We recently discovered a very interesting fact about the Yellow Fever Requirements for countries that do not require it. Although we did not need Yellow Fever vaccine to travel to Colombia from Canada, nor to any other country on our travels…. we neglected to sort out that we would be traveling from Colombia which is a yellow fever infected area to Panama, Costa Rica etc. This means we did in fact need a yellow fever vaccination.
We heard from a few of our fellow travelers horror stories of being rejected outright from Costa Rica, and from being temporarily denied to the Bahamas.
We discovered this about 2 days before our flight to Panama City. Cue – Panic mode.
After extensive Googling, we found little to no advice about how to either fake a yellow card (sorry we thought it was a good idea at the time) or to receive a vaccination in Colombia. However, after speaking with many friends and our own experience we found some solutions that we should pass along for anyone else in this position.
- Fly out of Bogota: The El Dorado airport in Bogota has a clinic, where they hand out free Yellow Fever Vaccines to all the silly travelers who are rejected from their flights at the check in. It seems to require some discussions, but it is available and our friends were allowed immediately on to their flight with a new proof of vaccination.
- Find a Clinic: They should be available everywhere, but we know of access in Cartegena (a fellow traveler), and Medellin (our experience). If you plan ahead, and book an appointment (ask your hostel to assist if you don’t have the necessary Spanish skills) you should actual get the vaccine for free.
- We went to Previnm in El Centro Medellin . Since we obviously didn’t plan ahead we had to get an emergency vaccination and the price was 56000COP (23$ CDN). A steal considering in Canada you will pay $160 + appointment fee and have to wait 6 weeks. Apparently nobody cares of the time frame here. We highly approve of this clinic, they know whats going on.
Our advice if you are traveling to Colombia, do not get the vaccine until you arrive. You will literally save 100% of the costs if you plan ahead. Also, even if you don’t plan on traveling to another country that requires the vaccine, still get it. One day you may need it, so why not get it while its free.
Another cheat code we figured out is a way to circumvent the requirement to have a “proof of exit” out of the country. Something which Panama, among other countries, needs before you enter. Some travelers are rejected, some are forced to buy a expensive ticket last minute at the airport, some spend time trying to fake a ticket but we’d recommend making a reservation with Copa Airlines. You can make a reservation and receive a reservation code on an official looking email without entering any credit card information. A free and hassle free solution. Ta da!
The moral of the story is that we are thankful to have both the vaccine and the fake ticket, the ticket worked like a charm and nobody asked us for our proof of vaccination on arrival to Panama…..