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27 Top Colombia Packing List Items for 2024 + What to Wear & NOT to Bring

what to pack for Colombia
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It’s no surprise that Colombia is one of the most popular destinations in South America. With its stunning Caribbean beaches, lush coffee fields, exotic Amazon Rainforest, and colorful cities, Colombia has it all.

Considering all that there is to see, you’ll want to be prepared for the trip of a lifetime. That’s why we put together this comprehensive packing list full of our must-have items as well as guides for what to wear in Colombia, what NOT to bring, and answers to FAQs.

See our product selection criteria and guidelines here.

What to Pack for Colombia – 27 Essentials

  • 1. Quick-Dry Travel Towel

    No packing list is complete without a quick-dry travel towel. They are extremely small and portable but super absorbent and fast drying. They are perfect for the beach as sand doesn’t cling to them. The microfiber material keeps it odor-free, so you can use it again and again. You’ll want to keep one in your day bag no matter the adventure because it will surely come in handy!

    Quick-Dry Travel Towel

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  • 2. High-Quality Filtered Water Bottle

    Tap water is not drinkable across Colombia. It’s best to play it safe and filter all tap water before drinking. Invest in a filtered water bottle that will transform any tap water into safe drinking water. It’s not the cheapest item, but not worth it to gamble with your health over saving a few bucks. This one by Grayl is our favorite since it removes harmful bacteria like e. Coli, viruses, microplastics, chlorine, sediment, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals.

    High-Quality Filtered Water Bottle

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  • 3. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Hackers can be watching you in plain sight, at public places we frequent like coffee shops, airports, hotels, Airbnbs, and more. Anytime you join a public Wi-Fi network without a VPN, you are risking your cybersecurity. Do not leave your passwords and credit card details up to chance, especially since Colombia is known for ransomware attacks and it is not worth it.

    We use NordVPN because they are affordable and reliable. There is the added bonus of being able to change your computer’s location to anywhere in the world and see what’s available on streaming platforms like Netflix in different locations! It will also mitigate any censorship that can happen online when you travel to a new place.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

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  • 4. Cooling Towel

    Parts of Colombia can get HOT! Stay cool and comfortable with one of these instant cooling towels. All you have to do is get it wet, and like magic, it becomes instantly icy cold. Place it on your head, neck, shoulders, or wherever you want cool relief. Having a cooling towel can save you from the brutal midday sun while you’re lounging on the beach or out exploring.

    Cooling Towel

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  • 5. Lightweight Daypack

    Make sure you have everything you need like sunscreen, water, snacks, wallet, and phone on your day trips and excursions by bringing along a spacious, comfortable daypack. You’ll be less likely to have something lost or stolen by keeping everything organized and secure in a daypack versus scattered about in pockets or purses.


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  • 6. Travel Insurance for Colombia

    Insurance is not to be overlooked. The last thing you want is to pay out-of-pocket for six-figure bills that easily could’ve been covered by travel insurance. Note that domestic providers do not cover a customer once they are out of the country, so you will want to protect yourself and your family during international getaways.

    We use Faye since they cover common travel issues like lost bags, flight delays, trip cancelation, extreme sports, rental cars, and more. Accidents happen and that’s part of venturing into the unknown! But make sure you have support in doing so to enable instant funds at the time you need them most – especially since Faye wires you the reimbursement through their super convenient mobile app!

    Travel Insurance for Colombia

    Get a quote in less than 60 seconds with Faye ➜

  • 7. Neck Wallet to Prevent Pickpocketing

    Having a neck wallet is a discreet way to carry your valuables like cash, credit cards, and passports. You’ll know they are always close at hand but out of reach from potential pickpockets. It slides right under your shirt so no one will know it’s there but you. It even has RFID-blocking material so stealthy thieves won’t be able to scan your financial data. I never do international travel without it!

