Many years of civil warfare and notorious cartels — you’ve actually heard tales of Colombia’s most notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar. Inevitably, you may be questioning “is Colombia protected?”.
There was a time whenever you actually shouldn’t have gone.
Nonetheless, at present, the USA authorities warns vacationers to train “elevated warning attributable to crime and terrorism.” In line with the Division of State, crimes akin to murder, assault and armed theft are frequent. And arranged legal actions akin to extortion, theft and kidnapping for ransom are widespread in sure elements of Colombia.
So in the event you’re considering of touring to Colombia, it’s best to, in fact, contemplate security. As with wherever you journey, some areas and actions are extra harmful than others. Issues can all the time go flawed and plans can all the time go awry.
Is Colombia Protected?
The quick reply is “sure,” it’s protected to go to Colombia. However the actuality of find out how to keep protected in Colombia is a little more difficult, and actually is determined by who you ask.
Formally, many governments nonetheless have journey advisories in place for Colombia. The US authorities’s warning to “train elevated warning” is why the nation at present ranks at a Degree 2 as regards to security. As well as, the U.S. has even stronger “Do Not Journey” warnings for particular areas of Colombia, that are extra well-known for crime and potential terrorism.
Likewise, the Canadian authorities warns vacationers to “train a excessive diploma of warning.” Additionally they have regional journey advisories to keep away from all journey in main border areas. And you can see comparable warnings from the Australian and UK governments.
That each one mentioned, most vacationers who go to Colombia don’t expertise any main issues or points. The UK Overseas Journey Recommendation web page for Colombia reads, “Regardless of the excessive ranges of crime, most visits to Colombia are trouble-free.”
The reality is that almost all crime in Colombia dedicated in opposition to vacationers is small petty theft or the occasional rip-off—a not-so-legit tour or a taxi experience ripoff. And, with good journey insurance coverage, you shouldn’t need to spend your journey worrying about these sorts of conditions.
On the subject of different main crimes, Colombia has seen drastic enhancements in crime charges.
There was a 90 p.c lower in kidnappings over the past 15 years, for instance. And, in 2017, the capital, Bogota, had decrease violent crime charges than cities like Miami, Florida.
However journey to Colombia (versus journey in Colombia) generally is a little riskier. The border areas of Colombia are, by far, residence to the nation’s increased crime charges. I like to recommend solely utilizing the Pan-American Freeway Ipiales crossing if touring to Colombia by land from Ecuador.
Is Colombia Protected to Go to Proper Now?
Journey to Colombia is safer now than it has been in a long time.
Traditionally, lots of the violence and crime in Colombia was associated to armed militant teams and/or cartels. However whereas the cartel held excessive energy within the 1980s and 1990s, the key organizations are largely damaged up at present. Cartel violence has, typically, relocated to different Latin American nations.
Likewise, as of 2016, the long-running armed battle between Colombia’s authorities and the militant group, FARC, has formally ended with a peace settlement.
There are nonetheless different armed teams, paramilitary and drug trafficking points in Colombia. Nevertheless, in comparison with the previous, these are comparatively smaller issues. These points are additionally largely restricted to rural areas with little tourism.
That mentioned, newer points nonetheless come up, such because the inflow of Venezuelan refugees, which has induced stress on the border. Over the previous couple of years, thousands and thousands of Venezuelans have left their nation attributable to battle, crime, rising unemployment and an financial disaster. The overwhelming majority of those migrants have come to Colombia.
With such a excessive variety of refugees, the border areas of Colombia have develop into very unstable. There’s additionally the ever-present risk of armed battle between the ruling social gathering in Venezuela and out of doors powers.
Contemplating these points, I like to recommend investing in journey insurance coverage when reserving your journey. With journey safety, you possibly can relaxation assured that, if issues change, you possibly can cancel or change your journey plans with out shedding your cash.
With the ability to minimize your journey quick and alter your flight with journey safety can also be an amazing possibility if issues have been to develop into extra unstable throughout your journey.
