Have a safe trip with travel vaccines and advice from medical professionals.

Travel health and safety for Colombia 🇨🇴

Colombia is a captivating destination that offers a wealth of experiences for travelers, including diverse cuisine, vibrant culture, and exciting excursions.

Colombian food is known for its variety and flavors, influenced by indigenous, Spanish, and African culinary traditions. Visitors can savor iconic dishes like bandeja paisa (a hearty platter of rice, beans, meat, and plantains), arepas (cornmeal patties often filled with cheese), and ajiaco (a delicious chicken and potato soup). 

Colombia’s diverse geography offers a wide range of exciting excursions. From exploring the vibrant streets of Bogota’s historic La Candelaria district to hiking through the lush landscapes of the Cocora Valley, there are endless adventures to embark on. Travelers can discover the archaeological wonders of Ciudad Perdida (Lost City), take a boat trip through the enchanting Amazon rainforest, or relax on the idyllic beaches of the Caribbean coast. Outdoor enthusiasts can also trek to the famous Ciudad de Piedra (City of Stone) in the Tatacoa Desert or enjoy thrilling water sports on the Pacific coast. 

While immersing yourself in Colombia’s food, culture, and excursions, it is important to prioritize your health and safety. Follow food hygiene practices, drink bottled or purified water, and be mindful of any dietary restrictions. It is also essential to stay informed about the current safety situation and follow the advice of local authorities. If engaging in outdoor activities, ensure you have appropriate gear and follow safety guidelines provided by tour operators. By taking necessary precautions and respecting the local customs, you can fully enjoy the vibrant culture, delectable cuisine, and exciting excursions that Colombia has to offer. 

Travel Immunization for Colombia

What vaccines do I need for Colombia? Get all the information and vaccinations you need to minimize travel health risks.

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus transmitted by infected mosquitoes.  

  • Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, joint and muscle pain, loss of appetite, and more. Severe cases can lead to shock, internal bleeding, jaundice, and organ failure. 
  • Transmission can also occur in urban areas when infected people travel from rural or jungle regions. 

Hepatitis A virus can cause liver disease, and in rare cases, liver failure and death.

  • Can be spread by fecal-oral transmission, consuming contaminated food or water, or close, personal contact with an infected person.
  • Symptoms may range from mild to severe, including fatigue, jaundice, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and joint pain.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

  • Spreads through respiratory droplets and direct contact with infected individuals.
  • Symptoms initially resemble a common cold, followed by a characteristic rash fever, cough, runny nose, small, white spots inside the mouth and throat red eyes, sleepiness, and irritability.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that targets the liver and may cause chronic infections. 

  • Its primary mode of transmission is through direct blood-to-blood contact with an infected person. It can also be transmitted through unprotected sex or sharing needles.
  • Symptoms may range from mild to severe, including fatigue, jaundice, and abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting and joint pain.

Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito.  

  • Symptoms may include fever, chills, headache, similar to the flu. Without treatment, malaria can cause severe illness and death.
  • Malaria can be treated with anti-malarial medications.

Rabies is a viral infection transmitted through animal bites.  

  • Symptoms may initially include fever, headache, and discomfort at the bite site, progressing to more severe neurological symptoms. Rabies is fatal if it is not treated before symptoms develop.
  • Rabies treatment may be limited or may not be available, therefore you may need to return to Canada for treatment.

We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the provided information, however, it is not feasible for us to update daily. Please book a virtual consultation with one of our Travel Medicine Professionals for current, personalized advice and answers to any questions you may have.

Health Canada strongly advises travelers ensure their routine vaccinations are up to date, including:

Chickenpox (Varicella)

Guards against the varicella-zoster virus, responsible for chickenpox.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTaP)

Protects against three different bacterial infections.

Flu (Influenza)

Vaccination against seasonal influenza strains is essential.

Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Provides immunity against all three diseases in one shot.


Essential for guarding against the poliovirus.


Offers protection against a viral infection that causes painful rashes.


The ongoing pandemic necessitates adherence to vaccination guidelines and preventive measures.

Colombia Concerns / Health Canada Recommendations

Most common illness for travelers, from consuming contaminated food & water

  • Affects up to 70% of travelers and risks minimized with good hygiene and safe food/drink choices (eg. avoid raw foods, ice in drinks).
  • Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever, bloating.

Consider getting vaccinated against typhoid, as it can be contracted through contaminated food and water.   

  • Symptoms of typhoid fever include a high fever, headache, weakness, fatigue, stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea, loss of appetite, and a rose-colored rash on the chest and abdomen. 

Insect Bite Prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. Cover up and use mosquito repellents to protect against infection.   

  • Chikungunya: Symptoms include joint pains, fever, rash, and headache.    
  • Dengue: Symptoms include high-grade fever, severe headache, muscle and joint pain, rash, and nausea/vomiting.    
  • Zika: Symptoms include rash, itch, mild fever, headache, red eyes, muscle, and joint pains.    

Occurs when there is a lack of oxygen at high altitudes, especially when ascending rapidly from lower altitudes to 2,400 m or higher. 

  • Bogotá is located at 2600 meters above sea level and may cause health problems. 
  • Symptoms include headache, loss of appetite, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, and sleep disturbances.  

Over the Counter Medications for Travel to Colombia

Pain Relief

Medications such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil) can be helpful for managing headaches, muscle pain, or fever. 

Anti-Diarrheal Medications

It’s advisable to carry over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications like loperamide (e.g., Imodium) to treat mild cases of traveler’s diarrhea. However, it’s important to stay hydrated and seek medical attention if diarrhea persists or worsens. 


Antacids like Tums or Pepto-Bismol can provide relief from indigestion or heartburn, which can sometimes occur when trying new foods or experiencing changes in diet during travel. 

Allergy Medications

If you have known allergies, carrying antihistamines like cetirizine(e.g., Reactine) or diphenhydramine (e.g., Benadryl) can help manage allergic reactions to environmental allergens or insect bites. 

Motion Sickness Medications

If you are prone to motion sickness, consider carrying medication like dimenhydrinate (e.g., Gravol) to alleviate symptoms during long journeys or when traveling by car, train, or boat.

Sun Protection

Colombia has a sunny climate, so it is essential to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Use sunscreen with a high SPF, wear hats, sunglasses, and lightweight, breathable clothing. 

Medical Services and Facilities in Colombia
  • Good health care is limited, and mostly only available in major cities. Quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.  
  • Private clinics offer emergency services. They typically require advance payment in cash or by credit card. If you don’t have proof of travel insurance, you may be transferred to a public clinic, where medical care may not meet Canadian standards.  
  • Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays. 
  • Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise 
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take. 
  • Contact Colombia’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you. 

Consular Assistance in Colombia

Street Address: Cra. 7, No. 114-33, Piso 14, Bogotá, D.C. Colombia 

Telephone: (57-601) 657-9800

Email: [email protected]


We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the provided information, however, it is not feasible for us to update daily. Please book a virtual consultation with one of our Travel Medicine Professionals for current, personalized advice and answers to any questions you may have.

In case of emergency, dial 123

For non-urgent matters, you can reach the National Police by email at [email protected]

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