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See both colonial history and cities reborn as you travel across one of Latin America's most beautiful countries: Colombia. Start in the vibrant capital, Bogotá, where you will experience both the city’s history and its modern-day elements. Next, travel to Medellín, a flourishing art and entrepreneurial hub. Wrap up your program on Colombia’s coast in Cartagena, where you will take in stunning views of the Caribbean and admire the city’s colorful architecture.





Let’s get the paperwork out of the way so we can focus on the fun stuff. Your passport must:

·       be valid for at least six months after your return.

·       match your name and birthday on file with EF.

·       have three blank pages available.

Non-US citizens may require a visa—visit to see if you need one.

Traveler tip: Make two photocopies of your passport - one to bring with you and one to leave at home.

Not to sound cliché, but we can’t say this enough: pack light! Check with your airline to see what size bags they allow to avoid paying any fees.

Most travelers find it easiest to go without checking bag. Here are some tips for getting as much as possible into that carry-on suitcase:

  • Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane and pack the lighter ones. Same thing goes for jackets and heavier clothing.

  • Packing cubes or vacuum seal bags can save space and help you stay organized.

  • Make the most of your personal item by using a tote bag or backpack that you can reuse throughout the trip.

  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Pack the bigger items first and use smaller items like socks and underwear to fill in the gaps.

Traveler tip: You'll be traveling by plane from city to city,  where you may have to pay additional fees for a checked bag. With that in mind, we highly recommend a carry-on for your travels.  

To see a full packing list, check out our Pocket Guide to Expert Travel. Just make sure you don’t forget these: 

  • Passport—bring a photo copy and leave one at home too

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • ATM card and credit card

  • Entertainment for the plane and travel days

  • Purse or small day bag with a zipper 

  • Converter/adapter for any electronics

  • Toiletries

  • Washcloth—optional, but they aren’t always available

  • Medications and a copy of any prescriptions*

  • Comfortable, casual clothingcheck the weather before you pack!

  • Dressier outfit

  • Raincoat and umbrella

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Comfortable walking shoes—for example, one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals

  • Warm layers

  • Comfortable, casual clothing in breathable, lightweight fabrics.

  • Bathing suit

  • Comfortable shoes like hiking boots and waterproof sandals

  • Hat, reef-safe sunscreen, and bug spray

  • Dry pack

  • Quick-dry towel

  • EF's emergency numbers

    • ​Calling from within the US: 1-800-873-2250

    • Calling from abroad: 001-617-619-2913

*All medications should be in their original containers. Put medications in your carry-on bag only, in case a checked bag gets lost or delayed.

The best things in the world are free (like walking the streets of Bogota for the first time). Still, a little spending money can go a long way while you're abroad:

  • Mo' money, less problems: Budget $30 to $50 per day for pocket money. This will cover six lunches each day, four dinners, souvenirs, and additional activities. If you’re an especially avid souvenir hunter, you’ll want to give yourself more wiggle room—financially and in your suitcase.

  • Currency: Colombian Peso. You can exchange money before you leave, but we recommend just withdrawing some cash from an ATM when you arrive.

  • Tips for tipping: We suggest $6-$8 per day for your Field Director. Your Group Leader will likely collect this money before you depart so that you can budget accordingly.

P.S. Be sure to let your bank know you’ll be traveling so they can put an alert on your account and inform you of any international fees.

Imagine it: you’ve finally arrived. It’s been a few hours since you left home, but your feet are firmly planted on the ground again. Today’s challenge? Fight off jetlag and make the most of the day.

Unless you arrive at night, be prepared to hit the ground running. Staying awake on arrival day is the best way to fight jet lag and adjust to any time difference. If there are other groups on your program, you may wait at the airport for them to arrive. To make things a bit easier:

  • Pack toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on for when you land.

  • Stay hydrated—it helps reduce jetlag.

  • Travel in comfort, not necessarily in style, and get as much sleep as you can on the flight before.

