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Colombia

Colombia is a medium-income nation of some 44 million inhabitants. Its geography is very diverse, ranging from tropical coastal areas and rainforests to rugged mountainous terrain. Tourist facilities in Colombia vary in quality and safety, according to price and location. Security is a significant concern for travelers, as described in the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Colombia. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Colombia for additional information.

Colombia

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Colombia
Continent: South America
Capital City: Bogotá
Boundary Countries: Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Venezuela
Recommended Hospitals in Capital: Bogotá: Fundación Cardio Infantil, Clinica Del Country
Medellin: Clinica Las Americas
Baranquilla: Colombia Medical Center, Laboratorios Clinicos Pasteur
Bogotá: Fundación Clinica Shaio
Caldas: Hospital Departamental Santa Sofia de Caldas
Cali: Fundación Valle del Lili
Cartagena de Indias: Hospital Bocagrande
Medellin: Hospital Pablo Tobon Uribe, Hospital Universitario San Vicente de Paul
Main Cities: Bogotá, Baranquilla, Cartagena, Medellín, Calí, Bucaramanga, Puerto Bolivar
Country Size: 1,138,910 sq km
Population: 44,379,598

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Spanish

Currency: Colombian Peso (COP)
Predominant Religions:

Roman Catholic 90%, other 10%

National Holidays: Independence Day, 20 July (1810)
Economic Status:

Colombia's economy has experienced positive growth over the past three years despite a serious armed conflict.

Security:

Army (Ejercito Nacional), National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes naval aviation, naval infantry, and coast guard), Colombian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Colombia, FAC)

US Presence:

The Embassy’s American Citizens Services office is open for routine services, including registration and application for passports, from 8:30a to noon Monday through Thursday, excluding US and Colombian holidays. The US Embassy is located at Avenida El Dorado and Carrera 50; tel (011-57-1) 315-0811 during business hours (8:30a to 5:00p), or 315-2109/2110 for emergencies during non-business hours; fax (011-57-1) 315-2196/2197; Internet website- http://Bogota.usembassy.gov/.
The US Consular Agency in Barranquilla, which accepts passport applications and performs notarial services, is located at Calle 77B, No. 57-141, Piso 5, Centro Empresarial Las Americas, Barranquilla, Atlantico, Colombia; tel (011-57-5) 353-2001; fax (011-57-5) 353-5216; e-mail: agrpersonal@enred.com.

Document Requirements:

All U.S. citizens who are not also Colombian citizens must present a valid U.S. passport to enter and depart Colombia, and to return to the United States.  Dual U.S-Colombian citizens must present a Colombian passport to enter and exit Colombia, and a U.S. passport to return to the United States.  Be aware that any person born in Colombia may be considered a Colombian citizen, even if never documented as such.  U.S. citizens born in Colombia or who otherwise have Colombian citizenship will need both a Colombian passport and a U.S. passport for the trip.

U.S. citizens traveling to Colombia do not need a Colombian visa for a tourist stay of 60 days or less.  Travelers entering Colombia are sometimes asked to present evidence of return or onward travel, usually in the form of a round-trip plane ticket.  Americans traveling overland must enter Colombia at an official border crossing.  Travelers arriving by bus should ensure, prior to boarding, that their bus will cross the border at an official entry point.  Entering Colombia at unauthorized crossings may result in fines or incarceration.  Travelers planning to enter Colombia over a land border should carefully read our information on Traffic Safety and Road Conditions below.

The length of stay granted to travelers is determined by the Colombian immigration officer at the point of entry and will be stamped in your passport.  Extensions may be requested by visiting an office of the Colombian immigration authority, known as the Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, or DAS, after arrival in Colombia.  Fines are levied if a traveler remains in Colombia longer than authorized, and the traveler cannot leave Colombia until the fine is paid.  Any traveler possessing a Colombian visa with more than three months’ validity must register the visa at a DAS immigration office within 15 days of arrival in Colombia or face fines.  The DAS immigration office in Bogota is located at Calle 100 and Carrera 11B.

No arrival tax is collected upon entry into Colombia, but travelers leaving by plane must pay an exit tax at the airport, in cash.  The tax varies with the dollar/peso exchange rate, but is usually between $50 and $70.  Some airlines include all or a portion of this tax in the cost of your airline ticket; check with your airline to find out how much you will have to pay at the airport.

U.S. citizens whose U.S. passports are lost or stolen in Colombia must obtain a new U.S. passport before departing.  They must then present the new passport, along with a police report describing the loss or theft, to a DAS office. Information about obtaining a replacement U.S. passport in Colombia is available on the U.S. Embassy web site.  Contact information for DAS is available in Spanish from the DAS web site.  The Embassy in Bogotá or the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla can provide guidance on contacting DAS when you apply for your replacement passport.

