What do I need to know before I travel?
Public Health Scotland logo

Fit for Travel Logo

Information on how to stay safe and healthy abroad. About us.

Colombia (South America)

Advice for All Destinations Vaccinations Malaria Malaria Map Other Health Risks Alerts News

Advice for All Destinations

COVID-19

Read the information on the COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel page for advice on travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccinations and malaria risk

Review both the Vaccination and Malaria sections on this page to find out if you may need vaccines and/or a malaria risk assessment before you travel to this country.

If you think you require vaccines and/or malaria risk assessment, you should make an appointment with a travel health professional:

A travel health risk assessment is also advisable for some people, even when vaccines or malaria tablets are not required.

Risk prevention advice 

Many of the health risks experienced by travellers cannot be prevented by vaccines and other measures need to be taken.

Always make sure you understand the wider risks at your destination and take precautions, including:

Our advice section gives detailed information on minimising specific health risks abroad:

Other health considerations

Make sure you have travel insurance before travel to cover healthcare abroad.

Find out if there are any restrictions you need to consider if you are travelling with medicines.

Know how to access healthcare at your destination: see the GOV.UK English speaking doctors and medical facilities: worldwide list

If you feel unwell on your return home from travelling abroad, always seek advice from a healthcare professional and let them know your travel history.

Vaccinations

  • Confirm primary courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life in Britain - including for example, seasonal flu vaccine (if indicated), MMR, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions.
  • Courses or boosters usually advised: Hepatitis A; Tetanus.
  • Other vaccines to consider: Diphtheria; Hepatitis B; Rabies; Typhoid; Yellow Fever.
  • Selectively advised vaccines - only for those individuals at highest risk: none.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travellers aged 1 year or over arriving from Angola, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport from the same countries mentioned above.

Notes on the diseases mentioned above

  • Diphtheria spread person to person through respiratory droplets. Risk is higher if mixing with locals in poor, overcrowded living conditions.
  • Hepatitis A spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route.

    Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation is poor.

    Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; haemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who inject drugs.

  • Hepatitis B spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse.

    Risk is higher for long stays, frequent travel and for children (exposed through cuts and scratches), those who may require medical treatment during travel.

    Risk is highest for those with underlying medical conditions where there is increased risk of severe disease e.g. chronic liver/kidney disease; haemophiliacs; men who have sex with men; people who change partners frequently; people who inject drugs.

  • Rabies spread through the saliva of infected animals (especially dogs, cats, bats and monkeys), usually through a bite, scratch or lick to broken skin. Risk is higher for those working or living in remote or rural areas (with no easy access to medical facilities), longer stay travellers, those planning on undertaking activities such as trekking, cycling or running in a 'high risk' country, those working with, or regularly handling animals or bats, as part of their job, and children. Even after receiving pre-travel rabies vaccine, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.
  • Tetanus spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
  • Typhoid spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
  • Yellow Fever spread by the bite of an infected, day-biting mosquito. The disease is mainly found in rural areas of affected countries but outbreaks in urban areas do occur. Vaccination is usually recommended for all those who travel into risk areas. View yellow fever risk areas here. In addition, certain countries may want to see proof of vaccination on an official yellow fever vaccination certificate - check above under Immunisations.

Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes.You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.

Malaria precautions

Malaria Map
  • Malaria is present throughout the year. Risk is present in most municipalities but is highest in departments of Choco, Antioquia, Cordoba, Narino and the Amazon (Vichada, Guaviare, Vaupes, Guainia and Amazonas). There is low to no risk in the San Andres archipelago and no risk at high altitude and the cities of Bogota and Cartagena. During 2019 an outbreak of malaria was noted in Cauca province.
  • Malaria precautions are essential. Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets.
  • See malaria map – additional information can be found by clicking on the Regional Information icon below the map.
  • High risk areas: atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is usually advised for those visiting risk areas.
  • Low to no risk areas: antimalarial tablets are not usually advised. Due to an outbreak in Cauca province during 2019, antimalarials may be considered for certain travellers who may be at higher risk e.g. longer stay in rural areas, visiting friends or relatives, those with medical conditions, immunosuppression or those without a spleen. Atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is advised for those at risk.
  • If you have been travelling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
  • If travelling to an area remote from medical facilities, carrying standby emergency treatment for malaria may be considered.

Other Health Risks

Altitude and Travel

This country has either areas with high altitude (2400m or more) or/and areas with very high altitude (3658m or more). Travellers who may go into areas of high altitude should take care to avoid ill effects of being at altitude including Acute Mountain Sickness, a potentially life-threatening condition. For further information see Altitude and Travel

Dengue Fever

A viral illness that is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain - hence its other name 'breakbone fever'. There is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites. For further information see Dengue Fever

Alerts

COVID-19

There is a risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in this country.

Please be aware that the risk of COVID-19 in this country may change at short notice and also consider your risk of exposure in any transit countries and from travelling itself. 

  • The 'News' section on this page will advise if significant case increases or outbreaks have occurred in this country.

Prior to travel, you should:

  • Check the latest government guidance on the FCDO Foreign travel advice and country specific pages for travel to this country and the rules for entering the UK on return.
  • Ensure you are up to date with UK recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Check if you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19. 
    • You can check this in the FAQ's.
    • If you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 you should carefully consider your travel plans and consider seeking medical advice prior to making any decisions.

For further information, see Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and COVID-19: Health Considerations for Travel pages.

Zika Virus Infection

This country has been categorised as having a risk of Zika (ZIKV) virus transmission.

ZIKV is mainly spread through mosquito bites. The mosquito responsible most commonly bites during daylight hours and is common in towns and cities. There is a low risk of sexual transmission.

The illness is usually mild but infection during pregnancy may lead to babies being born with birth defects. There is no vaccine currently available against ZIKV.

Advice for All Travellers

You should practice strict mosquito bite avoidance at all times.
Do not travel without adequate travel insurance.
Seek pre-travel health advice from a travel health professional 6 to 8 weeks in advance of travel.

  • If you are pregnant, consider postponing non-essential travel to this country.
  • If you are planning pregnancy, or there is a possibility you may be pregnant, you should use contraception and condoms during travel and for:
  • 2 months afterwards if you are female
  • 3 months afterwards if you are male

These measures reduce the chance of sexual transmission of ZIKV and/or the risk of ZIKV infection in pregnancy.

For further information, see Zika virus infection page.

back to top