Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

Travel money guide: Colombia

The insider’s guide to travel money for Colombia

Get credit card suggestions Compare travel cards
Exchange currency online Compare cash pickup

Colombians have a saying: “No dar papaya”, translated as “don’t let anyone take advantage of you.” Whether you’re walking the street of Bogota or exploring the Colombian Caribbean, know the best ways to use your travel money. Read our guide to save on fees and avoid getting taken for a ride by your bank when you travel to Colombia.

Our picks for traveling to Colombia

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card logo

Travel card with no annual fee

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Finder rating: 3.5/5
Wise Multi-currency logo

Send and receive 50+ currencies right from your phone

Wise Multi-currency

Finder rating: 4.5/5
Revolut logo

28+ currencies and real exchange rates. Crypto deposits aren't FDIC insured.


Finder rating: 4.5/5

What is the best way to take money to Colombia?

If you’re planning a trip to Colombia, it pays to do your research before you leave. Colombian pesos (COP) are the currency of the Republic of Colombia and the only currency accepted in Colombian towns and cities.

Credit, debit and travel money cards are accepted in fewer places than the US and ATMs are expensive to use, so compare travel money options and apply for the product that’s going to let you withdraw cash for less.

These are your options for spending money in Colombia

Using a credit card

Visa, Mastercard and American Express are widely accepted in Colombia, though you’ll find it difficult to make any online payments for reservations. Save money by finding a credit card that waives the foreign exchange fee. For added savings, take advantage of the interest-free period by paying your balance in full each month.

Cash advance fees, interest charges, ATM charges and foreign currency conversion charges all apply when you withdraw cash on credit. As a general rule, credit cards should only be used for over-the-counter purchases.

A couple of things to remember when you’re traveling in Colombia:

  • Número de cuotas. When the teller asks you “numero de cuotas?” they want to know how many months it will take to pay off the credit card transaction. For example if you make a $300 purchase and you ask for 10 months, you’re charged $30 a month in addition to any interest charges the credit card transaction accrues each month. One is always your answer.
  • Identification. It’s likely that you need to show photo identification, such as your passport, when you make an over-the-counter credit card payment. In most cases anything with your picture and your name will be enough to prove you’re the cardholder.
  • Tip: It’s worth researching credit cards that offer travel benefit and rewards for things you’ll buy anyways like flights and hotel stays.
  • Some credit cards waive overseas ATM fee
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Features such as complimentary travel insurance and reward points earning
  • Cash advance fees
  • Higher spending limit

Using a debit card

It’s good to have cash when you’re traveling in Colombia. Keeping a debit card is handy because you’ll have access to your cash each time you come across an ATM. Compare debit cards based on if it waives the currency conversion fee and international ATM withdrawal fees.

  • Tip: A debit card can be used to shop over the counter, online and for ATM withdrawals in Colombia.
  • Security with chip and PIN
  • Direct access to money
  • Save on overseas ATM fee when you withdraw
  • $0 account keeping fees if you deposit the minimum requirement
  • Unlimited free withdrawals at selected banks
  • No American card holds the Colombian peso
  • Currency conversion and international ATM fees

Using a prepaid travel card

There are some restrictions to use travel cards in Colombia, including:

  • Currency conversion fees. There are no prepaid travel money cards that let you load and spend COP. This means you’ll be charged a currency conversion of 3% every time you use the card to make a purchase in Colombia. Travel card foreign currency exchange rates are also often worse than Mastercard and Visa debit and credit card rates. You’ll also incur an ATM withdrawal fee as well as the local ATM operator fee when you withdraw COP from a Colombian ATM.
  • Protected by PIN & chip
  • Multiple supported currencies
  • Emergency card replacement and backup cards
  • Accepted worldwide
  • Ideal for managing your travel budget
  • No prepaid travel money cards that let you load and spend COP
  • May charge currency conversion fees, ATM withdrawal fees and local ATM operator fee

Using traveler’s checks

  • Acceptance
  • Security
  • Can be costly with initial purchase charges
  • Not all merchants accept travelers checks

Compare travel credit cards

1 - 3 of 26
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

2x miles on every purchase, every day, 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, 5x miles when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months ​from account opening.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
Earn unlimited 1.25x miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
Earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
75,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
3x points on Southwest® purchases, 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare, 2x points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
Limited-time offer: Earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Compare up to 4 providers

A guide to Colombian pesos

Colombian pesos come in 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 banknotes. Battered and worn 1,000 pesos notes are accepted by vendors within reason.

5000 Colombian Pesos Banknote10000 Colombian Pesos Banknote20000 Colombian Pesos Banknote
50000 Colombian Pesos Banknote100000 Colombian Pesos Banknote

Foreign exchange and changing cash

COP is the national currency of the Republic of Colombia, though Colombian pesos are not the same as Mexican pesos. COP is a volatile currency and exchange rates may change marginally during your trip.

You can get your money changed at a bank or at a dedicated money changer. Banks are everywhere and money changers are found in a shopping centers in all Colombian capital cities.

Foreign exchange offices have a cap on the amount of money you can change at a time. Brush up on some basic Spanish to ask about how much money you can change in one go.

¿Cuál es el máximo? – What is the maximum?

Live Rate

= $ 4244.7600

Refreshing in: 60s | Tue, Jul 05, 02:44PM GMT

The main banks in Colombia are:

  • Banco de Bogota
  • Bancolombia
  • Banco Davivienda
  • Banco de Occident
  • BBVA Colombia
  • Banco GNB Sudameris
  • Banco Popular Colombia
  • Citibank Colombia
  • Scotiabank Colombia

Using an ATM

In the big cities such as Bogota, Medellin (pronounced Med-e-jin), Cali, Ibague, Cartagena and Barranquilla, ATMs and banks are everywhere. Keep in mind that if you need to see a teller, the lines can get be long.

