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Transportation in Colombia

Transportation Within Colombia

One of the great things about Latin America is that, with a little advance planning and bargain-hunting, transportation can be quite cheap. Colombia is no exception, although don't expect it to be as cheap as in Ecuador or Peru.

Intercity Buses: The vast majority of tourist and backpacker travel in Colombia takes place by intercity buses. There are dozens of different bus companies, all specializing in different parts of the country. In general, expect to pay around $2 to $4 an hour to travel by intercity bus. Always remember that in high season prices may rise significantly.

Cars:  Car rental, while possible with only an American driver's license, is expensive and largely impractical. Additionally, you'll have to worry about parking, paying expensive highway tolls, and high fuel costs (around $8.500 a gallon). However, if you do want to live on the wild side and rent a car, expect to pay about $100.000 a day.

Domestic Flights: Domestic flights, especially if you can find "promociones", can also be quite cheap in Colombia, especially during the high vacation season of December and January.

Taxis: All taxis in Colombia have taximetros (taxi meters) that will tell you what the fare is. Alternatively you can offer to negotiate a price up-front with the taxi driver. Most taxi drivers in Colombia are honest, but a few will try to rip you off. Always make sure you understand how the taxi meter works. Tipping is not expected, although it never hurts to round up your bill to the nearest $1.000.

Intracity Buses: Intracity buses throughout Colombia offer one of the best values of all. For under a dollar, you can typically take an articulated bus from one part of any city to another. While Bogota has the Transmilenio and Cali has El Mio, only Medellin has a metro, a 27km long north-to-south train route.

Walking: Don't be afraid to walk in Colombia, as long as you are familiar with your surroundings. Walking offers a great way to know the city. Just make sure to take extra precautions with your safety at night.

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