Colombia Essential Travel Information Colombia The Granular Detail Expectations Visas Shopping What to wear Insurance Internet Donations Food Sleeping Money Packing Photography Emergencies Weather Electricity Flights Safety Bathrooms Arriving Cycling Vaccinations Colombia The Granular Detail Expectations Visas Shopping What to wear Insurance Internet Donations Food Sleeping Money Packing Photography Emergencies Weather Electricity Flights Safety Bathrooms Arriving Cycling Vaccinations Your expectations.. From Brett Colombia. Thrust into the spotlight by shows like Netflix’s “Narcos”, it’s easy to conjure up images of druglords and ganglands. But with it’s darkest days long behind them, Colombia has opened up to be a haven for the intrepid traveller. Boasting incredible cycling roads and ‘off the beaten tracks’ for adventure lovers, unforgettable rhythms & beats for music aficionados and an insight into coffee from the bean to the cup, Colombia is emerging as the planets next biggest tourist destination.This is a new adventure for the Social Cycles portfolio for 2019. Traverse Journeys have been running non-cycling based Colombia previous to this venture. We have also teamed up with local Colombian cycling experts for our logistics, guides, equipment and the value of local knowledge. This local knowledge, combined with the values, community focus and social impact has created what we believe to be an all round incredible adventure.My best advice is to come with an open mind. Be open to change in the itinerary as weather can play a part in our route. Be open to the food from the street, as it could be some of the best flavours you ever experience. And be open to the people. They’re friendly, welcoming and genuine. You just might make some life long friends. Insurance Travel and medical insurance is mandatory for all Social Cycles clients. It is one of the most important criteria foranyone who travels and in the very unlikely event that an emergency occurs your insurance must deliver. What having an insurance policy actually means in practise if someone does get sick:• You can get 24-hour medical support from the insurance company doctors• If treatment or a hospital visit is required, the insurance company will ensure that this is at the best local facility• We would provide all necessary assistance (for example, sending someone with you to the hospital to help with any language difficulties). • You must be adequately insured for medical and health cover – in case of a sudden illness or injury. Your insurance policy should also cover 24-hour emergency service and assistance, hospital fees, lost, damaged or stolen property (we are not responsible for any loss or damage to personal belongings while on tour). Your insurance policy must cover any necessary extra travel (rejoining tour or repatriation) as well as curtailment and cancellation.• Insurance provided by standard credit cards does not always provide adequate cover and I suggest that you check your policy. If you do travel with insurance provided through a credit card, we will need details of the participating insurer, the insurance policy number and emergency contact telephone number. The Bank’s name and the credit card number will not be enough information.• You must satisfy yourself that your policy covers medical emergencies resulting from any/all of the activities that you propose to undertake during the course of your trip and you should request a full policy document from your insurer if one is not automatically provided.• If you are from the US and do not usually travel with insurance, you may wish to look at either www.travelexinsurance.com or www.travelguard.com• There is a space for your insurance details on your online Social Cycles Booking Form. However, if you have yet to arrange your insurance it is essential that before you begin your SC adventure you email to me the details of your travel insurance documentation.This must include:• The name of your insurance company• The 24-hour emergency assistance number• The policy number Your NGO Donations Your money. Your decision. Based on your new learnings. Countries NGOs Riders $ your donations so far These numbers change lives. Not only the lives of the beneficiaries involved, but the lives of the riders who have witnessed and learned the complexity of community development in foreign countries. This is your chance to speak to local experts as part of your adventure, as you cycle across the country and gain a true understanding of life outside the tourist bubble.We ask for a A$200 minimum commitment from all riders. The money is given directly to the NGOs that are chosen by you. All of it. No bank fees, no commissions. The group from every tour engage in a ‘Donation Debate’ on our last night together. We’ll discuss what impressed us, confused us and inspired us. As a group, we’ll make a decision as to how we’ll divide the total money. It’s your money and your experience. It can, and will, go to whatever NGO touched you the most. Money, budgeting and tipping MoneyThere’s opportunities to get money out from ATMs in Colombia, although you’re likely to be stung with about US$5-6 of fees every time you withdraw cash. It’s pretty much a cash economy in all the places you’re likely to spend money. The only places that take card payments are bigger establishments, such as hotels and bigger restaurants (all of which are paid for as part of the SC tour). Credit, debit and travel money cards are accepted in fewer