Colombia has a variety of ecosystems and with that comes a range of clothing requirements.
Most of our clients visit the coffee zone and hike in the Cocora Valley. What is good for Cocora actually applies to most other destinations in The Andes, day trips from Bogotá, from Medellín, within the coffee zone, and in the south of Colombia.
So what to bring?
Footwear: Whatever your favourite walking shoes happen to be, old-school leather or perhaps you prefer more modern shoes made of synthentic materials such as those shoes made by the likes of Columbia and The North Face. Bear in mind that many walks are rocky or muddy, it is vital to have good grip and a bonus to have a waterproof membrane. Boots give you additional ankle support but you might prefer shoes.
Trousers: Lightweight synthetic trousers such as The North Face Paramount pants are going to serve for most destinations, even cities. Convertible trousers are going to give you even more flexibility and work for beach destinations too. We recommend against doing potentially rainy walks in jeans.
Upper body: Think about a variety of climates and the potential for rain. You can be prepared for most outcomes with a T-shirt, a fleece or hoodie and a lightweight waterproof top.
Accessories: You are near the equator and often at altitude so bring a sun hat. Also a day bag to carry water, sun block, maybe a change of socks, any snacks you might want to take with you. You do not tend to need walking poles, bamboo poles will be provided in places such as Santa Isabel.
The above basic list will still work for you in cities such as Bogotá and Medellín but unless you are very restricted for luggage space you will probably want to pack some comfortable casual but smarter clothes also.
Don’t worry, a nice restaurant or bar will not expect you to dress formally.
Bear in mind the above cities can turn cooler at night time, especially Bogotá. So pack a sweater to complete your relaxed city ensemble, or take your fleece out with you.
Cartagena is a bit of an exception as it is brutally hot and humid year round. It is also full of tourists and you can wear whatever you would in Southern Europe or the US and the Caribbean.
The city has an abundance of upmarket restaurants. If you want to make like a Colombian then pick up a guayabera, it’s a loose-fitting linen shirt. Complete the look with a sombrero if you feel inclined.
If you are somewhere like Bocagrande, Taganga, or the Tayrona coastline then regular beachwear is fine.
The Pacific coast
Bear in mind our packages to Nuquí and Bahía Solano are not typical beach vacations. They are active ecotourism destinations and the basic apparel list above is still applicable.
Also bear in mind that these two destinations are amongst the wettest places on the planet and it could be that your clothes do not even dry out until you get to your next destination. Spare clothes are vital and the importance of quick drying synthetic fabrics becomes more prevalent.
This is general advice. Some destinations such as Ciudad Perdida and Los Nevados 3 day treks have specific packing lists.