Looking for the BEST Colombia packing list!?
This post is all about what to pack for Colombia.
Updated on February 14, 2023
Packing for Colombia was a daunting task. For years I’ve backpacked across Europe and the Middle East, but never South America.
I felt like I was entering a new arena in the hunger games – totally unprepared with blurry expectations.
We’re talking mosquitos, hiking, extreme heat, and remote destinations.
Even after loads of research and personal recommendations from seasoned Colombia backpackers, I still felt like there were some things I needed, and some I didn’t.
My experience backpacking 1-month through Colombia helped me create the most perfect Colombia packing list for your trip.
Still, planning your Colombia itinerary? Check out my post on Cartagena.
Don’t forget your FREE Colombia Packing List printable so you don’t forget a single thing!
Here is the Ultimate Colombia Packing List
While this was my personal Colombia packing list for a 30-day backpacking trip, your list might look a little different from mine.
I hope these recommendations will help you successfully pack for your Colombia trip.
1. Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack
The holy grail of all backpacks. This magical bag will hold everything you need and passes as a carry-on size on most airlines.
I’ve had this bag for years and wouldn’t dare look at anything else!
2. Travelon Anti-Theft Day Pack
My new travel product obsession!
I noticed this backpack on the backs of some fellow travelers and instantly fell in love.
While it may look tiny, this pack is mighty. I use it as my “electronics bag” and it fits my laptop, large drone & remote, DSLR, journal, kindle, passport, wallet, and so much more.
3. Compression Packing Cubes
I’ve always been anti-packing cubes until I ran across the compression kind! These cubes will help you stay organized without taking up any extra space.
4. Lifestraw Water Bottle
Whether it’s Lifestraw or a different brand, I highly recommend getting some kind of filtered water bottle for your Colombia travels.
5. Foldable Bag
I know what you’re thinking.. yet another backpack!? Yes!
This foldable backpack is so tiny that it takes up NO room. It’s worth packing even if you never use it. I use it specifically for hiking when I don’t want to get my nicer bags dirty.
6. Travel Toiletry Bag
Finding a hanging toiletry bag is essential, especially if you are staying in hostels. This bag is compact and has loads of room.
I use it to hold all my toiletries and medicine.
Toiletries / Shower Essentials
7. Microfiber Travel Towel
My personal favorite travel towel. The sizes do run very small so size up (1 or even 2)! I personally have an XL to use as a shower towel and beach towel.
8. Facial Microfiber Towel
A small microfiber towel is handy just to wash your face.
9. Laundry bag
A bag to keep your dirty laundry in is essential! This is something I refuse to travel without.
Most of the time compression cube packs come with these bags, but if not you’ll want to grab one of these!
10. Laundry detergent
At times in remote destinations, it can be tricky to get your laundry done. These Laundry strips help me in between proper washes.
This dainty hairbrush will keep your hair looking fresh without taking up much space in your bag.
12. Manicure Set
Keep groomed while on the road. You won’t want to leave for Colombia without these often overlooked essentials.
13. Small Comb
This is my “nights out” comb. It’s so small it fits perfectly in a purse or fanny pack for evenings out at the club (or a jungle party!)
14. Contacts & Solution / Glasses
Like so many of us, if you aren’t one of the lucky ones with 20/20 vision, pack extra contacts & glasses for the duration of your trip.
You can buy more contact solution at the pharmacies, but it’s best to bring a small pack to last you until you get to one.
15. Friction Stick
This was such a common problem among so many women I was hiking with. I was so thankful that I brought a friction rub! I used it on days I wore dresses and went on long walking tours or hikes.
I’ve used both the Arm & Hammer brand and the body glide, and the Arm & Hammer works much better.
16. Makeup Remover Wipes
These are the only makeup remover wipes that don’t sting my skin. Also, I love how they aren’t liquid-based, perfect for traveling!
17. Facial Cleanser & Moisturizer
My favorite travel cleanser & moisturizer is The Ordinary. Their products come in small sizes and are super affordable.
18. Dental Hygiene Products
Keep your teeth healthy with my go-to dental products.
Believe me, that Colombia sun is meant to BURN! I like to be prepared with just a little bit of sunscreen for when I arrive and buy more when I get to a pharmacy.
If your first destination is a city, sunscreen will be easy to find. However, if you’re heading to more remote destinations in the North or the South, stores are not always accessible.
20. Hair Accessories
As I’ve mentioned. that Colombia heat will get to you. If you have long hair, you’ll need plenty of options to pull your hair back.
This is the chapstick I swear by! While it may seem a bit expensive for lip balm, I am a total chapstick junkie and need the very best.
22. Soap + Soap Holder
A bar is my preferred soap to travel with while backpacking. It cuts down on my liquids and lasts longer. One bar of soap lasted me exactly one month.
23. Shampoo & Conditioner
Again, shampoo and conditioner are products you can totally buy when you get to Colombia. I just prefer to have some on hand so I’m not scrambling to find it first thing when I land to my destination.
If you usually have a razor at home, you’ll need one on the road! This razor is my favorite and doesn’t irritate my skin.
25. Small Jars/Bottles
These small containers are great if you want to take your favorite products from home.
Ibuprofen and Imodium are two essentials you must take with you to Colombia.
Be sure to take any contraceptives or vitamins that you take regularly as well.
27. Feminine Care
This is truly one of the most underrated things that should be packed in your bag! What some women don’t know is that feminine care products are different in every country.
Meaning – different chemicals, applicators, and materials.
