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How to send a letter – Bogotá mail

The first part of this post explains how to send a letter from Bogotá to somewhere else (either in Colombia or to another country). The second part briefly explains how to format a Colombian address when you are posting a letter to Colombia.

How to send a letter from Bogotá

Colombians rarely use the public mail service so it took me a while to find out how to send a letter abroad. Everyone knows about the private courier services – Fedex, DHL, Deprisa and Servientrega (national) are some of these. However, you’ll often get a blank face if you start asking where to buy stamps or find a letter-box (doesn’t exist) or a post office (there aren’t many).

Colombian postal service

4-72 is the public postal service in Colombia. It has offices scattered around the city, and these can be in quite obscure places.

You can check on the 4-72 website to find the 4-72 post office nearest to you in any part of Colombia. You can change the language of the website in the top right-hand corner.

Post office in downtown Bogota

I went to an oficina de correos (post office) near the Museo del Oro in downtown Bogotá at Cl. 12a #8-74. Walk to carrera 8 and walk down it until it crosses with calle 12a. The post office is diagonally opposite a big building called Murillo Toro which has steps outside it. It just looks like a shop, but in the window somewhere it says “4-72“.

4-72 post office - how to send a letter from Bogota

4-72 post office, Bogota

If you are sending a letter, you need to write your name and address in the top left hand corner of the envelope, and the recipient’s address more or less in the middle (leaving plenty of space for stamps in the right-hand corner).

Colombian mail service options – Normal or Certified

The best service to use if you want your letter to arrive as soon as possible is the Correo Certificado. This allows you to track your letter if it doesn’t arrive. They say it takes 10-12 working days for post to arrive in the US or Europe from Colombia. At the time of writing, a letter weighing less than 20g cost approx. 9000 pesos to send. So if you’re a tourist passing through Colombia, you might want to send post-cards once you arrive home! There is a Correo Normal which is cheaper, costing $2600 to the US, and $3600 pesos to most countries in Europe, so you may want to choose this option for postcards.

What information will I need to give to send a letter in Colombia?

For Correo Certificado, you will be asked for your ID/Passport number, name and address. If you choose this option, make sure you have this information with you at the post office.

Good to remember…

The city of Bogotá largely consists of calles (streets running east to west) and carreras (avenues running from north to south), much like cities in the US. The calles are horizontal and the carreras are vertical on the map. So if you see an address “calle 76 # 9-60”, it means that the building you need is on calle 76, near where it crosses with carrera 9, and the building number is 60.

How to send a letter to Colombia

Bogotá and most other places in Colombia are divided into a grid of streets and avenues. I used to live at Carrera 7 # 6523, Apartment 702.  This means that I lived on 7th avenue, that the street just to the south of my building was street 65, the building number was 23 and my apartment number was 702.

So when you want to send a letter to Colombia, the recipient’s address will have a format similar to the one above. It might have the name of a building/hotel/business too.

What is the Colombia address format?

If I wanted to send a letter to the person living in my old apartment, this is what I would write on the envelope:

[Jane Smith]
Carrera 7 # 65 – 23 Apto 702
Edificio Lambaré
<– the name of the building
Chapinero Norte   <– this is the neighbourhood – useful but not necessary to include
Bogotá
Colombia

Does Colombia use zip codes?

Zip codes are a new concept in Colombia, so if you ask the recipient for one, they might not know what to tell you. However, postal services in some countries require you to enter a postcode. For that reason, the Colombian postal service has created zip codes you can use, if needed. You can either Google e.g. ‘código postal Bogotá Chapinero’ or go to this website and enter the first line of the Bogota address (e.g. “cra 7 # 65 – 23”).

If you have found this blog informative or entertaining and would like to support How to Bogotá, you can now buy me a digital cup of coffee! 🙂

27 Comments on How to send a letter – Bogotá mail

  1. Erika Vilchiz // February 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm // Reply

    question i know in barranquilla colombia they have a credensial or Id do we put that on the letter aswell

    • Hi Erika, I have asked my friend, who used to live in Barranquilla and has family there, and she said she doesn’t know anything about a credencial or ID. I think you can use the same format as for Bogotá 🙂

  2. Lol 7th and 65 was where the caracol bombing was. original. Also a super cool neighbourhood!!

  3. Hello good day. I have a question? Do you know how to send email in the bogota post office or do you have or do you know there email.? Because I what to check the postcard that I send to my friend in Medellin. It’s because I have little mistake about the home address of my friend. Can you help me? Thanks. I really wanna know. Thanks. I hope you read this .

  4. Aaron Bickerstaff // June 9, 2017 at 7:56 pm // Reply

    Hi there,

    I really need help. I am trying to send a present to my best friend in Colombia for his new born son. But the only details he can give me for his new address is
    Calle 166 # 9-15 blq 9 apt 602
    Bogota
    Colombia

    Can anyone ascertain any more details from this? I have been trying for weeks.

    I’d be so grateful for any help!

    Gracias

    Aaron

    • Hi Aaron, sorry for the late reply! That address looks fine to me. On the envelope you can write:

      [Your friend’s name]
      Calle 166 # 9 – 15,
      Blq 9 Apto 602
      Bogota
      Colombia

  5. Hello, i would like to send a gift to a friend in bogota from the USA. Do i send by usps, fed ex, dhl? Also i read that a company called 4-72 often steal items

  6. Hi: I am waiting for a registered letter to arrive in UK from Colombia; how long it may take to reach me? many thanks.