places than Australia and ATMs are expensive to use, so compare travel money options. The best Colombian ATMs to use for no fees with reasonable withdrawal limits are BBVA, Colpatria and Davivenda. See this link for up to date details.BudgetingSo the obvious next question is, how much should you bring with you? It really depends on what your movements are outside of the tour. There are no visa costs for UK, USA and Australian citizens. You may need US$150 for the NGO donation (optional), and about $20-$80 for any hotels you might be staying in before or after the tour. Meals are anywhere from $5 to $10 and transport is cheap. For the actual tour itself, you should budget around $200 (plus visa, tip and donation). This will cover meals outside of the itinerary, souvenirs and other personal expenses. And you can always pick up some more from an ATM.Changing MoneyYou can bring in all major currencies. this includes Australian & New Zealand dollars, Euros, British Pounds and of course, American dollars. There are money exchanges in all the major cities but the smaller towns might struggle to exchange anything other that US$. CurrencyColombian Pesos (COP) are the currency of the Republic of Colombia and the only currency accepted in Colombian towns and cities. At the time of writing (Dec 2018), the exchange rate is:US$1 to COP 3,160AU$1 to COP 2,280GBP£1 to COP 4,020TippingTipping in hotels and restaurants in Colombia is not common, however, there may be a service charge of 10% added to the bill. By law, the staff should inform/ask you if this is acceptable. Taxi drivers are not commonly tipped, however, you may want to round up the fare to the nearest 1000 peso. The guides and local team work hard to make you’re experience a truly once in a lifetime adventure. If you would like to tip the team, it would be graciously accepted, but certainly not expected. The amount is always hard to suggest as it is always a personal gesture and different amounts mean different things to different people. Previous riders have tipped the team anywhere from US$50 to $150, depending on the length of the tour. Tipping is entirely discretionary and dependent on how good you judge the service you receive to be, but many people ask for guidance on what to tip, so we suggest around 10% in restaurants, provided this has not been added to the bill already, $US10 per day for guides, $US5 per day for drivers and $US1 for taxis and porters. Emergencies In case there is an emergency in Colombia – it depends on the severity of the situation but this is a brief guide to our emergency plan that we put into action when an event requires it:• Deal with the on the ground situationIn case of an accident that requires administering of first aid at the scene, our staff are trained in basic emergency response techniques, and all trips carry basic first aid kits checked. We check, replenish and/or replace our kits on a regular basis.For relatively minor injuries including cuts, sprains, dehydration, fractures etc., local hospitals (if needed) will usually be able to provide adequate medical provision. In most instances you will be within 0-2 hours’ drive of a local hospital. • If the incident requires it, we contact the travel insurance company of those affected and also the relevant embassy. Contact the emergency contact listed on the booking form. This is why it is imperative that you have travel insurance. In case of an emergency, it is YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY that puts into action your evacuation plan. We contact your insurance company on your behalf and they take over the situation. Flights As this tour will have different arrival and departure points for different people, it is important that you book the right flights. If in doubt, get in touch. It is most likely that you will fly into the country’s capital, Bogota. The tour actually starts in Medellin and the easiest way to get there, is to get an internal flight. They are inexpensive and often, but make sure you allow time for it. Flights are operated by VivaColombia, Platam and Avianca and range anywhere from $30 to $130.More common long haul flights look like this:AUST/NZ: Flying into Bogota, it is easiest and cheapest to go via Chile, then connect to Bogota. There are direct flights from the east coast to Santiago (Chile) or even Buenos Aires (Argentina). Depending on the time of year, you can get return flights from Australia for $1200 to $2000.EUROPE: Coming from Europe and UK, there’s a range of options and prices. You can get direct flights to Bogota from Madrid, Frankfurt, Paris and London. General flight time is 11 to 14 hours. Flight prices range from $1000 to $1400 return, again depending on the time of year you’re going to travel. You can also fly direct to Medellin from Madrid.USA/CAN: A huge variety of options depending on where you’re based. Direct flights from Toronto, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, Houston, Dallas, Miami. You can fly direct to Medellin from Miami and New York. Arrivals and Departures On Arrival (Medellin)It’s most likely, assuming you’re an international visitor, you’ve flown into Bogota and have already been through immigration to get you into Colombia. Medellín actually has two airports, so we look at how to get to and from both of Medellín’s airports.Olaya Herrera Airport is located in the city of Medellín. And it is easy to get to and from. But Olaya Herrera only has domestic flights in Colombia with three