Journey Insurance coverage in Colombia
Irrespective of the place you’re touring, you can purchase a journey insurance coverage coverage each time you journey overseas. Whereas sure nations may formally be thought-about safer or much less protected, the fact is that petty crime, journey scams and violence can occur nearly wherever on the planet.
Buying journey insurance coverage in Colombia is a should. Whereas violent crime is in any respect time lows and the Venezuela state of affairs unlikely to have an effect on trip vacationers, having journey insurance coverage is not only about protecting the massive stuff.
In Colombia, your journey insurance coverage is extra possible to offer you peace of thoughts within the case of the extra frequent journey scams and petty theft in case you get robbed. These kind of crimes are sadly extra frequent in Colombia than some locations on the planet.
In Colombia specifically, be cautious in bus terminals and on buses. Thieves usually tend to swipe baggage right here. You may also discover that some bus firms videotape all passengers earlier than departure. This can be a deterrent to thieves who may contemplate robbing the bus however it’s best to nonetheless regulate your bag all through your journey.
Different petty theft contains pickpocketing, particularly on crowded public transportation. At all times concentrate on your environment, and hold your valuables in zippered, hard-to-reach pockets and protected areas. And by no means go away your bag beneath or above your seat—hold your baggage connected to your physique always.
It’s finest to not take out main valuables in the event you plan to be strolling. Road muggings are one of the crucial frequent forms of crimes, and a overseas traveler with an costly telephone, watch or digicam is a most well-liked goal.
What’s extra, you by no means actually know what’s going to occur. On prime of protecting theft and loss, must you maintain an harm overseas, journey insurance coverage covers you from prime to backside.
It’s finest to be ready simply in case of the aforementioned crimes. I like to recommend World Nomads for journey insurance coverage for Colombia. They’ve inexpensive plans that may cowl you for all the pieces from theft to journey cancellation to medical emergencies.
To get a quote simply fill out the shape under!
Colombia Journey Suggestions by Metropolis
Whereas it’s simple to generalize Colombia security on a country-wide scale, the reality is that issues of safety differ fairly a bit relying on which a part of the nation or which metropolis your are visiting. Beneath, I’ve damaged down some journey security suggestions for a lot of the main cities of Colombia.
Is Cartagena, Colombia Protected?
Situated on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena is considered one of Colombia’s most stunning cities. The historic middle is understood for a number of the finest preserved Spanish structure within the nation. The entire historic space additionally has a number of quaint plazas, boutique motels, and wonderful eating places.
Cartagena can also be one of many most secure cities in Colombia for vacationers. That is partially as a result of dual-nature of town.
The vacationer areas are bodily separated from a lot of the metropolis. Vacationers largely stay within the safe Bocagrande, Castillogrande, Getsemani, or El Centro neighborhoods. In these areas, law enforcement officials are very current and the most certainly crime is petty theft.
On the seashores in these neighborhoods, you’ll want to watch your stuff as baggage are typically snatched. Within the historic areas, you can see various scams—from folks promoting pretend excursions to sketchy cash alternate companies.
Whereas most guests stay within the above neighborhoods for almost all of their go to, there are a selection of vacationer websites positioned additional into the guts of town. You ought to be rather more vigilant when visiting these websites.
For instance, the Castillo San Felipe fort is a should see and positioned inside strolling distance of the historic middle. Nevertheless, I don’t advocate strolling to or again from the fort at night time.
Likewise, the La Popa convent provides the most effective views within the metropolis. Nevertheless, it ought to solely be visited by way of automobile. The encircling neighborhoods on the mountainside are recognized to be very tough. For extra adventurous vacationers, you may additionally need to try the native market—Bazurto. If you happen to achieve this although, be sure you hold a good grip in your digicam.
Is Medellin, Colombia Protected?
Whereas as soon as often called one of many homicide capitals of the world and because the residence of the infamous Pablo Escobar, at present Medellin is a reborn metropolis.
During the last decade, Medellin has develop into recognized not as a metropolis of crime however a metropolis of innovation.