It’s best to bring some of your own that you’re comfortable with.
28. Health Misc.
Don’t forget these handy items like bandaids and cotton swabs.
29. Germ-X + Lysol Wipes
Don’t you dare leave to travel without some Germ-X and disinfecting wipes!
My personal favorite germ-x is the mini bath & bodyworks scented bottles because they just smell SO good! I also love these scented lemon Lysol wipes to wipe down anything that might be icky.
Your luggage may also need more frequent wipe-downs than usual in Colombia’s dewy climate.
Lotion may be considered essential for only a select few, but for my insanely dry skin, it’s a must!
31. Small Makeup Bag
I am obsessed with these small pouch bags. I typically end up bringing two of them on my travels. They can really help you keep organized.
One for makeup and one for feminine care products.
Always best to be safe and prepared!
Shoes are probably the most important thing that will be in your luggage.
You can easily buy anything you’ll need abroad, except for your favorite shoes.
I’ve made the mistake of buying a brand new pair of shoes before leaving for a trip and it’s such a mistake! Make sure you purchase shoes with plenty of time to break them in before your departure.
When you’re walking over 10 miles a day, it’s essential that you have comfortable and versatile shoes in your bag.
33. Hiking Shoes / Tennis Shoes
If you’re planning on doing the Lost City hike, then you might want to bring your hiking shoes over tennis. Otherwise, you should be good with just a pair of tennis shoes! I went on four hikes and was happy I didn’t bring my bulky hiking shoes.
34. Comfy Sandals
Birkenstocks fit my style and comfort, but any reputable walking sandal will work.
35. Cute and Comfy Sandals
These Steve Madden sandals are my favorite go-to travel sandal. They are so comfortable and look perfect with sundresses. They also take up hardly any room.
36. Shower / Beach Flip Flops
If you’re planning on staying in hostels or visiting any beaches, you’ll need to pack some cheap flip-flops. Thin classic flip-flops are perfect for taking up the least amount of space in your bag.
This portion of the list will vary greatly depending on what kind of traveler you are.
As I am someone who works remotely, I obviously needed my camera and laptop. If you can live without these things, the less you pack is always better.
37. Unlocked Phone
If you are looking to get a sim card so your phone will work, contact your phone company to ensure you won’t have any issues.
For iPhone users, your phone should be unlocked, which can only happen after you’ve had your phone for six months.
38. Microsoft Surface Laptop
A Laptop might not be essential on everyone’s Colombia packing list but as a digital creator, it was for me.
Microsoft Surface Laptop is what I use. I LOVE how light it is!
39. Travel Adapter
Colombia uses A, B type outlets, which are the same as in the United States. So if you’re coming from a country that uses different outlets, be sure to take this international adapter with you.
I can’t go anywhere without my kindle! It’s the perfect alternative to packing heavy books.
Even if you aren’t a reader, if you are traveling to more remote parts of Colombia (like the North) you will want to bring something to do that doesn’t require WiFi. I was without stable internet about half the time I was in Colombia.
Of course, you can’t leave for a trip without a solid pair of headphones.
42. Portable Charger
Being without a phone in a foreign country can be scary. I always keep a portable charger on me.
43. Extra Phone Chargers
I feel like my chargers always break when I’m on a long trip. It’s best to keep just a couple on you.
44. Camera (optional)
As I mentioned, your packing list might look slightly different from mine.
I travel with this DSLR camera and take most of my blog photos with it.
45. Passport Holder
A Passport holder is a must for me. I keep my paper covid-vaccine inside along with a piece of paper containing my contact info so that if someone finds it, they can contact me.
46. Personal Alarm
One of the biggest complaints I hear of solo female travelers is that they wish they could travel with pepper spray or a knife to help them feel a little safer.
While most safety tools are not permitted on airlines, personal alarms are! I carry this with me when I’m traveling or going out at home. It helps me feel just a little more secure, especially if I’m walking home alone.
This device works by quickly detaching the top handle if you feel in danger and a VERY loud siren goes off, drawing attention to you.
47. Luggage Tags
Keeping your luggage labeled with your information is essential if it ends up being misplaced or stolen.
48. Light Rain Gear
Whether you’re an umbrella gal or rain-jacket cat – take your pick (or pack both)
Rainy season in Colombia is April to May and October to November, And when it rains, it pours!
49. Writing Utensils
I like to have a pen, pencil, and sharpie when I’m traveling to write in my journal or label things.
Be sure to bring a travel journal to document your exciting trip to Colombia!
51. Travel Insurance
I never leave for a trip without buying travel insurance. My preferred choice is Allianz. However, World Nomads is fine as well.
52. Personal Bag
Having the right bag can make or break your chances of getting your belongings stolen as an everyday tourist.
If you opt for a purse, make sure it has a zipper or clasp that would be tricky to swipe items out of.
Bum bags are also very popular and a great way to keep your phone and money close to your body.
Sunglasses should be at the top of everyone’s Colombia packing list! Protect your eyes from that intense sun with a pair of sunglasses.
Every suitcase will look different when it comes to packing clothes for a trip.
I personally hate shorts so I opt for more dresses and skirts, but you might have a totally different style.
54. Here’s a breakdown of what clothes I packed for Colombia.
2 cropped tanks
2 cropped tops
1 pair of loose pants
2 pairs of pajamas
1 long-sleeved top
4 pairs of socks
1 pair of jeans
10 pairs of underwear
1 workout/hiking outfit