FAQ FOR TRAVELERS

 

 

Why Awake: 

What does Awake do for the development of local host communities?

Awake connects you with local hosts, designating 80% of the profit towards the communities. This guarantees that the great majority of your payment stays with the host communities, generating better life conditions and encouraging them to continue their efforts towards nature conservation. 

Local development, in Colombia, is directly related to nature conservation, and touristic services. In Awake, we are fully dedicated in showing their touristic offer, and conservation initiatives. We also have a team that is fully dedicated in supporting and guiding the communities' growth and development, in each particular region of the country.

If you want to know more about our process with host communities, then enter the "Why be a Host in Awake?" link on our page.

 

Are the prices in Awake competitive? Am I paying more?

In Awake, our goal is offer the same prices as the host communities, which means that when you buy through Awake, you are buying directly their services, with the additional benefits of a tourism agency.

If one of our hosts offers a lower price, please tell us and we will match the offer. 

Remember that Awake charges an additional 8% administrative fee. 

 

Group sizes: 

We are not specialized in very large groups, we usually offer personalized or semi personalized experiences, with an average of 6 to 15 persons per group.

In Awake, we are all travelers, we know the consequences that large groups have on the environment and culture of certain territories, and also know that they can affect the charm and authenticity of the experiences. 

We protect nature, we are not dedicated to massive and out of control tourism. 

 

SECURITY: 

Is it safe to pay through the online marketplace?

It is safe to pay online, we take the safety of your payments, credit cards and personal information very seriously

Is it safe to travel within Colombia?

Yes, it is safe to travel through Colombia, many travelers and tourism agencies can vouch for that. None the less, it has risks just as any other country, such as theft, con artists, etc. We recommend that you take the same safety precautions as you would anywhere else, use your common sense, ask for recommendations, and if possible, travel with locals. 

The most important thing is to take care of yourself and take precautions, do not be overly trusting, do some research before hand, avoid traveling alone, do not show your money or personal belongings. 

The internal conflict in Colombia, between the Government and guerrillas, has diminished in the last few years. Armed violence has constantly decreased in the majority of the region. All regions with touristic services offered by Awake are considered safe, and far from the conflict's danger. Specific regions, such as Caquetá, Cauca and Norte de Santander, by some considered red zones, are far from any touristic activity. 

There is still a large drug trafficking trade in Colombia (it is still the biggest coca produced in the world), and micro trafficking still affects many cities and towns through out the country. We recommend that you stay away and not participate in this.  

Are all Awake experiences safe?

While traveling, there may always be risks, but our team is dedicated to minimize them, keep you up to date with any changes, and always give you objective and moderate expectations. We will also share with you recommendations regarding the region and host community you will be visiting. 

Remember that we have supplied you with a fairly complete offer in nature tourism, some host communities are more experienced or specialized than others. On the website, you will see each host's profile.  If you want hosts with more experience, larger communities, specialized courses or certifications, you can chose as you wish. If you prefer local hosts with a more backpacker feel, you will also find them in our marketplace. Awake is the best of both worlds, you get to travel alone, with the benefits of a travel agency. 

Why does Awake not offer small planes for its travelers?

Over the last years, there have been many accidents involving small airplanes. We prefer to guarantee your safety by offering double motor or larger planes. 

Do I need insurance to travel with Awake?

Most of our hosts include travel insurance, but you can pay for your own if they don't (we will help you with everything). This insurance has limited coverage and will not be enough for certain medical expenses.  

Is it safe to take taxis in the main cities? 

Some cities have had security incidents with taxis, but it is not a recurrent problem. We recommend that you not take taxis straight from the street, always call them from your hotel, or phone app. In Colombia, Tappsi and EasyTaxi are the main apps. Uber is also an option.

 

MEDICAL INFORMATION: 

What medical matters must I know before traveling to Colombia?

Colombia is a tropical country, with a large mountain range crossing through the country. Because of these geographical conditions, there is risk of the following sicknesses and diseases: altitude sickness and acute altitude sickness, malaria, dengue fever, Yellow Fever.

Are there risks of acquiring a tropical disease in Colombia?

Colombia is a tropical country (because of it, it is so environmentally and culturally diverse), and home to many tropical diseases such as dengue, Yellow Fever and malaria. We recommend that you travel with all listed vaccines, always use insect repellent, use long sleeved clothing, and communicate with doctors as soon as you feel anything.

What vaccines do I need to travel to Colombia?

Awake recommends the following vaccines:  

- Yellow Fever (15 days before traveling)

- Difteria - Tetanus

- Hepatitis A

- Hepatitis B

Is there potable water in Colombia?

Only some cities in Colombia have potable water (Bogota), but since you are not used to it, we still recommend that you drink bottled or filtered water (avoid using plastic). 

In some rural towns, there is no clean water, so it is best to buy it. Avoid, as well, beverages with ice and raw foods. None the less, do not limit yourself as fruits and fruit juices are one of the highlights of traveling through Colombia. 

What are the risks of getting sick in Colombia?

There is always a risk of getting sick while traveling. If you take all necessary precautions you will be fine: eat at recommended places, do not drink water in rural villages, avoid raw food and some street food carts. Follow your instincts and use your common sense!

 

IT IS BEST TO TRAVEL...

What's the weather like in Colombia?

Because of its geographic condition, Colombia has many thermic levels, from warm sea level to glacial mountain tops, it is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. Depending on your location, you will find a wide variety of climates, from cold mountains, to overwhelming heat and humidity. 

Colombia has two distinct seasons during the year: dry and rain. Generally, dry season is from December to March, and from July to August. 

