Is Colombia Protected to Go to?

A colorful narrow street in Colombia
Posted: 6/22/2019 | June 22nd, 2019

Colombia is among the hottest nations in South America for backpackers and vacationers. In 2017 (the final 12 months there have been figures), it noticed over three million guests — thrice as many as there have been 10 years in the past!

Over the previous few a long time, Colombia has been working exhausting to dispel the violent picture it earned due to the drug cartels that when ravaged the nation.

Whereas Colombia nonetheless isn’t excellent, it’s come a good distance since our mother and father’ era.

Violent crimes that have been as soon as frequent right here, akin to homicide and kidnapping, are not on a regular basis issues for vacationers. Kidnapping has declined 92% and homicides are down by 50% over the previous 20 years.

Slowly however certainly, circumstances in Colombia are enhancing for locals and vacationers alike.

However lots of people nonetheless ask me: is Colombia is protected?


My Expertise in Colombia

Earlier than I went to Colombia, I’d heard numerous tales of petty theft. Whereas there, I heard much more. A buddy of mine had been robbed thrice, the final time at gunpoint whereas on his approach to meet me for dinner.

Locals and expats alike instructed me the identical matter: the rumors of petty theft are true, however in case you preserve your wits about you, comply with the foundations, and don’t flash your valuables, you’ll be OK.

There’s even an area expression about it: “No dar papaya” (Don’t give papaya). Primarily, it implies that you shouldn’t have one thing “candy” out within the open (a telephone, pc, watch, and many others.) that might make you a goal. Maintain your valuables hidden, don’t wander round locations you shouldn’t at night time, don’t flash cash round, keep away from popping out of nightlife spots alone at night time, and many others. Merely put: don’t put your self ready the place individuals can benefit from you.

I heeded such recommendation. I didn’t put on headphones in public. I didn’t take my telephone out until I used to be in a bunch or a restaurant, or utterly certain nobody else was round. I took simply sufficient cash with me for the day after I left my hostel. I warned mates about carrying flashy jewellery or watches after they visited.

However the longer you might be someplace, the extra complacent you get.

Whenever you see locals on their telephones in crowded areas, vacationers toting thousand-dollar cameras, and youngsters carrying Airpods and Apple Watches, you start to suppose, “OK, throughout the day, perhaps it’s not so dangerous.”

All of a sudden, you step out of a café together with your telephone out with out even excited about it.

You’re giving papaya.

And somebody needs to take it.

Which is how I ended up getting mugged and knifed. (I’m OK.)

This was additionally only a matter of being unfortunate and never particular to Colombia. A wrong-time-wrong-place state of affairs. It may have occurred to me anyplace the place I didn’t comply with the protection guidelines that enable you to reduce threat.

The expertise jogged my memory of why you may’t get complacent. I gave papaya. I shouldn’t have had my telephone out. It didn’t matter the time of day. That’s the rule in Colombia. Maintain your valuables hidden. (Particularly in Bogotá, which does have the next fee of petty crime than elsewhere within the nation.) I didn’t comply with the recommendation.

And I received unfortunate due to it. I’d been having my telephone out too usually and, with every non-incident, I grew increasingly more relaxed. I saved dropping my guard.

What occurred was unfortunate, nevertheless it didn’t have to occur if I had adopted the foundations.

That is why individuals warned me to watch out.

So, in case you comply with the foundations, you’re unlikely to have an issue. All these incidents I talked about earlier? All concerned individuals breaking the ironclad “no dar papaya” rule and both having one thing invaluable out or strolling alone late at night time in areas the place they shouldn’t have.

I’m not going to let this freak incident change my view of such a tremendous nation. I’d return to Colombia the identical means I’d get in a automobile after a automobile accident. Actually, I used to be terribly upset to depart. I used to be having a tremendous time. I nonetheless love Bogotá. I nonetheless have plans to return to Colombia.

Colombia is wonderful.

