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packing for upcoming trip

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Portland, Oregon
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packing for upcoming trip

I am visiting Bogota for the first time next week and am unsure how prepared I need to be for cold weather due to the altitude. Do I need a down jacket and hat or are sweaters and light jackets enough? I don't want to drag around heavy cloths i don't need but don't want to be cold either.

Also, I plan to get most of my money out of ATMs locally but is there any advantage to bringing US dollars?

Thanks for the insight.

Medellin
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1. Re: packing for upcoming trip

Sweaters and light jackets will suffice. ATM's are everywhere; no issues there other than I usually try to use those located in shopping centres / banks etc with security. Some have a very low limit which results in high fees - Davidienda / Citibank / HSBC seem to have the highest limits above 800,000 pesos.

Bogota, Colombia
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2. Re: packing for upcoming trip

I would like to add a further clothing recommendation; presently in Bogota rainy season is in full swing, you could wake up to sunny skies - by noon the rain can move in. With that in mind you may want to pack a light rain jacket and suitable foot wear. You can also find cheap rain attire in Exito or San Victorino shopping district - 7a - 10a ,near downtown tourist area. The later shopping district can be a little sketchy but it's the best place to find bargains.

Once done with your trip; if you choose you can pass on your rain gear to someone needy.

Bogota, Colombia
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3. Re: packing for upcoming trip

Yes theoretically you could get a better rate by exchanging U$ paper currency; however with the risks involved, you would need a reputable place to exchange it. There is lots of counterfeit currency floating around; both COP & U$ notes, unscrupulous money changers, taxis etc. will use this ruse to prey on unwary tourists.

As previously suggested using an ATM may be your best option; best to check beforehand with your bank to see if they if the have any branches in Bogota. The smaller towns are mostly serviced by Colombian banks. HSBC has sold many of their acquisitions in Latin America - Colombia being one of them; my understanding is they still service some of their major business accounts.

Oakland, California
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4. Re: packing for upcoming trip

ATM fees can be really high (mostly on the U.S. side). Last time I was in Cartagena (October) Davivienda had reduced its maximum withdrawal substantially. I've been bringing US$ to exchange. I think it comes out a little better than ATM withdrawals. You will occasionally run into network issues too. Last visit my Chase card didn't work the first 24 hours or so I was there. Another reason to bring some cash.

Bogota, Colombia
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5. Re: packing for upcoming trip

Sure the double ended ATM fees can add to your bottom line; i.e.- Citibank charges approximately 9500 cop 800k withdrawal, around U$400. Can't speak for U.S bank ATM fees, Canadian banks ATM fees avrage $3 and many travelers from other countries i.e. Canada may pay the U$ exchange rate - bank fee for U.S paper currency.

It is not safe to pack around a bunch of cash U$ or otherwise; yes while it is advisable to pack some U$ for emergency, you can still get by using a mix of major Bank cards.

6. Re: packing for upcoming trip

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