Need to get from Cali to Bogota or Bogota to Cali? In this post, I’m going to cover everything you need to know about traveling between Cali and Bogota including detailed instructions about taking the Bogota Cali bus.
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $39. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy. I also use Travel Insurance Master for short trips.
Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies.
Some things to be aware of when traveling by buses Bogota – Cali:
They will walk through the bus with a camera filming everyone. This is for security reasons, be happy they do this.
Your bags will be safe under the bus and they will give you a ticket you must produce to collect your bag.
You may be asked for your passport at some point on your trip. Don’t worry about this, think of traveling between departments in Colombia like traveling internationally. They just like to know where people are traveling. It’s totally normal.
The bus will almost always make a stop halfway, whether it is a 3-hour journey or a 12-hour journey.
Most of the buses now have wifi and plugs for charging, but you may need to get on the floor to find it under your seat! Make sure to choose the best solution for your travel at GuateGo
Some things to be aware of when traveling by air in Colombia:
If you find a cheap flight with one of the budget airlines be sure to check the cost of checking in a bag. Do not take any chances with the weight or size of carry-on luggage as they will almost certainly weigh and measure your bag. Viva Air is the same company as Ryan Air so they will go out of their way to try and get money out of you! This means you need to read all of the terms and conditions and comply, print off your tickets, etc.
Booking and paying for tickets on one of the Colombian airline’s websites isn’t possible with an international debit card. I found this out the hard way! You can use an international credit card to pay, but if you don’t have one you will need to select the option to pay using Efecty. Once you select this payment method you will be emailed a code and have a limited amount of hours to pay, normally 12. You then need to find your closest Efecty and pay in cash for your flight there.
Distance From Bogota to Cali
The official distance from Bogota to Cali is 462 km. The journey time is around 10 hours, although on a bus it is a little longer, so expect to be traveling around 11 or 12 hours to be on the safe side.
Flight time from Bogota to Cali is 1 hour and 5 minutes and there are over 30 flights each day.
Traveling from Bogota to Cali (or from Cali to Bogota)
You have two main options if you want to travel from Bogota to Cali, or from Cali to Bogota. You can take a Bogota Cali bus, or you can fly on one of the many flights traveling between Cali and Bogota each day.
Which one you choose is really going to depend on your personal budget, travel preference, and how much time you have. If you are happy to book a few weeks in advance you can get some very good flight deals to fly from Bogota to Cali. But remember you will need to add on luggage as the airlines are very strict with weight and size. Often it can be cheaper to fly than take the bus, but luggage charges can double the flight cost.
Personally, I prefer to take the bus as I like to book last minute, I hate the drama of airport security and like night buses as I can save a night’s accommodation (I’m still a backpacker at heart haha). Of course, you can travel during the day too and the scenery is beautiful, but it will eat into your time and if it’s just a short trip to Colombia this is less than ideal!
Bogota Cali Bus Journey
The Bogota Cali bus journey takes on average 11 hours and there are multiple buses leaving the Salitre Terminal in Bogota traveling to Cali and vice versa each day.
Be sure to go to the Salitre Terminal and not one of the others, there are multiple in Bogota and if you get it wrong it can take a while to get between them because of traffic. There is only one main bus terminal in Cali.
The best way to get to the Salitre Terminal in Bogota is by Taxi or Uber and the cost will really vary depending on where in the city you are traveling from. Be sure to use the Tapsy or Cabify apps if you take a taxi for safety, or ask your Bogota hotel or hostel to book one for you.
To get to and from the bus station in Cali I would advise the same, Taxi or Uber.
Aim to take the 9 pm or 10 pm Bogota to Cali bus or Cali to Bogota Bus. That way you won’t be arriving into Cali or Bogota too early in the morning. Be aware that night buses do often sell out, especially during high season, so don’t think you can just turn up and get on the bus. I’d advise arriving around 7 pm that way if the later buses are already booked up there is always the 8 pm bus! Always arrive at least an hour before the bus if you don’t already have a ticket.
I personally don’t bother booking on Busbud as it’s more expensive and you have to print off the ticket with is a pain in the ass. Just get to the station early and you will be fine!
Bogota to Cali bus
There are 3 companies currently operating the bus from Bogota to Cali routs:
Bolivarian Express 04:00 06:30 08:00 09:00 10:30 11:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 19:00 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22: 00 22:45 23:30
Magdalena fleet 08:30 – 21:00
Palmira Express 06:00 08:00 09:30 10:30 11:30 13:00 15:00 16:00 17:45 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 22:15
Velotax 00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 18: 00 19:00 22:00 23:00
I would advise taking either the Bolivarian Express or Palmira Express as they have much larger and more comfortable buses. Velotax is mini busses, which I would not want to try and sleep on!
Cali to Bogota Bus
There are 4 companies operating the Cali Bogota buses. All buses leave from the main bus terminal in Cali and arrive into the Salitre Terminal in Bogota. The cost is around $60,000 COP.
Bolivarian Express 06:30 08:30 10:30 12:30 14:30 16:30 18:30 19:15 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:00 22:30 23:00 23:30
Magdalena fleet 21:00 22:00
Palmira Express From 05:00 to 22:15 hours every hour approx.
Velotax From 04:00 to 23:30 hours every hour approx.
If you want online booking. Guatego can make your life more easy.
Bogota to Cali Flights Everything You Need to Know
If you want to save time and the idea of sitting (or sleeping) on a bus for 11 hours fills you full of dread, then a Bogota Cali flight is the way forward! Bogota to Cali flights are frequent and oftern inexpensive. All of the major Colombian airlines operate on this route so you won’t struggle to find a flight, but the more in advance you book, the better deal you are likely to get!
Expect to pay from $20 for a one-way flight with no checked baggage.
To get from Cali airport to the city center you have 2 main options
Option 1 – Take the bus
The cheapest way to get to Cali airport is by bus. Just head to the main Terminal de Transporte in Cali and ask for the Aeropuerto Bus. The bus is very easy to use and only costs $7,000 COP. From the bus terminal take a secure taxi to your accommodation.
Option 2 – Taxi or Uber
A taxi from Cali airport to the city center should cost between $50,000 and $70,000 COP depending on where you are going. There is almost never a long wait for taxis and they are safe to use. You can also use Uber, but just be aware there is still a little tension between Uber driver and Taxi drivers. You will need to act like the driver is a friend and get into the front seat of the car.
Option 3 – Rent a Car
I really wouldn’t recommend this, but it’s an option if you prefer to drive yourself.
Option 4 – Private Driver
If you are feeling a little nervous and traveling alone then why not arrange for a Colombian Buddy to come to pack you up? You can make the most of your travel time by quizzing them on everything you need to know about your trip!
Looking for somewhere to stay in Cali?
I recommend staying at El Patio Hostel it’s right in San Antonio and the owners are so lovely and helpful.
Wondering where to stay in Bogota? I recommend staying in Chapenero over La Candelaria if you are staying longer than 24 hours.
Hotels I recommend are:
If you are only in town for 1 night then I recommend staying in one of these places in La Candelaria:
If you need a hotel close to the airport then I recommend the Radisson AR Bogota Airport.
Concerned about safety in Bogotá? Take a read of my safety guide to Bogotá.
This post was proofread by Grammarly