    Neck Wallet to Prevent Pickpocketing

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  • 8. Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch

    Keep your delicate smartphone protected from the elements, especially water, with a waterproof phone case. Whether you’re visiting waterfalls, rainforests, or the beach, the last thing you want is for your phone to get water damage and lose all of your trip photos. This waterproof case is great because not only does it protect your phone but you can also use it underwater to take photos and videos (with sound!)

    Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch

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  • 9. Universal Power Adapter

    If you’re coming from the U.S., you won’t need an adapter or voltage converter, but if you’re coming from almost anywhere else, you will require a universal power adapter. This one is our favorite since it works in 100+ popular countries and can support you in global travel. It’s high-quality so you can trust it won’t blow a fuse or damage your precious devices. It’s even backed by a lifetime replacement guarantee so you can trust the craftsmanship.

    Universal Power Adapter

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  • 10. Motion Sickness Relief

    If you suffer from any motion, car, or seasickness – bring these along as a precaution. Motion sickness patches will provide immense relief from Colombia’s winding mountainous roads and bus travel that can get really bumpy! These are homeopathic, and you can use more than one patch if your symptoms are more severe.

    Motion Sickness Relief

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  • 11. Mosquito-Repellent Wristbands

    Unfortunately, there have been Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya outbreaks in Columbia. Part of being outside is sharing the natural beauty with insects, but don’t risk your safety while enjoying all the natural wonders that Colombia has to offer. We love these wristbands because they’re deet-free, non-toxic, and actually work! It’s nice to have a wearable option that doesn’t require constant respraying all day.


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  • 12. Windproof Travel Umbrella

    Bogota, Colombia’s capital, can get pretty rainy. It’s always a smart idea to pack an umbrella because as we all know, weather is very unpredictable. I love this one because it’s super portable but extremely sturdy. It’s also made for travel and only weighs one-pound. The windproof element means it will hold up and keep you dry no matter how hard it rains or how strong the wind is.

    Windproof Travel Umbrella

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  • 13. Walking Sandals

    You’ll want a shoe that can move from land to sea or keep up with the different terrains you’ll be encountering. These walking sandals by Sketchers are designed for peak comfort and lots of movement. My wife wears these on anything from a hiking trip to a waterfall to snorkeling to city sightseeing. They don’t leave her with blisters and can air-dry very quickly.

    Walking Sandals

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  • 14. TSA-Approved Luggage Locks

    Pickpocketing is not uncommon in Colombia. Keep your bags and items secured with luggage locks that can be used on anything from your checked bags and backpacks in crowded areas, to lockers in your hotel or in the city. They are extremely durable and will offer you peace of mind knowing that your belongings are safe, regardless of whether you have eyes on them or not.

    luggage locks

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  • 15. Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger

    When exploring a new foreign land – this is not the time you want to be caught with a dead phone. It’s where we keep the address and phone number of hotels, how we call taxis, take photos of our trip, and navigate. Luckily, you never have to risk it! Portable chargers make it so that you can conveniently charge your phone anywhere. They are small, compact, and have multiple charging ports for various devices when you’re on-the-go.


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  • 16. Packing Cubes

    Since discovering packing cubes, I don’t pack a suitcase without them. They are so helpful for keeping everything in your luggage organized and easy to find. I love these packing cubes by a family-owned business in Hawaii because they are well-made and in a variety of sizes with bonus laundry bags to keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean ones.


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  • 17. Biodegradable Toilet Paper

    Breaking news – in case you didn’t know – you cannot flush toilet paper in Colombia. Yes, that is correct. Toilet paper must be biodegradable or thrown in a trash bin beside the trash (never in the toilets because the plumbing is not strong enough). It’s wise to bring your own toilet paper and this brand is environmentally-safe. Not to mention, some bathrooms might not even be stocked, so you will be grateful for the provisions.

    Biodegradable Toilet Paper

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  • 18. Affordable Underwater Camera

    An underwater camera is a must-have when visiting the turquoise-blue waters of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. This rugged, waterproof camera is perfect for taking with you in the water to get epic underwater shots. We are really impressed at the quality of the camera at such a reasonable price-point, way cheaper than a GoPro.

