How to drive in Colombia. Legal Requirements for Driving in Colombia. International Driving Permit



Exploring Colombia by Car: A Comprehensive Guide for Travelers


Colombia, a vibrant and diverse country nestled in the heart of South America, is renowned for its lush landscapes, rich culture, and welcoming people. From the towering Andes mountains to the sun-kissed Caribbean coast, Colombia offers a multitude of picturesque scenes and unique cultural experiences. Exploring this captivating country by car provides travelers with the flexibility to immerse themselves in its natural beauty and cultural heritage at their own pace, unlocking secrets that may be hidden in its less traveled paths.

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Driving Conditions and Road Quality

The road infrastructure in Colombia ranges from well-maintained highways to rougher rural roads. Major highways like the Pan-American Highway are generally in good condition, facilitating smooth travel between cities. However, rural roads can be more challenging, often marked by ongoing construction or potential hazards like potholes. Drivers venturing into mountainous regions should be prepared for winding roads and steep inclines, making it essential to be cautious and ensure their vehicle is well-maintained.

Traffic Rules and Regulations

When driving in Colombia, it's important to adhere to the local traffic rules and regulations. Speed limits typically range from 30-60 km/h in urban areas, 80-90 km/h on rural roads, and up to 100 km/h on highways. The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers is 0.04%, making it crucial to avoid drinking and driving. Seat belts are mandatory, and the use of daytime running lights is recommended for added visibility. Additionally, carrying a first-aid kit and fire extinguisher is not just wise, but often required by law.

Tolls and Checkpoints

Travelers should be aware of the toll system in Colombia, with toll booths commonly found on major highways. It's beneficial to carry both local currency and small change for these tolls. At police and military checkpoints, which are frequent on Colombian roads, it's important to have proper documentation, including an International Driving License (IDL). These checkpoints are standard and aim to ensure road safety, so having all necessary paperwork will help facilitate smooth passage.


Parking in Colombia's cities and towns can be straightforward if you're aware of the local rules. Use parking meters in urban areas and seek out secure parking facilities to avoid fines or towing. Major cities like Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena have specific parking regulations, so it's helpful to familiarize yourself with these rules to avoid any inconveniences.

Gas Stations and Services

Gas stations are readily available along major routes, though they may be sparse in remote areas. It's advisable to refuel before embarking on long drives and to carry a jerry can of fuel for emergencies. Most stations offer common fuel types including regular and premium gasoline. In addition, rest stops and service areas provide opportunities for a break and vehicle checks, ensuring a safer journey.

Scenic Drives and Attractions

Colombia boasts numerous scenic drives that showcase its stunning landscapes. The drive through the Coffee Triangle (Eje Cafetero) offers picturesque views of lush coffee plantations, while the coastal route along the Caribbean Sea features breathtaking beaches and charming towns. Must-visit attractions accessible by car include Tayrona National Park, the historic town of Villa de Leyva, and the breathtaking Cocora Valley, home to soaring wax palms and verdant hills.

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Safety Tips

To ensure a safe driving experience in Colombia, always be mindful of potential wildlife on rural roads and keep your vehicle in top condition, particularly in mountainous regions. Carrying an International Driving License (IDL) is crucial, as it is often required at checkpoints and for car rentals. Stay aware of your surroundings, especially when driving at night, and keep a reliable map or GPS device on hand.

Advantages of Using

Obtaining an IDL through offers unparalleled convenience, steering you clear of the bureaucratic hassles typically associated with government offices. The online application process is quick and easy, backed by dedicated customer support. As a globally recognized provider, ensures that your International Driving License will be accepted without issue, making your travel experience smoother and more enjoyable.


As you plan your road trip through the captivating landscapes of Colombia, embrace the freedom and flexibility that comes with exploring by car. Remember the benefits of securing your International Driving License through to facilitate a seamless travel experience. Whether you're navigating mountain roads, visiting historic towns, or simply taking in the beautiful scenery, your journey will be enriched by the peace of mind that comes with being fully prepared.

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