Country: Colombia, officially called the Republic of Colombia (República de Colombia), is a country of diversity featuring Caribbean beaches, the Andes mountains, Amazon rainforests, contemporary cities, and archaeological sites. It is located in the northwestern portion of South America and shares its borders with Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Panama, and the Caribbean Sea. Colombia is situated in the Ring of Fire.
More than 47 million call Colombia home. The city of Bogotá is the capital and largest city in the country. The official language of Colombia is Spanish, with additional recognition of 68 regional ethnic languages and dialects. English is also an official language in Providencia, Santa Catalina Islands, and San Andrés.
To access emergency services: Dial 123
Currency: Peso (COP)
Recommended immunizations and vaccines for travelers: Before traveling to Colombia, ask your doctor what vaccines are recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are excellent resources as well.
Insurance: Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
It is also worth ensuring your travel insurance will cover ambulances or transport either home or to more advanced medical facilities, if needed. Not all insurance covers emergency medical evacuation home or to a hospital in a major city, which may be the only way to receive medical attention in a serious emergency.
Source: International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers.
What to expect in a Colombian hospital: In Colombia, medical care is good in major cities, but in rural areas one finds great variation in availability and quality. Private health care providers expect payment in cash, prior to treatment, though some (in major cities) do accept credit card payments. In public hospitals, the level of care is below U.S. standards, and payment for treatment is expected in cash prior to treatment.
Patients will find doctors in the major cities who speak English. In rural areas it may be more difficult to find a doctor who is fluent in English.
Contact your embassy/consulate: When in doubt, your country’s embassy is a good resource to turn to for medical assistance guidance.
JCI-accredited hospitals/clinics in Colombia: To read about specific facilities which are JCI-accredited, visit the Hospital Search section.
Colombia-specific helpful health resources:
Travel health notices: Visit the CDC or WHO for up-to-date travel notices.