In 2013, town obtained the Progressive Metropolis of the World award and in addition an Urbanism Award from Harvard College. Along with the above, Medellin is gorgeous with numerous parks, trendy structure and nice public transportation.
All that being mentioned, Medellin nonetheless has excessive crime charges, particularly in sure neighborhoods. I advisable that you just do a little bit of analysis and guide lodging
in one of many safer neighborhoods.
Town of Medellin sits in a valley and if you’re staying additional up within the hills, it’s endorsed that you just don’t stroll residence at night time. Even within the nicer neighborhoods, streets on the steep hillsides could be darkish and abandoned after sundown.
The general public transportation in Medellin is top-notch for South America. Nevertheless, like all bus or metro system, pickpocketing can and does occur.
Lastly, there are a couple of “vacationer” websites which might be positioned in barely extra harmful neighborhoods. Many of those locations and excursions profit native communities and I don’t advocate skipping them.
Contemplate reserving a Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour
or taking a experience on one of many Metrocables. These will each provide you with an opportunity to see and assist native, working class neighborhoods.
That being mentioned, it helps to remain vigilant.
Is Bogota, Colombia Protected?
The capital of Colombia, Bogota sits within the middle of the nation. At 8,660 toes (2640 meters) above sea degree, the commonest problem guests face in Bogota just isn’t crime however, somewhat, delicate altitude illness.
Town has various nice neighborhoods with a number of museums, world class eating places, parks, and theaters. Relying on what a part of town you might be visiting or staying in, you may end up strolling historic cobblestone streets, dancing at a world-class nightclub, or having fun with a espresso at a quaint native cafe.
Which neighborhood you might be visiting will even largely decide how protected you might be and what kind of crime you may need to be cautious of avoiding.
In La Candelaria, the historic middle, you can see the nations prime museums and a lot of the metropolis’s backpacker hostels. Sadly, this neighborhood can also be fairly sketchy at night time and I don’t advocate strolling round by your self or with any main valuables. Additional south, town will get very tough and few vacationers ought to or do enterprise a lot additional than La Candelaria.
To the north, you may have neighborhoods like Zona G (a number of nice eating places) and Zona T (nice nightlife choices). In these neighborhoods, you can see a number of vacationers and loads of police. That being mentioned, mugging and pickpocketing do happen, particularly late at night time when bars and eating places shut. Parque 93, Virrey and the Usaquen areas of Bogota are additionally very upscale and protected however once more, keep away from strolling alone late at night time.
One thing else to think about in Bogota is whether or not or not you can be taking public transportation. The Transmilenio system in Bogota is usually very crowded and susceptible to pickpockets. The stations are additionally typically not the most secure areas late at night time. Contemplate grabbing a taxi or uber at night time as a substitute.
Is Cali, Colombia Protected?
Situated within the southern a part of the nation, Cali is one other considered one of Colombia’s largest cities. Town is the gateway to Southern and the Southeastern elements of the nation, making it an vital financial middle. On the subject of Colombia journey, Cali is understood for one more cause—salsa!
Among the finest salsa dancers on the planet come from Cali and if you’re contemplating taking some classes in your journey, that is the place to do it. Cali model salsa has lots of soul and you can see folks dancing in nightclubs all through town each weekend.
Crime smart, Cali does have bigger issues than a few of Colombia’s different main cities. Largely, the problem is town’s location. Near the southern border and the unstable Pacific area, Cali can also be sadly one of many metropolis’s closest to the principle areas of the historic armed battle. Whereas the 2016 peace settlement has improved issues, a go to to Cali nonetheless requires a bit extra vigilance.
Within the metropolis, once more the commonest points are petty theft and scams. If you’re leaving town by bus, be sure that to guide a ticket with a good bus firm. If you’re heading south by bus, that is particularly vital. This is without doubt one of the few locations left in Colombia the place there are occasional freeway robberies.
Is Pereira, Colombia Protected?
One of many main cities in Colombia’s espresso area, Pereira just isn’t essentially a well-liked vacationer vacation spot itself. That being mentioned, it’s the gateway to a few of Colombia’s most liked locations—Salento, Manizales and quite a few espresso farms.
