In March 19th 2020 Bogota started the first lockdown of the country, quickly followed by a nation-wide lockdown that lasted untill August 31st . On the week of March 16th we were running to help our last clients in Colombia change their flights, come back to Bogota and return safely back home before the country closed its borders.
As we update this post, strict quarantine is over, the country is starting a new phase for managing the pandemic and the borders are now opened. Domestic a tourism reactivated in September, following the protocols mentioned below, and foreign toursism still has some restrictions as a negative COVID test is required to enter the country. If you are already in Colombia, you can travel in the country as long as you take time to prepare, follow all the security measures and plan private trips. If you are not in Colombia, we recommend you wait untill the situation is more controlled, since many places and activities that could make your trip richer are still closed.
To give you an idea of how things were managed in the country, lockdown started quickly after the first 100 cases of Coronavirus were confirmed, and this has a very simple explanation. Colombia doesn't have the resources to allow a steep curve of contagions, so the country has tried to buy as much time as possible to avoid a catastrophe. Although the rate of contagious has started to lower, if the new phase creates new risks, the country is likely to close again. To avoid this, biosafety protocols have been developed for tourism and all othe economic activities, they must be implemented in any tourism activity that wants to reactivate and they require the active commitment of all travelers. Bars and restaurants are still closed. We want to share a short summary of some of the protocols and guidelines that are being implemented so you can travel confidently.
Colombia's Ministry of Tourism launched a biosafety seal certification for hotels, agencies and other actors of the tourism industry. "The tourism biosafety seal has been endorsed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and is the first of its kind developed in Latin America", you can find the official announcement in English here. What this means is that once travelling is allowed again, some players in the industry will be able to prove their biosafety protocols through the seal, which is verified by certification organisms, but more importantly, it means that the protocols for biosafety will be available for all the industry even if they are not certified. This protocols are checked by the local authorities and you will be able to ask your service providers about them, so you can make sure you will be staying and travelling in a safe way.
Guidelines for adventure tourism
The Adventure Travel Trade Association, a global organization that gathers over 1,300 members of the adventure tourism community, has developed safety guidelines available for free to anyone interested. They include general guidelines for adventure tourism and especific guidelines for cycling, trekking and rafting. We, as a company, are working on the implementation of these guidelines among our network of local collaborators, to make sure we are all on the same page and we can provide a safe service once we can go back on track. You can find the guidelines here, we do recommend you are aware of them and make sure the protocols are being applied wherever you are travelling.
2020 has given the world a lesson on patience, so while we wait for the ideal time to travel, we are offering free advice to help you choose the best destinations in Colombia according to your interests and time available, as well as the recommended duration of your trip. Just send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help. On the other hand, if you need more updates on the general COVID situation in the country, the Ministry of Tourism has a daily report in English available here.
As for travel, in general, we recommend you read about biosafety protocols and make sure you follow them. Stay safe and keep others safe. Check your travel insurance and make sure it covers COVID 19, and check the terms and conditions of the services you will be taking and make sure you understand and accept them if situations related to the pandemic hamper your travel plans.
We will be able to travel again :) And we will be so happy to help you plan your trip to Colombia once it's safe.