Study from my mistake. Not just for while you go to Colombia however while you journey usually.

10 Security Ideas for Colombia

You may’t get complacent in Colombia. When you do, dangerous matters occur. It’s a must to keep vigilant. That can assist you keep protected throughout your journey, listed below are just a few ideas you’ll need to bear in mind as you journey across the nation:

1. Keep someplace with 24-hour safety – You all the time need somebody round in case you want help. Most hostels and resorts have safety cameras or guards. In the event you don’t really feel protected someplace, don’t hesitate to maneuver on. This manner you all the time have somebody to speak to in case one thing goes mistaken.

2. Don’t flash your belongings whilst you’re out and about – Maintain your telephone out of sight, and don’t put on any jewellery or watches. If you should use your telephone, do it inside and never out on the road. That is the place individuals get in essentially the most hassle. That is how I received into hassle. Put all the pieces away so that you don’t stand out.

3. Don’t journey alone at night time – Attempt to exit with different vacationers in case you’re going out at night time. In the event you do plan to exit alone or occasion late, remember to take an Uber residence or have somebody name you a cab. Don’t stroll alone actually late at night time.

4. Study some Spanish – Even just some phrases may help you in an emergency. Obtain Spanish on Google Translator so you might have it offline as properly, simply in case.

5. Obtain an offline map of the town – Having a map will likely be useful in case you get misplaced and have to information your self (or a taxi driver) again to your lodging. In the event you use your telephone at night time, remember to not use it out within the streets.

6. Don’t do medicine – The medicine cartels have crippled this nation. Don’t help them by shopping for medicine. Locals don’t prefer it as a result of medicine have so devasted the nation and doing it simply additional cripples the nation. It’s actually disrespectful. Moreover, getting concerned with medicine right here will increase your possibilities of moving into hassle. Additionally, doing medicine right here is prohibited, and also you don’t need to find yourself in a Colombian jail.

7. Maintain your valuables separate – By no means carry all of them collectively. Whenever you’re going out for the day, depart some bank cards and money in locked in your lodging. That means, in case you lose your pockets, you’ll nonetheless have money and playing cards again at your hostel. Additionally preserve some emergency funds in your most important backpack too, simply in case.

8. If the worst occurs, simply give the attacker your stuff – Handing over your matters is significantly better than risking the choice (belief me). When you’ve got journey insurance coverage, you’ll have the ability to get reimbursed (simply remember to save all your receipts).

9 . Obtain the Prey app to your telephone and laptop computer – If both gadget will get stolen, for a small price you’ll have the ability to observe it and remotely flip in your digicam to {photograph} the thief (you may as well wipe the information and message the thief too). The app is free to obtain and solely prices $5 USD for added help do you have to get robbed.

10. Purchase journey insurance coverage – If one thing does go mistaken, you need to be certain you’re coated and somebody has your again. Journey insurance coverage may help you discover medical remedy and offer you cash to purchase replacements for what was stolen. It’s all the time higher to be protected than sorry, particularly in a rustic the place petty crime continues to be an issue.


So, is Colombia Protected for Solo Vacationers?

Colombia is protected for solo vacationers. Whereas petty crime continues to be an issue, so long as you don’t flaunt your valuables, you’ll possible not run into any issues. Whenever you exit, solely take what you want for the day and depart your different valuables in your hostel or resort room.

In the event you’re not feeling snug, attempt to meet different vacationers so you may discover collectively. That means you’ll by no means be alone and can keep away from being a goal for pickpockets and petty criminals.

At night time, be sure you’re by no means touring alone and that you’ve your journey residence deliberate prematurely. Don’t get into sketchy cabs. Keep away from wandering round non-touristy areas at night time and alone.

I by no means felt actually unsafe within the nation throughout the day or in public locations. You’ll see locals with telephones out and, typically, going about their life. It’s actually at night time that it’s a must to watch out.