  7. Hello,I have a very strange question, but maby you can help me.
    I like to write a letter to an actriss nl. Carolina Ramirez. She was in a lot of “telenovelas” in Colombia and I like her very much, but I have no adress.

  8. Hello. My wife would like to send me a gift from Colombia but has run into the issue of finding a reliable and affordable way to ship. It’s roughly a small box weighing between 250-300 grams and will go from Zipaquira to Hesperia, California.

  9. Does anyone have experience sending paper non-valuable letters from abroad into Bogotá? I have read that these never reach their destination.

    • Hi Nigel, I have sent letters to Bogota by recorded/tracked delivery using the UK’s Royal Mail and things have usually arrived about a month later. When I sent a letter by normal international post, it didn’t arrive. If you have a tracked delivery option I would try that for non-valuable items. Couriers like Fedex and UPS are pretty expensive so I’d only use those if I was sending something valuable.

  10. Hello, i am visiting to Colombia in bogota for three months. I need to have my ID sent there in a envelope. Wbata my options for fast and also it’s important it does eventually arrive lol. USPS international mail or should I use or private company

    • Hi Steve, I don’t have any experience with USPS as I’m British, but if it’s an identity document containing personal details and you need it to arrive quickly, it’s probably best to go with a private courier!

  11. Juan Ramirez // May 27, 2018 at 3:26 am // Reply

    How would I format this address
    Calle 66 #8 A 18 parte baja apt 2
    Barrio la sultana to manizales Colombia

  12. Thank you for posting this. My son wanted to send postcards to his grandmothers and no one, not even hotel staff, could tell us where to go to send them. We went through five different people. Your post and link to find locations were exactly the help we needed. Fingers crossed they arrive to both.

    • Hi Domeehoo, yeh, Colombia does not have a postcard culture… or a Christmas or birthday card culture for that matter! I’m glad this post helped and hope that the postcards arrive safely at their destinations!

  13. Hola Marian, los paquetes enviados con el USPS (United States Postal Service) pueden demorar unas semanas o hasta meses en llegar a Colombia, entonces todavia es posible que lleguen tus documentos. Si no enviaron los documentos por correo certificado es muy poco probable que el USPS los pueda recuperar porque no tendran ningun codigo de ‘tracking’ para que averiguen donde estan. Solo toca esperar a ver si te llegan. Conozco muchos casos donde los paquetes que no se enviaron por correo certificado o se demoraron meses en llegar o nunca llegaron – siempre toca enviar paquetes importantes por correo certificado o por un servicio de correo privado como DHL o FedEx. Lo siento por no poder ayudarte y espero que llegue tu paquete!

  14. Hola Marian, yo soy escritora/bloguera británica – yo escribo sobre temas relacionados a Colombia – no trabajo para ningún servicio de correo, entonces lo siento pero no te puedo ayudar!

  15. The only Gringo in this or nearby towns // May 2, 2019 at 3:38 am // Reply

    That’s all good information if you live in Bogotá or Medellin, but away from the major cities, it’s not practical. Many times my wife voted in Colombian elections and referenda in Melbourne, Australia, but the Australian government provides nowhere to vote anywhere in South America! They enable postal voting, but I would not be able to post the vote to Australia. My wife has found a way to get parcels by making a deal with a business in the nearby town, to collect them for her, but I have no idea where to find a post office (there is none) or courier. It would be totally easy for me to PGP sign and encrypt something and email it, but the Australian Electoral Commission has no clue!

  16. El gringo australiano // May 3, 2019 at 8:44 pm // Reply

    I need to clarify and correct something I said. It turns out that I can vote in Bogotá. It was just at the recent State election that I could not vote. I still can’t send a letter, and voting is still going to require a day trip in unpleasant city traffic, but apologies to the Australian Electoral Commission! However, both the AEC and the VEC (Victorian Electoral Commission) should enable PGP signed and encrypted votes. If they want to figure out how to do it in a way that complies with all of their requirements they can pay me to get them organised and functioning for secure, modern communications. (Leave a contact method here.)

  17. VALENTINA NAVAS // June 6, 2019 at 10:48 pm // Reply

    Hi Post, to send documents from Bogota or Colombia, I have been use the integral company PAKKI.co, they work with different shipping companies like FedEx, DHL, UPS and have excelent fares and the services is very well. They are at close to Unicentro Norte in Bogota. They also programming the pickup in any place, for example in hotels or companies. Very recommended!

  18. Hi,
    I am about a week in Colombia and my identity papers are on their way by mail.
    if i want to send a postcard abroad do i always need these papers at the postoffice ? or is it better to wait till i get my identification papers?

    • Hi Salome, it’s been a really long time since I used a post office here! If I remember correctly, I THINK you only needed to show ID if you were sending something by Correo Certificado (registered mail), not by normal mail. If you have your passport, that should be enough. Otherwise if it’s just a postcard, you could risk it and send it by normal mail.
      All the best,
      Naomi

  19. Hi,I am about a week in Colombia and my identity papers are on their way by mail.
    if i want to send a postcard abroad do i always need these papers at the postoffice ? or is it better to wait till i get my identification papers?

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