Plan on bringing a few hundred dollars into the country with you. Newer bills with no tears or ink marks are best for exchanging for pesos and nothing smaller than a $20 bill.
In Country Expenses
The best place to obtain Colombian Pesos is at the airport adjacent to the baggage claim belts PRIOR to exiting into the public areas. You must bring enough cash to cover your $25 per day. Money from Ministry Accounts can be used for food and lodging and personal expenses paid with cash that has been exchanged for Colombian Pesos. Credit cards are accepted in many larger stores and restaurants.
ATM's are available in local banks.
Food and lodging in Bogota at Colegio Filadelfia will be $25.00 per day.
Visas for Colombia may be obtained at the airport upon arrival. There is no cost for obtaining the visa. The lodging address must be stated and the reason listed as volunteer workers. Prior to travel a sample Visa Declaration Page can be sent to volunteers to show the needed field and how they are to be completed. Visas are good for 30 days and this may be extended if necessary.
You will complete paperwork on the flight to Bogota and present at immigration. The air carrier usually provides the needed paperwork and if they do not it is available upon arrival.
No letter of invitation is needed.
A valid US passport is also required—not only for Colombia, but for reentry into the US. Make sure that your passport expiration date is at least six months after you return from your trip!
Tickets, Airports, and Flights
Arrive at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, Colombia. There are currently no airport fees (July, 2015). However, this could change at some point.
If you were to miss a connection, etc. on your way to Colombia, you can contact Dave Delmedico, the Construction Superintendent. A phone number will be provided upon assignment.
Suggested flight routes are direct flights (roughly 3.5 hours) that travel regularly out of Miami and Dallas (American).
In most instances volunteers will be met at the airport. When exiting from luggage claim areas to public areas volunteers will be met there. If it is someone other than WA personnel a sign with names will be displayed. Should a taxi be necessary, the address of Colegio Filadelfia (supplied prior to travel) can be used and the cost is typically $10 to $18 (in Pesos).
If your ride is not there to pick you up, call Colegio Filadelfia or Dave Delmedico (numbers provided at assignment).
Evacuation insurance is required. The recommended companies are listed on the Evacuation Insurance page under the 'Travel' section of this website.
Life in Country
Wycliffe Associates has a rented residence. You will have a room with detached bath, kitchen facilities, and lounging area. Wifi is available so feel free to bring internet connectivity devices for communication with friends and family.
Plan to wear work clothes during the workday. Moderate/casual clothing for around town with no shorts. Business casual for church. It will be possible to wash clothes while in Colombia.
Pack with layers of clothing in mind so that one may add or delete layers as necessary. The temperature range is usually between 45 and 75 degrees for the low and high. Bogota is at 8600 feet so be prepared for weather that is never cold and never hot. It often rains in the afternoon so some type of rain gear should be considered.
Clothes that should be avoided include shorts and exposed midriff.
*No immunizations are needed for Bogota. But you should be current on your tetanus shots.
*Local transportation is readily available in the form of inexpensive taxis.
*Cooking facilities are available at the WA facility and there are numerous and excellent restaurants nearby.
*A local English-speaking church is nearby. Very little English is spoken (Spanish is the local language); however, English speakers are at the site.
*As of August 1, 2015 the exchange rate between the dollar and the Colombian Peso was approximately $1.00 = 2,900 Pesos. The dollar is currently very strong and traditionally the exchange has be in the area of $1.00 = 2,200 Pesos.
*The electric current is 110v in most places and U.S. plugs work there.