Traveling to Colombia? Here’s What You Need to Know About Hotel Tax for Tourists πŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄

Are you planning a trip to Colombia? As a tourist, it’s important to know about hotel tax, also known as VAT/IVA. This is a short summary of what to be aware of when checking into hotels in Colombia.


What is the hotel tax in Colombia?


The hotel tax applies to all types of lodging, including hotels, hostels, and short-term rentals like Airbnb. The tax rate varies depending on the city, ranging from 3% to 19% of the total cost of the stay.


Are foreign tourists exempt from paying the hotel tax?


Yes, presenting your foreign passport at check-in may exempt you from paying the hotel tax. However, it’s important to confirm with your hotel or accommodation provider to ensure they are aware of this exemption.


What should tourists do if they have to pay the VAT?


If you are not eligible for the exemption, be sure to factor the hotel tax into your travel budget. Please note that the hotel tax is not included in the advertised price of the hotel room. Remember that the revenue from the tax is used to fund tourism-related projects and infrastructure improvements in the city where the tax is collected.


My experience with hotels in Colombia


During my trip to Colombia, I encountered an interesting situation with the IVA. Eager to explore the vibrant city of Medellin, I checked into a local hotel. Excitement turned into confusion when the receptionist insisted I pay the VAT, despite being a foreign tourist eligible for an exemption.

After presenting my passport, the staff seemed hesitant and reluctant to acknowledge the exemption. As I pressed further, it became apparent that they were avoiding official documentation, preferring to keep the payment off the books. It turned out to be a tactic to pocket the money without accounting for it.

Therefore, be cautious when negotiating. Many hotels in Colombia may already provide a discounted rate. Approach negotiations with awareness and discretion to ensure a smooth transaction.


In summary, being aware of the hotel tax in Colombia and the exemption for foreign tourists can help you plan and budget for your trip accordingly. By understanding these regulations, you can have a smoother and more enjoyable stay in Colombia.


BTW in case you’re interested in an investment visa for permanent residency in Colombia, check out this blog!




PS: This blog is a sneak peek into my upcoming book about my three years of non-stop travel through Latin America. Know a publisher interested in such stories? Reach out here!


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