In this article, I will explain how you can save $200 USD by getting a free yellow fever vaccine in Colombia. We will look at Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena.
I also have made a video about this, so if you prefer to watch rather than read, scroll to the bottom of this article.
Before we look at each location, let me just summarise the main things you need to know about the yellow fever vaccine before making the decision.
You do not need the yellow fever vaccine to travel around Colombia’s cities. You will only need it if you are planning to visit Amazon and the surrounding area.
The vaccine is only valid 10 days after the injection. So if you are planning a trip to Amazon, make sure you get your vaccine 10 days in advance.
You will receive a certificate once the process is done. This certificate is valid all over the world.
To get the free yellow fever vaccine in Colombia you only need a passport.
How to get a free yellow fever vaccine in Bogota
The vaccination clinic is in El Dorado airport, which is Bogota's main airport.
1. Head to ‘Departures 5’ entrance.
2. Just walk through entrance 5 and in front you should see ‘DIAN’ clinic. There will be an airport sign above the entrance ‘vaccination’.
3. In case you can’t find it, the information desk is just on the left side of the Departure 5 entrance, so you can ask people there to guide you.
4. Go to the vaccination cabinet. Take a number but if the machine doesn’t work (in my case) then just ask who is last and queue wait for your turn in line.
5. You will need a passport. Fill in a form and after that, you will get your vaccine. This actual vaccination process takes around 15 minutes per person, but you might need to wait for more than 2h for your turn.
The vaccination clinic is open from 7 am to 4.30 pm.
No payments are needed, simply get your certificate and all done.
Initially, I planned to get the vaccination in Bogota so I arrived early at the airport before my flight to Medellin, but unfortunately, it was still not enough time and I couldn’t stay to wait longer for the vaccine, as I had to run to the gate.
How to get a free yellow fever vaccine in Medellin
Medellin is the most complicated of these 3 options because only the first 40 people get it for free. People start queueing at 6 am to ensure they get the free vaccine so you need to get there very early.
Also, you need proof that you are going to an area where the yellow fever vaccine is needed, so a plane or bus ticket.
And on a very personal note, the clinic is in a quite dangerous area, so for me personally if I knew I can get the vaccine in my next destination - Cartagena - I chose to wait and not try Medellin.
If you do decide to give it a try then you need to get to the ‘El Doral Conultorios’. They are under the ‘Prevnm’ Group so you might find the clinic by that name too. The address is: Calle 45 #50-48, Medellin, Antioquia. The entrance will be between two shops.
How to get a free yellow fever vaccine in Cartagena
I personally sorted out my free yellow fever vaccine in Cartagena and the whole process was smooth and good so I can recommend doing it here!
1. Go to Clinic ‘DADS’; Address: Calle 10b #25-10, Cartagena, Bolívar. The clinic is in the Getsemani district.
2. The main entrance is on the corner, big brown wooden door. The actual vaccination office you will find via other entrance ‘Fatima’. So if you look at the main entrance, walk the street on the right for 15 meters and the other entrance will be in the same building on the left. There will be a sign saying ‘Fatima’.
3. Walk in, go straight through the reception to the cabinet ‘Vaccination’ and make the doctors aware you are here for the ‘yellow fever vaccine’. No one will speak English, so say ‘Fivre Amarillo’, which means yellow fever. They know the drill so will know what to do. They will give you a number, with that number you can go to the reception and acknowledge them that you are here for the yellow fever vaccine again. After that just sit and wait your turn.
4. Again, you only need your passport and basic Spanish to fill in the form. Using Google Translate will be sufficient.
5. Once done, get your certificate, go to reception for them to make a copy of it and you are free to go.
The clinic is open until 3 pm, BUT I am quite sure the actual vaccination office is only open until 11 am, so just to be on the safe side, head down there for around 9 am.
All the options above are free but if they are not on your way, then there are several private clinics in each big city that offer yellow fever vaccine for a fee, but still, it only costs from around $20 to $30, so you still save a lot of money. For example, in Santa Marta, I couldn't find a free option but I found 2 clinics offering it for $20. So there are other options. Either way, do not spend loads of money in your home country, come to Colombia and get it for free or cheap!