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I’m going to Colombia next month, so that is about the time to make some plans. I am flying to Bogota and 16 days later flying back form Barranquilla.

My question is how frequent and how reliable bus service is in Colombia? According to google average speed would by 50km/h traveling by car is it the same for bus?

One more thing I know that most of these journeys will be longer than 5 hours. Is it possible to travel at night, are there any night services? And loosing chance to see all of the landscapes is this price is worth to pay?

  • Please add more information about the cities you're visiting. The quality of the service will vary a LOT between cities. – IAmJulianAcosta Mar 15 '16 at 5:01
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Buses seem to be quite reliable in terms of schedule in Colombia. There are plenty of departures and they usually go faster than the predicted time. I took several buses, usually in the evening and always arrived 30min to 1h ahead of schedule. The quoted time could be to account for traffic at other hours.

For longer distances, there are overnight buses but guidebooks do not recommend them due to safety concerns. I have no experience to confirm or deny that.

Finding schedules for Colombian buses is not so easy though, see my question regarding this which covers the norther Altantic coast. For the highlights, see Bolivariano and Madgalena. Some of these routes are overnight or even more.

  • Thanks, can you also tell me please, should I book a ticket in advance or I can buy It at a bus station or bus it self, just before departure? – user3328469 Mar 9 '16 at 16:06
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    Usually, just show up according to the time table. I only reserved when it was high-season during the Barranquilla Carnaval, that day the buses were ALL full and I got the last spot on the last bus :) – Itai Mar 9 '16 at 16:11
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From my experience... Yes, traveling in Colombia is rather easy, often time consuming but what to expect from such a vast country.

Long distance buses - they are rather comfortable, usually with toilets and WiFi. Finding schedule is a problem but you can always ask at the bus station (e.g. at the arrival), We had no problems with reservations or anything like that, being an hour before departure was enough to buy a ticket or two. There was always few seats free (that's in April). I would recommend to equip your self with headphones/earplugs or prepare for Tai martial art movie with Spanish dubbing at max level of sound :)

Local transport... wow, that was an experience, loads and loads of buses, minibuses everywhere and cheap (2-5k cop). They will help you to squeeze in :) and they don't care about time (especially your time). Because there is nothing like bus stop (not many people use them anyway) you and others can jump in and out anywhere you like, safety?... what safety? If you don't know what bus to take, just ask there is always someone to direct you (even if you don't speak Spanish - that's me)

If you travel in a small group, taxi would be often a better option than minibus. Just a bit more expensive (5-15k cop) but you'll be taken straight to place you want. Just agree the price first!

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