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Colombia currency: A complete guide about the Colombian peso

by Pilar Dujan | April 4, 2024
A guide to the currency in Colombia

Prepare to explore the astoundingly beautiful Colombia! From natural attractions like the beaches in Colombia to urban activities like the things to do in Bogota, you’ll never be bored in this Latin America destination. 

Here you will find a complete guide to the Colombia currency and how to conduct yourself while in the country in regards to money. And remember: all travelers must apply for the Check Mig Colombia before arriving and exiting the country.

What is the currency in Colombia?

The Colombia currency is the Colombian peso (COP)

The banknotes available are of these denominations: COP$2.000, COP$5.000, COP$10.000, COP$20.000, COP$50.000 and COP$100.000. 

The coins existing are of the following denominations: COP$50, COP$100, COP$200, COP$500 and COP$1.000.

How to exchange currency in Colombia

The easiest way to get the Colombia currency is to visit an exchange office. All major cities have plenty of exchange offices, so finding one won’t be a problem. 

Keep close attention to the current exchange rates because in some cases, it’s better to exchange a smaller amount instead of all your funds. If the rates change to your advantage, you may turn a small profit for exchanging your currency in Colombia at the right time.

You won’t be able to exchange currencies in most Colombian banks, but ATMs are easily available in urban areas. 

Is Colombia safe enough to extract money from ATMs? Yes, but you should pay attention to your surroundings before beginning the extraction as an extra security step. Beware of withdrawal fees and extraction limits: do some research when you arrive so you can pick the ATM with the lowest fees and highest extraction limit.

It’s worth noting that US dollars sometimes are accepted in the biggest tourist destinations. However, it’s best to carry cash in the Colombia currency, and it’s even better if it’s in bills of lower denominations. 

Colombia currency

Colombia currency to USD

The current exchange rate from the Colombia currency to USD is: 1 USD = 3.959,8 COP.

Other exchange rates for the currency of Colombia

Here are some more exchange rates for the currency of Colombia for foreign travelers:

  • 1 EUR = 4.299,85 COP
  • 1 GBP = 5.025,15 COP
  • 1 CAD = 2.933,68 COP
  • 1 AUD = 2.595,1 COP

How to pay in Colombia?

This is mostly a cash-based economy, so one of the first things to do in Colombia is to exchange your money into the Colombia currency. In terms of accepted foreign currencies, popular destinations sometimes accept US Dollars and/or Euros.

You won’t have trouble paying with a bank card in popular destinations, especially if the card is Visa or MasterCard. Due to inflation, it’s very common to offer payment in cuotas (installments) for credit cards, which you can choose to accept or not. If you plan on using your credit or debit card in Colombia, remember to notify your bank before traveling.

Don’t bother getting traveler's checks. They are very hard to cash and not commonly used, so it’s not a recommended payment method.

You should know that counterfeit bills can be an issue in Colombia. Make sure to get the Colombia currency from a reputable exchange office or hotel to decrease the chances of being deceived. Also, don’t accept damaged or torn bills because you will have a lot of trouble getting them accepted in return.

Tolima In National Park

Is Colombia expensive?

No, not at all. You will use a lot less currency in Colombia than in other international trips, even if you plan a more upscale itinerary. 

You can expect to spend approximately 30/40 USD per day including accommodation and meals. Obviously, as with most destinations, the budget can be higher if you want to experience Colombian luxury. 

For those traveling on a budget, Colombia is the perfect destination. You will be able to rent private or shared rooms in hostels (and they’re nice hostels!) for a lot less than you’re accustomed to ($5-$10 USD). Food is also incredibly cheap ($3-$5 USD), and there are lots of street vendors to choose from if your budget is particularly tight. 

In terms of inter-city travel, buses are widely available at a low price. However, the distances can be huge, with longer travel times attached, so consider flying instead. Even though you might pay more, you’ll be saving yourself the hassle of having to spend almost an entire day sitting on a bus. 

Is tipping mandatory in Colombia?

It depends on what services or goods you’re paying for. Specifically, these common travel expenses are usually tipped:

  • Restaurants: it’s not mandatory, but it’s the right thing to do. However, you may already be charged a 10/15% voluntary tip, so read the bill carefully before adding your tip. Even if there’s already an added service charge, if the service deserves it, you should leave an extra cash tip.
  • Hotels: it’s customary to tip the crew in big hotels, and it can be done in foreign or local currency. The common amount is COP$2.000 to COP$5.000. 
  • Tour guides: it’s almost mandatory to tip your guides, but the amount you give is up to you.