Flights between Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and within Colombia-when to book them?
I am travelling to Bogota in January/February next year; I would like to visit some places around as well, and I am currently checking fares. I have the following itinerary in mind: Bogota - Lima - Quito - Cartagena. This sequence turns out to be the cheapest combination and the fare I get on kayak (bookable on Orbitz, the flights are operated by Taca and Avianca) is USD 508. Do you think it's a good one? My impression after reading several related postings on different fora is that it is not bad. If you were certain about your routing, would you book it now or wait for better offers later? Once I am in Cartagena, I would like to visit some other Colombian cities (perhaps Leticia, although I've heard it might be quite rainy there in February), but I think I should wait for better deals for Colombia (I have joined AIRES S.A. on Facebook so that they send me their offers; I have also found the following website to be quite useful http://www.paisatours.com/colombia_flights.htm).
Perhaps I am planning the flights a bit early, but that's what I also did before my trip to Brazil in February this year. A Brazillian friend told me to wait for special deals in the summer of 2010; these deals were supposed to be run only during weekends. I never found them, booked my intra-Brazil flights in August on Expedia and the fares never got any lower afterwards. How early should I book my intra-Colombia flights? When can I expect any offers for February?
I've traveled to Colombia and Ecuador and to Colombia and Peru but have not traveled to all 3 in one trip. However I've learned a few things and you may want to try them and see if they work. Not sure if your order of destinations are flexible...
I've found that flying from the US to the various entry cities in Colombia and making a stopover there saves money. Your'e only listing the cities you want to go when you get to South America, but you may find the best option is a multi-desitination ticket from the US.
For example, I have flown MIA-CTG and stayed over and then continued on to LIM via BOG which is necessary (with AV, for example). By doing this route you'd have to go to BOG anyway so you could do the next stop over there.
***Note: Exiting Colombia through CTG is more expensive than other cities with the Tasa Aeropuertaria of more than $60. Why? Unsure. I never had to pay an additional tax in other cities but always in CTG for international flights (even though I have to connect in BOG and pass through passport control in BOG) Now I fly into CTG, continue a national flight to BOG, stay there overnight, and continue on.
The average price from BOG to other Colombian cities is about $75 one way on Avianca. I"m not sure about Aires but at least now you have a guideline.
I've also found that on multi-destination trips, it prices better if Peru is the last country to visit. For example, for me to fly MIA-CTG-BOG-LIM-MIA is cheaper than flying MIA-LIM-BOG-CTG-MIA.
My recommendation is to check the pricing of your trip as follows:
USA-CTG (if you'r going to places around CTG, buses cost about 15,000 COP or $8.00)
USA - CTG with stopover, CTG-BOG with stopover and make your other desired trips on separate tickets), then BOG - UIO, UIO - LIM (both Taca and Lan have directs), and then LIM- USA.
I am flying into Bogota from Frankfurt, so I couldn't have different entrance and exit points.
I booked the following itinerary: BOG-LIM-UIO-CTG-MDE-BOG and managed to get it for $543. I think it's an excellent fare. I tried different city combinations; it also turned out that including Lima would drop the fare significantly, even though I didn't plan on visiting Lima at first. I had decided to skip Leticia. I don't have that much time plus it might be rainy there in February.
I used kayak and http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ to search for the fares. I booked the ticket on Orbitz; the fare quoted by Expedia was about $100 more expensive for the same flight selection.