airlines serving the airport: ADA, EasyFly and Satena. The easiest way to get to/from Olaya Herrera is via taxi. Depending where you are located in the city, the fare should be 10,000 pesos or less. Uber is another option for a similar price to taxis. In addition, there are some bus routes that go by Olaya Herrera Airport with fares between 2,000 to 2,100 pesos. Also, the South Bus Terminal in Medellín is located only one block from Olaya Herrera Airport.José María Córdova international airport is located in the municipality of Rionegro, which is about 21 miles (35 km) east of Medellín at a higher elevation. It normally takes 40 minutes to over an hour on the windy road, depending on traffic, to go from José María Córdova airport to Medellín or the reverse direction. There are six different ways to get to Medellín from the international airport ranging from inexpensive buses to taxis and private drivers. These options also have a wide range in price from 9,500 to over 97,000 pesos ($3 to $34). The most common is the ‘white taxi’, in which you should be able to get a taxi for 70,000 pesos (US$22).See this link for more information on how to get there and awayOn Departure (Cali)Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport is located between Cali and Palmira and it actually in Palmira. Also, the airport is located only about 8.7 miles (14 km) from Cali. It normally takes at least 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic, to go from Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Airport to the center of Cali or the reverse direction. And to get to other areas of Cali it takes longer. In Cali the easiest way to get to/from the airport is using taxis. And there is a taxi stand at the airport. In addition, taxis in my experience tend to run between 50,000 to 60,000 pesos to Cali from the airport depending on the destination. As an alternative to taxis, Uber is also available in Cali. Also, there are higher cost private driver services available like Colombia4u, which provides a Cali airport transfer service for $55 USD, which is nearly double the taxi fare. There are rarely lines waiting for taxis at the Cali airport. And taxis are easy to use, as they are metered. So, there is not really a reason for using a higher cost private driver. Finally, buses are available for about 7,000 pesos from the Cali airport in front of the domestic part of the airport to the Cali bus terminal. this information is sourced from Medellin Guru. Airport Transfers:Airport transfers are not included in your tour package, due to variety of different ways to get to Medellin, and away from Cali. See the descriptions above for the best ways to get to and from the airports. Obtaining a Visa The following countries do NOT need to get a tourist visa for Colombia:Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Bhutan, Canada, Czech Republic, Chile, Cyprus, Korea (Republic of), Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, United Arab Emirates, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United States of America, Estonia, Fiji, Philippines, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Grenada, Greece , Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Iceland, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro , Norway, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Dominican Republic, Romania, Russia (Federation of), San Cristobal and Snow, Samoa, San Marin or, Saint Lucia, Holy See, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela.The following countries DO need a visa prior to arrival.Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Benin, Belarus, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau , Equatorial Guinea, Haiti, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lesotho, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mauritius, Mauritania, Moldova, Mongolia, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, Thailand, Tanzania, Tajikistan, East Timor, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Internet and local sim cards Sim CardsThere’s plenty of options for sim cards in Colombia and I’d highly recommend getting one as soon as you arrive, especially if you don’t speak Spanish. Google Translate can be a total savior and the sooner you have constant access to it, the better! The biggest brand is Claro and there is a selller at Bogota airport. The prices might be slightly higher than the official shops in the city, but the difference is negligible. You will need your ID and your hotel address to sign up. Make sure you buy a data package with your sim that lasts for at least 15 days. You can choose between 1GB or 2GB depending on your needs. The cost should be about 20,000 pesos (US$8). Internet & wifiWifi is pretty good in most places and is often free. Even some remote, off the beaten track places will have wifi. Saying that though, I’d still recommend a sim card. It really helps if you need to contact anybody in the group, especially in the case of emergencies. We will be communicating via a Whatsapp group (and you can also call home for free). There are no blocked websites in Cambodia or Vietnam (that I’m aware of), and should you want to, you’ll even be able to watch movies from your Netflix account. Food What’s the food like in Colombia?Street food is king in Colombia! From loaded meaty feasts to delicious artisan cheese, some of the best Colombian street dishes include Picada Colombiana (a feast of chopped meats, topped with