If you’re planning a trip to Bogotá, Colombia’s vibrant capital, and are unsure about what to pack then you’ve come to the right place!
This Ultimate Bogotá packing list will guide you through the essentials, provide tips on blending in like a local in Bogotá and advise you on what not to wear in Bogotá. Thus ensuring you’re perfectly prepared for your trip.
What to pack for a trip to Bogotá Colombia?
Understanding the weather in Bogotá
Before diving into what to pack for Bogotá it’s vital to understand the city’s climate. Bogotá is nestled high in the Andes at 2,600 meters above sea level. Giving Bogotá a mild, temperate climate that can fluctuate throughout the day.
While the city is close to the equator its high altitude keeps it from being too hot. The weather typically varies between 8 and 18 degrees Celsius (45°F to 65°F) with cooler evenings and warmer mornings. Though it can get bone chillingly cold in Bogotá if the weather is inclement and a cold wind is blowing in from the mountains.
Basics: What To Pack For Bogotá
Let’s start with the basics – the everyday essentials that should feature on every Ultimate Bogotá packing list.
- Jeans or Trousers: Given the city’s mild temperature, jeans or other types of pants are a must-have when packing for Bogotá. They are versatile and can be worn in any weather condition.
- Long-Sleeved Tops: Pack a couple of long-sleeved tops or light sweaters. These are perfect for the slightly cooler evenings and can be easily layered if the weather turns chilly.
- Short-Sleeved Tops: Despite the cooler climate, you’ll still want to pack a few short-sleeved tops or t-shirts for warmer days.
- Light Jacket or Raincoat: A light jacket or raincoat is definitely worth packing. Bogotá’s weather can be unpredictable. And having a light jacket on hand can save you from getting caught out in a sudden downpour. It can also shield you from the chilly winds that often sweep through the city.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: Bogotá is a city best explored on foot. Make sure to pack comfortable walking shoes that can withstand long hours of exploration and cobblestone streets in La Candelaria or Villa de Leyva, if you decide to take a day trip.
- Umbrella: An umbrella is a useful item to have on hand, particularly during Bogotá’s rainier seasons. On any day of the year, Bogotá can be sunny one moment and in the midst of a torrential downpour the next.
- Hat and Scarf: While these may not be essential, they can be helpful if you’re sensitive to cooler temperatures. A hat and scarf will also help to keep Bogotá’s intense sun off your face and neck.
- Sunglasses: The sun can be quite strong in Bogotá, so don’t forget your sunglasses.
- Sunscreen and Lip Protection: Despite its cool climate, Bogotá’s high altitude can make the sun’s rays particularly harsh. So, pack a good quality sunscreen (preferably SPF 50 or higher) and lip protection.
- Secure Anti-Theft Day Pack: This is particularly useful if you’re planning to explore the city’s busy streets and markets. And it should be worn on your front when in crowds.
What Else To Pack For Bogotá
- Portable Travel Charger: If you’ve got electronics like phones, tablets, laptops, GoPro or other camera equipment, ensure you have a travel charger and/or spare batteries. And be sure your charger works with Colombia’s power sockets (Sockets A & B, 110V at 60Hz).
- Travel Insurance: Always travel with insurance. You can be a highly experienced traveler like me and still find yourself in situations that require urgent medical care. I get my own insurance policies from www.visitorscoverage.com.
- VPN: If you’ll be accessing your social media accounts, email or online banking while traveling, use a VPN. Accessing unknown wifi networks without a VPN puts your passwords and login information at risk. I use NordVPN available at www.nordvpn.com.
- Mosquito Repellent: If you plan to explore Bogotá’s outskirts or visit the Amazon region, a mosquito repellent will come in handy.
- Travel Towel: A quick-dry, lightweight travel towel is always a good addition to your packing list. They’re handy for when hostels don’t provide towels or when you want to enjoy a spontaneous dip in a waterfall.
- Wise For Payments: Don’t use your actual credit card for tap and go payments in Colombia, use a Wise prepaid visa. With Wise you’ll save on currency exchange and cross border transaction fees but more importantly, you’ll avoid having somebody skim your card and clean out your bank accounts. Wise is available at https://wise.com
Dressing Like A Local In Bogotá: Style Tips
Blending in like a local in Bogotá not only helps you feel more comfortable but also reduces the chances of standing out as a tourist. Blending in will enhance your safety in any big city, including Bogotá. It will also reduce your chances of encountering scams.
Here are some tips to help you pack clothes that will help you fit right in:
- Casual Yet Stylish: Bogotanos tend to dress in a casual yet stylish manner. Think classic jeans paired with fashionable tops and comfortable yet chic footwear. Often with a leather or denim jacket.
- Layers Are Key: Given the fluctuating weather, locals often dress in layers. A typical outfit might include a t-shirt or blouse, a light sweater, and a jacket or raincoat that can be added or removed as needed. I typically wear a leather jacket with an internal pocket for my wallet and phone to avoid pickpockets.
- Avoid Beachwear: Despite Colombia’s coastal regions being famous for their beaches, Bogotá is located inland and doesn’t have a beach culture. Leave your beachwear and flip flops at home.
- Dress Up for the Evening: If you plan on exploring Bogotá’s nightlife, pack a smart outfit. Bogotanos like to dress up when going out, so be prepared to ditch your casual attire for something a little more glamorous in the evenings.
What Not To Wear In Bogotá
While packing for your trip, there are a few items that you should leave out of your luggage. These aren’t commonly worn or used by local Bogotanos and they will make you stand out as a tourist. They could also make you a target for scams and armed robbery.
The items you should leave at home include:
- Shorts: Shorts should almost never be worn in Bogotá. Not just because the climate ranges from cool to chilly. But because you will stick out as a tourist when wearing shorts in Bogotá. Men in Bogotá always wear jeans, chinos or dress pants when out in public. And women rarely wear shorts unless they’re standing in Santa Fe.
- Gym Attire: Tracksuits and other gym attire is not commonly worn in Bogotá. Unless you’re working out in a gym or on the street exercising on Sundays. Tracksuits and other gym wear will make you stick out as a foreign tourist.
- Beachwear: It’s too cold for beach attire. Leave your beachwear and flip flops at home.
- Designer Brands: Obvious designer clothing and bags from the likes of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and others will make you a target for pickpockets, thieves and potentially, armed robbers. Leave your ostentatious designer clothing and accessories at home.
- Expensive Jewelry: Any expensive jewelry and watches should be left at home and not brought to Bogotá. A Rolex watch or big diamond ring will make you a potential target for armed robbery. Smart watches are commonly worn and are acceptable.
- Filtered Water Bottles or Life Straws: Tap water is generally safe to drink in Bogotá. And there is an abundance of shops selling brandname bottled water for 1000COP ($0.24USD) or less. So when you’re out and about sightseeing if you need water, just buy a bottle. If you have a filtered water bottle or filter straw you will stick out as a tourist.
Where Can I Get More Information On Bogotá?
I’ve made my Bogotá Colombia City Guide available on this website. And I recommend you read it before traveling to Colombia. It will help you navigate Bogotá and Colombian society.
My Bogotá Colombia City Guide will save you a lot of time and a significant amount of money on your trip to Colombia. Colombia is not the sort of destination in which you can just arrive unprepared.
Read the Bogotá Colombia City Guide here.