After occurring fairly a couple of solo journeys, I believed I had solo journey nailed.
I felt snug going to many international locations by myself and had traveled solo in america, Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America.
So, when the concept of Colombia journey hit my radar as an excellent vacation spot for a solo journey, I didn’t hesitate to start out planning.
Then the questions began coming and my family and friends expressed constant concern.
“Is Colombia protected?” they requested.
“In fact”, I replied, feeling much less and fewer assured every time I answered the identical query about security and safety and bought a clean stare in response. In any case, who hasn’t seen Narcos on Netflix?
I used to be advised by different vacationers who had been there that Colombia is just not the place it as soon as was within the 1980s and 1990s.
On-line analysis confirmed me the identical outcomes: Colombia is a growing nation that’s usually protected for tourism (for those who keep away from sure areas within the nation). Even the U.S. State Departments journey advisory agreed.
However, how far has it actually come since these darkish days?
With a rising sense of concern, I booked my journey to go to Colombia realizing that I’d discover out the reply to this very query. And hoping that I would love the reply.
Is it Secure to Journey to Colombia?
Visiting Colombia was probably the most wonderful journeys I’ve ever taken. Touring to a growing nation will not be for everybody, however I nonetheless look again at my footage and pinch myself considering how fortunate I’m that I went.
And the way grateful I’m that I didn’t determine to go some other place because of the issues my family and friends expressed.
Now when individuals ask me, “is Colombia protected to journey?” I’m comfortable to reply with a convincing “Sure!”
That’s not to say that you simply don’t should be cautious if you go to Colombia. It doesn’t imply that dangerous issues don’t typically occur.
Nevertheless, I discovered touring in Colombia South America as protected as journey in another growing nation that I’ve visited.
Sure, there are challenges, and locations you don’t want to go. And there are points all through many international locations in Latin America.
However, if you’re good about the place you go and the way you do it, this is among the nice international locations to go to in South America.
It’s also an excellent place to journey solo for these with some expertise touring solo. If you journey by yourself, you get to see a slice of life chances are you’ll not if you journey with another person.
The Fallacy of Security in Teams
Most individuals imagine we’re extra in danger after we are touring alone and I partially agree with that.
We’re definitely extra approachable after we are touring on our personal and that might make us extra of a goal.
Nevertheless, after we journey solo we aren’t distracted by speaking with a buddy. We don’t have a false sense of safety that having one other individual with us makes us protected.
Actually, after we journey solo, it’s possible that we’re extra conscious of our environment.
In that means, I feel we’re at much less danger whereas touring solo than after we journey with others.
Colombia Journey for the Solo Explorer
Once I began planning a visit to Colombia, I did lots of analysis about security and safety issues.
Although I felt pretty assured I might safely journey to Colombia, the issues expressed by those that care about me weighed closely on my thoughts.
After they requested me, “Is it protected to journey to Colombia?” I needed to be completely certain of the reply.
The security cautions I learn on-line have been largely just like what you see about touring in Europe: watch out of pickpockets.
My family and friends have been so involved I’d be robbed at gunpoint, killed, kidnapped or one other violent crime. Nevertheless, I didn’t learn many warnings about these sorts of crimes within the areas I deliberate to go to.
That’s the notion of Colombia, and it’s time to problem that outdated view.
It’s vital for solo vacationers to do some homework earlier than touring and significantly for solo feminine vacationers.
Beneath is what I realized about Colombia journey earlier than I left and whereas I used to be there.
Don’t Zone on Your Telephone in Bogotá
One in all my high Colombia ideas is that security begins earlier than your Colombia trip.
It’s vital earlier than you journey anyplace to perform a little research on security issues. You’ll need to collect specifics concerning the nation generally, and in addition concerning the areas you propose to go to.
Lots of people put up warnings on-line concerning the danger of getting your mobile phone stolen in Bogotá. This was a major downside for me: I’ve completely no sense of path so I depend on my cellphone for navigation.
Within the previous days, I’d carry a map, however nothing screams “vacationer!” like carrying a map round. Effectively, that and carrying white sneakers.
What did I do?
I used my cellphone very sparingly, and solely once I had clear sight round me that it was protected to take action. I made certain my again was towards a wall and nobody was near me.
Once I used my cellphone, I made certain to look as much as assess my environment to make certain it was nonetheless protected to have my cellphone out. If individuals approached me, I put it away.
I’m comfortable to say my cellphone joined me for the flight dwelling from Colombia.
Get Perception from Locals in Medellín
One other nice technique to find out about security is by speaking with locals.
If you ask the place they suggest you go, additionally ask if there are locations the place you must not go.
We frequently give attention to the locations we need to go to after we journey, however realizing the place to not go is simply as vital.
Medellín is among the greatest locations to go to in Colombia and there’s a lot to do there. You do should be cautious in sure neighborhoods.
Keep away from the El Centro Neighborhood at Night time
Strolling excursions are a good way to orient your self to a brand new metropolis. I took a strolling tour in Medellín and our information, Juan, gave us some invaluable recommendation.
