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What to do in Bogotá, Colombia (and other cities in Colombia)?

 
 
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 09:03 am
In about a month I'll be doing my regular visa trip, this time to Bogotá, Colombia. I'll only be there a few days and I'm not too into tourist stuff so I'm mainly looking for restaurants in Bogotá (local food is preferred).

I'm also not that excited about going to Bogotá, and would have preferred other cities in Colombia like Cartagena but wasn't able to find a direct flight. So I'm wondering if there are daily flights from Bogotá to Cartagena, Medellin or Cali (the first is the only one I'm particularly interested in, if there are other good spots to visit I'm interested in those recommendations as well) or maybe just a bus to Medellín (seems the closest and I don't think I'd do the others by bus).

Because I don't have much time there, I'm not as willing to wing it and lose time on bad logistics, so would it be very expensive to take a taxi from Bogotá to Medellin? It looks like it's a couple hours away based on distance, but does anyone know how much time it'd take me by bus or taxi?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 2,712 • Replies: 15
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 09:07 am
@Robert Gentel,
Wow, I'm reading elsewhere that traveling from Bogotá to Medellín by bus would take 8-10 hours. Is that right?

Would it be any faster by private car or taxi?
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 09:10 am
See if you can help rescue Joan Wilder.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 09:23 am
Love to help you, but my days down there were over 15 years ago tromping round the textile mills and garment wash factories in the hinterlands. btw, could you carry back a package for me? Its um, art work, yeah, that's the ticket, art work.
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 09:30 am
Robert wrote:
so would it be very expensive to take a taxi from Bogotá to Medellin? It looks like it's a couple hours away based on distance,


It will be rather expensive as it's not a couple of hours.

Bogotá to Medellin is 414 Km (260 miles) and a 8 hours trip by bus, maybe you'll save 1 or two hours by taxi..

But I think you could fly from Bogotá to Medellin or Cartagena.

AeroRepublica offers flights starting around $110 but if you don't want to bother with bad logistics, it will cost you around $200..
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 09:34 am
@Francis,
260 miles is a couple hours in some places, but yeah it doesn't look like Colombia is one of them (neither is Costa Rica for the most part).

I think I might fly around Colombia instead, I've found very cheap flights (well under $100), but if I am flying I'd rather go somewhere else like Cartagena.
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 09:41 am
@Robert Gentel,
That's for sure, highways there are not, well, really highways.

Most of the time they are sloppy, so the speedy rarely is over 35 mph..

Be aware that those "cheap" flights do not include lots of services and taxes.

Usually there's very few choices in your schedule with them. (The bad logistics).

You will see...
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 09:48 am
@Francis,
With Aires I'm seeing 6 flights a day on the days I'm interested with round trip under $100. I'll investigate further online or just wing it from the airport when I land (i.e. book a flight if there is a convenient one and stay in Bogotá if there isn't).
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 09:51 am
@Robert Gentel,
And make a travelogue for us...
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Oct, 2009 10:22 am
@Francis,
If I do anything interesting I will, but I think I'll leave my iphone, camera and laptops for this trip so that I can be less concerned with theft (I want to walk around non-tourist areas without worrying about what I might lose) so there probably won't be photos.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 12:01 am
For once I decided to reserve a hotel before arriving (I usually just land in a country and start looking for a hotel) but my online reservation was never responded to and it ended up full when I called right before my flight to check my reservation (that I'd also tried emailing them with).

So I quickly found an apartment for rent daily and arranged an airport pickup (I was arriving at around 2 AM so I didn't feel like looking for a hotel at that hour) and that ended up working nicely. I had fun in Colombia during my short stay and will definitely be back again one day.

But when I was leaving Colombia things got interesting. When checking in for my departure flight, I found out that Costa Rica requires a Yellow Fever vaccine for anyone coming from Colombia, and that this vaccine takes ten days to work so I'd have to stay in Colombia for 10 days longer than I had planned! That just wasn't in the cards, I had business to tend to in San José, Costa Rica this week and couldn't afford to get stuck there for another 10 days. I started trying to work with the airline and figure out if I could change my flight and reroute it through another country to get in Costa Rica. They suggested Panama but didn't have any direct flight there and said I'd have to spend a couple days in Panama (which I've already done and isn't half bad if you are planning on traveling) for it to work. They had a flight that actually connected in San José so I was considering giving it a try and trying to get in Costa Rica during the connection.

While evaluating my options I went to the Red Cross vaccination stand in the airport where the lady told me up front that they wouldn't backdate my vaccination or any such thing for me before I even thought to ask. It was looking like I would either have to spend 10 more days in Colombia (without being able to work and without enough clothes or cash) or try to get creative and do something like fly to Panama or Nicaragua and take a bus to Costa Rica.

While I was trying to decide what to do a man in a suit said to come with him and he'd help me. He had blank vaccination forms and filled one out and told me he'd only charge me if it worked. I got back to the check in counter and the airline was able to check me in before one of the previous attendants who I'd spoken with noticed. The guys selling the form charged me $200 and I was running off to clear security and board.

When boarding the plane I was called to the side over the PA system and asked for the vaccination documents but after a quick inspection was allowed to board the plane and was able to get back into Costa Rica when I landed.

After my Nicaragua trip had visa problems I made sure to look up what requirements I'd have to visit Colombia, but I didn't imagine I'd need a vaccination to come back to Costa Rica and that was a complete surprise to me. But as the guy in the suit said, "this is Colombia, you can solve any problem."

It worked, but next time I'm looking up both visas and vaccinations....
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 12:04 am
@Robert Gentel,
The producer of a spanish language course lives in Medellin. I think he's traveling right now, but otherwise might be an interesting person to look up.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 12:22 am
@roger,
Guess I was a little bit late. Should have read the whole thread.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Nov, 2009 03:36 am
@Robert Gentel,
Never a dull moment.
Pitter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Nov, 2009 08:25 pm
@dlowan,
Well I´m really late to this thread and sorry I didn´t see your message till now. Glad it worked out for you though and absolutely no surprise that some one came up with a passable vaccination form. Ahh Macondo.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Nov, 2009 08:28 pm
@Pitter,
Dang it, Pitter. I tried and tried to come up with your name, and kept drawing a blank.
0 Replies
 
 

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