Travel Facts

City Codes
BOG: Bogotá
BAQ: Barranquilla
CLO: Cali
MDE: Medellin
ADZ: San Andrés
CTG: Cartagena
LET: Leticia
SMR: Santa Marta
Entry requirements: Valid U.S. passport and a tourist card issued free by entry carrier.
Taxes/Surcharges: International departure tax: $24. Hotels taxes & service charges: 10%.
Currency: Peso - Credit cards widely accepted, and ATMs convenient in major cities. Banking hours are normally 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Monday - Thursday, and 9:00 a.m. - 3:30/4:00 p.m. Friday.
Shopping: Artisan works are distinctive within each region. Guajira wall hangings come in raucous colors. Pasto abounds in carvings and varnished tableware. The plateaus of Bogotá and Tunja have stunning ceramics and handicrafts. Gold jewelry is extensively sold along with emeralds (assay quality before purchasing); these valuables can be found in jewelry shops and first class hotels in Bogotá. Leather and the traditional ruanas (ponchos) can be a good buy. Smart shoppers compare the government sponsored Artesanas de Colombia prices with those of private vendors. Shopping hours vary greatly. Many goods purchased include a 10% value-added tax.
Food and Drink: Dining is a regional affair. In the mountainous areas hearty stews and soups prevail. Rice and plantains accompany many dishes, and corn is part of nearly every Andean diet. Try the local empanadas (meat pies) and tamales (meat filled corn meal steamed in a corn husk). Beef prevails over pork and chicken. Arepas (griddle corn cakes) are very popular and often served in place of bread. In tropical areas, try sancocho (a savory vegetable-based soup). In Bogotá, satisfy your appetite with ajiaco (a hearty soup of corn, potato, capers, cabbage and chicken). Tropical fruit juices are numerous and excellent. Local beers are good, and anise-flavored aguardiente liquor has a distinct flavor in every region.
Tipping: Restaurants add between 10% to 15% to bill.
Telephone Area Codes:(57) country code; Bogotá (1), Cali (23), Barranquilla (5), Medellín (4) and Cartagena (59).

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