He mentioned that we should always not go to the downtown space, La Candelaria (regionally often called El Centro), at night time and to be very cautious in the course of the day as properly.
The El Centro neighborhood is the world the place lots of the sights are in Medellín, and it’s very fashionable.
By day, it’s stuffed with businesspeople and it’s moderately protected, although there are pickpockets round.
It’s a good suggestion to keep up consciousness round you always and to make sure to have a agency grasp in your belongings. If you’re carrying a bag, put on it throughout your chest or in your chest (for backpacks).
Nevertheless, after the commuters go dwelling, the downtown space is unsafe and even the locals keep away from it.
Juan shared the Colombian saying, “dar papaya,” which loosely translated means “you shouldn’t put your self ready the place individuals can simply make the most of you.”
So, if an space is the best danger like El Centro, or “4 papayas,” it’s greatest to keep away from.
Beware in San Antonio Sq.
San Antonio Sq. (Parque San Antonio) has some lovely murals that stand out in a metropolis recognized for its inventive avenue artwork.
Additionally, there are two hen sculptures on show created by native artist Fernando Botero. One is undamaged and the opposite was largely destroyed in 1995 by a guerrilla bomb. It serves as a painful reminder of the violent historical past of Medellín.
Our information cautioned us to be cautious of gang exercise in San Antonio Sq. even in the course of the day and to keep away from the park at night time.
It’s greatest to solely go to in teams (like a strolling tour group) and to be particularly cautious of pickpockets.
Visiting Communa 13
Communa 13 is a superb instance of a neighborhood that was as soon as the poorest and most violent in Medellín. It’s now a spot that the majority vacationers go to recognized for its wonderful avenue artwork.
I took a strolling tour of this space with an area information who grew up there named Sergio. He advised us tales from his childhood that have been painful to take heed to and shared how the neighborhood is remembering its historical past by artwork.
Sergio shared a wall of small planters painted with names on them symbolizing the lifetime of the individuals who disappeared within the 1980s and 1990s.
The Colombian individuals are very conscious of their historical past. They try to maneuver previous it and to maneuver ahead in a optimistic path to allow them to proceed to be happy with their nation and the way far it has come.
When individuals ask, “is it protected to journey to Colombia,” locals will say a convincing, “sure!” as a result of they’re proud to be Colombian and of what their lovely nation is at present.
Warning When Utilizing Crosswalks
One other Colombia security tip I realized from Juan is that “crosswalks are artwork” in Medellín.
Which means that drivers don’t usually yield the correct of technique to a pedestrian so be very cautious when crossing the road.
I realized this the onerous means the subsequent day when I discovered myself in the midst of the road as a automobile approached and needed to sprint for the curb as he went racing previous me.
It certain bought my coronary heart racing and was a superb reminder to watch out.
Proper after that incident, a moped rode up on the sidewalk and practically plowed me down, so warning must also prolong to strolling on the sidewalk as properly.
Maintain Your Eyes Open in Cartagena
If you’re touring, you by no means know the place you may find yourself.
In case you’re like me, you propose for a couple of issues every single day however depart time to discover for those who see one thing attention-grabbing.
Don’t make your self a goal by clearly not paying consideration. Or conversely, it’s not a good suggestion to look fearful by frantically trying round. Merely have a look round as you stroll.
I liken this to driving a automobile. After we’re driving round, we’re consistently scanning our environment to ensure there may be nothing in our path so we all know it’s protected to proceed driving.
At first, this takes some apply. However in time, we will do it with out even enthusiastic about it. As you construct your solo-traveling muscle, you’ll find the identical.
Outdated City Cartagena and Getsemani
The preferred vacationer locations in Cartagena are the previous city space and the Getsemani neighborhood.
Outdated-town Cartagena is the world inside the previous metropolis partitions and it’s beautiful to stroll round. There are lots of vacationers on this space and it might get very crowded.
Journey to Cartagena Colombia is mostly protected. Nevertheless, everytime you’re in a crowded space, it’s a good suggestion to be looking out for pickpockets and to carry onto your belongings.
Don’t make your self a simple goal for somebody to grab and seize your bag since you aren’t paying consideration. Be sure that your bag is zipped and you’ve got a hand on it.
Additionally, it’s a good suggestion to not be glued to your cellphone if you’re strolling round. When you’ve got your head down and also you’re centered in your display screen, you aren’t listening to what’s going on round you.
That’s to not say you’ll be able to’t examine your cellphone or use it for navigation, however you must restrict your display screen time and make use of a number of the cautions talked about above.
I met a person in Cartagena who purchased one thing and put the bag down on the sidewalk whereas on his cellphone. When he bent all the way down to seize his bag, it was gone.
Being distracted makes you straightforward prey for an opportunist.
Touring Solo Doesn’t Imply All the time Being Alone
Simply since you aren’t touring with somebody doesn’t imply you might be at all times going to be alone.