    Affordable Underwater Camera

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  • 19. Flotation Strap

    Don’t bring any valuables over the water without attaching a flotation strap. I learned this the hard way when I dropped my phone into a murky lake, not able to find it or retrieve it (even though I had the waterproof case on!) Now, I always use these buoyant straps on anything I wouldn’t want to lose to the ocean floor, like my phone, camera, and keys.

    Flotation Strap

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  • 20. Dry Bag

    A dry bag is smart to have anytime you’ll be exploring around or on the water. It creates a 100% waterproof enclosed seal around your items that are delicate when it comes to moisture (like phones, cash, books, medication, etc.) This will keep everything dry and you can even trap air inside to make it float.

    Dry Bag

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  • 21. Reef-Safe Sunscreen

    Long days under the sun on Colombia’s Caribbean coast can be a nightmare for skin. Avoid uncomfortable sunburns from afternoons on the beach, boating, or snorkeling by using sunscreen that is good for your skin and safe for the reefs. This one is ethically made to protect marine wildlife and not harm at-risk ecosystems. Frankly, it’s the only type of sunscreen people should be using.


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  • 22. Activated Charcoal Tablets

    Activated charcoal is great to have in case you find yourself with an upset stomach. It works to absorb toxins that make you sick. When you’re traveling to a new country that has food or bacteria that your body isn’t used to, you’re more likely to run into some stomach problems. Be prepared to nip anything in the bud with these handy tablets that will get you back on your feet faster!

    Activated Charcoal Tablets

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  • 23. Hanging Toiletry Bag

    Since bathrooms in Central and South America can be a bit small, we would recommend bringing a hanging toiletry bag. We use them for all international travel and camping, since it creates a built-in shelving system – even if you have no countertops or bathroom storage. It’s way more organized than throwing shampoos and moisturizers around anyway! We’ll never go back to our pre-hanging toiletry bag ways.

    Hanging Toiletry Bag

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  • 24. Hand Sanitizer

    Hand sanitizer is a staple for any traveler. You’ll want to stay healthy and germ-free on your trip, and one of the best ways to prevent getting sick is to have clean hands. Hand sanitizer is useful after flights, taxi rides, before eating, and so much more, including bathrooms that may not have toilet paper, soap, or a sink! These hand-sanitizing sprays smell great, are easy to pack, and will be absolutely necessary in Colombia.

    Baby Bum Hand Sanitizer

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  • 25. Packable “Just in Case” Bag

    Bring home the best souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones with this “just in case” bag. Sometimes we shop more than we initially intended, and our small luggage won’t cut it! This bag is perfect for those situations since it counts as your personal item on the flight home (helping you to escape the dreaded carry-on fees!) It’s made of a lightweight duffle material and is ideal for your Colombian coffee, chocolate, aguardiente liquor, jewelry, spices, and more.

    Packable “Just in Case” Bag

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  • 26. Electrolytes

    When you’re traveling, you’re often hopping from one fun activity to the next. It can make it hard to stay hydrated in the humidity and heat, so electrolytes are your best friend! Electrolytes will supercharge your water to make it more hydrating and supplement your lost minerals and electrolytes from exploring. You might find some brands there, but the flavors can be bad and it’s usually more expensive at Las Farmacias.

    Essential Electrolytes

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  • 27. Travel Clothesline

    We love bringing this compact clothesline when we know there will be wet bathing suits and swimsuits from the whole family. It’s typically hard to find a washing machine in a new place, so this allows your clothing to air-dry and it really handy when you have a bunch of wet items. It weighs virtually nothing but has the resilience and clips to hold a lot of stuff!

    travel clothesline

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What to Wear in Colombia

Colombia is full of such diverse landscapes. From the Amazon rainforest to the Caribbean coast, Colombia has it all. To take advantage of all the unique sights you’re going to want to dress accordingly. Luckily the temperature doesn’t vary that drastically across the country so dressing in layers is key.