For further, specific guidance on Colombian entry requirements, including information about Colombian visas, travelers should contact the Colombian Embassy at 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008; telephone (202) 387-8338; or the nearest Colombian consulate.  Consulates are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Tampa, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site.  For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

Major Airports:

Airports:  984, Airports w/paved runways:  101

Bogotá – El Dorado International Airport (BOG/SKBO)
Bogotá Airport, Colombia, Aeronautica Civil, Apartado Aéreo: 151755, Bogotá, COLOMBIA
Tel:  +57 (09)1 425 1000, +57 (09)1 413 8702, +57 (09)1 413 8284
Fax: +57 (09)1 413 8586

Cartagena – Rafael Nunez Airport (CTG/SKCG)
Cartagena Airport, Colombia, Cartagena de Indias, COLOMBIA
Tel: +57 (09)53 596273, +57 (09)53 666 6610, +57 (09)53 60036
Fax: +57 (09)53 665796, +57 (09)53 656 2921
E-mail: airportctg@sacsa.com.co
Customs, hours:  24 hours
Tel: +57 (09)53 666 6610 ext. 2597

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

US Dept of State Travel Warning for COLOMBIA updated March 25, 2009
Please vist the US Dept. of State website for complete details at:
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_941.html

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Colombia.  While security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, violence by narco-terrorist groups continues to affect some rural areas as well as large cities.  The potential for violence by terrorists and other criminal elements exists in all parts of the country.  This updates and replaces the Travel Warning for Colombia issued August 7, 2008 to update information on recent security incidents and on contacting and registering with the U.S. Embassy in Colombia. 

Violence has decreased in many urban areas; however, the level of violence in Buenaventura remains high.  Small towns and rural areas of Colombia can still be extremely dangerous due to the presence of narco-terrorists.  Common crime remains a significant problem in many urban and rural areas.  For additional details about the general criminal threat, please see the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Colombia.

Extortion-related bombings have occurred recently in Bogota, Cali, and several smaller cities.  On January 27, 2009, an explosion in a commercial building in Bogota resulted in two fatalities.  On August 9, 2008, a bomb detonated in northern Bogota injuring 8 persons, including one American.  Many expatriates live in and frequent the neighborhoods where these explosions occurred.  

The incidence of kidnapping in Colombia has diminished significantly from its peak at the beginning of this decade.  Nevertheless, terrorist groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and other criminal organizations continue to kidnap and hold civilians for ransom or as political bargaining chips.  No one is immune from kidnapping on the basis of occupation, nationality, or other factors.  Kidnapping in rural areas is of particular concern.  On July 2, 2008, the Government of Colombia rescued 15 hostages, including three Americans, who had been held for more than five years.  Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped Americans, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to or strike deals with kidnappers. Consequently, the U.S. government's ability to assist kidnapping victims is limited.

U.S. government officials and their families in Colombia are permitted to travel to major cities in the country, but normally only by air.  They may not use inter- or intra-city bus transportation, or travel by road outside urban areas at night.  All Americans in Colombia are urged to follow these precautions.

Americans living or traveling in Colombia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website ( https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/home.asp ) to  obtain updated information on travel and security within Colombia. 

The U.S. Embassy is located at Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50 Bogotá, D.C. Colombia.  Mailing address:  Carrera 45 No. 24B-27 Bogotá, D.C. Colombia.  In case of a serious emergency that jeopardizes the health or safety of an American citizen in Colombia, please call the Embassy at (571) 315-0811; Embassy fax: (571) 315-2197; Consular Section phone: (571) 315-1566. The Embassy's American Citizens Services office provides routine information at http://bogota.usembassy.gov .  For questions not answered there, inquiries may be sent by email to ACSBogota@state.gov .

The U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla, which accepts passport applications and performs notarial services, is located at Calle 77B, No. 57-141, Piso 5, Centro Empresarial Las Americas, Barranquilla, Atlantico, Colombia; telephone (575) 353-2001; fax (011-57-5) 353-5216.  The Consular Agency is not staffed to respond to after-hours emergencies; in case of an emergency in the Barranquilla/north coast area, please contact the Embassy in Bogota at (571) 315-0811.

As the Department develops information on potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threats through its Consular Information Program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov . U.S. citizens should consult warden messages for Colombia at http://bogota.usembassy.gov/acs_wardenmessage.html , as well as the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Colombia and the Worldwide Caution at http://travel.state.gov .

U.S. travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, for overseas callers, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  20.13 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 72.27 years  (male 68.44/female 76.24)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None
Recommended: Yellow Fever, Hep A & B, Rabies, Typhoid
Boosters: MMR, DPT

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Malaria risk area in Colombia: Risk in all rural areas at altitudes below 800 m (<2,624 ft). No risk in Bogotá and vicinity.
Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, and American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Bartonellosis, or Oroya fever (a sand fly-borne disease), occurs in arid river valleys on the western slopes of the Andes up to 3,000 meters (9,842 feet). Louse-borne typhus, a rickettsial infection is often found in mountain areas of Colombia and Peru.

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical care is adequate in major cities but varies greatly in quality elsewhere. Many private health care providers in Colombia require that patients pay for care at the time of treatment, even in an emergency. Some providers in major cities may accept credit cards. Uninsured travelers with limited resources may be relegated to seeking treatment in hospitals that are far below US standards of care.
The Embassy occasionally receives reports of US citizens who have died or suffered serious complications while undergoing liposuction and other cosmetic surgery.

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 20
Referrals: 32
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Epidemics of viral encephalitis and dengue fever occur in some areas.

Communications Info:

Country Calling Code:  +57
Internet Country Code:  .co

 



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