Colombia is a country famous for its coffee fields and also for the variety and richness of its landscapes. There you’ll be able to explore cities such as Bogotá, the capital, Medellín, Cartagena or Bucaramanga. If you’ve already taken the brilliant decision of heading there, now you need to know how much money you should carry with you.
Here you have a summary of how much your travel basics will cost you so you can make the most out of your trip.
The Colombian Peso
The official currency in Colombia is the Colombian peso, whose symbol is “$” and its ISO code “COP”. Currently, there are banknotes of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 Colombian pesos in circulation and coins of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 Colombian pesos.
A fun fact about the old design of the 50,000 Colombian pesos note is that it was vertical instead of horizontal, as most of banknotes in the world are. In the most recent edition the design has been adapted to standard.
How much will I pay for…
Now that you’re already familiar with the coins and notes in Colombia we’ll tell you how much you’ll pay for your staples*.
You can move around Colombia in different ways: by air, car, taxi, colectivos, coaches –which are by the way quite well organised, so they will drive you pretty much everywhere. This is what you will have to pay for…
- Renting a small car for a day: 120,000 Colombian pesos / 38 American dollars / 36 euros. You can rent at Hertz or Avis. A word of warning: take security measures seriously when travelling by car.
- A litre of unleaded petrol: 7,500 Colombian pesos / 2.36 American dollars / 2.24 euros per gallon (3.5 litres approximately).
- A one-way ticket in public transport: 1,800 Colombian pesos / 0.57 American dollars / 0.54 euros. Colectivos are another interesting means of transport. They are usually mini-vans running short and mid-distance routes. They leave when full, without schedule and are usually very cheap.
- A taxi from El Dorado Airport to Bogotá city centre: 25,000 Colombian pesos / 7.9 American dollars / 7.47 euros.
Eating and drinking
Ranging from sanochos and ceviche to arepas, Colombia offers a huge variety of dishes.
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This is what you will have to pay for…
- A burger menu: 18,000 Colombian pesos / 5.7 American dollars / 5.38 euros.
- Eating at an average restaurant: 20,000 Colombian pesos / 6.3 American dollars / 5.97 euros.
- Dining at an average restaurant: 20,000 Colombian pesos / 6.3 American dollars / 5.97 euros.
- Main national dish, sancocho, at a restaurant: 20,000 Colombian pesos / 6.3 American dollars / 6.3 euros. Sancocho is a hearty soup that combines meat, yucca, potatoes and banana among other ingredients.
- A beer in a pub: 3,000 Colombian pesos / 0.95 American dollars / 0.9 euros.
- A cup of coffee: 3,000 Colombian pesos / 0.95 American dollars / 0.9 euros.
There are options for all pockets in this coffee-lover country. Have a look at these average prices…
- A twin room in an average hotel, breakfast included: 100,441 Colombian pesos / 32 American dollars / 30 euros.
- Renting a two-room flat in an average area of Bogotá: 100,000 Colombian pesos / 315 American dollars / 299 euros.
Colombia offers a fantastic array of free-time activities. According to your preferences, this is what it’ll cost you…
- A ticket to the movies: 9,000 Colombian pesos / 2.84 American dollars / 2.7 euros.
- A drink at a bar or nightclub: 15,000 Colombian pesos / 4.7 American dollars / /4.5 euros.
- Ticket for a major museum, like the Colombian National Museum or Botero Museum: 10,000 Colombian pesos / 3.15 American dollars / 3 euros.
- Buy a daily newspaper like El Espectador: 2,000 Colombian pesos / 0.6 American dollars / 0.6 euros.
To sum up, total budget per person and day, provided that you are moving around in a rental car and that you go for some of the leisure activities mentioned above, would be approximately COP 215,700 (USD 68/EUR 64). If you move around in public transport, a round ticket would cost 132,500 Colombian pesos (42 American dollars/40 euros).
Where to exchange currency in Colombia
Now that you know how much money you will need, don’t forget to exchange your currency at Global Exchange, whether before leaving or once you get to Colombia. Global Exchange operates in Colombia under the name Globo Cambio since January 2015. Find your preferred branch in Bogotá, Medellín or Cartagena, both at the airport and high-street locations. Locate the branches in the map:
*Prices have been taken in Bogotá for information purposes as of February 2016. Please bear in mind that the information is provided for reference purposes only and prices may vary between areas and cities, Cartagena being one of the most touristy cities, tends to be more expensive that the capital.
Pictures: William Neuheisel, Edgar Jiménez, Hotel Gacheta y robinjavier.
And if you are already there and you plan on changing money upon your arrival (or your coming back home), we will make it easier with a 15% on the margin applied to your change at any of the Colombian branches. To benefit from the discount, show this coupon at the branch and start your trip off on the right foot.