Aaron and I recently took our first flight with Viva Colombia from Medellin to Santa Marta. The tickets were 1/3 the price of Avianca Airlines around the holidays. We traded a flight with Avianca for a flight with Viva Colombia and saved $250 USD each.
I've read of many longterm travelers busing around Colombia, and it's certainly cheaper, but if you're limited on time, I suggest Viva Colombia as a budget-friendly and time-saving option. We traded a 14-hour bus ride for a 55-minute flight for only $60 USD more per ticket.
Here are some of Viva Colombia's killer international promotions this month:
However, like most budget airlines, there's some tricks to maximize savings and have an experience with minimal surprises. Here's what you need to know:
- Print your boarding pass at least 4 hours before your flight and as soon as 72 hours before or face a $50,000 COP charge the counter.
- They are very strict on weight/size of luggage. The only piece of luggage that is included in the cost of the ticket is a bag with weight and dimensions of up to 6 kg and 40x35x25 cm.
- DOMESTIC FLIGHTS CARRY-ON: You can bring a larger carry-on with weight and dimensions of up to 12kg and 55x45x25 cm for an additional charge, but note that the price for this service if purchased online is only $26,000 COP (approximately $8 USD), but at the counter it jumps to $46,000 COP. Worst yet, if they catch your bag oversize and/or overweight at the boarding gate, it jumps up to $66,000 COP.
- INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS CARRY-ON: Prices for carry-ons are higher flights to/from Lima, Panama City, Quito, and Miami. A carry-on with weight and dimensions of up to 12kg and 55x45x25 cm costs $22 USD online, and $32 USD at the counter.
- CHECKED LUGGAGE: You can check a piece of luggage up to 20 kg and 158 linear cm, which correspond to the bag total length + width + height. For domestic flights, costs are $22,000 COP on the website, and $42,000 COP at the counter. International flights cost $22-$25 USD on the website, and $32 USD at the counter.
- Make your baggage selection carefully; if you choose to pay for carry-on online, but show up and your bag is over the size or weight limit, they'll also charge the fee for a checked luggage, and you will not receive a refund. Luggage services can be purchased online up to 4 hours before your flight's departure.
- Viva Colombia does not offer refunds except under the following special circumstances: if the reservation is affected by the airline such as by delays or cancellations, or if the passenger is ill.
- If you miss your flight, you have one hour after the scheduled departure to request a change at the airport. If you do not meet this deadline, your ticket is lost.
- Our flight departed 30 minutes late; I have a feeling this airline is not one you want to book with if you have a very strict deadline, but if you're flexible - go for it and put the extra money towards an extra couple nights at your destination.
Here is the full list of FAQ on Viva Colombia's website in English.