Childcare, family activities and education in Colombia

Childcare, family activities and education in Colombia
Updated 2017-09-18 11:56

Family is extremely important to Colombians and many expats find it a great place to raise children. Colombia boasts access to excellent international schools as well as nursery schools for younger children. Expats looking to adopt in Colombia will also find information on the country's adoption policies.

International Schools

Colombia has a large variety of international schools who provide high-quality education, extracurricular activities, and facilities. While the majority are found in the capital city of Bogotá, there are international schools in each Colombia's six largest cities. The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and Council of International Schools provide lists of member institutions in Colombia.

The IBO course system is most common and there are currently more than 40 of these schools in the country. Many of Colombia's international schools are bilingual, with teaching in English, French or German and Spanish.

Tuition for intentional schools is more expensive than local private schools and increases according to age group. However, costs are similar to those in the U.S. and Europe for private education. Be sure to consider additional costs such as application and enrollment fees, transportation, and school development fees.

Daycare in Colombia

Expats in Colombia will find plentiful options for daycare. Jardínes infantiles or nursery schools are in all cities and provide care or pre-school education to children up to five years of age. Most international schools offer pre-school programming beginning at three years of age. An alternative to traditional daycare that is affordable for many expats in Colombia is a nanny or in-home caregiver.

Family activities in Colombia

Colombian culture is family oriented and children are included in all parts of life. That said, most tours and excursions accommodate children, so they too can see the exciting traditions and beautiful nature the country has to offer. Bogotá is home to multiple amusement parks and the Botero and Gold Museums have special interactive sections for children. In the coffee region, there is a butterfly garden and National Coffee Park with rides. Cali's zoo is known as one of the best in Latin America. The botanical gardens in Medellín, Bogotá, and the Amazon are also very good outings with children. See the Leisureà article for more information on outings and things to do in Colombia.

Adoption policies

Private adoption is prohibited in Colombia. All adoptions are managed by the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF) or other authorized institution. Intercountry adoptions are carried out in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention. The process has two stages, the administrative process through the ICBF and a judicial process which finalizes the adoption. Prospective adoptive parents must reside in the Colombia during both phases of the process.


As of 2013, the ICBF has put an indefinite hold on applications from non-Colombian citizens seeking to adopt a child under seven years of age. Children under seven with special needs or medical conditions are exempted from this rule.

Useful Links:

International Baccalaureate Organization
Council of International Schools
Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF)
U.S. State Department - Intercountry Adoption Colombia

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