May 29th, 2015

What to Pack for Colombia: The 5-Step

Urban adventures, jungle sites, and snowy adventures lie ahead in Colombia, but is your bag ready? Pack for Colombia with Eagle Creek’s 5-step solution.

Looking for your next travel adventure? Look no further than Colombia. Though the South American destination is a mere hop, skip, and reasonable plane ride away from the United States, a trip to Colombia will transport you to another world of travel adventure. The city centers rival those in Europe, while the scenic wilderness retains those off-the-beaten path qualities adventure travelers seek.

Once you’ve booked your ticket, take some time to prepare your packing strategy. Eagle Creek’s 5-Step Solution will help you pick the right bag, prepare for the varying weather conditions, dress in local fashion, and experience all that Colombia has to offer.

Step 1: Choose the Right Bag

Take a moment to assess which bag is the best fit for your trip to Colombia. Even wheeled suitcase enthusiasts may want to consider a water-resistant duffel, considering Colombia’s uneven terrain, cobblestone city streets, and plentiful hiking spots. Can’t bear to part with the wheels? Compromise by bringing a Wheeled Backpack that easily transitions from a wheeled suitcase to a backpack.

Choose the Right Bag Tip: In addition to unisex bags, Eagle Creek carries bags, like the Deviate Travel Pack, with unique versions for men and women.

Step 2: Plan for Four Seasons in a Day

It’s the oldest tip in the book, but layering is as important as ever for a trip to Colombia. Though the country straddles the equator, the climate varies vastly from region to region. Even the more temperate areas, such as Bogota and Medellin, go from warm days to chilly nights frequently. Map out your inter-Colombia itinerary well before your trip to give yourself time to track down the right gear and attire for all weather conditions.

Plan for Four Seasons in a Day Tip: Warm clothing for snowy hikes can take up valuable packing space. Consolidate your items down to their smallest forms with compression sacs to give yourself room to pack for more adventures!

Step 3: Dress for City Living

The lure of Colombia’s fascinating cities is just as enticing as the country’s outdoor adventures. Bogota, Colombia’s largest city, is filled with museums, restaurants, and exciting nightlife. Medillen, once plagued by its drug cartel reputation, was named the “Innovative City of the Year” by the Wall Street Journal in 2012. And Cartagena is the perfect location to enjoy Caribbean views and get lost in old city charm. For all three cities, though, there is an implied dress code. Men should pack slacks and close-toed shoes, and women should think “dress to impress,” for evenings out in these cosmopolitan centers. Flip-flops are welcome at the beach, but not suitable footwear for urban escapes.

Dress for City Living Tip: Safety in Colombian cities has improved, but it’s always smart to be cautious when traveling in a new city. Keep money and valuables close and protected with a concealed money belt or neck wallet.

Step 4: Prepare for Day Trips

There’s no lack of day trip options in Colombia, from World Heritage sites to gorgeous beaches and lost cities. Pick a few to try ahead of time so you can pack accordingly. Bring a daypack in your luggage to visit Tayrona National Park, which has both beautiful beaches and wild jungles, and fill it with the necessities for a trek: Tayrona is only accessible by foot or by mule. Hitting up the island beaches off the Colombian coast? (We recommend the beautiful San Andres, or former prison site Isla Gorgona, where the animals run wild.)  Be sure to pack your bathing suit, and plenty of water, sun and bug protection. Bring your camera (or best camera app!) for a day at the Lost City (Ciudad Perdida), or Tierradentro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that draws visitors in with its open burial tombs.

Prepare for Day Trips Tip: Be ready for today’s day trip even before the mud has dried from yesterday’s hike! Pack any muddy shoes in a water repellent shoe sac to keep the rest of your bag’s contents clean.

Step 5. Be an Ecotourist

Colombia houses 10 percent of the world’s biodiversity—what better reason to try your hand at low-impact ecotourism? Packing light will help increase plane fuel efficiency on the flight over, so bring items that can be easily washed and dried, and worn multiple times during your travels. Pack a reusable water bottle and filter to avoid loading up on disposable plastic water bottles, and bring your own toiletries so you can bypass the wasteful plastic bottles found at many hotels.

Be an Ecotourist Tip: Avoid hotel soaps and shampoos and cut down on plastic waste. With a 3-1-1 bottle set, you can do so while still carrying on!

Have you traveled to Colombia before, or are you planning a trip there in the future? Let us know some of your favorite sites, or what you’re most looking forward to seeing when you’re there in the comments below!

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at CailaBall.com

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by Caila Ball-Dionne

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at CailaBall.com.

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