The most common health problems:
Sunburn, dehydration, stomachaches, stomach problems, diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, malaria (in some jungle areas .. NOT ALL!), and dengue.
Sanitary precautions and health services
Before traveling to Santa Marta and the Caribbean, we recommend you have the following vaccinations. (In fact, it’s obligatory to have yellow fever if you want to travel to this region).
- Yellow fever (at least fifteen days before you travel)
- Hep A
Bring a sun hat and long-sleeved shirts to protect you from the sun. (SPF clothing is highly recommended).
Avoiding drinking tap water and eating raw vegetables. If you order juices, ask that they be prepared with milk instead of water, without ice. Most cities now have potable drinking water from the tap but, as a traveler, you still won't be accustomed to the different bacteria a tropical country has. Drink bottled water when possible, and ask for carbonated water because then you’ll know it’s safe (Agua con gas) and hasn’t be re-bottled.
Drinking water is a key element to remain healthy. Don’t forget that you’re in the tropics and are losing water. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go.
Medical Emergencies and Health Services
Colombia is known for good health care services and providers. ERs are open 24 hours/day and offer great physicians and specialists.
Purchase international health coverage in your country of origin. Save you receipts. Be clear about your health insurance policies.
We recommend private clinics or the Red Cross for any emergencies. Public hospitals can be used in case of extreme emergencies.
If you have a problem while hiking to the Lost City, you can get a mule to transport you out (you must pay for this service).
There’s a lot of medical tourism in Colombia for plastic surgery and orthodontics.
In pharmacies, the majority of medication is available without a doctor’s prescription (including antibiotics etc.) Check the expiration date of any medication you purchase.