You’ll likely need long pants and a coat for drizzly Bogata, activewear for exploring nature, and beach attire for when it’s time to relax on the Caribbean coast. Like many countries in Latin America, Colombia is predominantly catholic and people dress conservatively. It’s worth dressing more modestly especially when you are away from the beach.

What should WOMEN wear in Colombia? – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample women’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience)

When packing for Colombia you will want to keep in mind the different places you’ll be visiting like the cities, nature, and beach. For Bogota and surrounding towns, jeans, nice tops, maybe even a sweater or two and a jacket will help you dress for the city’s slightly cooler weather. You’ll also want to bring an umbrella or raincoat as rain is common here.

For nature excursions, activewear would be best along with a comfortable pair of hiking/walking shoes. For hot coastal cities like Cartagena, shorts, tank tops, and sandals are totally acceptable. Don’t forget a swimsuit and cover-up for those beach days!

What should MEN wear in Colombia? – (Click to expand)

Below is a sample men’s clothing list. (All items link to for your convenience)

Men will be most comfortable in long pants, a t-shirt, and a jacket for layering when visiting higher elevation cities like Bogota. A raincoat or umbrella will definitely be needed to stay dry from the frequent rain showers. Similar attire will be ideal when venturing into the mountains or other nature excursions. Long pants will protect you from any insects and a raincoat will come in handy.

You can get rid of the layers for the beach and change into shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses and maybe even a lightweight fishing shirt to protect yourself from the sun.

Packing for the Seasons in Colombia

DRY SEASON – (December, January, February, March, July, August)

Seasons are almost nonexistent in Colombia due to its close proximity to the equator. Many of us are used to four very different seasons whereas Colombia just has two: dry and cloudy. The climate is practically the same the whole year so you won’t need to dress for extreme temperature changes. Temperature change depends on the elevation of where you visit in Colombia. If you plan to be in the mountains or in cities at higher elevations like Bogota, bring warm clothes and dress in layers. Temperatures are consistent and comfortable year-round no matter the season and tend to be in the mid to low 80’s. A perk of traveling in the dry season is you won’t have to fight with the rain and the days tend to be a lot sunnier.

CLOUDY SEASON – (April, May, June, September, October, November)

The cloudy season typically has more rainy/cloudy afternoons than other months in the year, otherwise, temperatures are just about the same. You’ll still want to bring plenty of layers from a raincoat, a warm jacket, sweaters, t-shirts, and beach attire if you plan on traveling to destinations at a high elevation like Bogota to the beach at sea level. Again, it all depends on where in Colombia you go, but on average the temperature sits comfortably around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to dress for activities in Colombia? – (Click to expand)
Exploring Town – From Bogota to Medellin and all of the quaint small towns in between, you want to make sure you bring along the right attire. Jeans or long pants are usually a staple unless you visit a hot coastal city like Cartagena. A t-shirt or a light sweater and a jacket for layering are ideal. Comfortable walking shoes are essential, especially for the older parts of town where you’ll be walking along cobblestone streets.

Relaxing Beach Day – Kick back and relax on the Pacific or Caribbean coast, the choice is yours! You won’t want to forget a swimsuit, flip-flops, or cover up for a relaxing day at the beach. Remember to pack a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to stay protected from the sun. A beach bag and quick-dry towels are bonuses that will make your beach day all the more enjoyable.

Nature Hike – There is so much natural beauty in Colombia that you don’t want to miss. Across the country, you’ll find rainforest, desert, coffee fields, and towering waterfalls. For these active days, you’ll want comfortable, quick-dry clothing and a good pair of walking/hiking shoes. Activewear will be the most comfortable and make sure to bring along a raincoat and a waterproof case for your phone for those adventures near water.

