Colombia Business Travel Guide

Colombia Flag

The Colombia Business Travel Guide provides a range of valuable travel information to assist business travellers. The guide contains facts on Colombia, visa information, business customs, useful tips and other resources. An understanding of other cultures, languages, customs and traditions can extremely useful to business travellers and give a real advantage to ensuring a successful business trip.

Colombia has a growing economy offering a number of business opportunities. Major trading partners include neighbours Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and the USA. Colombia is a multicultural, multiracial country and home to a number of ethic groups. The country has a variety of landscapes including coastline, mountains, plains, volcanoes, waterfalls and rainforests.

The country has battled back from many years of civil unrest and has emerged as an increasingly popular place for visitors with various landscapes and attractions. Famous attractions include Tayrona National Park, Amazon Rainforest, Gold Museum in Bogotá, Los Katíos National Park and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

Colombia Guide

Quick Facts on Colombia
Colombia Travel Advice
Visa Requirements
Business Customs and Etiquette
Travel Advice and Tips
Public Holidays
Colombia Map
Colombia Weather & Climate

Quick Facts on Colombia

Country: Colombia

Capital: Bogotá

Currency: Colombian Peso (1 Colombian Peso = 100 Centavos)

Population: 47.5 Million (UN, 2012)

Area total: 1,141,750 sq km

Languages: Spanish, indigenous American Indian languages.

Time Zone: GMT -5

Electricity: 110V 60Hz

Dialling Code: 57

GDP: USD 378.1 billion (World Bank, 2013)

Religion: Predominately Christian with traditional faiths.

Political System: Republic

Internet Domain: .co

Colombia Travel Advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office offers travellers useful advice when travelling to Colombia. You can find more information on entry requirements for Colombia, advice on local laws and customs, health considerations, useful tips on safety and security and the address and contact details of the British Embassy in Colombia. The information is regularly updated making it a good resource to consult for both business and leisure travellers when searching for the latest travel advice and information on Colombia. For more information please see: Colombia Travel Advice

Visa Requirements

No visa requirement for nationals of UK, many EU member states, Canada, USA and many others for tourist visas. If visiting Colombia on business a visa will be required. Visa requirements are subject to change with changes in requirements and rules for further information please see: Colombian Consulate General UK

Business Customs and Etiquette

Business dress is smart and conservative. Usual greetings are with a handshake, smile and appropriate greeting for the time of day. Men should wait for a woman to extend her hand when meeting. People should be addressed with their full honorific titles and surnames and should wait to be invited to more to first names. Business cards are then exchanged, the cards should be treated with respect as they are highly regarded. There is often small talk on general matters of family and health before actual business matters are discussed.

Business is done with people that are trusted and a rapport has been established, it can take a few meetings for this to come about. In meetings be aware the agenda might not always be followed, a lot of indirect communication is used so look out for body language, facial expressions and hand gestures to get an insight in to what is actually being said. Many Colombian business people speak English however it is likely most business will be done in Spanish and it is likely to be much appreciated if visitors make a genuine attempt to speak Spanish.

Travel Advice and Tips

Most trips to Colombia for both business visitors and tourists are incident free each year. However you should be aware of areas to avoid and areas with high crime. You should keep valuables out of public view and ensure you are vigilant at all times to your surroundings and environment. There have been cases of kidnappings of visitors, pick pockets and street crime, thus it is advisable to get expert advice on which areas to avoid to minimise the chances of getting caught up in any incidents.

Use pre booked official taxis and avoid going to areas specified on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website as ones to stay away from. With a security situation that is liable to change at short notice it is important to be fully aware and informed of the latest developments and advice, that will hopefully ensure your stay in the country in a pleasant and incident free one.

Travel Checklist: See our Checklist for Travellers containing useful tips and reminders to ensure you have everything you will need on your trip.

Travel Vaccinations: It is recommended you check with your GP whether you require any travel vaccinations up to eight weeks before you travel. For more information and advice on travel vaccinations please see the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Tipping: If service charge is not included usually around 10%

Hours of Business:

For Businesses:
08.00 to 12.00 then 14.00 to 18.00 Monday to Friday

For Shops
10.30 to 20.00 Monday to Saturday

For Banks:
09.00 to 15.00 Monday to Friday
09.00 to 12.00 for the last working day of the month.

NOTE: Many supermarkets are open for longer hours and some are open 24 hours.

Public Holidays

Public Holidays (2015):

January 1: New Year’s Day
January 6: Epiphany
March 25: St Joseph’s Day
April 2: Maundy Thursday
April 3: Good Friday
May 1: Labour Day
May 14: Ascension
June 4: Corpus Christi
Jun 15: Sagrado Corazon (Sacred Heart Day)
June 29: St Peter and St Paul Day
July 20: Independence Day
August 7: Battle of Boyacá
August 15: Assumption
Oct 12: Día de la Raza
November 1: All Saints’ Day
November 11: Independence of Cartagena City
December 8: Immaculate Conception
December 25: Christmas Day

Colombia Map

Bogota Map, Colombia

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Related Resources

Colombia Weather & Climate

Colombia's location means it has a range of climates, including tropical and isothermal due to its location close to the equator. The main climate zones in the country include tropical desert, tropical mountain, steppe, tropical rainforest and tropical savanna climates. Overall the climate is tropical and warm in the north and along the coast, the rainy season is from May to November. The capital Bogotá enjoys pleasant weather with some hot days and plenty of spring like conditions. The dry season is between December to March and it drier in July and August making it a popular time to visit.

The Amazon region in Colombia is usually warm and can be wet too, mountainous areas and upland areas are cooler and can get chilly particularly in the early mornings and evenings. Lightweight cotton and linen clothing can be warn for most of the year suitable for Colombia's climate that is warm to hot. Rain coats and water proof clothing is required during the rainy season, light clothing with long sleeves and trousers to guard against mosquito bites are required when visiting the Amazon region. Visitors should note Bogotá is at high altitude therefore the early mornings and evenings can get chilly and it is useful to have some layers including a jacket.

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