PCR Test: looking to get a COVID-19 test in Bogotá? We provide advice and information on places and prices for getting a COVID-19 test in Bogotá.

Coronavirus show no signs of going away in Colombia. Many Medellin Guru readers have asked about COVID-19 tests and particularly about PCR tests needed for international travel.

Note the U.S. will start requiring a COVID-19 test for travelers to the U.S. starting on January 26, either a PCR test or an antigen test.

Whether you need a PCR test for travel, arrived in Colombia without a PCR test and need a PCR test, have symptoms or have been in contact with someone infected, we provide information about obtaining COVID-19 tests in Bogotá.

We have a popular article about how to get a COVID-19 test in Medellín and also how to get a COVID-19 test in Cartagena. But many readers wanted to know where they can get a test in Bogotá. So, we now have this article.

Do You Need a Test?

Many people don’t necessarily need to be tested for coronavirus and can avoid putting strain on the medical system.

If you’re traveling to another country you may need to get tested, depending on country.

If you’ve had contact with infected people it’s probably a good idea even if you don’t have symptoms. However, you can simply self-isolate for 14 days. The most common symptoms include: fever, dry cough, loss of taste and/or smell.

The second decision is whether you want to leave the house or not. You may find it hard to get around, or you may be worried about infecting others as you travel. EPS insurance providers generally recommend home visits for tests, private clinics may offer home service at a small cost. Waiting for a home visit reduces infection chances, but will increase overall time.

The U.S. Has New COVID-19 Test Requirements Starting on November 8, 2021

See here on the CDC website

  • If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status) before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight.
    • Fully vaccinated: The viral test must be conducted on a sample taken no more than 3 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country if you show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
    • Not fully vaccinated: The viral test must be conducted on a sample taken no more than 1 day before the flight’s departure from a foreign country if you do not show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

More information.

  • If you are a non-U.S. citizen who is a nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa), you will need to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before you travel by air to the United States from a foreign country.
  • Some categories of noncitizen, nonimmigrants are excepted from this requirement. If you meet the criteria for one of these categories, you will need to fulfill additional requirements to travel by air to the United States.
  • At this time, all air passengers ages 2 or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must show a negative result of a COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States. For more information about these testing requirements, visit Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19

A PCR Test is No Longer Required for Travel to Colombia

According to El Tiempo, the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz, explained on Wednesday the guidelines of resolution 777 of 2021, which sets the criteria for the economic and social reactivation of the country.

In an interview with Caracol Noticias, Ruiz revealed that Colombia will no longer request the requirement of the PCR test from travelers, both Colombian and foreign, who enter the country. Also, the CoronApp requirement will be removed.

The bottom line is it will no longer be necessary for travelers to present a negative PCR test upon arrival in the country. This measure began to take effect on June 1, 2021, as confirmed by the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz.

What is a PCR Test?

The two most common are PCR and antigen (antígeno), with antibody testing coming a distant third.

The first type of test, RT-PCR is a molecular test that is considered the gold standard and is used by Colombia for most of its test. PT-PCR stands for reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction test, which tries to find genetic sequences of the virus by deploying primers – chemicals or reagents which are added to test if a reaction occurs – that attach to the targeted genetic sequences.

The PCR test and antigen tests are performed with nasal swabs and are usually the most reliable in the early stages of the disease.

  1. A PCR test is typically needed for travel and is a more accurate test, especially in the early stages of coronavirus. However, this test is more expensive and takes longer to return results.
  2. The antigen test is quicker and not always as reliable as a PCR test. This test is typically recommended only if you have symptoms or seven days after you’ve had contact with someone who’s tested positive.
  3. The antibody (anticuerpo) test is another option, although much less useful. This test is a rapid serological test that relies on detecting antibodies in a blood sample, usually obtained through a simple finger prick. These tests do not require special equipment to process the results.
Hospital Universitario Clinica San Rafael in Bogotá

Hospital Universitario Clinica San Rafael in Bogotá

Getting a COVID-19 Test at Private Hospitals/Clinics in Bogotá

You can obtain a COVID-19 test at private hospitals and clinics in Bogotá. Bogotá has nine of the best hospitals in Latin America.

We recommend Hospital Universitario Clinica San Rafael, based on the experience of two Medellin Guru readers.

Test Location – Hospital Universitario Clinica San Rafael, Carrer 8 # 17-45 Sur

Website: http://www.clinicasanrafael.com/

  • PCR test cost – 280,000 pesos
  • Antigen test cost – 150,000 pesos
  • Appointment –  Yes – online here.
  • Time for PCR test results – up to 48 hours

Another clinic laboratory recommended by two readers in Bogotá is Colcan with five locations in Bogotá:

  1. Calle 49 No. 13-60 (their biggest branch, the Marly TransMilenio station is right next to it)
  2. Calle 6A No. 71B-36
  3. Calle 45 No. 8-98
  4. Calle 19 No. 10-08
  5. Calle 109 No. 15-91

Website: https://laboratoriocolcan.com/covid-19

  • PCR test cost – 220,000 pesos
  • Antigen test cost – 100,000 pesos
  • Hours: Monday to Friday: open at 6 am, open at 7 am on Sunday
  • Appointment –  No
  • Time for PCR test results – 48 to 72 hours, Antigen test results the same day if go in the morning.
Testing is available at the El Dorado Bogotá Airport (BOG), photo by EEIM

Testing is available at the El Dorado Bogotá Airport (BOG), photo by EEIM

Getting a COVID-19 Test at the El Dorado (BOG) Airport

Synlab Colombia handles the COVID-19 testing at the El Dorado International Airport (BOG), which is fast. They offer a guaranteed 24 hours for processing a PCR test and just two hours for the antigen test. Several readers have done this.