These are the 5 geographical regions in Colombia, and their climactic conditions: 

  • Caribbean: located on the north, its weather is warm and tropical. Its rain season is from May to Novemeber, with average temperatures of 25°C. It has an altitude of 200 meters over sea level, expect the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, our highest snow peak.
  • Pacific: located on the far west is the Pacific coast. Its famous for its humid, rainy, tropical weather through out the year, with an average temperature of 23°C. It is one of the rainiest locations in the world, and also the most biodiverse. 
  • Andean region: located right in the center of the country, famous for its mountain ranges. Its weather depends on the altitude. The hottest weather, 24°C, is located at less than 900 meters over sea level, 18°C is located at less than 2000 meters over sea level, 10°C at less than 3000 meters over sea level, and then snow peaks and paramos at higher than 3000 meters over sea level. 
  • Orinoco region: this region is located on the east of the country, famous for its large savannahs. It has two distinct climates: dry between December and March, and rainy between April and Novemeber. The average temperature is 23°C, with slight humidity.
  • Amazon region: located on the south, it has a very humid and rainy weather all year long, with an average temperature of 23°C.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

What is the electric voltage in Colombia?

Our electric energy has 110 volts. Our plugs are American style. Hotel electricity is usually regulated and measured. You can find adaptors and convertors in any  super market.

Do I need a Visa to travel to Colombia?

All member countries of the European Union; Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Australia; Azerbaiyan; Bahamas; Barbados; Belice; Bhutan; Bolivia; Brasil; Brunei; Canada; Chile; Costa Rica; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Fiji; Georgia; Granada; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Hong Kong (180 days); Island; Indonesia; Israel; Jamaica; Japan; Kazakstán; Liechtenstein; Malaysa; Islas Marshall; México; Monaco; Micronesia; Nu; Norway; New Zeland, Nualau; Panamá; Papúa Nueva Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Phillipines; Rusia; San Kitts and Nevis; Santa Lucía; San Vicente and the Granadines; Samoa; San Marino; Singapur; Malta; Salomon Islands; South Africa; South Corea; Surinam; Switzerland; Taiwan; Trinidad and Tobago; Turquía; United Arabic Emirates; United Kingdom; United States of America; Uruguay; Vatican City; Venezuela.

Canadian citizens must pay a 160.000 COP deposit, except for: tourists younger than 14 years old, older than 79, or those traveling only to San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina

Does Awake include international flights?

Awake generally does not include international flights, and only in certain cases does it include national flights.

What happens if I am vegetarian, or on a special diet?

In Awake, we always tell our hosts to offer vegetarian, or even vegan, options, and they usually adapt their menus to the traveler's needs. None the less, there are some occasions where that is not possible. Our hosts will always offer you their best food, but we recommend that you take some additional ingredients that adjust to your special diet. Please, as you reserve a trip, inform us about your dietary restrictions before hand.

Do I need to be in top physical condition for all experiences?

Our offer is very varied, we have experiences that are mostly for resting and relaxing, while others are specialized in high mountain climbing. There are some expeditions that do not require any physical conditions, while others do. Each experience will have a level of difficultly (and its explanation) in the "Description" page.

Is there an age limit for the experiences?

Since each experience has different specifications, each one has different age limits or minimums. It will all be clear on the description of the experience. Most age restrictions are regulated by Colombian National Parks. 

Dog friendly?

Awake offers many experiences that are dog friendly, but others where that might not be possible. Pets are not allowed inside any National Park. If you have any questions, just ask us!

 

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: 

What type of bag/suit case should I bring?

It is always best to pack light, we recommend that you bring a small and comfortable back. Remember this: there are many destinations where you will have to carry your bag, as there will not be easy access. Suit cases with wheels might be difficult to roll, we recommend a backpack. Most national flights have a weigh maximum of 15 kgs for luggage. Remember to bring a rain cover for your backpack.

 

RESERVATIONS: 

What do Instant Booking and Request Booking mean?

In Awake, you will be directly connected with local host communities in natural destinations, some of which have difficult or almost impossible communication. For these reason, we have two different booking processes in our website:

- Request Booking is an option where the reservation is not immediately confirmed, until the host confirms it. Do not worry, they will not make you wait long, our team will get back to you in less than 24 hours. When the host confirms, you will receive an email with payment and reservation details.

- Instant Booking is for some hosts with constant operation, who give us the option of instantly booking your reservation

 

RESPONSABLE TRAVELER: 

What should I do with the garbage during my trip?

In Awake, our main goal is to protect nature, that is why waste management is our priority. The garbage management in Colombia: 

- Most rural villages do not have an adequate waste management system, so the garbage goes directly to the rivers or oceans, or is burnt. 

- Large tourist populations can worsen these problems. Some of the most affected regions in the country, are also our most touristic.

- A tourist can create up to 1 kg of garbage in a day.

Recommendations for our travelers:

  • Research on the waste management of the particular region, before you travel. If there is non, please always bring your trash back to a safe place where it can be thrown away.
  • Do not use plastic, bring a reusable bottle, avoid straws, styrophome, and one use plastic packages.
  • In rural villages, there is almost no environmental education. Share all you know, and help them take care of their environment.

Recommendations to become an Awake traveler: 

  • During your trip, you must respect all communities that you have contact with. Ask before taking pictures or videos. 
  • Avoid affecting ecosystems and natural habitats. 
  • Do not litter or contaminate.
  • Do not support, or contribute, to the illegal wildlife market. It is a large problem in Colombia.
  • Only buy local artisan crafts. Avoid crafts made with endangered species. 
  • Always listen to, and follow, norms, rules and instructions given to you buy your guides, or hosts. 
  • Do not feed, touch, interrupt or play with animals in their natural habitats. Avoid taking pictures or videos with them. Do not use flash photograph

If you have any doubts or additional questions, just ask us at [email protected]!