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I will be traveling to Cartagena, Colombia at the end of January. I will be there for 8 days. I want to go to Bogota. I am having trouble finding out how to go about it. I want to fly, not take a bus.

My questions: If I book a ticket today will I be paying more? Can I even book a domestic plane ticket from another country (I'm in the USA)? If I wait to get to Cartagena and book a ticket for the next day, will that cost more? I read I can avoid foreign transactions fees by adding "en-co" at the end.

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    By adding "en-co" at the end of what? – Neusser Jan 4 '18 at 21:30
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    @Neusser avianca.com a similar format en/co/ to localize content. en = English, co = Colombia. – Johns-305 Jan 4 '18 at 22:49
  • Why wouldn't you just buy an $80 one way ticket on LATAM or Avian right now? There are lots of cheap non-stop flights every day. – Hilmar Jan 5 '18 at 13:17
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    @Hilmar Because you can get the same ticket for $45 if you know how? – lambshaanxy Jan 5 '18 at 22:37
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Yes, you can book via a global service like Expedia or Hipmunk, but the rumor you've heard is also correct: you can get significantly cheaper seats by booking on a Colombian site.

For example, if you visit avianca.com (the international site) and search for flights from Cartagena to Bogota on the randomly chosen date of February 7th, the cheapest flight on offer is US$87:

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enter image description here But if you visit the local avianca.com.co and do exactly the same search, the cheapest flight is COP 128,600, or only US$45 -- that's 48% cheaper!

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For avoidance of doubt, you can book these fares outside Colombia and they're available to all who know where to find them. (This is different from countries like Peru, where "resident fares" require local ID and the ID will be checked before they let you board.)

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  • I am downvoting because this Answer is quite misleading bad advice. I can see even lower fares for that same day on Kayak and even the fare on Avianca comes back at $57...not $171. – Johns-305 Jan 5 '18 at 22:30
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    @Johns-305 What exactly is "misleading bad advice" here? If you can find an Avianca fare lower than $45 on Feb 7th, please do update your answer and tell us all how! – lambshaanxy Jan 5 '18 at 22:34
  • OP specifically said end of January, not early February. Kayak shows a $38 fare on Wingo. The conversion might not occur at the current interbank rate and all of this assumes OP has a no foreign transaction fee credit card. Whether or not a few dollars is 'significant' to OP is something only they can determine. – Johns-305 Jan 5 '18 at 23:03
  • @Johns-305 If booked directly on wingo.com in Spanish, what I presume to be the same flight (Wingo flight P5 7219 on Jan 30th) is 99,900 COP = US$35, so Kayak is no cheaper. And if you add a checked-in bag, which is free on Avianca, the Wingo fare jumps up to 129,055 COP, a few pennies more than Avianca! – lambshaanxy Jan 6 '18 at 1:25
  • You're missing the context here, Kayak is cheaper than Avianca and, OP still has the uncertainly of booking in COP. You need to actually book the actual fare with a non-travel focused card and see what the final conversion is before claiming significant savings. – Johns-305 Jan 6 '18 at 16:07
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Please don't overthink this or worry about it so much.

For Colombia, there's really nothing stopping you from buying a ticket Cartagena-Bogota from any regular travel web site, Expedia, Kayak, etc.

If you want to price shop, see what price they give, then try to book the exact same flight at the airline's website.

Finally, 'foreign transaction fees' are usually related to the payment method. Even if you do have one, they are typically very small.

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    You're missing the context here: many South American airlines offer significantly discounted tickets for local residents, and these do not show up in global portals like Expedia, Kayak, etc. In some countries like Peru this is even legally enforced, but in Colombia it's not. Here's one actual case where the price difference is 75% (!): flyertalk.com/forum/latam-latam-pass-latam-fidelidade/… – lambshaanxy Jan 4 '18 at 22:18
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    @jpatokal Please note, I did say exactly that: "If you want to price shop, see what price they give, then try to book the exact same flight at the airline's website." I really hope that wasn't the Downvote :( – Johns-305 Jan 4 '18 at 22:20
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    I did downvote, because "there's really nothing stopping you from buying a ticket Cartagena-Bogota from any regular travel web site" is simply the wrong advice here. (To be clear, yes, they can do it, but it will likely lead to the OP paying a lot more, which is precisely what she wants to avoid.) – lambshaanxy Jan 4 '18 at 22:26
  • @jpatokal OP's specific question "Can I even book a domestic plane ticket from another country (I'm in the USA)?" So it is 100% perfectly good advice. And I did recommend price shopping, please read the whole Answer. OP might already be familiar with Expedia. – Johns-305 Jan 4 '18 at 22:40
  • @jpatokal And, FYI, Kayak, Wingo and Avianca are showing nearly identical prices right now in USA and COP. So...sorry, downvote...:() – Johns-305 Jan 4 '18 at 22:42
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You can easily book a one way ticket from Cartagena to Bogota on any reputable US website, such as www.hipmunk.com. LATAM and Avian offering 10+ non-stop flights per day and it's around US $80 for a one way ticket (late January, mid week). LATAM can be as cheap as $63.

I don't think it gets any easier or cheaper than that. What would be wrong with such a solution and what exactly is the problem you are trying to solve ?

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