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The Just Student Jobs Country guide for gap year travel in South America - Colombia

Where to Go - South America

Click on the links below to view information on a specific country.

Argentina | Brazil | Chile| Colombia
Ecuador | Guyana| Peru | Venezuela


Population: 39,685,655

Literacy rate: 91.3%

Life expectancy at birth: male 66.43 yrs, female: 74.27 yrs

Infant mortality rate:24.7 deaths/1,000 live births

Population growth rate:1.68%

GDP growth rate: -5%

GDP per capita:£4,100


Inflation: 9.2%

TI index: 3.2

Climate: tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Time: GMT 5.

Electricity.. Mostly 1101120 volts AC, 60Hz. America style 2 pin plugs are common.


A useful guide to Colombia and related links of interest can be found at

You should be aware that this is a country with a worsening political and social scene with guerrila warfare rife in some areas. Doubts have been expressed in the USA that increasing involvement in Colombia's internal affairs and vain attempts to stop the flow of drugs (which also finance guerilla groups) will result in serious upheaval. The USA is also refurbishing airfields in Ecuador so as to have a nearby anti-smuggling airbase. Get right up to date information before committing yourself. Having said all that, Colombians are generally pleasant and friendly people, particularly outside the big cities. Even in Bogotá Cartagena, Barranquilla and Medellin you are very unlikely to be involved in anything more serious than getting your pocket picked. This happens to everyone a sort of "Welcome" ritual. Travel by plane not for nothing was Colombia the first South American country to have an airline bus travel can take hours over winding (in three dimensions) dirt roads and guerillas and bandits love buses. A plane is not much more expensive, much quicker and quite a lot safer. When in Bogotá beware of acclimatisation problems, the altitude is 2,650m and soiche – or altitude sickness - may be experienced. You will also notice that noone smokes in the street while walking there is simply not enough oxygen for both the walker and the cigarette. If you go to the interior, an interesting trip can be taken from Leticia the town on the border between Colombia, Peru and Brazil however, do be aware that this is from where a lot of drugs are shipped and the locals are wary of gringo visitors. Going upriver can take you into Peru as far as lquitos, going downriver can take you as far as the mouth of the Amazon at Belém.

In Bogotá visit the Gold Museum. Visit Cartagena for an exciting glimpse of history and think of Sir Francis Drake still remembered as "EI Draco".

Be prepared to be investigated by DAS (read; FBI or M15) before a work visa is granted. Red tape is interminable. Petty corruption is rife. Be patient. A point of security; as you are likely to get things stolen, go to the police and ask about having all your essential documents photocopied and witnessed by them. The copies will then be accepted as genuine and losing them will be no great cause for the rending of garments and the gnashing of teeth. It will only cost you US$20.

Entry requirements

The application process can be lengthy and is best dealt with before you travel.


Hepatitis A, Polio, Malaria, Typhoid and Yellow Fever.

Tax and Insurance

Hospitals are expensive and so are doctors, so get some good insurance. Tax runs at around 10%+.Wages Paid 14 times a year. Inflation makes it difficult to give dependable figures, say £1 to £2 an hour £300 to £700 a month, possibly more.

Gap Year Programmes

Click here to find gap year programmes and placements in Colombia

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Argentina | Brazil | Chile| Colombia
Ecuador | Guyana| Peru | Venezuela

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