03 May How much did our trip to Colombia cost?
Thinking of travelling in Colombia? From our experience, South America can be an expensive beast to tackle, especially when it comes to activities and getting around. We budgeted £50 for two people per day, but did we manage to stick to that? Here’s a breakdown of how much our seven-week trip to Colombia cost, from food and accommodation prices to activities and transport.
Want to see more of our detailed cost breakdowns for countries around the world? Check out our travel cost page or some of these popular posts:
How much does it cost to travel America?
Our Eastern European travel costs
What’s the cost of living in Prague?
How much does it cost to travel Europe?
The cost of living in Chiang Mai
Colombia accommodation costs
We spent 53 nights, nearly two months, in Colombia in a mix of apartments and guest houses. Our average cost per night for Colombia accommodation came to £28.82. There are a range of cheap guest houses and hostels with dorm rooms available in Colombia, the cheapest we stayed in was Coco Bomgo in Minca which cost £22.95 per night. Our most expensive stay was also in Minca, at an eco-retreat called Mundo Nuevo, where we spent £36.34 per night.
When we travel these days, we prefer to rent apartments with kitchens and space to work, which is how we spent the bulk of our time in Colombia. We usually rent through Airbnb (get £25 off your first stay with this discount link) but for our accommodation in Medellin and Bogota accommodation, we rented chic apartments from Latin Hosts. If you’re wondering where to stay in Medellin, El Poblado is popular but we stayed in nearby Sabaneta for £27.02 per night.
|Expense||Total||Per person||Per night|
Colombian food costs
Meat-heavy Colombian food wasn’t a pleasant experience for us for vegans, so we spent a lot of time cooking in our apartments. We bought a lot of local produce, especially avocados and had access to usual staples like beans, rice, pasta, chickpeas and plant milk from larger supermarkets. You can read more about how we’re managing to stay vegan in South America here. Eating mainly at home worked out pretty cheap for us, at just £11.53 per day.
Although we had to avoid traditional Colombian food, we did find some vegan-friendly restaurants in Colombia, particularly in Medellin and Cartargena and ate out a few times. As a cost example, a vegan pizza, papas bravas, tea and beer came to £13.77 at Café Zorba, in El Poblado. We had two vegan menus del dia (red bean casserole with plantain, salad, rice, a juice and a small cookie dessert) for £8.92 in Verdeo, El Poblado. You’d pay less than this at a local Colombian restaurant.
|Expense||Total||Per person||Per day|
Cost of transportation in Colombia
To save time and avoid hellish overnight bus journeys while travelling around Colombia, we took two internal flights in Colombia. The cheapest airline we found was Viva Colombia, who we flew from Medellin to Bogota with for £38 each, although they do ask for an extra fee to seat you together. We haven’t included our initial flight costs from the UK in the below breakdown, but we paid £302 per person. As a tip, if you’re looking for cheap flights to Colombia, check out connecting flights via Florida, USA, but be warned that Fort Lauderdale Airport is a complete shit-storm.
Local bus travel in Colombia is relatively cheap and easy to use, we travelled two-hours from Medellin to Guatapé for just £3.57 each. From our experience, Colombia bus companies are comfortable and safe to use. Taxis are inexpensive but our favourite type of Colombia transportation was Uber, which was even cheaper. Uber isn’t popular with authorities though, so drivers may ask you to sit up front and pretend you’re their friends. We loved the Metro in Medellin, which was clean, cheap and safe, costing just £0.65 per journey.
|Expense||Total||Per person||Per day|
|Cable car (2)||£5.66||£2.83||£0.11|
|Bus Cartagena to Santa Marta||£20.40||£10.20||£0.39|
|Bus Santa Marta to Minca||£4.08||£2.04||£0.08|
|Bus Minca to Santa Marta||£4.08||£2.04||£0.08|
|Bus Medellin to Guatape||£7.14||£3.57||£0.13|
|Bus Guatape to Medellin||£7.14||£3.57||£0.13|
|Terminal fee and Return bus to Zapaquira||£9.12||£4.56||£0.17|
|Bus Bogota to Villa de Leyva (via Tunja)||£14.80||£7.40||£0.28|
|Bus Villa de Leyva to Bogota||£12.24||£6.12||£0.23|
|Flight Santa Marta to Medellin||£94.38||£47.19||£1.78|
|Flight Medellin to Bogota||£74.00||£37||£1.40|
Cost of activities in Colombia
Considering we spent nearly two months in Colombia, we didn’t do all that much in terms of paid-for activities. We took a few walking tours in Medellin. For those wondering ‘is Colombia safe to travel?’ we learnt a lot about this issue on the excellent Real City Tour. One of the best Colombia tourist attractions we visited was the Salt Cathedral near Bogota, which was also the most expensive at £12.75 per person. It was worth it for the informative guide, we spent at least three hours there. Another top pick is the Cacao tour we took in Minca.
