Health

A guide to staying healthy in Colombia + Trek preparation advice

Colombia’s health and hygiene standards are improving all the time though there are certain recommendations that you need to know prior to any trip here.

If you are planning to go on one of our trekking holidays then there is some trek preparation information that you should read at the bottom of this page.

 

Immunisation

We recommend that you contact your doctor or medical centre to arrange immunisation at least 6 weeks prior to any trip to Colombia. They can also go through the different immunisations that you’ll need for your trip with you.

The list below is to be used as a general guide only – ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.

For more information you can visit fitfortravel for more detailed health information on Colombia.

 

Recommended list of Immunisations (offered as guidance only)

Polio

Should be within 10 years of last vaccination.

Tetanus

Should be within 10 years of last vaccination.

Malaria

The mountainous Andean region is a low to no risk area.

The lowland coastal areas are categorised as ‘low-risk’ with the exception of Tayrona National Natural Park.

The Amazon region is considered high-risk.

Please consult this with your doctor. 

Hepatitis A

The Havrix vaccine offers good protection from two weeks after the first dose.

A second dose within 6-12 months of the first dose grants long term protection.

Yellow Fever

Recommended for all lowland tropical areas including Tayrona National Natural Park. Whilst there have not been any Yellow Fever cases in Tayrona or the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta for over a decade, illegal mining activities have seen Yellow Fever make a very small comeback. For those visiting the Serrania de La Macarena where Caño Cristales is located note that a current Yellow Fever certificate will be requested upon your arrival at the airport. Failure to do so will potentially mean having to leave La Macarena. Please ensure that you take your jab AT LEAST 10 days before travelling for the vaccine to take effect.

 

Optional Immunisations (offered as guidance only)

Hepatitis B

There is only a low risk as transmission is only through sexual contact or exposure to contaminated blood, needles and syringes.

Rabies

Rabies exists in Colombia but if you take the necessary precautions to avoid animals then the risk is very low.

To be covered you should have had the vaccine within the last two years.

 

Other illnesses

Dengue Fever

This illness is transmitted by mosquito – a particular species with white striped legs. It only occurs in areas that have high humidity and are near water so when visiting Tayrona National Natural Park and other hot, lowland tropical areas (below 1,100m) we recommend that you take the following precautions: wear long trousers, long sleeve shirts, high socks and sufficient mosquito repellent.

Travellers are also warned of outbreak areas by us and we keep our information constantly updated.

For more Colombia travel health information we recommend that you visit this site: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/colombia.htm

Other medical matters

We’ll enclose a health questionnaire when we send you the trip dossier upon making a trip booking. This will cover your general health and fitness and give us an idea of your readiness for a trip to Colombia.

It’s also good practice to go for a check-up prior to any trip to a foreign country.

People seldom suffer from serious stomach/infection problems on any trip but your doctor or medical centre will be able to recommend suitable drugs should you want to bring some with you.

 

DVT

There is an increased risk of thrombosis at higher altitudes. If you know that you are at risk of DVT (Deep vein thrombosis) then you should consult with your doctor well in advance of any trip that includes flying.

There are drugs and injections that you can take though again, this should be done on your doctor’s recommendations.

During the flight you may want to wear compression stockings, walk around regularly and drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids.

 

Our Trekking Trips and Dealing with Altitude

I want to trek – What do I need to know?

We’ll include a more detailed run down of what you should know before embarking on our trekking tours within our trip dossier but these are the main points:

  • If you have serious medical problems then we have to discourage that you take part in a trip such as our trekking tours as we reach very remote places where extraction could be difficult. Again, if you are in any doubt, consult your doubts with your doctor.
  • If you are over 70 you’ll have to submit a letter from your doctor confirming your suitability to undertake one of our trekking holidays.
  • You should have a thorough dental check prior to the trip.
  • Our trek leaders and team are equipped with a comprehensive first aid kit, suitable for the mountains. They are also trained in First Aid.
  • You should always let your trek leader know of any food or drug allergies that you may have. This information should also be stipulated within the questionnaire that you’ll fill in prior to your holiday.

Again, more detailed information is provided in the trip dossier that we’ll send you upon booking one of our trekking trips.

How high do I go?

On our trekking tours we reach altitudes of up to and over 4,500 meters above sea-level or 14,850 feet. Our treks are designed in such a way that we’ll allow for proper acclimatisation so your body can cope with the change in altitude.

Even with our stringent acclimatisation there is still a reduced risk that acute mountain sickness (AMS) could occur so in light of this we have:

  • Staff trained in First Aid and AMS who can recognise symptoms of the different conditions such as HAPE, HACE and general AMS symptoms.
  • Contingency plans should a client need to be extracted from the trekking zone, that cover all eventualities and possibilities.
  • On mountain communication with nearby populations and Colombian Project contacts.

Treks are an adventure tourism activity and we take our client safety very seriously.

Our trek and tour planning is detailed minute-by-minute and all necessary safety procedures are included to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for all of our clients.

How tough are the treks? What trek preparation do I need?

Our multi-day treks aren’t easy and are generally of a ‘Vigorous’ or medium to high difficulty. They will involve days climbing up to and over a kilometre in altitude (1000 metres) and that cover many kilometres in distance (up to 17 km approximately) so we advise on good trek preparation prior to embarking on one of our trekking itineraries.

You’ll be climbing steep paths through Andean jungle, walk through soft Paramo grassland and ascend volcanic structures during our treks.

So, to make sure you’re in optimum shape for our treks we recommend that you do plenty of exercise prior to your journey with us such as long walks, jogging, cycling and swimming.

If you don’t do regular exercise, start slowly, gradually increasing each week. We recommend that you start exercising 2 months prior to any trekking holiday with us.

If you are a regular walker or do regular exercise then you should no problems with our treks though no doubt they’ll still be a challenge!