colombia

2020 Packing List

Luggage Size Warning: For the flight from Salento to Cartagena, which is included in your package, there are limits on what is included for your luggage. If you wish, you can pay for additional baggage or overage fees. If you have any questions about this, don't hesitate to ask. Here are the limits for that flight:

One personal item: Max 13lbs, Max 40x35x25cm

One checked bag: Max 44lbs, Max 158 linear cm (l+w+h)

We also recommend checking the luggage limits for your international flights as well. 

Also keep in mind: We will be checking into 3 different hostels and traveling via car, bus, and plane. Only 1 of the 3 hostels has an elevator. Therefore, bring a big suitcase at your own "risk." ;) Many people bring a big suitcase and really regret it. It's smarter to pack less and pay a little to do laundry if you ever need to.

Towel: Bringing a towel (quick-dry are the best) is a necessity. Two of the accommodations do not include a towel, but towels can be rented for very cheap through each hostel ($1-$2). However, bringing a towel of your own is also super useful for the beach. 

Don't forget: Important items to not forget are a padlock (to lock up your things during the day) and your passport! 

$$$: We wrote a whole paragraph about getting Colombian pesos, how much to bring, where to exchange, etc. Scroll down to the bottom of this page!

Style: You'll notice that the style in Colombia is typically never shorts. Jeans are always popular, even in the summer! We usually stick out like tourists when we wear shorts and sandals. However, it is okay to wear shorts and dresses on this trip, especially because it can get really warm. We highly recommend packing at least one pair of jeans as an option to make sure you're comfortable.

Weather: Prepare for a wide range of temperatures. From 60s at night to 90s during the day! 

Medellin is mild to warm. It can be 60s at night and likely 70s, possibly into the 80s, during the day. 

Salento is mild to warm. It can be 60s at night and likely 70s, possibly into the 80s, during the day.

Cartagena is ALWAYS HOT AND HUMID. Like... very, very humid. It will say 70s-80s on the weather report, but the humidity makes it feel like Texas in the summertime. 

Rain: It may rain a few days on the trip, but January is not the high rainy season for any of the cities we will be going to. However, you still may want something to cover yourself and your day bag for the chance it does. Ponchos can work great and are much smaller to pack than a rain jacket. 

The highest altitude reached on this trip would be 7,800ft in the Cocora Valley near Salento.


Main Luggage: Backpack or Suitcase​

Most of your flights come with a free checked bag. We recommend bringing just a carry on size backpack or suitcase and then a personal size backpack or purse as a day bag. Even if you have a free checked bag, it’s much easier to travel with just a carry on size bag. Jess and I always travel with the same size bags, no matter how long we’re traveling. We each have a 45-liter backpack and a 20-liter laptop bag/day backpack.

 

I personally love backpacks as opposed to suitcases because they are easy to lug around. I love the brands Gregory and Osprey, but they are more expensive. They last several years, so, if you plan on taking a trips in the future, I recommend making the investment! Here are my recommendations:

  • Great combination bag (has a detachable day bag - saves you from buying 2 separate ones) for 1 week - 6 week trip length. I have a few friends who use this and love it! The day bag attaches and detaches with a zippers and the backpack also opens like a suitcase, so it's very accessible. 

  • If you’re looking for an intro backpack, I recommend this Mountaintop on Amazon. I used it for around a year, and it never failed. It even held up well during a 4 day 30 mile trek!

  • If you plan on taking a trip over 6-weeks then I recommend you buying a bigger bag. I currently have an 60L Osprey that is very similar to this one.

Day Packs

 

Day Packs are a must! Usually on trips like these, you leave all of your stuff in your main backpack or suitcase at the hostel but use a smaller bag to carry around your phone, money, jacket, camera, water, and everything else for the day. You can use anything for this including your school backpack, purse, fanny pack, string gym bag, or, if you want something to not hurt your shoulders while exploring all day, here's what I use:

 

  • This bag is a little pricey, but is incredible. I can't stress how nice it is to have a good day bag over everything else. You are doing everything with it and I believe it is 100% worth the cost. It can fit so much and feels really nice on your shoulders. It also has a netted back that helps you keep the sweat away! 