|Playa Blanca Tour||£20.40||£10.20|
|Sun beds at Playa Blanca||£12.80||£6.40|
|Castillo de San Felipe||£12.70||£6.35|
|Convento de la Popa||£5.60||£2.80|
|La Candelaria Cacao tour||£10.20||£5.10|
|La Piedra de Penol, Guatape||£9.20||£4.60|
|Medellin Free Walking Tour||£12.70||£6.35|
|Communa 13 Tour||£10.20||£5.10|
|Barrio Transformation Tour||£25.20||£12.60|
|Catedral de Sal||£25.50||£12.75|
|Bogota walking tour||£10.20||£5.10|
Miscellaneous Colombia travel costs
As usual, we had a few miscellaneous travel costs, such as a haircut, toiletries and new trousers.
How much does a seven-week trip to Colombia cost?
So, South America has proved a lot more expensive than we anticipated, especially after we’re used to getting so much for our money in Asia (check out all our travel cost breakdowns for details). However, we set a rough budget of £50 per day, which we almost managed to stick to in Colombia. That was mostly down to spending a lot of time stationary and working remotely to pay for the trip though. If you travel more extensively and do more activities, costs will quickly spiral. Here’s a total breakdown of how much our trip to Colombia cost.
|Expense||Total||Per person||Per day|
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What do you think of our Colombia travel costs? Have you managed it for less?
Melanie MilesPosted at 08:14h, 04 May
Well, thank you so much, that’s very interesting. I haven’t been to South America and I assumed it would be cheap like Asia so this is good information for when I do go. And love that oh-so-casual photo of you guys with you cacao masks – gorgeous darlings!
AmyPosted at 14:55h, 04 May
Hi Melanie, we assumed the same thing and got a bit of a shock! The prices in Bolivia were slightly cheaper, but we’re still struggling to hit the £50 per day budget. That was a great cacao mask though, definitely worth the money 🙂
Gilda BaxterPosted at 09:23h, 04 May
Well done for sticking to your budged (close enough). I will look forward to hear about your costs for Peru ?
AmyPosted at 14:56h, 04 May
Thanks Gilda, we’re in Peru all this month and finding costs pretty reasonable so far, we’ll bring you a detailed breakdown next month 🙂
Louisa KlimentosPosted at 12:33h, 06 May
This is very informative and people wanting to visit will no what costs they are up for You really go to a lot of trouble to help others plan a trip and work out a budget Thank you heaps I am hoping to visit Columbia one day and rest of South America too love Louisa
Andrew WyattPosted at 15:23h, 08 May
Thanks Louisa, I hope other travellers find this info helpful 🙂
RhondaPosted at 16:42h, 06 May
One reason we keep getting drawn back to SE Asia…. so inexpensive and yet amazing! But, looks like Colombia is amazing so still can’t wait to get there and check it out for ourselves. Happy travels.
Andrew WyattPosted at 15:22h, 08 May
Thanks Rhonda. I think SE Asia is just unbeatable and we’ve been spoilt by all the years we spent there!
Matt DemonPosted at 08:06h, 09 May
Great post! Thanks for sharing.
AmyPosted at 21:56h, 10 May
Thanks Matt 🙂
Safari Travel PlusPosted at 11:44h, 26 May
True Asia is way cheaper to travel and South America looks a little pricey but Africa is even more expensive but there are certain things one can do to reduce the cost of their trips. Packing light and also choosing to travel off season when hotels and accommodations are cheaper.
AmyPosted at 16:42h, 29 May
Hi, thanks for your comment, interesting to hear that Africa is also more expected than anticipated. We’d love to explore that region in the future too.
StefanPosted at 08:31h, 27 June
Nice one guys 🙂 Interesting Latin America isn’t as budget friendly as SE Asia eh?
AmyPosted at 04:23h, 29 June
Totally, we got a bit of a shock when we realised how expensive it was! We definitely missed the good old days in Thailand and our $400 per month luxury apartment!