at hostels and hotels is cheaper in Colombia compared to other countries in South America. Sleeping in a dorm will cost you $6 to $15 per night at the more popular hostels. A double room costs between $12 to $48 per night. If you want more luxurious rooms, you will soon pay more than $60 per night.

You should also take into account that the prices for accommodations within Colombia vary widely. For example, Cartagena is relatively expensive and Bogota is relatively cheap to stay.

If you want to keep the Colombia daily budget low, it is strongly recommended to book accommodations in advance. If you book far in advance, there are still many accommodations available, giving you more choice. This makes it easier for you to choose accommodations that fit your budget. If you are late with booking, only the more expensive options may still be available.

Are you curious about our favorite hotels and hostels in Colombia?
Check it out.

Colombia hotel

Colombia trip cost: Food

Colombian food is a mix of European and Latin American. In Colombia, you will find many different restaurants. The best way to discover Colombian cuisine is to eat at local places. Dishes from Colombia mainly consist of corn, beans, chicken, potatoes, meat, and rice. Many Colombian dishes are worth trying.

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.

Are you also looking for an itinerary for Colombia? Check out our itinerary.

Colombia food

Colombia trip cost: Transport

Colombia is a large country, if you want to save costs it is recommended to choose a certain region to discover, which means that travel costs are lower than when you travel through the entire country.

You can find all the transport tickets here at Bookaway. We used Bookaway to book all our bus tickets. They’re easy to use and book with, and we’ve explored the best destinations with their busses.

Often when you travel from one destination to another you have the choice to use the bus or plane. If it concerns long distances, it is best to take a night bus, for shorter distances you can use the normal bus. For this, you need to go to the bus terminal of the relevant location and buy a ticket. All bus companies are fine to use. During our trip we used Bolivariano, Expreso Palmira, Velotax Expreso Brasilia and Ochoa. When you arrive at your destination you can use a taxi to get to the accommodation.

The advantage is that night buses are cheaper than flights, and you also travel while sleeping, so you don’t lose time traveling during the day. It also saves you accommodation costs.

There is almost no information about night buses but between all popular destinations, you can use a night bus, for example from San Gil to Bogota or from Santa Marta to San Gil. You must be present at least 1 hour before the departure of the bus to buy a ticket. On average, a ticket costs $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.

We traveled through the central part and the north so it was not necessary to travel all the way to the south. Read our Colombia itinerary if you want to know about it.

If you travel to Colombia by plane and you are looking for a car to rent, you can rent it through Rentalcars. We use Rentalcars when we want to travel by car to discover new destinations. They’re easy to use and book with.

Colombia trip cost: Activities

In general, it is not expensive to do fun things in Colombia because many activities can be done independently. If you follow our itinerary you will do many excursions. For example, you go paragliding in Medellin for $36, which is very cheap compared to other countries. In the north, you can visit the most beautiful natural park called Tayrona National Park for $15. On the coast, at Palomino, you can go tubing for $17. At Minca you can watch the sunrise at San Lorenzo for $17 and go rafting in San Gil for $60.

Because many activities can be done independently, you do not have to spend a lot of money on activities. The activities are also a lot cheaper if you compare this with other countries. For example, if you want to go rafting in other countries you pay $135, making $60 cheap.

A must, which unfortunately we were unable to do due to time constraints, is the lost city trek. This is a four- or five-day hike to Ciudad Perdida. This is highly recommended if you like adventure and hiking.

Usually, the more expensive excursions are very special, which makes them relatively expensive. We always advise not to cut on activities because the activities make a trip incredibly fun and ensure that you see and do a lot.

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 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.

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 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 did Colombia cost us per day

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

Our Colombia travel costs were in total: $64 per day (amounts have been rounded). This excludes the flight tickets and other costs. The airline tickets were $1100 for us. Our trip has cost in total per person: 25 (days) x $65 + #1100 = $2725.

We always stayed in nice hostels/hotels, enjoyed eating at local and hip restaurants, and did all the activities we wanted to do.

Accommodation: If you want to travel cheaper than we did, that’s possible. We always stayed in a private double room, if you stay in a dorm you will save money. Don’t choose ‘too’ cheap accommodations because these are often located outside the center and the facilities of these places are not good.

Food: Most of the time it is recommended to book breakfast at the accommodation, on this list you can see our recommended accommodations that offer this. As a result, you spend a lot less money than when you have breakfast in a restaurant. You can also save on food costs by eating at local restaurants. Finally, you can save costs by cooking your food during your trip.

Transportation: If you visit a certain area in Colombia, if you use the night buses instead of the plane, your transport costs will be lower than ours. We only knew after two domestic flights that it was possible to take night buses in Colombia.

Activities: When you follow the articles we have written about Colombia you will see that there is a lot to do in Colombia without the need to spend a lot of money. Recommended is not to cut down on activities. After all, you are going to travel to Colombia to see and do things right?

San Gil Barichara street

Trip to Colombia cost FAQ

1. How much is a trip to Colombia?

Traveling through Colombia is inexpensive. For example, for a mid-range traveler, a 3-week trip through Colombia costs $1744 per person (if you are traveling as a couple). This is when you fly from the United States to Bogota or Medellin.

For accommodation, food, transport, and activities you spend 21 days x $64 on average = $1344. The flight costs are on average $400 per person.

2. How much money should I take to Colombia?

Bring about 4x of your expected daily budget Colombia. If you are a mid-range traveler this is +/- $256. This allows you to pay for the first expenses when you arrive, such as the bus, taxi, food, and accommodation. Then you have to go to the bank and withdraw money. Exchange rates are a lot better than when you exchange money at home.

In every village or city, there is a bank where you can withdraw money. So it is not necessary to take a lot of money with you when you travel to Colombia.

3. How much does it cost to go to Colombia for two weeks?

Of course, it depends on what you’re going to do. But in general, if you are a mid-range traveler, a two-week trip in Colombia will cost +/- $1800 per person if you are traveling as a couple.

We spent $64 on accommodation, food, transport, and activities, but going for two weeks means you’ll want to see and do things in a shorter period, so the average cost is higher. That’s why you spend $85 per person per day.

For accommodation, food, transport, and activities you spend 14 days x $85 = $1590. The flight costs are approximately $400 per person.

4. How to visit Colombia on a budget?

It is not difficult to make a great trip through Colombia with a limited budget. For this, you need to do the following things to spend +/- $33 per day.

Stay at hostels in dorms or a hammock. In addition, book the accommodations well in advance, giving you a lot of choices to select budget-friendly hostels. When you do this you will spend +/- $8 per day.

To save on food, it is recommended to book a hostel where breakfast is included. This means you only have to buy food in the afternoon and evening. Eat where the locals eat, this is cheaper and often tastes better. You can save a lot of money if you cook your food. When doing this you spend $12 per day on food expenses.

For transport, it is recommended to visit a certain area in Colombia so that distances are as short as possible. You can also choose to visit only a limited number of destinations so that the transport costs remain low. If you do this, $5 per day is enough.

Of course, sometimes you need to buy an entrance ticket for something, but in general, you can keep these costs quite low. This is because you can do many activities independently in Colombia. For activities, $8 per day should be sufficient.


The cost of travel in Colombia isn’t high if you know what to do. 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.

What do you think of our budget tips for Colombia? Share your thought in the comments below!

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