Website: https://www.synlab.co/

  • PCR test cost – 280,000 pesos
  • Antigen test cost – 150,000 pesos
  • Appointment – yes – You can schedule a test here.
  • Hours – Monday to Sunday: 6 am to 7:30 pm
  • Time for PCR test results –24 hours or less. Or two hours for an antigen test.

Getting a COVID-19 Test at Private Labs in Bogotá

There are several labs in Bogotá, which offer COVID-19 tests. Two Medellin Guru reader reported a good experience at Synlab Colombia that also does testing at the Bogotá airport. Synlab has locations in several cities in Colombia including Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena and Medellín.

There are at least locations for Synlab in Bogotá not including the BOG airport:

  1. Calle 94 #15-45
  2. Carrera 16 # 82-95
  3. Calle 41 #1-10

Website: https://www.synlab.co/

  • PCR test cost – 280,000 pesos
  • Antigen test cost – 150,000 pesos
  • Appointment – yes – You can schedule a test here.
  • Hours – Monday to Friday: 7 am to 11:40 am and 1 pm to 2:40 pm
  • Time for PCR test results (slower than their airport location) – 48 hours or less. Or up to 24 hours for an antigen test.

Another private lab testing place recommended by a readers is Idime:

Website: https://idime.com.co/asi-detectamos-al-covid-19/

Adress: Calle 76 # 13 – 46

  • PCR test cost – 170,000 pesos
  • Antigen test cost – 50,000 pesos
  • Appointment – yes
  • Hours – Monday to Friday: 7 am to 11:40 am and 1 pm to 2:40 pm
  • Time for PCR test results (slower than their airport location) – 48 hours or less. Or up to 24 hours for an antigen test.

Getting a COVID-19 Test Using EPS Insurance

Since all EPS insurance providers are different, prices will vary, possibly dramatically. Two Medellin Guru readers used SURA EPS to obtain a PCR test.  They couldn’t get at test at a SURA medical center, but had to schedule a visit to their home. Scheduling can vary, for one reader it was the same day and the other in three days.

EPS call centers may avoid appointments for tests if you don’t have symptoms and may ask you to self-isolate instead of taking a test. Also, processing times are longer than private hospitals and labs.

  • PCR test cost – free or low cost
  • Antigen test cost – free or low cost
  • Antibody test cost – free or low cost
  • Appointment – needed
  • Time for test results – 72 hours or longer
Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Medellin Guru’s Coronavirus Series

Medellin Guru’s Coronavirus Series

Medellin Guru has a series of articles about the coronavirus pandemic and the impacts in Colombia: Also, these articles are being kept up-to-date, as this is a fast-moving topic:

The Bottom Line: How to Get a COVID-19 Test in Bogotá

Many Medellin Guru readers have asked about how to obtain a PCR test or COVID-19 test in Bogotá. So, we provided this guide. We also have a guide about how to get a COVID-19 test in Medellín.

It is possible to obtain a PCR test in Bogotá for cheaper than in the U.S. Many readers have reported they paid from $150 to $250 for a PCR test in the U.S. For example, one reader recently reported they paid $200 USD for a PCR test in the U.S. And you can obtain a PCR test in Bogotá for less than $100 USD.

However, one reader also reports that it is possible to get a free PCR test in Texas, Kansas, D.C., Arizona and South Carolina from gogettested.com with results reportedly within 48 to 96 hours.

There are many places that provide COVID-19 tests in Bogotá and we provide information about several testing paces in this article that Medellin Guru readers have reported success and good service.

If readers have experienced success with other COVID-19 testing places in Bogotá, please let us know about the testing place including the cost and processing time in the comments below. We can add to this article.

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Editors note: updated on April 3, 2021 with information about he CDC announcement stating that a COVID test is no longer needed for domestic travel in the U.S. but this does not apply for international travel to the U.S., a COVID test is still required for travel to the U.S. from international locations.

Editors note: updated on April 8, 2021 with information that a PCR test is now required for all tourists (non residents) traveling to Colombia.

Editors note: update on April 15, 2021 to add Idime testing lab to the article.

Editors note: updated on June 5, 2021 with information that a PCR test is no longer needed to travel to Colombia.

Editors note: updated on October 29, 2021 with new stricter COVID testing requirements for travel to the U.S. that start on November 8, 2021.

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