Getting around Colombia
As you know there are many ways to travel around a country and each gives you a unique perspective and different experience. Many people love to take a train or bus as it winds its way through the countryside, while sometimes a boat is the only way to get around. When pressed for time or just plain tired of hours and hours on the road a plane is often the best option but usually at a higher cost. Here’s how i’ve been getting around Colombia.
If you have been travelling through South America you have probably been taking the buses rather than flights to save money. This usually is the cheaper option but given the choice of a 1hr flight over a 17hr night bus I know what I would choose. Well I’m here to tell you that Colombia is one of those countries where you don’t have to bus around. Sure buses give you a better feel for the country you are in provided you catch them in the day and stay awake! But you are a tight arse backpacker and always choose the night bus to “get a free night accommodation” right?
Colombia is one country with really cheap national flights, costing as little as 70,000 pesos or about $35 US. You can get these cheap flights from all the main cities like Cali, Bogotà, Medellín and even Caragena. The main airlines are Viva Colombia and Avianca but flights can be booked through last minute deals sites Lostiquetesmasbarato.com or Despegar.com
Admittedly many travellers including myself have had problems booking these flights online as their online payment system seems to reject many foreign cards frequently. I was banging my head against the wall trying to book many of my flights while my English friend never had a problem. It seems it is just luck of the draw. Thankfully you can head down to the large supermarket chain called Exitó. These supermarkets can be found in all the cities and many have a flight desk called ‘viajes’ where you can book a cheap flight and pay with cash or card. Just make sure you book at least one day in advance at these desks as ‘on the day’ is not available.
As an example of the difference in prices for bus as opposed to flying we were forced to catch a bus from Cartagena to Medellín (long story) which claimed to be a 12hr bus and turned out to be 17hrs and cost us 90,000 pesos ($45 US) per person. Our friends caught a 1hr flight for 70,000 pesos ($35 US).
So there you have it, if you have seen the countryside before or usually just fall asleep after 5 mins. on the bus anyway then why not try flying to save both time and money. If you have any other questions for me about travel through Colombia or South America feel free to leave a comment below or email me at ardun(dot)ward@gmail(dot)com