Here’s what to know about using an ATM in Colombia.

  • Security. ATMs are usually inside a small room behind a locked door adjacent to the street. If the ATM is attached to a bank, security guards stand right outside during business hours and your hotel may even be able to arrange an armed escort if you plan on withdrawing a large amount of cash.
  • ATM limits. The maximum withdrawal is lower for foreign cards — most Colombian banks let you withdraw up to 600,000 pesos at a time (about $200). Banks vary their limits foreign cards, usually displayed on the ATM welcome screen. Citi has the highest ATM withdrawal limit — but also with the highest fees.
  • Fees. You’ll pay international ATM fees for mostccash withdrawal in Colombia. Some ATMs tell you how much they charge, but some claim it’s not available. They vary between 6,000 and 9,000 pesos ($2–$3) per withdrawal.
  • Language. Banco de Bogotá, BanColombia and Banco de Occidente ATMs are Spanish only. Davivienda gives you the option of selecting English after you insert your card.
  • Donations. You’re given the option of making a donation to Colombian charities when you make an ATM withdrawal. You have a couple of options for how much you’d like to donate. Press no if philanthropy isn’t your thing.
Find ATMs in Colombia

Don’t be a papaya!

Avoid being an easy target for thieves by showing some common sense and keeping your valuables on hand at all times.

  • Don’t leave your cellphone on the table when you’re at a bar or restaurant.
  • Keep a sharp eye on your bags — thieves are crafty and can switch one of your bags with a dummy bag in half a second.
  • Only carry what you need when you leave your hotel or hostel.
  • Aguardente is the local spirit and one of the most popular drinks. Don’t drink too much, it can sneak up on you.
  • Carry identification with you at all times. Police will often stop locals and tourists randomly to check for weapons and drugs.

Colombia is safer than most people think it is. The civil war is all but finished and the dark days of Colombia’s history are just that: history.

Cash pickup services in Colombia

Min. Transfer Amount Transfer Speed Online Transfer Fee Rate Amount Received Description CTA Details
$1 Within an hour USD 3.99 4223.536 COP 4,206,684 WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups. Go to site Show details
$10 Within an hour USD 1.99 4159.865 COP 4,151,587 Special offers like free transfers and better exchange rates available for new customers.
Remitly has quick, affordable transfers around the world, with both express and economy options.
Go to site Show details
$1 3 - 5 days USD 20.00 4138.641 COP 4,055,868 Western Union sends money online to friends and family in 200+ countries around the world. Go to site Show details

Compare up to 4 providers

Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.

Who much should I budget to travel to Colombia?

In a country where it costs a couple of pesos for a bed, you’ll have plenty of money to travel around the country. Travel in Colombia is very cheap for Americans, and you could survive on just a few dollars a day. Even the most luxurious vacation can be done for under $100 a day. All prices are in US dollars.

Budget (Cheap)Mid-rangeLuxury (High-end)
AccommodationHostel dorm beds per night


Hotel rooms per night


Hostel private rooms per night (based on double occupancy)
MealsArepa con queso, boiled/salted potatoes, fresh sliced mango street food
Full meals including a meat (chicken) with small side (potatoes, french fries), hot dogs, hamburgers
  • Typical set lunch (soup, meat, side of potatoes, rice or beans) with fresh fruit juice
  • Dinner (appetizer, entree) at a restaurant in a touristy area (or Zona Rosa)
TransportationCity buses
City taxi (metered, average distance)
  • Regional (inter-city) buses:
    $3–$15 for up to a few hours.
  • $30 to go 8–12 hours between major cities like Bogota, Cali, Medellin and Cartagena

Prices are approximate and are subject to change.

Case study: David's experience

David profile photo

An expat in Medellin

What’s your travel money recommendation?
Don’t cary too much cash around with you. Like anywhere else you travel, thieves look for tourists as targets. It’s best to have a variety of money options, and to leave some card in your hotel room safe just in case.

Back to top

Frequently asked questions

Our latest travel deals to South America


Up to 20% off tours worldwide

Discounted tours in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and South America.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    NetteOctober 9, 2018

    Where in the US can I exchange US dollars for COP pesos?

    • Default Gravatar
      nikkiangcoOctober 10, 2018

      Hi Nette,

      Thanks for your inquiry and for visiting Finder.

      You can buy Colombian Pesos from your local bank though you may not receive the best exchange rates. You can also opt to exchange your USD when you get to Colombia at the airport or from reputable foreign currency exchange stores.

      The price in US dollars will be dependent on the exchange rate offered by the provider, so when buying foreign currency, it is important to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

      The exchange rates change daily, so be sure to do a comparison on the day that you’re planning to buy the currency. It’s also important to check what if any, transaction fees the provider charges since this will greatly impact the price you pay.”

      Hope this helps! For any clarifications, feel free to message us again.


  2. Default Gravatar
    ZahavaApril 2, 2018

    Can an I exchange US dollars for COP in any bank in Colmbia?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 2, 2018Staff

      Hi Zahava,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      Yes, it is possible for you to exchange US dollars for COP in a bank in Colombia. However, you need to realize that it is not the primary function of a bank to exchange currencies. Thus, your transaction may be longer than you expect or you will be charged with higher fees.

      Other possible alternatives are going to a money changer or currency exchange office.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


Go to site