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TLDR? Colombian addresses follow a different format than in most European countries or the US.
Did you know that more than 20 million postcards are sent every year? These postcards are mailed to tons of locations around the world – including to Colombia!
However, anyone who has ever tried to send something to Colombia via mail knows that the addresses here don’t work the way that they do in the U.S or Europe. This can leave you second-guessing whether your letter will actually make it to its destination.
So, if you’re planning on sending cards back home, you might need a bit of help deciphering the Colombian address system.
Keep reading to learn how to address your postcards when sending them to and from Colombia.
The first thing to know about street addresses in Colombian cities is how they are named. There are several different types of streets that you might see around the city, including:
You may see several other street names not listed, too. However, these are the more common street types you’ll see around Colombian cities.
On top of that, make sure that you double-check whether or not a street has multiple names. For instance, in Medellín, Carrera 43A is more commonly referred to as Avenida Poblado, which can be confusing!
It’s also important to be aware that in rural areas, there might not be a street name associated with the address. In that situation, addresses are denoted using the nearest kilometer marker and the road on which a building is situated.
Now that you’ve got the street nomenclature down, let’s take a minute to talk about Colombian postcodes. This is one area where Colombian addresses differ greatly from American addresses.
In the United States, zip codes are an important part of an address. However, in Colombia, zip codes are rarely used. In fact, if you ask most people on the street they won’t know what their zip code is!
Reading a Colombian zip code is fairly easy, however, if you do end up needing it. The first two digits in the zip code indicate the department, the second two are the postal zone, and the last two digits indicate the neighborhood or postal district.
With zip codes and street names under our belts, it’s time to put everything together. Typically, when writing a Colombian address (for instance to a friend in Laureles), they will follow a very simple format.
To write a street address, you’ll start by writing the street name, followed by two numbers. The first number indicates the nearest cross street and the second number indicates how many meters the address is from the cross street.
So, for instance, Carrera 10 #56-25 means that the house is located on Carerra 10, 25 meters away from Calle 56.
It’s important to note that carrera indicates a street running from north to south and calle indicates a street running from east to west. Streets in major cities are laid out in a grid pattern, making it easy to determine what cross streets are likely to be named in a Colombian address.
So, are you ready to dive in and address your first postcard to another digital nomad living here in Colombia? Here goes nothing!
To address a postcard to a Colombian recipient, you’ll need to use the following format:
For example, the card might read:
Cra 6 #10-30, Apto 111
El Poblado 70000
When addressing your postcards, it’s important to note that including a zip code and a phone number aren’t necessary. However, doing so can help ensure your card makes it to its final destination.
To make sure that your postcards actually make it to their destination, there are a few simple tips you can implement. Doing so will ensure that your recipients get to open some greetings from abroad and that your cards don’t get lost in the mail.
For one, always make sure to get a tracking number. You should do so whether using the national postal service, a private mailing company, or an international shipping company.
Secondly, also double-check whether the address is located on a calle or a carrera. These are two very different streets, and if you mix them up then you’ll be sending your holiday card to a completely different recipient.
Sites like Amazon let you ship packages internationally and domestically. Often, these companies are more reliable than sending a package yourself! If you can, try sending your items directly through these companies.
Finally, always make sure to include a return address in the upper left-hand corner. That way, if your card can’t be delivered, it will at least be sent back to you so that you can try again.
With a bit of understanding, sending holiday cards to Colombia is a breeze. In fact, once you get the basics of addresses in Colombia, they might seem simpler than American addresses!
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