If you’re visiting Pereira, you might be extra possible than not, utilizing it as a layover vacation spot whereas ready to catch a bus to elsewhere. If you happen to do keep in a single day, you can see that there are some things to see however typically, it’s a metropolis for locals, not vacationers.
As such, the crime right here in opposition to vacationers is sort of solely associated to points on the bus terminals. It is not uncommon that do to bus schedules, you may end up spending a couple of hours on the terminal. In that case, watch your bag!
If you happen to determine to remain in a single day, you’ll most likely need to keep near the bus terminal however as this isn’t the most effective neighborhood, I like to recommend not strolling to your lodging, particularly at night time.
Is Barranquilla, Colombia Protected?
Barranquilla is considered one of Colombia’s much less standard vacationer cities. That being mentioned, it’s a trendy port metropolis on the Caribbean coast with quite a lot of issues to do and see as a vacationer.
By far, the principle draw to Barranquilla although is town’s yearly Carnaval celebrations. The social gathering is not only Colombia’s most spectacular yearly celebration, it’s really the second largest carnival on the planet. Since that is when most individuals are visiting, it’s also the most certainly time for issues of safety for vacationers to pop up.
If you can be visiting for Carnaval, and desire a easy journey, there are some things to think about. First, discovering a resort, hostel, or Airbnb different through the competition could be troublesome and scams are rather more frequent. Ensure you guide a good place and solely hand over cash if utilizing a safe platform, or when you really get keys to the place.
Sadly, theft can also be extra frequent within the metropolis throughout Carnaval. The streets are sometimes filled with folks and purse-snatching and pickpocketing turns into quite a bit simpler for potential thieves, particularly if the goal has been ingesting. There are armed law enforcement officials, positive, however the variety of folks far outnumber them, so be sure that to not exhibit massive sums of money and go away valuables again at your resort room.
Is Santa Marta, Colombia Protected?
One other of Colombia’s stunning Caribbean cities, Santa Marta is a little bit of a mixture of the previous, the brand new, and the laid again. Town has a pleasant historic middle with comparable colonial structure to Cartagena. It additionally has good, beachfront neighborhoods with trendy sky-rise residence buildings with nice views.
If you happen to aren’t a lot of a metropolis individual, Santa Marta can also be the gateway to a number of the nation’s finest pure parks and laid again seaside cities.
Safety smart, Santa Marta is a bit break up. Some areas, like upscale El Rodadero, are fairly protected. Different areas, particularly the neighborhoods proper outdoors the historic middle, generally is a bit extra sketchy.
One other consideration when visiting Santa Marta is town’s location. Sitting only a few hours from Venezuela, town is experiencing a bit extra of the volatility spilling out from the border area.
General, town is comparatively protected however it’s price noting that over the past yr, there was a 12 p.c enhance in robberies. That is in distinction to many different Colombian cities which noticed reductions or a lot decrease will increase in crime charges.
Is Colombia Protected to Journey Alone?
Solo journey could be an incredible expertise and that’s simply as true in Colombia as in lots of different locations on the planet. Colombians are recognized for being extremely pleasant and welcoming. Even if you’re touring alone in Colombia, you aren’t prone to really feel lonely.
So far as staying protected in Colombia, in the case of touring alone, it’s best to take the identical precautions you’d take wherever else. Letting somebody again residence know the place you might be, the place you might be heading, and sending common updates is a superb concept.
Additionally, you will need to be sure that somebody again residence has entry to your info—a duplicate of your passport, journey insurance coverage info, and many others. If something occurs, it’s good to have an ally, even if you’re technically alone.
Whereas Colombia is comparatively protected for solo journey, it’s best to contemplate your self a bit extra of a goal for any criminals.
Take further warning to observe your bag particularly in bus terminals and on the road. Strolling alone at night time, nearly wherever in Colombia, can also be not advisable. If you’re staying at a hostel, you possibly can often discover another person to tag alongside for any late night time adventures but when not, seize a taxi or Uber residence.
