Before going to Colombia, make sure that you have your Covid-19 vaccine card (there are no requirements on the dates of the vaccine), IPT invitation letter and passport.
Check-in on the online form at migracioncolombia.gov.co providing information about your travel in and out the country. This won’t take more than ten minutes but you have to do it by yourself. If they ask you the address where you are going to stay, give them the Hotel address: Cl. 34 #22-72, Bucaramanga, Santander.
If you are having a layover of over 12 hours in Brazil, you will require a yellow fever vaccine certificate issued at least 10 days before entering the country.
Arriving to Colombia
Colombia is a tropical country in South America where the official language is Spanish and few people speak English. You will enter Colombia from an international airport and, most likely, you will arrive at ElDorado International airport in Bogotá.
There, you will get through migration where it is recommended to have your IPT invitation letter with you. The officer will ask you if your travel is for tourism or for academic reasons, you have to say that it is for academic reasons. UIS will send a letter with the names of the participants to the chancellery of Colombia to avoid inconvenience when entering the country.
The currency in Colombia is COP (Colombian peso) where 1 USD = 3800 COP. There are several exchange places at the airport. We suggest using those and official exchange houses, located in safe places outside the airport (such as Shopping Malls). If you are unsure, Colombian government provides a list of official and authorized exchange providers. Credit and debit cards are almost universal within the main cities of Colombia, however, we suggest always keeping cash in hand as transportation (buses, taxis, …) and other services do not accept cards.
Colombia uses the international system of units SI. You’ll find electrical plug types A and B: flat 2-prong sockets or sockets with a third, round prong. But don’t worry; it’s easy to find power adapters and voltage regulators at any hardware store or department store. Bear in mind that the domestic power supply in Colombia is 110 Volts of alternating current at 60 Hertz.
Arriving to Bucaramanga
The best way to get to Bucaramanga is flying. You will arrive at Palonegro International Airport which is located 30 minutes away from the center of the city (the ticket from Bogotá to Bucaramanga and back is around 100usd). At the airport there are taxis that can take up to four people to the city, they will charge you approximately 35’000 COP (9.50 USD). Warning: do not take taxis that are not official (outside the airport). If you are dubious, ask a security employee inside the airport where to find official taxis.
Go directly to the Hotel by indicating the driver the address of the Hotel (Cl. 34 # 22-72).
Bucaramanga has constant warm weather that oscillates between 23 and 30 degrees Celsius. However, be ready for the rain. Since Colombia is located in the tropic, rains are common and unpredictable. If you plan to stay in Bogotá for tourism, keep in mind that this is one of the coldest cities in Colombia with temperatures that vary from 5 to 23 degrees Celsius.
Protect yourself from the sun! As a tropical country, the sun inclination reaches almost 90 degrees and Bucaramanga’s altitude is around 1000 m. Therefore, UV rays’ intensity is higher than the most places in the world (be especially careful in Bogotá as Bogotá’s altitude is 2600 m).
In general terms, Colombia is a safe place to travel and most of the people are willing to welcome and help you. However, we recognized that foreigners are often targeted for scams and robbery. Some safety measures are recommended for international visitors:
- Do not show your phone, money or any flashy items when walking on the street.
- Do not give any personal information to strangers.
- Be careful with your stuff all the time in public spaces (specially on the transportation system).
- Don’t walk alone at night.
- Take care of each other (be aware of what your friends are doing).
Bucaramanga is the capital and largest city of the region of Santander (Colombia is divided in 32 regions) and it is known as the city of parks. Tourism in the region goes around natural parks and sports.
In the city, some palaces to visit are the Museum of Modern Art of Bucaramanga, the Casa de Bolívar, the Casa Luis Perú de la Croix, the Teatro Coliseo Peralta, the Teatro Santander, and the Estación de Café Madrid and Universidad Industrial de Santander.
For getting around the city, it is the best to use the Metrolínea bus system (it costs 2.700COP / 0.72 USD per trip). We recommend that you plan your trip beforehand.
A more detailed explanation about tourism in Bucaramanga can be found here.
The food diet in Bucaramanga is meat-based. However, you can always find vegetarian options around, look, for example, here.
The tap water in the big cities has good quality so do not be afraid to try local “jugos” made from any kind of fruit. Fruits are abundant and cheap in Colombia, try as most as you can even if they look exotic.
Universidad Industrial de Santander
Universidad Industrial de Santander is a public university funded on 1948 with campuses on seven places within the region of Santander. The most important one located in Bucaramanga.