Is Colombia Protected for Solo Feminine Vacationers?

Whereas solo feminine vacationers will need to take some additional precautions in Colombia, the nation ought to positively nonetheless be into consideration.

Every time attainable, keep away from touring alone — particularly at night time or in areas the place there aren’t many individuals. Don’t flaunt any valuables, and keep away from taking taxis alone at night time. At all times have a downloaded map and translator so you could find your means residence or ask for assist in case you want it.

By taking some precautions and planning accordingly, solo feminine vacationers will have the ability to have a rewarding time touring Colombia. Simply ensure to comply with the recommendation and ideas above!

Listed below are a few useful posts on security written by our solo feminine journey consultants:


Is it Protected to Take a Taxi in Colombia?

Taxis are protected right here, however all the time be sure you name your taxi prematurely. By no means get right into a random automobile. Even when it seems like a taxi, it may not be one. It’s all the time higher to play it protected.

Get your hostel or lodging to name a cab for you, or obtain a taxi app (Uber is in Medellín, Cali, and Bogotá) so you may order your individual. Keep away from taking taxis at night time as properly (particularly as a solo feminine traveler).

Is the Meals Protected in Colombia?

The meals in Colombia is sort of protected. Simply ensure to keep away from any meals that’s been sitting out within the solar all day. Search for locations with plenty of patrons — that’s how one can inform the meals is contemporary and scrumptious.

Additionally, ensure any fruit you eat has a peel to keep away from it getting contaminated.

In the event you’re a vegetarian or produce other dietary issues, you is likely to be exhausting pressed to seek out meals right here, as most dishes are meat-based. Study some fundamental phrases (or obtain Google Translate) that can assist you ask questions and discover meals appropriate in your eating regimen.

Lastly, all the time wash your fingers earlier than you eat. That’s one of the simplest ways to keep away from getting sick!

Can You Drink the Faucet Water in Colombia?

Whereas enhancements in water remedy are coming alongside, you may’t actually drink the water outdoors of Bogotá and Medellín.

I’d recommend you journey with a Lifestraw or Steripen so you may purify water irrespective of the place you might be. That can enable you to lower your expenses and cut back your reliance on single-use plastic. Double win!

Ought to You Go to Colombia?

So, is Colombia protected?


Whereas petty theft is a rising concern, the nation has a lot to supply the intrepid traveler. There’s wonderful nature, vibrant cities, a enjoyable nightlife, and a rising group of entrepreneurs and digital nomads who name Colombia residence.

It’s low-cost and simple to navigate, and so long as you comply with your instincts and use frequent sense, you’ll keep away from hassle.

Even in case you’re a solo feminine traveler, Colombia nonetheless has lots to supply.

So, whereas my private expertise in Colombia didn’t finish properly, I’m positively planning on going again.

As a result of it’s simply too wonderful a spot to not go to.

Simply remember to get journey insurance coverage simply in case one thing goes mistaken. The previous will not be prologue and also you all the time need to play it protected. Journey insurance coverage was there after I misplaced my bag, broke my digicam, and received knifed in Colombia. I by no means anticipated these matters to occur and was glad I had insurance coverage! You need to use the widget beneath to lookup the journey insurance coverage coverage that’s best for you (or simply click on right here to go to their web site immediately):


Guide Your Journey to Colombia: Logistical Ideas and Tips

Guide Your Flight
Discover a low-cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite search engines like google and yahoo as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

Guide Your Lodging
You may ebook your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low-cost resorts. I exploit them on a regular basis.

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes mistaken. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions previously. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that supply the most effective service and worth are:

On the lookout for the most effective corporations to save cash with?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for the most effective corporations to make use of while you journey! I record all those I exploit to save cash after I journey – and I feel will enable you to too!

On the lookout for extra info on visiting Colombia?
Take a look at my in-depth vacation spot information to Colombia with extra tips about what to see, do, prices, methods to save lots of, and far, far more!

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