corn, plantain and yuca), tamales (banana leaf wrapped maize dough with a meat or cheese filling) and arepas (fried dough with fillings)Vegetarians and Vegans?That’s no problem. There’s a huge variety of vegetarian local specialties available and there will always be vegetarian dishes on the table at every meal. If the majority of the group are vegetarian, it will be reflected in the food on the table.Dietary requirements?If you have any dietary requirements or allergies, please indicate on the online form you will fill out once you have paid a deposit and booked your place. We’ll cater to all dietary requirements as best as possible. Please get in touch with us if you have life threatening allergies.What’s the deal with alcohol?There’s plenty of beers around Colombia and quite moderately priced.. And a cold beer after a hard day on the bike is pretty inviting! They’re quite cheap too, with some places selling draft beers from as little as 50c. Just be wary that the weather can be a little warm and a couple too many beers or cocktails will knock you about a bit more than usual the next day. Dehydration will have a huge effect and it doesn’t take much to have a hangover. To be honest, most of the time, we’re in bed by 9pm! Packing suggestions Everyone’s packing style is different and we all have our own travel needs so these are only ideas and there will be gaps! These are merely suggestions and not ‘compulsory’ items. See the ‘weather’ section for details about the time of your trip.Clothing and washing opportunities:As we’ll be cycling back to back days, it is best to bring a few extra clothes to wear. You’ll have a chance to wash each night but your clothes may not completely dry y the morning. Bringing extra clothes is the way to go. CYCLEFull sleeve sports top for sun protection (high breathability)Lightweight full length top and pantsComfortable (padded) shorts to cycle inVisor/Caps for under your helmetClosed shoes (bikes do not have clip in pedals)GlovesHelmetSports water bottleLightweight backpack (optional)Removable padded seat for your bike (optional)Light scarf to protect your neck from the sunSunscreen EXTRASCash (see notes on money)Passport & passport photoInsurance copyCamera, SD cards & chargersSmart phone & chargersTropical strength insect repellantHand sanitizerGels & hydrolytes to stay hydratedAdequate prescription medicationWomens sanitary needsHat for sun protectionUsual toiletries Weather Because of Colombia’s close proximity to the equator, its temperature varies little throughout the year. The temperature does change with altitude, creating various climatic zones from hot lowlands to freezing Andean peaks, so you can experience completely different climates within a couple of hours of travel. The temperature falls about 6°C with every 1,000m increase in altitude. Colombia has two seasons: dry or summer and wet or winter. The pattern of seasons varies in different parts of the country, and has been greatly affected over recent years by El Niño and La Niña. The most pleasant time to visit Colombia is in the dry season, between December and March or in July and August. Safety & First Aid SafetyWe take your safety extremely seriously and ensure that all the activities we host have been assessed in regards to health and safety aspects, from cycling routes to where we eat. There are some places where we just do not go, such as the border areas next to Panama, Venezuela and Equador, based on advice from the Australian government. We’re not there to hold your hand the entire time though, and you will have to assume general common sense. We’d recommend exercising a little more caution than if you were back home. For example, we wouldn’t advise getting drunk in any of the cities as you may be vulnerable to assault or theft. We’d recommend being careful with your valuables and restrict the need to carry excess cash. When you use an ATM, use one inside a mall during the day, instead of on the street at night.What should I be cautious of?Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, occurs in major tourist areas in Colombia, including at the airport in Bogotá and near hotels. To prevent or minimise your chance of becoming a victim, use your headphones whilst making a phone call on the street. If you’re using your phone as a camera, ensure you look around first and hold onto your phone tightly. Take your photos quickly and be vigilant of those around you. When walking with your bag, have the strap over your opposite shoulder. Be wary on crowded trains and in markets. Robbery of taxi passengers is a serious problem. Theft frequently occurs when a passenger is travelling alone and has hailed a taxi on the street. It is safer to use a telephone dispatch service, taxi service apps, or to seek assistance from staff at hotels, hostels, restaurants or places of entertainment to book a licensed taxi. You could also encounter ‘express kidnapping’, where victims are abducted, often in taxis, and forced to withdraw funds from ATMs before being released. It is safer to not resist the perpetrators in these cases as it could be more dangerous. being a part of a tour significantly reduces the risk of crime in Colombia. First AidMedical facilities in Colombia are basic, outside of major cities. There are international standard hospitals in all the major cities on route.We assume you are in good health and have a sufficient level of fitness to complete your chosen tour. It is very important that any illness, disability