Night Out – Colombia is guaranteed to show you a good night out. Pop into a salsa club to dance some salsa or take a lesson, sip aguardiente at a local spot, or try fun cocktails at a swanky bar. Colombians love to dress up and look their best so this is a great time to pull out your nicest outfit and your dancing shoes! You’ll see men in long pants and a nice dress shirt and women showing off elegant cocktail dresses or flowy skirts with a cute pair of shoes.

What NOT to Bring to Colombia

  • 1.DON’T BRING Excessive Cash

    It’s better to take out small amounts of cash at a time so that you’re not walking around with a lot of money that could potentially get lost or stolen. Just bring enough cash for your outing and keep the rest in the safe in your hotel room. It’s easiest to pay with cash but a lot of places do accept credit cards too.

  • 2.DON'T TAKE Expensive Jewelry

    If you can’t imagine living without it, don’t bring it. Jewelry can easily be misplaced or stolen and if it’s something that means a lot to you, better not take the risk. Having flashy jewelry also makes you stand out more as a target for petty crime. Play it safe and keep your valuables at home!

  • 3.DON'T PACK Winter Clothes

    Even if you plan to visit Colombia in December when it may be very cold where you’re from, Colombia doesn’t have four seasons like many of us are used to and it never gets very cold. You’ll need a light jacket or sweater at the most.

  • 4.DON'T TAKE Large Books

    Nowadays there is no need to lug around heavy books when traveling. Between phones, tablets, laptops, and e-readers, you can bring along more books than you’ll ever need including entertaining fiction books and travel guidebooks.

  • 5.DON'T PACK a Regular Towel

    Beach and bath towels are bulky and will take up way too much space in your luggage. A microfiber travel towel is the way to go. They are compact, odor-resistant, and great for the beach as they repel sand. They will easily fit in your suitcase or day bag without taking up much space at all.

  • 6.DON'T BRING a Power Adapter

    When visiting Colombia from the US or Canada, there is no need to bring an outlet adapter as Colombia uses the same outlets as North America.

What NOT to Wear in Colombia? – (Click to expand)

Flashy, expensive jewelry, watches, and purses are best kept safe at home. You also won’t be needing any winter gear and can leave behind thick coats, hats, and scarves. You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking so don’t bring along any shoes that are uncomfortable to walk in for long periods of time.

FAQs about Traveling to Colombia

  • 1. Do I need a visa to visit Colombia?

    If coming from the US or Canada you will receive a 90-day tourist visa upon arriving in Colombia.

  • 2. What vaccines are recommended when traveling to Colombia?

    It’s recommended that visitors get the yellow fever vaccines when traveling to Colombia. It is even required when visiting certain national parks and sanctuaries.

  • 3. Is tap water safe to drink in Colombia?

    Tap water in some cities such as Bogota is supposedly safe to drink. However, it’s better not to take chances and bring along a water filter such as the Grayl or buy bottled water to decrease your chances of getting sick.

  • 4. What is the best time of year to visit Colombia?

    Colombia has similar weather year-round. Visiting during the dry season might provide nicer, sunnier weather, but potentially more crowds during the December holidays. The summer months of July and August are usually dry and not too crowded.

  • 5. What is an ideal amount of time to stay in Colombia?

    If you want to visit several of Colombia’s highlights then two weeks would be a great amount of time to start with. This will give you plenty of time to explore the beaches, large cities, the coffee region, and stunning nature.

  • 6. Is Colombia safe?

    Colombia received a lot of bad press in the past due to Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels. Today, Colombia is a much safer and more stable country that is great for tourists. Take caution in the bigger cities just like you would anywhere else in the world. Don’t walk alone at night and keep your valuables safe and out of sight. Overall, Colombia is very safe and welcoming to visitors.

  • 7. What is the best way to get around Colombia?

    With so much to see across Colombia, you don’t want to visit just one place. The best way to travel large distances is by plane. Once you arrive at a destination you can explore the surroundings by local bus or go on a tour.