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What are the mandatory Colombia vaccine requirements?

by Pilar Dujan | February 16, 2024
Colombia vaccine requirements for El Peñón de Guatapé

Are you planning a trip to Colombia? Well, you should! There are so many things to do in Colombia, like enjoying the paradise beaches of the Caribbean or exploring some of the most beautiful cities in the country (like the things to do in Cartagena). You’ll never be bored in this exciting country!

However, as a country with lots of vegetation and wildlife, you need to be protected against disease to enjoy the trip to the fullest. What are the Colombia vaccine requirements? Discover all the mandatory and recommended vaccines for Colombia, as well as other health advice.

What are the mandatory Colombia vaccine requirements?

Amongst the Colombia vaccine requirements, there is only one that’s mandatory: the vaccine against yellow fever. As an endemic country of this disease, it’s essential to travel carrying a valid vaccination certificate. 

It’s specified that this vaccine is a mandatory requirement for those arriving in Colombia from Angola, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. The same applies to travelers who’ve had a 12-hour or longer layover or transit in one of these countries.

However, it’s only recommended (not mandatory) if your trip will be limited to the cities of Barranquilla, Cali, Cartagena or Medellin. It’s not recommended if you only visit areas with high elevation, Bogotá and the archipelago department of San Andrés and Providencia.

What are the recommended vaccines for Colombia?

The following vaccinations for Colombia are recommended to all travelers:

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
  • Polio
  • Shingles
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies
  • Typhoid

Medellin cityscape, vaccinations for Colombia

More health advice besides the vaccines needed for Colombia

There’s more to take into account when you plan a trip other than the Colombia vaccine requirements. For example, some areas of the country have high altitudes, so you could feel symptoms of altitude sickness.

Is Colombia safe? It is, but you must take certain precautions. For starters, it’s paramount that you pack a strong insect repellent to be protected against bug bites. You have to reapply it consistently throughout the day to avoid diseases like Chagas, Dengue, Zika and Leishmaniasis. It’s worth noting that there’s a current increase in cases of Dengue in Colombia and its neighboring countries, so try to cover your skin as much as possible, and also pick accommodations with bed nets or air conditioner. Most places are well-equipped against bugs, but insect repellent will always be needed. 

You should also take prescription medication against malaria. There’s a risk in the areas of Colombia that have lower elevation, but it won’t be necessary to take medication if you limit your trip to the cities of Bogotá, Cartagena or Medellín.

It’s also a good idea to travel having a travel insurance policy already in place. Stomach illnesses are very common for tourists in Colombia, so having travel insurance will help you get professional assistance without having to incur any additional expenses. Other measures to help you avoid digestive ailments is to only drink bottled water and avoid eating raw foods. 

Lastly, even though it’s not health-related, most travelers will need to apply for the Check Mig Colombia. It’ll be requested at the border.