Covid and Travel to Medellin: Rules and Testing Options

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TLDR? You don’t need to be vaccinated to enter Colombia, but you will need a PCR or Antigen test no older than 72 or 48 hours respectively.

The global COVID pandemic came out of nowhere and left a lot of life as we know it seriously affected.

One aspect of our lives that was permanently changed was travel.

When it comes to traveling to Colombia and to Medellin specifically, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.

To help you out, we’ve put together a guide to the latest rules and COVID testing options for travelers arriving in and departing from Colombia.

COVID Update: Entry Requirements

The Colombian Ministry of Health has several important regulations in place for individuals entering Colombia from abroad.

The pre-flight Checkmig form is still required to present prior to boarding and on arrival (takes just a couple of minutes).

Additionally, even though you don’t have to get a COVID test, you do need to show proof of vaccination. The requirements vary slightly depending on whether you are a Colombian citizen or foreign resident versus a non-resident traveler.

Non-Residents (Ages 18+)

The latest testing requirements allow non-vaccinated international foreigners to enter Colombia. 

Non-resident foreigners have to show proof of full vaccination against the COVID virus or provide a negative covid test. The vaccination has to have been completed at least 14 days before their travel date.

If the traveler wants to enter Colombia less than 14 days after getting their complete vaccination scheme, they will have to present a negative PCR test. The test cannot be more than 72 hours old.

Unvaccinated non-resident travelers cannot enter Colombia.

In terms of which covid test you’re able to take, you can take a 48-hour antigen test or a 72-hour PCR test. 

Most international airports have testing centers in them that provide antigen tests in as little as 20 minutes. If you’re needing fast results, this can be an easy way for you to meet the Colombia entry requirements. 

Colombian Citizens, Residents, and Diplomats (Ages 18+)

Colombian citizens, residents, and diplomats must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccination scheme should have been completed at least 14 days before travel.

If they completed their vaccinations less than 14 days before traveling to Colombia, they will need to present a negative PCR test that’s no older than 72 hours.

Colombian residents, citizens, and diplomats who do not have a complete vaccination scheme can still enter Colombia. However, they will have to show proof of a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours old.

Vaccination Card Requirements

Vaccination cards provided as part of travel must contain the following information:

  • Date of vaccination
  • Recipient’s full name
  • Name of the vaccine (any WHO-authorized vaccine or UN-approved vaccine is eligible)
  • Number of doses

Extra Requirements for Cruise Ships

If you’re coming to Colombia via cruise ship, it’s important to note that entry requirements are a little bit different than for entering by plane. In this case, you have to show proof of full vaccination as well as a negative test result.

The accepted vaccines and tests are the same as those for individuals entering by plane.

Anyone planning to enter Colombia by cruise should check their cruise line’s requirements before leaving their home country. Usually, entry requirements are aligned with the departure point’s COVID regulations.

COVID-19 Exit Requirements

In order to leave Colombia, you will need to adhere to your destination country’s health guidelines. The best option is to check the department of state website before you leave.

For our guests returning to the United States, you’ll need to meet the current CDC guidelines.

You’ll also need to present a negative COVID test (Antigen or PCR) no older than 1 day. This applies regardless of your citizenship or immigration status.

What’s more, all non-immigrant travelers over the age of 18 must provide proof of full COVID vaccination. Fiancé(e) visas fall under this category.

Leaving Medellin: Covid Testing Options

To get a COVID test before leaving Medellin, there are a couple of different options. The two easiest options are:

  1. Airport testing
  2. House call testing

Airport Testing

At JMC Airport Medellin arrivals level you can get an antigen test AND RESULT within 20-40 minutes for use prior to boarding for $80,000 COP, just give yourself some extra time.

If you’re leaving from MDE Airport Rionegro, you can get a COVID test at the arrivals level, too. Just like at JMC, the antigen test costs $80,000 COP and you’ll get your results in 20-40 minutes.

PCR tests are also available at both sites, although you won’t get your results for 24-36 hours. These tests cost $260,000 COP.

House Call Testing

You can get tested at your Casacol rental/hotel by nurse house-call any time within 3 days of boarding for $115,000 COP from Laboratorio Abad in Poblado (see below). Casacol staff are ready to assist you if needed, don’t let testing be a deterrent to Medellin travel!

The laboratory accepts both cash and credit card. The costs are fairly reasonable, too:

  • PCR: $250,000 COP, available in 24-48 hours
  • Antigen: $160,000 COP (Casacol clients can ask for a special price of $115,000 COP), available the same day
  • Antibody: $94,000, available the same day

Phone: (034) 4446628, Option 1

Whatsapp: +57 3104362450

Website: www.abadlaboratorio.com

Address: Cl. 20 Sur ##27-55, Medellín, Antioquia

General COVID situation in Medellin

Colombia is making strong vaccination progress. The Medellin economy (restaurants, bars, clubs, theatre, museums, soon sports and concerts, events) is nearly 100% open and back to “normal”.

Mask wearing in Medellin is widespread (although not mandatory).

In addition, most Colombian citizens have at least their first and second dose of the vaccine. Many older adults also have their third vaccine.

Generally, life has now normalized as much as we could expect at this point.

Covid-19 Cases in Medellin

Courtesy of Worldometers.info

Covid-19 cases saw a huge spike during the Christmas festivities in December and January. However, the cases have since taken a nosedive. 

As a result, the country is currently in one of its biggest lows of covid cases since the pandemic started. There are roughly new 35 cases each week, a far cry from the thousands of cases we were seeing in December. 

In addition, the US Department of State recently reduced the risk of travel to Colombia in general to a Level 3 travel advisory. That’s thanks to the reduction in covid-19 cases. 

Flight Connectivity

Post-pandemic international flight connectivity to Medellin is now even higher than it was in 2019, especially as Colombians pack flights to Miami/FLL for vaccines.

The flight frequency from Medellin to Madrid is still down as Colombians cannot enter the EU easily.

Otherwise flights to MIA/FLL, Panama, and New York have resumed pre-pandemic schedules. In fact, American Airlines actually increased flights MIA to MDE and Viva Air added new routes to Orlando.

Travel to Medellin Amidst COVID-19

At Casacol we have seen tremendous pent-up demand for Medellin travel since international flights resumed in September and October 2020.

The long-term travel trend to Colombia and Medellin, in particular, is firmly in place.

If you like this blog, you might like the Casacol Instagram page to keep up with all the new articles. Anything we need to update or correct? Care to contribute? Email us at [email protected].

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