Do I need to be vaccinated to travel to Colombia, or is it optional? As a visitor, you need to be mindful of the health hazards of traveling to Colombia, South America. This is why you need to know the health regulations for general and selected visitors.
Currently, there are no vaccine requirements to visit Colombia as the local authorities have dropped health regulations previously instituted during the height of the COVID pandemic. However, if you wish to travel to selected areas like the Amazon reserves, a heavily forested area, the Tayorona National Park, and the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Park, you may be required to be vaccinated against Yellow Fever if you have not taken the vaccine yet. Yellow Fever vaccines are supposed to be administered at least 10 days before traveling to these areas so they can take effect.
Why Did The Colombian Government Drop COVID-19 Mandates?
The government of Colombia initially made it compulsory for visitors to be vaccinated before they were allowed into the country. However, by spring 2022, the mandates were dropped due to relatively high vaccination rates and relatively low infection cases reported by medical services. Furthermore, the restrictions negatively impacted tourism, affecting revenue inflow. The drop had an adverse effect on the economy, so the regulation was dropped so the economy could rebound.
COVID 19 Test
Visitors who have not taken the COVID-19 vaccine can enter Colombia but must present a negative PCR test. The test must be done within 72 hours before their trip, and those without a PCR test must do an antigen test within 48 hours before their trip. Without proof of the PCR test, unvaccinated persons will not be allowed into the country having not met the entry and exit requirements.
COVID-19 Vaccination Caveats
If you have been fully vaccinated, you have taken the full dosages of vaccines approved by the World Health Organization. A full dose per person is 2 pokes or at least one of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines or any other approved vaccine. Also, the dose must be completed at least two weeks before the trip, but booster shots are unnecessary.
Also, note that the window for testing is based on the departure time from your base rather than the arrival in Colombia.
Persons who have not been vaccinated within 14 days and have not been tested within 72 hours before their trip will be denied entry into Colombia.
Although Colombia does not have vaccination requirements, certain vaccines are recommended for visitors who plan to travel to certain places. These vaccines must be taken at least 10 days before the visit to those areas. Vaccines can be taken at any of the major cities in the country. Here are the vaccines recommended depending on your needs.
COVID-19 (direct and airborne contact) – Hepatitis ( Food & Water) – Hepatitis B (Blood and Body fluids) – Typhoid (food and water) – Yellow Fever (recommended for travelers to Cali, Cartagena, Medellin, Barranquilla) – Rabies (persons handling infected animals) – Measles mumps rubella – Tetanus (wounds and airborne) – Chickenpox (direct contact and airborne) – Shingles – Pneumonia – Influenza (airborne) – Meningitis (airborne and direct contact) – Polio (food and water)
Note: Colombia has a high prevalence rate of mosquito-borne diseases because of the humid climate. So visitors are also advised to take extra precautions besides taking vaccines. They are advised to bring mosquito repellent to avoid falling sick to malaria, yellow fever, sika, or dengue fever. The infection rate varies from one region to the next.
Proof of Evidence
Visitors who have been vaccinated are advised to bring evidence in the form of certificates. If you need to purchase drugs or vaccines while in Colombia, you are required to bring your prescription along so you can do so at licensed drug stores and pharmacies in the country. It is important to keep any information regarding your special health needs in writing so they can be considered by the doctors in case of an emergency.
Extra Travel Recommendations
Medical Insurance: Travelers are advised to have international medical insurance for their trip. This will cover the cost of medical bills they may incur during their visit to Colombia.
Use Sunscreen: No matter the climate, it is advisable to use sunscreen at all times when outdoors.
Water Consumption: Consuming only bottled water in some regions is advisable, as unbottled water could be contaminated
Good Allergies: Persons with food allergies must enquire about the ingredients used in preparing meals before consuming them. Doing so will help them avoid unwanted foods.
Do I need to be vaccinated to travel to Colombia? No, you don’t, as there aren’t active vaccination requirements for travelers, but there are recommended vaccines for those who wish to travel to some high-risk regions in the country.