Other Bags

 

Here are a few other bags that I think bringing are very necessary and shouldn't cost any money.

  • Dirty clothes bag (can be any bag from a trash bag to a HEB bag​) - needed to separate the clean from dirty clothes while traveling between places.

  • Ziplock bags help immensely when organizing everything. You could also make the switch from plastic and use small reusable bags to hold your things. Jess uses a cloth Kendra Scott bag from a past gift to hold any jewelry she travels with. 

 Clothes

 

This is a very hard thing to recommend, but I will do my best! I want to point out that it is very easy to over pack. The trip is only 11 days, and there are laundry services nearby or in each hostel. It's smarter to pack less and pay a little to do laundry if you ever need to.

  • One hoodie or jacket

    • You'll see the climate change with each place we go, so use layers to be able to adapt. 

  • Optional: Raincoat or Waterproof Shell 

    • It may rain a few days on the trip, but January is not the high rainy season for any of the cities we will be going to. However, you still may want something to cover yourself and your day bag for the chance it does. 

    • For those budget hunters, ponchos can work great and are much smaller to pack than a rain jacket. 

  •  One pair of jeans

    •  Good for if you want something nicer at night

    • You'll notice that the style in Colombia is typically never shorts. Jeans are always popular, even in the summer! We usually stick out like tourists when we wear shorts and sandals. However, it is okay to wear shorts and dresses on this trip, especially because it can get really warm. We highly recommend packing at least one pair of jeans as an option to make sure you're comfortable.

  • One-Two pairs of comfortable pants (for example: hiking pants and/or leggings)

    • I prefer hiking pants, but this can be any pant that you don't mind walking all day in! 

  •  Two-Three pairs of shorts 

    • ​Mix of nicer shorts, like jean shorts, and athletic shorts

    • Shorts are also nice for sleeping in.

  • One hat 

    • ​I just use baseball hats now, but the best investment  are these waterproof ones. I know it's pricey, but I love this hat and used it for years!

  • Six shirts

    • Any mix of colors and styles work.

  • One dry-fit shirt or tank top

    • ​This is in case you decide to go hiking in Salento or want something you can sweat in.

 

 

  • Underwear

    • ​The number of pairs depends on if you want to do laundry​​​ or not.

 

  • Jess recommends sports bras over other kinds. She suggests three to four sports bras and one to two regular bras.

 

 

 

  • One swimsuit

    • ​You might use it to go to the beach!

 

 

  • Five pairs of socks (+/- a couple of pairs)

    • ​I wear my Chacos almost every day, so I don't wear socks often. 

 

 

  • Optional: One-Two "nicer" outfits (such as a light dress)

    • Good for the photo days or going out at night if you want!

Shoes

  • Walking, hiking, or running shoes

    • I live in my Trail Runners. I've owned and used many hiking boots and different kinds of shoes for traveling, but these are by far the comfiest and most useful.

    • If you don't want to invest in new hiking shoes, any running/walking shoes will be perfectly fine for this trip!

  • Sandals or Flip Flops

    • ​This is needed for whenever you go to the hot tubs or beaches or if you want shower shoes.

    • ​​​I'm a huge Chaco advocate! I think they are the best all-around shoe you can own. I hike, swim, and use them for normal daily use. 

    • Jess highly recommends bringing a pair of flip flops because she always wants shower shoes. 

  • Optional: One pair of night time shoes or sandals

    • ​Not a necessity, but some people like to bring them.

    • Jess packs a light pair of sandals to wear with "nicer" outfits. 

Toiletries 

 

Here is a short list of toiletries that are a must! I recommend bringing the travel size of everything to save yourself some room!

 

 

  • Sunblock 

  • Bug Spray

 

  • Chapstick

 

  • Soap/Shampoo/Conditioner

    • ​I'm a fan of the three in one, but I understand most people prefer all three.​

    • This is an example of where the travel sizes and ziploc bags come in clutch.