or medical condition that you suffer or are recovering from, have been brought to our attention at the time of booking. Please make sure you have informed your insurance company of any existing conditions to provide adequate cover.If you are taking medication, please bring your own adequate supply, as you will probably not be able to obtain suitable medication en-route.Each vehicle has a basic first aid kit but you may also like to bring your own small medical supply for minor wounds etc. We are not permitted to administer medicine or drugs so if you suffer from a bad back, travel sickness, hay fever or headaches etc please bring your own supply of medicine. You may also want to consider including a generic antibiotic such Amoxicillin.Is the cycling dangerous?We’ve taken meticulous care as to the route in which we cycle from Medellin to Cali. There are a few times in which we will transfer with the use of a van. We do this for two reasons, firstly, because the roads are sometime highways which are no fun to cycle on, but also a an unnecessary risk. The other reason is that the distance is too great to cover in just six cycling days, so we have cherry picked the very best, and safest, route between Medellin and Cali.How can I find out more?We can sometimes see the world through through rose coloured glasses. To keep us in check, we refer to the safety guide produced by the Australian government. It is based on fact, not hysteria. Colombia is currently rated as amber. Which means exercise a high degree of caution. Other countries with the same level are Other countries with the same level are France, Belgium, Jamaica, Bali, India, Thailand, Nepal, Philippines, the Bahamas. Check out the latest about what Australian Govt thinks about travelling in this region by following this link. Cycling details Below are the details of each cycling day, for the ride in Colombia.The distances between one hotel to the next can be extensive, so we have cherry picked the best part to cycle in between, but it may only be 40 to 60km of the route. Each Social Cycles tour is fully supported so there is an opportunity for riders to take a rest in the van. Our goal is to exhibit the beauty of travelling Colombia by bicycle. It is not to rack up thousands of kilometers. Therefore, our style is recreational and casual. We aim to cater for beginner to intermediate recreational cyclists, not professionals or Strava enthusiasts. See our FAQ on Social Cycles tours for more info on whether this is the right tour for you in regards to cycling. Day 3 – Medellin to JericoAfter a short van ride, we’ll jump on the bikes and make the most of the downhill ahead of us to get warmed up on the bikes! It’s a beautiful ride through small, quaint little villages. We’ll end up in Jerico but not before a few hills that will get the blood pumping. But with great hills come great views! Might be an idea to skip the final 20km as it’s all uphill.Distance: 80km/50 milesTerrain: BitumenElevation: +2566 / -1999Difficulty: First 60km: easy, last 20km: hardAverage Pace: 10-15km phTips: Skip the last 20km unless you love hills! Day 4 – Jerico to JardinWe’ve got the day to get from Jericó to Jardín and we’re going to cycle all 48km of it. An early start along the compact gravel roads (30km) will see us mostly enjoy some slight downhill, before arriving at a bitumen road for the final 18km (and a small climb). This is a great day on the bike with plenty of varied terrain, epic scenery and quiet roads.Distance: 48km/30 milesTerrain: Bitumen 18km. Gravel 30kmElevation: + 1151 / – 1348 mDifficulty: First 35km: easy, last 13km: moderateAverage Pace: 15km phTips: Skip the last 15km and take the van should you not enjoy the climb. The last 2km will make you appreciate your beer! Day 5 – Jardin to RiosucioThis is a completely optional cycling day. If you’d prefer, we can organise a transfer to Riosucio in the afternoon, should you want to take a day off the bikes and enjoy the surrounds of Jardin.There is only one road South out of Jardin and it is almost all gravel, most of it quite compact. On this 51km ride, you’re either going to be cyclng up or cycling down. It’s a slow grind today, but the views are incredible. As is the epic feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere, among nature with just your group and your bike. This is probably the most challenging day of the trip, but the van is always there the whole time to give you a break should you want it.Distance: 51km/32 milesTerrain: GravelElevation: + 1624 / – 1633 mDifficulty: ChallengingAverage Pace: 10km phTips: It’s worth knowing that due to the quality of the road, the down hill is not fast. It’s gravel and you’ll be hard on the brakes. The views are incredible though. This will either be your most favourite, or your least. Day 6 – Riosucio to Finca La RomeliaThis 68km cycle day leaves early from Riosucio to make the most of the epic adventures that lay ahead! The all bitumen road will take us to the tiny town of La Rochela for lunch, then we’ll transit to Finca La Romelia for a look around this incredible Orchid farm.Distance: 68km/42 milesTerrain: BitumenElevation: + 1392 / – 2160 mDifficulty: Easy to moderateAverage Pace: 15km phTips: Enjoy the glorious 15km downhill!! Day 7 – Hacienda Venecia to CombiaWe’ll start the cycling day late morning, after a coffee tour of the farm we just spent the evening at. The first 7kms gravel, then it’s all quiet bitumen roads to our final destination.Distance: 