Driving to Colombia. Anyone has experience?

Hello everybody!

Has anyone driven to Colombia?
Are there any requirements to pass the board on a private vehicle? What about for coming back to Ecuador? Are there any requirements to come back? How many days one can stay with a private vehicle in Colombia?

I have looked it up on Google and some Colombian sites, but, no luck.


Good Question....something I was wondering myself.

For advisories on how to enter Colombia, I recently visited the U.S. State Department’s Colombia website -- google colombia.

I realize you’re not a U.S. citizen, GMistral, but there’s good information at that site.

Basically, travelers need a passport and get 90 days in-country (which is renewable in Colombia for up to 90 more days) upon entry into Colombia.  Supposedly, you need a passport with six months’ validity remaining.  However, I entered Colombia a few days ago (by air) on a U.S. passport that will expire in four months and did not have a problem.  I was not required to have any pre-trip vaccinations either.

Lots of cars are entering Colombia from Ecuador these days as the U.S. dollar -- Ecuador’s currency -- has almost doubled in value since last year against the CO peso.  Many of those folks from Ecuador enter Colombia for shopping day-trips.  Expect a possible line-up of vehicles approaching the border crossing at Ipiales, Colombia, if you come just before or during shopping hours, including weekends.

In April of this year (2016), the State Department issued an updated Colombia warning, also available at the website.  Colombia-Ecuador border areas are generally considered potential danger zones, although the crossing past Tulcán, Ecuador, at Ipiales would not worry me.

I suggest that you travel during daylight hours crossing the border and continuing into Colombia.  In case of delays at Ipiales, be prepared to stay overnight there or in Pasto, Colombia.

In order to answer potential queries from Immigration or Customs entering Colombia about your length of stay and a plan for onward travel, I suggest two things....

1.  You bring a recent bank statement showing you have at least a few thousand dollars, so you won’t appear to be a candidate for winding up destitute in Colombia.

2.  You also print out a personal itinerary for your travels in Colombia, including eventual departure from the country.  This, for instance, could show your planned entry date at Ipiales .. dates in Pereira and Medellín .. and an exit date at a specific town or city within 90 days, specifying mode of transportation (i.e., a flight you might take or bus-ticket information for a return to Ecuador or onward travel to Venezuela).

I saw many sniffer-dogs -- mainly golden retrievers -- at the airports in Bogotá and Medellín this week.  Don’t be surprised if you’re pulled over for a contraband check at some point, especially near either side of the EC-Colombia border.

cccmedia, from Medellín, Colombia

You will have to have Colombian insurance, the SOAT, for any vehicle you drive in Colombia.  One site:

I suggest contacting DIAN in Colombia, Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas de Colombia, whose site seems to be down right now.  They should have a chat/email option for questions.

If I remember correctly a vehicle may be driven in Colombia as a tourist vehicle, for the validity and period of stay that your visa allows, using your valid drivers license from wherever you came from - but you have to have the SOAT insurance.

Here's another link that may help, saying that your vehicle may be used for up to three months without complying with other requirements for mechanical and emissions inspection:

Here is the chat link for DIAN:

GMistral :

How many days one can stay with a private vehicle in Colombia?

If you fall in love with Colombia -- which some have -- you can google your way to recently posted information (Aptril 2016) about extending past 90 days.

Google how to extend tourist visa colombia ....

Temporary tourist visas -- good for at least one year at a time -- are also available, though additional paperwork is required.  The automatic 90-day entry is actually on a passport stamp and is not a visa, although many Expats -- and some websites -- use the terms interchangeably.

cccmedia from Medellín

GMistral :

What about for coming back to Ecuador? Are there any requirements to come back?

No, you never need to return to Ecuador again.  When you leave Colombia, you can visit Central America, return to Wales or go to Lake Titicaca. :)

Interpreting your questions another way, I suggest you visit the Ecuador website, especially the entry-and-exit section of the site.

If you have an Ecuadorian residency visa, you will lose that visa by not following EC's in-country rules....

1.  Spend no more than 90 days outside Ecuador in the first twelve months after obtaining the residency visa.

2.  Spend no more than 90 days outside Ecuador in the second 365 days after obtaining the residency visa.

3.  Spend no more than 18 months outside Ecuador in a five-year period.


Thanks everyone!!

My plan is go visit Medellín and come back. That is it.

Does anyone know about a short term rental? Furnished, 2 beds (can be 1 bedroom w/2 beds)

GMistral :

My plan is go visit Medellín and come back. That is it.

Does anyone know about a short term rental? Furnished, 2 beds (can be 1 bedroom w/2 beds.)

Good choice, G.  It’s beautiful here in Medellín -- and feels plenty safe at night here in the Poblado section.  I’m staying in a hotel with an aire libre swimming pool this week.  I’m going to the Coffee Triangle on Thursday.

Anyway, if you’re willing to pay Gringo prices to a Gringo-friendly rental company, you could visit or ....

If you prefer to search for lower-than-Gringo rates, the Five Point Five website has an article about that, emphasizing the use of Spanish-language rental-company sites.  Google:  five point five how to get a great deal on a rental in Medellin.

You can also google medellin furnished rentals to locate some more sites.

I’ve seen multiple articles on the Internet pointing out a wrinkle in the Medellin rental market that I have not read about for Ecuador:  many rental companies apparently will rent monthly to Expat visitors only with a fiador -- an established Colombian businessperson who guarantees that the rent will be paid.  Good luck with that :cool:   The alternative is to pay six months -- or the full term -- of rent in advance.

Another good resource for you is , which is hosted by a North American who loves Medellín and has written and collected a variety of articles about the city.  They do an annual survey about the rental market in Medellín.

You may also wish to switch over to the Medellín forum of, as the folks on that forum generally know more about the goings-on there than here in the Ecuador forum.

A side note about Colombian peso bills -- watch out for the 50’s.  They are actually 50 mil -- meaning 50,000.  If you tip a taxi driver with a couple of these, you could be paying him a thousand times as much in propina as you intended.

cccmedia from Medellín

Thanks, great info!

I'll be staying for 15 days. I have consider the gringo price factor, but what can I expect for a very short term rental without a fiador anyway?

I have check some sites in Spanish, when I click on "See more" sends me to an English site.

I'll ask in the Colombia forum for a rental, thanks for the suggestion!

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