Colombia //

Getting there

Colombia’s biggest international airport is Bogatá’s Aeropuerto Internacional El Dorado (http://www.elnuevodorado.com). Direct services from Europe to Bogotá are offered by Iberia (Madrid and Barcelona), Air France/KLM (Paris), Avianca (Barcelona and Paris) and Lufthansa (Frankfurt). Avianca also operates flights from Madrid to Cali and Medellín.

In North America, Air Canada connects Toronto to Bogotá, Lan and American Airlines connect Bogotá with Miami, while Delta links Bogotá with New York, Chicago and Atlanta, and Jet Blue flies to Bogotá from Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. It’s also possible to fly from Miami directly to Santa Marta, Cartagena and Medellín.

In South and Central America, Lan links Bogotá with Lima, Santiago and Quito; Copa offers regular flights from the capital to Panama City, and Tam links the capital to São Paulo. Avianca also flies to Buenos Aires, Caracas, Guayaquil, Lima, Mexico City, Panama City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago (Chile) and São Paulo.

Overland from Ecuador and Venezuela

Frequent bus services cross Colombia’s borders into neighbouring Venezuela and Ecuador, though there can be security issues with both borders, so check in advance. Ormeño buses cover several international routes to and from Bogotá, including Quito, Caracas and Lima.

There are three main overland border crossings with Venezuela, the most popular being Cúcuta–San Antonio/San Cristóbal. The Maicao–Maracaibo crossing at Paraguachón is useful if you are travelling directly to or from Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Expreso Brasilia (expresobrasilia.com) operates a coastal bus service between Cartagena, via Barranquilla and Santa Marta, which passes through Maicao in the remote Guajira Peninsula to Maracaibo (1 daily at 7am; 20hr; COP$220,000).

The Panamerican Highway runs south into Ecuador, with the Ipiales–Tulcán crossing being the most popular and straightforward, though slow.

There is no overland crossing between Colombia and Panama due to the presence of drug traffickers, paramilitaries and smugglers, and the threat of kidnapping in the Darién Gap.

By boat to/from Brazil, Peru and Panama

From the Amazon region it’s possible to cross to or from Colombia into Manaus, Brazil, and Iquitos, Peru, by taking a riverboat.

From Cartagena, adventurous travellers with plenty of time on their hands can take a sailboat to Puerto Lindo or Colón in Panama via the remote tropical islands of the San Blas archipelago. Trips take four to five days and cost around COP$750,000 per person. Rough seas can make travelling between November and February dangerous.