It is my firm belief that an independent journey in Colombia does not require a large ammout of money or energies. There aren’t any burocratic complications: a simple stamp on the passport at the airport is enough for any EU citizen for a about 60 day stay, period of time that can sligtly change depending of… the custom officer in charge!
Still, do not forget the needed prudence – as in any other place in the world – especially in the larger towns: everyone has more or less some parts that are strictly to avoid, mostly at night, but generically there aren’t many problems related to the country’s criminality, like most people may think. But it is important to remember that a few parts of the country are off limits because of ongoing guerrilla. Those are mostly close to the borders and on the Pacific coast, where there isn’t much to see for tourists and travellers.
Many and frequent buses – a few of them are quite picturesque! – will lead you everywhere in the country, even to its most remote corners. A little hint: if you are good in bargaining you may get a good discount on the ticket price!
As for the accomodations, you will find any kind and size: during my journey I have always spent the night in hostels and little family run hotels, which are to be found everywhere. They usually allow to use the kitchen for your meals, so you won’t have troubles outside of the big towns where the restaurant choice is somehow poor and the food variety flat: a soup with some meat, rice and veggies are the usual meal of this people. If we get to the prices, Colombia is – alas! – one of the most expensive country in South America, but still very far from the Western standards.
The Colombian climate is wonderful, temperature are consistent all over the year, with some change in the mountains due to altitude. But careful during the rainy season – roughly from March to June and from September to December – which may affect your movements.
For the trekking lovers there is an unmissable 6 day track around the small but very spectacular Sierra Nevada Cordillera, but you have to take you provisions along, as well as all the needed camping equipment. In some time of the year you may even find yourself walking alone for days. The Los Nevados National Park is another magnificent place for trekkers: I started my trip in the lovely Salento village, where you can visit one of the many family run fincas where the coffee is made. I slept and ate with the welcoming families in the paramo, the Colombian plateau.
If you are looking for a taste of jungle, Mocoa is a safe place where to start. From this little town a day trekking trip can take you in the middle of the a scenario of untouched nature, with beautiful waterfalls and rivers where you could take a restoring bath.