Accommodation ranges considerably, but given the country’s relative prosperity you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the bargains available. Backpacker hostels are prolific, particularly in larger cities such as Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Santa Marta, and prices start at around COP$19,000 for dorms and COP$43,000 for double rooms. Comfortable beds, shared kitchens, free wi-fi, book exchanges, laundry, cable TV and stacks of DVDs are common, and hostels are often the best places to find out about local attractions; some rent bicycles and even horses. Guesthouses rarely cost more than COP$70,000 for a double room with private bathroom.

Camping is an option in some rural areas and national parks, particularly Parque Nacional Tayrona on the Caribbean coast and Parque Nacional Cocuy in the highlands. Be aware that many campsites don’t rent tents (or rent substandard ones), so it’s best to bring your own if you plan to camp regularly. If you hike to the Ciudad Perdida you’ll get to sleep in hammocks with mosquito nets.

In the coffee-growing region, you can stay on one of the stately fincas, coffee-growing plantations that have barely changed over the decades. Though these farms range from tiny to sleek, modernized operations, the majority are small estates that offer comfortable accommodation for a moderate price (COP$25,000–45,000 per room). Meals prepared from locally grown food as well as numerous outdoor activities, like farm tours and horseriding, are often included or available.

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

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