Your dedicated Field Director—a physical and cultural guide—will be with you throughout your program. Our Field Directors work tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate logistics like managing reservations and making sure everything flows seamlessly, so that you can enjoy your time without sweating the details. They are there to acquaint you with each new city and make sure everyone is safe, confident, and making the most of every moment.

You’ll spend very little time at your hotel (mostly catching some sleep), but you should still be aware of where you’re staying and who you’re staying there with.

  • Hotel du jour: City-hopping means hotel-hopping, but don’t worry; each hotel is safe, clean, comfortable, and equipped with private bathrooms and conveniently located to the sites you'll be visiting.

  • What to expect: Hotels abroad may feature smaller rooms than you’re used to and may not have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, television, or elevators. All the more reason to get out and explore.

  • Roomies: Unless you have opted to upgrade your room, standard accommodations mean you’ll be rooming with two or three other people of the same gender, each with your own bed.  You may even take part in an exchange program—that is, rooming with a traveler(s) from another school in your group.

Traveler tip: Electrical outlets in different countries may be different from the ones we're used to. Make sure you research what type of converter and/or adapter is needed for your travels!

You should expect food and portion size to be different than what you're accustomed to at home. Kick off each day with an included continental breakfast. Four dinners and one lunch will be included, too. We work with local restaurants to provide a pre-set menu that includes 2-3 course plated meals inspired by the region, giving you the opportunity to experience authentic dishes. Other dinners and lunches are your opportunity to explore the cuisine as you see fit.

Colombian cuisine is diverse and unique. Because of the tropical climate, fresh fruit is abundant and a refreshing balance to rich, hearty, meat-focused dishes. Tasty fried treats and melted cheeses appear in many dishes as well.

  • For a satisfying lunch, try the Bandeja Paisa, Colombia’s national dish, consisting of rice, pork, chorizo, minced meat, avocado, red beans, plantains, arepas, avocado and a fried egg.

  • Empanadas make a great snack when you’re on the go and there are many different fillings to try.

  • Try a chocolate con queso, which combines hot chocolate and melted cheese for an unexpected yet delicious treat. It is typically eaten as a snack or even for breakfast.

Since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, you’ll need these to get from point A to point B (and C and D and E).

  • Flights: Into Bogota and home from Cartagena

  • Internal flights: From Bogota to Medellin, and from Medellin to Cartagena.

  • Bus: Primary mode of transportation on the ground.
    Motorboat: Transportation to and from  included activities.

  • Walking: Hands down the best way to explore a new place.

Traveler tip: Those prone to motion sickness or seasickness should consider bringing medicine for the motorboat.  

You will be covering a lot of ground in ten days, so this program will feel fast! In order to maximize your time each day, you will leave the hotel bright and early and return some time in the evening. Most days will be pretty packed with activities and there will be limited exploration time. You'll have a mix of time on the bus, walking, and on internal flights to get around. Be prepared to walk between 5-7 miles per day.

You'll spend 3 nights in each city before moving on to the next. Take advantage of the time you have and familiarize yourself with the city, the neighborhoods and local spots! Your group will hit the ground running in each new place.

Exploration time can vary depending on a few factors like the number of planned activities and general travel variables like traffic. How you spend your exploration time is entirely up to you, and your Field Director is a great resource for recommendations.

On your program, you will have a half day of exploration time in both Bogota and Medellin to spend as you please.  There is so much to see and do, so do some research and plan ahead. If you need inspiration, here are some exploration time suggestions:

  • Spend time relaxing at the Bogota’s Parque Central Simón Bolívar- take a walk around the park, have a picnic, or rent a small boat and paddle around the lake!

  • Visit the Museo Nacional de Colombia in Bogota to learn more about the country’s history

  • Head to Bogota’s the trendy neighborhood of Zona Rosa for some shopping and café/bar-hopping

  • Visit the botanical gardens and butterfly house in Medellin

Traveler tip: Bogota’s public transportation system consists of buses and above-ground metro lines. Consult your Field Director on your best option for traveling around the city during your exploration time.

We’re here to help

Our team has heard it all so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Call us at 877-485-4184 between Monday and Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm EST.