COVID Safety on Our Recent Colombia TripOur Magazine
Our Co-Founder Greg Tepper headed south with travel designer Kyle Shaffer (that’s us in the photo above!) in January 2021 to see what travel to Colombia is like right now and scout some unique new experiences for our clients.
Throughout our stay, we were delighted to see how seriously the entire country is taking the pandemic, both with their protocols but also the overall sense of community and seeing everyone doing their part.
Below we’ve outlined what it was like traveling in Colombia and the many efforts they’re taking to increase safety for everyone. Reach out if you’d like to learn more.
ENTRY TO COLOMBIA
As of February 2021, entry to Colombia requires a negative PCR test within 96 hours of arrival, as well as an additional migration form and downloading Colombia’s new CoronApp phone app. We help our travelers take care of both, as well as arranging the required COVID test prior to returning to the U.S.
FLIGHTS & AIRPORTS
All passengers are required to wear masks both on international flights to and from Colombia as well as the domestic flights within Colombia. Within Colombia, airlines typically board the plane from back to front but in a timely manner, and all staff on board and within the airports are all required to wear masks as well. We flew VivaAir between Medellin and Cartagena, and were impressed with their adherence to all the protocols.
Within airports, seats in waiting areas are blocked off to ensure social distancing and we saw – much like in the U.S. – stickers on the floor to help encourage people to keep distance in lines.
Hotels are required to meet Colombian government safety protocols before they re-open, as well as maintain these throughout their operations such as thorough sanitation of rooms between guest stays. Hotel room doors are sealed after cleaning and most hotels will only provide turn down service upon request, to limit entry by hotel staff into your room. All staff and guests are required to wear masks in and around the lobby, elevators, hallways, and restaurants. Temperature is taken before initial entry into the hotel and most have sanitizing stations for your shoes to step in before you continue into the lobby.
We organize all client transfers with a private vehicle and often with the same driver throughout your stay in any given city. Drivers, guides, and guests alike are all required to wear masks during the drive. If you take a taxi, Uber or public transportation during your trip, taxi drivers will likely take your temperature and offer you hand sanitizer upon entry.
Trying the local food is an absolute must while traveling and restaurants in Colombia have done their best to allow safe and socially distant dining options. Many restaurants have terraces or outdoor seating available thanks to the great year-round weather. When dining indoors, capacity is reduced and tables are spaced out. Most of our favorite restaurants require reservations to help maintain a reduced capacity and won’t accept walk-ins; we of course handle this for you. Silverware is pre-packaged and you’ll likely be given a small bag to place your mask in while you dine. All staff in restaurants are required to wear masks and upon entry to the restaurant they’ll take your temperature and provide you with hand sanitizer.
Whether you’re visiting an art gallery, a museum, a coffee shop for a coffee tasting, or just doing a walking tour of the city, you’ll see that almost every entrance is outfitted with a hands-free hand sanitizer station as well as a greeter that will take your temperature upon entry. All guides will wear masks throughout the tours and you’ll see that mask-wearing is practiced by everyone in the city both indoors and outside.