TLDR? No vaccines are required to enter Medellin. But, you should get the COVID vaccine and Yellow Fever vaccine to be safe.
If you’re planning to go to Medellin, you may need to get certain vaccines first, depending on where you’re coming from.
Whether you’re a social butterfly or a wildlife lover who can’t wait to explore what Medellin has to offer, this is your guide.
Keep scrolling if you’re planning a trip to Colombia and want to know what you might need to fully and safely enjoy this beautiful country fully and safely.
Required Vaccines for Visiting Colombia
Currently, no vaccines are required to enter Medellin (or Colombia in general). However, if you wish to visit the countryside (such as Dabeiba, Mutatá, or Turbo) it’s highly recommended you get the Yellow Fever vaccine.
For those who plan on leaving Medellin and going on a weekend escape, you might need some additional vaccines. That’s because of the different diseases that are endemic to these areas.
For example, tourist destinations around areas such as Tayrona National Park, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, or the Amazon reserves require proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever.
Remember that you must get this vaccine at least 10 days before traveling to these locations.
Pro tip: Most people don’t realize that there are Malaria vaccines. However, in Colombia, you can get these vaccines at the Red Cross. If you’re going to be traveling to areas in where there is a high risk of contracting Malaria, you may want to look into getting this vaccine.
Recommended Vaccines for Visiting Colombia
If your motto is “better safe than sorry,” it’s a good idea to check out these vaccines that will help keep you safe wherever you go. Most of them are routine vaccines, but some of them you may have to request from your doctor:
Hepatitis A: Contracted from food and water. It’s recommended for most travelers, especially if unvaccinated.
Hepatitis B: Spread through bodily fluids. It’s recommended for unvaccinated travelers to Colombia.
Tetanus: Contracted from open, infected wounds. This is recommended for travelers to most regions, especially if not previously vaccinated.
Typhoid: Contracted from food & water.
Yellow Fever: Contracted from mosquitoes. It’s required if traveling from a region with yellow fever, such as the Amazon rainforest. It’s not usually recommended for travelers to Medellin or areas over 2,200 meters high.
Rabies: Contracted from the saliva of infected animals. Rabid dogs are commonly found in Colombia. As such, it’s recommended for those who may come in contact with animals.
Pro Tips for Staying Healthy in Medellin
Even if you do get vaccines, these aren’t always enough. That’s why it’s always a good idea to take a few preventative measures to make sure you stay safe and have a great time in Medellin.
Pack Preventative Pills
Some of the diseases that you can contract in Medellin require extensive treatment. To help avoid those issues, you can pack pills to treat them.
Not only does this help prevent issues from arising in the first place, but it can also save you a doctor’s visit on your trip.
When I first came to Colombia, a few pills I packed included:
Altitude sickness pills: these pills are great if you plan to be hiking in high areas. If you’re traveling from sea level to Bogotá, you may find you need these pills to help you adjust to the altitude of the city, too.
Traveler’s diarrhea pills: traveler’s diarrhea can come from the changes in your diet when you eat new foods in a foreign destination. These pills can clear up a nasty bout quickly so you don’t miss out on exploring Medellin!
Malaria pills: these are a preventative pill that you can take if you plan to be going to the Amazon or other areas where Malaria is common.
Ask your doctor about what other preventative pills you can bring with you for your trip.
Bring Bug Spray
Bug repellent is probably the easiest (and cheapest) solution for staying healthy on a trip to Medellin.
Bug bites don’t always carry diseases, but when they do, they can be severe. They can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, muscle pain, and headaches. Some diseases you can get include:
Chagas Disease: Carried by Triatomine bug and spread through bug bites
Dengue: Spread through mosquito bites
Leishmaniasis: Spread through sandfly bites
Zika: Spread through mosquito bites
Even though the chances of catching these diseases are slim, it’s always a good idea to bring some strong bug repellent. Anytime I’m going hiking I always slap some on and then I know I don’t have to worry!
The pandemic has changed our lives in many ways. But it’s also helped us enjoy life and appreciate the little things.
Present proof of completion of a COVID-19 vaccination scheme.
Present a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours before your flight OR present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before your flight.
Complete Migracion Colombia’s online Check-Mig form verifying that you have not been in contact with anyone with COVID
This is much simpler than the old rules, which were far more restrictive to those entering and exiting Colombia.
How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine in Medellin
If you’re visiting Colombia and you want to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Medellin, check this list of places to get one free:
Centro Comercial Santa fé
Centro Comercial Oviedo
Centro Comercial Unicentro
Centro Comercial Terminal del Sur
Centro Comercial Premium Plaza
Comfama la América
Clínica Central Fundadores
Just remember that if you’re on a tourist visa and you want to get a vaccine in Medellin, you should ask your insurance provider about coverage and locations to get the vaccine.
You can always ask local hospitals about getting vaccinated, but they’ll likely ask for a Colombian ID and insurance to cover the cost.
Where to Get Vaccines in Medellin
If you didn’t get a certain vaccine at home and you decide you need one, you can get one in Medellin! I found a place near the Pebellon de Agua station called Previnm. You can find them in the Tranvia Plaza, on the sixth floor.
From their website, you can make an appointment or ask for an online inquiry. That makes it super easy to book an appointment and get any additional vaccines you need.
Whether you’re fighting through a thick jungle or shopping in cities, you know what vaccines you’ll need for your trip to Medellin. So, it’s time to pack your things, a good bug repellent, and some good vibes to start this new trip!
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