 

  • Deodorant 

 

  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Floss

    • ​They make covers that help keep toothbrushes clean while traveling. We get ours from Walmart in the travel section.

 

  • Razor

 

 

  • Lotion

    • ​Travel size only!

 

 

 

Optional toiletries based on what you need:

 

 

  • Contacts/Contact Solution

 

  • Small bottle of Advil or Ibuprofen 

 

  • Q-tips and tissues

 

  • Brush or comb 

    • ​Jess brings a mini brush. 

 

  • Makeup 

    • ​Jess recommends travel or compact sizes whatever makeup you want. She uses one travel compact that has brows, shadow, and face all in one. 

 

  • Headbands and hair ties 

    • ​Jess puts these in a little bag. 

 

  • Hair tools 

    • ​Jess doesn't recommend bringing these, as they take up a lot of space. 

    • If you do want a blow dryer, there are very small compact ones that fold up. These are a better option, but the best option is using/borrowing one at the hostel. 

 

  • It's also recommended to always pack feminine products rather than relying on buying them there. 

other

  • Reusable Water Bottle

    • You can drink the tap water in Colombia, and we recommend filling up a reusable bottle each day in the hostels. Some provide flavored water and ice water. 

  • A Pen

    • Handy for filling out forms at customs.

  • Quick-dry towel

    • A necessity. Two of the accommodations do not include a towel, but towels can be rented for very cheap.

    • However, bringing a towel of your own is also super useful for the beach. 

    • They are very compact and will dry much faster than the ones you use at home. 

 

  • Sunglasses

    • ​Don't forget your favorite pair of sunglasses :)

  • Ear plugs

    • ​These can come in handy when you are sleeping in hostels, and people are snoring or come in late.

 

 

  • Eye mask for sleeping

    • ​This is great for sleeping on bus rides or when you want pitch black in your hostel room

  • Padlock

    • ​There will be lockers for valuable at each hostel, so, if you want to lock those up, then this is needed.

electronics

  • No outlet converter is needed in Colombia. 

  • ​Phone + Charger

 

 

  • Headphones

 

  • Camera + Charger

  • Optional: Go-Pro

    • ​Not gonna lie, this is a great place for any action cam.

    • I personally use an older version of the Sony Action Cam.

  • Power Bank (Portable Charger)

    • ​This is great, so you don't have to worry about being somewhere with a dead camera or phone.

documents

  • Passport! 

    • Check right now and make sure your passport isn't expired!! 

    • I also like passport covers because you can keep other important information in them. sport covers because you can keep other important information in them.​

  • Cash

    • Often places in Colombia won't take credit or debit cards. Cash is something you must have with you. 

    • Colombia uses the Colombian Peso for their currency.

    • A good way to get Colombian Pesos before you leave is by ordering them from your bank. This often gets you a good deal, as opposed to exchanging money at the airport or withdrawing money from an ATM once in Colombia. It will still be possible to withdraw money once you're in Colombia, of course, and we would be happy to point you to ATMs in each city.

    • Although you don't want to carry a lot of cash around, it's a hassle and costly to pull money out of an ATM. We recommend bringing more cash than you probably need to be on the safe side. Then, each day, only walk around with the amount of cash you need for that day only. Leave the rest locked up in the hostel. 

    • We recommend bringing $200-300 in cash, depending on how much you plan to budget for each day. You can spend very little ($150), or you can choose to add more excursions, pricier meals, drinks, etc. ($200+). 

  • Drivers Licence 

    • ​If you go out, you might need an ID, and I don't recommend bringing your passport out drinking.

 

 

 

  • Travel Insurance

    • ​As stated in the contact, you should either buy travel insurance or make sure that you health insurance covers you abroad.

  • Money Belt

    • ​These  are great to assure that no one is going to take your valuables.

    • Jess uses them, and you can wear them under your shirt. She says it helps her keep track of her IDs, phone, and money. 

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