Guide to Viva Colombia: Colombia's Budget Airline

 

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. 

Happy flying! 

 
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Ashley Peak

Teacher & traveler seeking bright sides and adventures. I recently left my position as a Title 1 middle school teacher in Spokane, WA for a position in Manizales, Colombia teaching English and Geography at a bilingual private school. I'm passionate about education in action, the power of literature, and traveling the world. Optimism Rampage is a place for me to reflect on the adventure. “Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. see the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that . Shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.” -Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451