Money in Colombia
Money, Budgeting & Tipping
The Colombian currency is the Colombian peso. Make sure to bring some Colombian currency with you, as well as US dollars. That way, if you’re at a small shop that doesn’t take credit cards, you will have some cash already on hand. US dollars, Euros, credit cards, and debit cards are widely accepted in Colombia. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted credit cards.
Remember to notify your bank that you will be traveling to Colombia. That way, you won’t run into any issues using your credit or debit cards. Certain banks, such as Wells Fargo, have international travelers add a “travel plan” detailing the countries they are visiting, and which cards they would like activated. There’s nothing worse than being in a foreign country, with credit cards that don’t work. How are you supposed to pay for all that delicious Colombian coffee?! Also, to budget carefully, take note of your bank’s transaction fees and withdrawal fees.
There will be ATMs accessible in the main cities but remain mindful of your surroundings when withdrawing cash. If you’re exchanging money at a location other than an ATM or the hotel, be wary of counterfeit cash. If you’re worried about receiving a low exchange rate or counterfeit cash, your best option is to exchange currency at a bank or the hotel.
Your money can go a long way if you’re visiting Colombia from the United States. Expect to pay roughly half the price of what you would expect in restaurants or stores in the United States or in Western Europe. Colombia is a great place to buy gifts for friends and family, because of the favorable exchange rate. Pick up some high-quality textiles, leather garments, emerald and gold jewelry, and the traditional mochila backpack. These items would make for fantastic souvenirs!