An excellent facet about touring solo is that you’re extra approachable to individuals. It’s good to make a private reference to somebody, particularly an area.
The individuals of Colombia are usually very pleasant and love vacationers.
Because the nation isn’t closely touristed in lots of areas, individuals are very interested by vacationers and need to say hey.
Make New Pals in Salento
It’s a good suggestion to not go to distant areas by yourself.
I visited Salento, nestled within the mountains within the Espresso Triangle (Eje Cafetero) to hike in Cocora Valley.
It’s an amazingly lovely hike that begins within the cloud forest (high-elevation rainforest) and ends in an space surrounded by wax palm timber.
They’re the tallest palms on this planet and have a sort of cartoonish high quality as they develop as excessive as 200 toes (60 meters).
I bought fortunate and met an excellent group of individuals on the hostel I stayed at and we hiked Cocora collectively. There have been plenty of hikers and had I not met anybody earlier than beginning the hike, I might have simply met others.
As we started the hike, two younger ladies from Argentina requested if they might be part of us and naturally we mentioned sure.
Although within the metropolis I imagine solo vacationers are as protected, and infrequently safer than individuals who journey with others, in distant areas I imagine touring in teams is greatest.
Why You Shouldn’t Uber in Colombia
As a solo feminine traveler, I do attempt to restrict strolling round at night time and have a tendency to take a cab or an Uber once I exit.
Uber is technically unlawful in Colombia (“technically” as a result of you’ll find Uber drivers in a number of the main cities, like Cartagena, nevertheless, chances are you’ll be harassed by taxi drivers or the police if they’re caught).
I want Uber over a taxi for a couple of causes.
First, as a result of no cash adjustments palms in the course of the trip. I don’t have to determine how a lot a trip fare is or take into consideration if the driving force turned the meter on.
I may also be moderately certain a driver is legit. Uber tells me the driving force’s title, shares an image, and the car make and license plate.
Nevertheless, it’s useful to know that Uber isn’t authorized in Colombia, regardless that you’ll find some industrious individuals nonetheless driving with them.
I had no concept once I went there and realized from an area I met whereas in Cartagena after taking Uber from the airport to my residence.
Different Colombia Security Suggestions
There are lots of different solo journey security ideas which can be useful anyplace else on this planet.
These Colombia journey ideas are particularly helpful whether or not you’re a solo traveler or touring with others.
Be Cautious with Alcohol
It’s vital to be particularly cautious if you’re consuming.
You need to ensure you might be conscious of your environment and paying consideration, and also you merely aren’t as centered if you find yourself consuming alcohol.
That’s to not say you’ll be able to’t have a drink with dinner, however it’s simply not a good suggestion to drink quite a bit if you’re touring solo.
You don’t at all times make nice choices.
When you’re within the restaurant or bar, make sure to regulate your drink always.
Particularly if you’re touring solo and don’t have another person searching for you, it’s a very dangerous time to study what it’s wish to get a “mickey” in your drink.
Maintain an Eye or a Hand on Your Belongings
Pickpocketing is a danger for Colombia journey. Don’t make your self a chance for a criminal offense of likelihood by not preserving your belongings near you.
Utilizing a cross-body messenger bag is a brilliant concept to maintain your belongings protected and to maintain your hand on the bag.
In case you carry a backpack, both carry it on the entrance or be sure you add a lock to it because it’s straightforward to seize one thing out of 1 when in your again.
Carry a minimal of money in your bag. Although, remember that Colombia is a cash-based society so bank cards aren’t often used.
One other suggestion is to make use of a cash belt to be sure you have entry to additional cash. There are cash belts that fasten round your waist, your neck, and even your bra.
There are additionally inventive ones with a zippered pocket inside a belt or a shawl.
Be particularly cautious if you pull out cash. We frequently depart our bag open and are usually not listening to it whereas we’re making a purchase order.
It’s a simple time for somebody to assist themselves to the content material of your bag.
Why a Journey to Colombia is Finest as a Solo Journey
Colombia is a spot you need to take the time to actually get to know.
It’s vital to be educated of the nation’s historical past to fall in love with the place it’s at present. One of the simplest ways to try this is by attending to know the locals.
Touring solo affords you the very best alternative to fulfill Colombians to study who they are surely. They aren’t their shadowed previous however individuals who work onerous and are proud to be Colombian.
Visiting Colombia solo means you may be extra open to the message of the individuals to study their true story.
The individuals are bored with the violence and corruption and need change. The people who find themselves optimistic for a extra optimistic future. That’s the Colombia I fell in love with.
Now when individuals ask me, “Is Colombia protected?” I’m comfortable to present them a giant smile and share my wonderful adventures from this journey and my plans for my subsequent one.
I hope this Colombia journey information provided some helpful Colombia journey security tricks to maintain you knowledgeable and make your Colombia trip as stress free and memorable as attainable.
Excursions of Colombia
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