68km/42 milesTerrain: BitumenElevation: + 1696 / – 1724 mDifficulty: ModerateAverage Pace: 15km phTips: There’s a few hills in this ride, particularly one 15km gradual climb (+500m), followed by a sharper descent (-450m) over 9km to finish. What to wear The most important thing here is to be comfortable. Shorts, t-shirts and singlets are all fine to wear for everyday use, but please be aware of sun protection. There is no significant difference between what should be worn for men and women. Many people prefer padded shorts to make the ride more comfortable. I’d recommend a scarf for sun protection. We’re providing Social Cycles jerseys that have pockets in the back to help you carry your possessions (money, phone etc). Men Women Shopping Colombia is a haven for shopping enthusiasts. We’ll recommend places for you along the way, depending on what it is you’re looking to purchase. Common gift ideas from the region include coffee (and coffee making items), handicrafts, hats and clothes. Sleeping The hotels.We choose hotels that are clean and comfortable. The rooms are clean and secure. They will usually (but not always) have a fridge and a safe for you to put your belongings. All rooms have private bathrooms and will come with amenities and fresh towels. The tour is based on twin share accommodation, however, a single supplement is available if you would like your own room for the duration of the tour. Photography Colombia is an incredible place to photograph. And like anywhere else in the world, it should be carried out with respect to local culture. In essence, if you are going to take a photograph of a person, it is always polite to ask for their permission. They will tell you straight out if they do not want their photograph taken and it is important that you respect their decision. You may well find though that many locals will approach you and ask to have their photograph taken with you. In some places that we go, it feels like we are the attraction!Photographing children without the consent of the parents is against the Social Cycles Child Safety policy. As cute as local kids can be, don’t take photos of children without their parents around. It’s just creepy. Electricity & Charging ElectricityElectricity is 110V, 60Hz. For Colombia there are three associated plug types, types A and B. Plug type A is the plug which has two flat parallel pins and plug type B is the plug which has two flat parallel pins and a grounding pin. Please bring your own adapter as we do not provide these – there are more details in the What to Pack section further on.Recharging BatteriesIf you can’t live without your devices (like me), it’s a good idea to bring a battery pack that you can re-charge when we’re out on the road. Each vehicle has a connector that plugs into the cigarette lighter, but it’s slow to charge and shouldn’t be relied on. And there’s only one! Bathrooms There are very few public toilets in Colombia. In their absence use a restaurant’s toilet. Museums and large shopping malls usually have public toilets, as do bus and airport terminals and some supermarkets. You’ll often (but not always) find toilet paper in toilets; it’s wise to carry some with you. Never flush toilet paper. The pipes are narrow and the water pressure is weak, so toilets can’t cope with paper. A wastebasket is normally provided. The most common word for toilet is baño. Men’s toilets will usually bear a label saying señores, hombres or caballeros, while the women’s toilets will be marked señoras, mujeres or damas. Bus-station restrooms will usually charge COP$800 to COP$1000 plus COP$200 to COP$300 for toilet paper.Toilets On The RoadIf we’re on the road and you suddenly near to use a toilet, just let our local guide know and we’ll find a family home that can host you for a few moments. The community lifestyle in rural villages makes this incredibly easy, but the local assistance from the SC team is essential. Bring toilet paper or tissues with you, but use a bin instead of flushing down the toilet, as the system cannot take it and you may end up blocking their drains. Vaccinations Please consult your doctor or local travel clinic for any required vaccinations – although there are no compulsory vaccinations, typhoid/tetanus/infectious hepatitis and polio are recommended. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain proper and detailed medical advice prior to travel.Details of recommended health requirements for Colombia are available on www.traveldoctor.info andwww.mdtravelhealth.com, as together they highlight vaccinations recommended according to length and type of trip. Share this adventure Share on facebook Facebook Share on whatsapp WhatsApp Share on twitter Twitter Share on linkedin LinkedIn Share on google Google+ Share on stumbleupon StumbleUpon Share on email Email Got a question? Get in touch Name Email Message Send Brett Seychell +61 479 108 222 [email protected] Hub, 696 Bourke St, Melbourne 3000 about us How we started Our purpose Your donations Responsible travel Meet the team NGO partners Private adventures Corporate teams Self guided destnations Cambodia Laos Iran Samoa Vietnam Mongolia Colombia connect Name Email Let's stay in touch Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin Youtube responsibletravel recommends Social Cycles Social Cycles Brett Seychell +61 479 108 222 [email protected] Hub, 696 Bourke St, Melbourne 3000 connect Facebook Twitter Instagram Linkedin Youtube Name Email Let's stay in touch!