Accomodations – A Brief Overview of Rental Options in Colombia
If you are interested in renting in Colombia, here are some tips for finding rental options during your vacation here.
The first decisions that you will need to make when you are coming to Colombia are, in which city do you want to visit and how long do you plan to be stay? There are four main city tourist destinations in Colombia and they are dramatically different in every aspect. We will quickly highlight each location, but personal experience will tell you which one has the atmosphere most appealing to you.
Bogota: At the highest altitude, Colombia’s capital city, Bogota, has the coldest climate of the 4 cities. Here you will find the widest variety of nightlife and museums, the majority of which are free. Allow yourself a day to adjust to the altitude and keep yourself well hydrated – water that is !
Medellin: Known as the ´´City of Eternal Spring´´, the year-round nice weather and friendly people are known as “Paisas” are always willing to show you their city and will want you to fall in love with it. You will find better infrastructure and security here than in the capital.
Cali: Being situated closer to the coast the climate is significantly warmer. Cali is indeed caliente ! The city is known for its fast-paced salsa dancing. You will be hard-pressed not to find someone who isn’t a good salsa dancer. Don’t be shy if you are a bad dancer (man or woman) as they will happily show you a few steps on the dance floor.
Cartagena: As the hottest of all the cities, Cartagena also has some of the best historical spots to see, along with great beaches. If you are looking for year-round hot weather, some fun parties at night and historical tours in the day, this will be the perfect place to go.
If you are coming for just a few days a hotel may be more convenient but for longer stays you might consider an apartment rental. Generally apartments will be about 30% less than the cost of a hotel. Part of your decision will depend on whether you mind doing a “check-in process” that goes with renting a furnished apartment. The check-in process will vary between agencies, but essentially they inventory the items in the apartment with you, and have you pay a deposit before you arrive. You will get that deposit refunded to you several days after checkout via Paypal or some similar method. Of course if you are traveling on a budget, all four of these cities have a range of hostels for you, but you will find yourself spending more time with foreign travelers than locals.
If you plan to stay in Colombia for more than a few weeks, i.e. 3-8 weeks or more, then there are some factors you must consider before coming. The minimum stay that Immigration will give you at the airport is 30 days, but they can give you 60 and sometimes 90. Please note, you will NEED to ask for the extra days. It is important that when you are there speaking with the immigration officer, you look at the number of days they write in your passport. If you are given 30 days and try to leave after 31, life can get complicated.
If they only give you 30 days and you plan to stay for more, you can go to any Migracion Colombia office (the taxi drivers will know them in each city) and within 30 minutes have an extension without any issues. Overstay by a day and after the visions of ending up in a damp Colombian prison sharing a cell with cartel members, you will never forget to look again!
Migracion Colombia use to be known as DAS. This was a security division of the Colombian government. The change over has brought new policies and friendlier faces but you must respect the laws and the time you have been granted to stay. There are penalties for even a one day oversight. Not only that you may be looking at lost airline tickets and hotel reservations.
If your schedule permits, trying experiencing all four cities. Each are unique in their own right and offer different experiences. If you are fluent in Spanish, you may try to find an owner direct apartment which may save you some money, but be aware of any deals that seem “too good to be true.” Best of luck discovering Colombia and all the aspects which make it one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations in South America! Please feel free to contact us at ESCAPE ARTIST COLOMBIA for any advice or referrals – firstname.lastname@example.org
This article from February 2013 has been revised due to changes occurring within the Immigration Act of Colombia. As of July 2013 there have been changes within the Immigration Act of Colombia. While we do not expect any changes to who is able to visit Colombia. Immigration Laws are often evolving. It is always best to check with your local consulate or embassy to be certain of the current details.