On the finish of the day, the most effective piece of recommendation—particularly when touring by yourself—is to make use of frequent sense.
Is it Protected for Individuals in Colombia?
On the subject of South America, Colombia is the nation with one of many closest political connections to the USA. The nations labored intently collectively to combat the cartels of the ’80s and ’90s. Additionally they have comparable political climates and many cultural similarities as effectively.
As such, folks from the U.S. are often welcomed to Colombia with heat and enthusiasm. Colombian folks have a love for U.S. tradition and you might be positive to rapidly make mates.
So far as Colombia security, U.S. residents shouldn’t have any extra problem visiting or touring round Colombia than anybody else from an analogous nation. Being from a wealthier nation, you’ll naturally be extra of a goal for scams. If you happen to exhibit valuables, you’ll likewise be extra of a goal for theft. Being from the U.S. gained’t make you extra of a goal alone although.
That mentioned, due to the present Venezuela points, some Colombians are a bit extra cautious of a U.S. presence within the nation. Rumors of U.S.-led army motion are frequent. The talk of whether or not such motion is warranted can also be removed from settled amongst most Colombian residents.
The common American traveler shouldn’t be a lot affected by this and it’s impossible to trigger safety points for vacationers. It’s good to remember although, particularly if discussing politics in any heated state of affairs.
Is Colombia Protected for Solo Feminine Vacationers?
Touring alone as a lady has its personal set of dangers and safety issues. In Colombia, you can see many ladies touring alone however it isn’t essentially the most secure or best place on the planet to take action.
Colombia, like many Latin American nations, has a little bit of a machismo problem.
It is extremely frequent for males to catcall, whistle, and even comply with girls on the streets. A robust, aggressive response will often trigger them to again off, however not on a regular basis. Most native Colombian girls take the strategy of ignoring it.
If you’re touring solo as a lady in Colombia, I don’t advisable going out ingesting or partying alone. The nightlife in Colombia is wonderful however as a solo girl, you can be focused aggressively in any nightclub. Whereas violence or outright assault is uncommon, harassment at nightclubs is frequent.
On the identical time, native Colombians are very welcoming and if you’re alone as a vacationer it’s simple to make mates. You can see each women and men keen to indicate you the most effective of their nation.
Is the Water Protected to Drink in Colombia?
The very last thing you need to do on any journey is get sick. Everyone knows that the quickest solution to decide up a abdomen bug is by ingesting unhealthy water. Fortunately, in most of Colombia’s main cities, faucet water is completely protected.
Colombia regulates and assessments faucet water for ingesting high quality in Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Cartagena. In these cities, you have to be nice however it’s price noting that there are occasional points.
You probably have a really delicate abdomen, you continue to may need to filter your water. Additionally contemplate the choice if you’re staying in an older constructing. They don’t all the time hold plumbing pipes as much as high quality requirements.
In additional rural areas and smaller cities, ingesting faucet water is rather more dangerous. Many Colombians outdoors the key cities selected to boil all ingesting water of their houses. Wealthier Colombians, each in rural areas and in main cities, typically additionally choose to have filtered ingesting water delivered to their houses.
Until you might be sticking solely to the key cities, it may be a good suggestion to pack a water filter. A fantastic journey possibility is the Lifestraw Go water bottle
, which is sufficiently small to pack and handy not simply as a filter however as a water bottle.
Is the Meals Protected to Eat in Colombia?
Colombia is notorious for having fairly bland meals. The reality, nonetheless, is that gastronomy within the nation could be prime notch—if the place to search out it.
Bogota is residence to not one however three of Latin America’s finest eating places. There are equally nice eating places in Cartagena, Medellin and different main cities. In Medellin, for instance, El Cielo is a well known and extremely rated restaurant with a tasting menu in molecular gastronomy.
Consuming at most metropolis eating places is totally protected. In additional rural areas, water high quality generally is a bit riskier and it would be best to go for absolutely cooked meals choices.
On the subject of avenue and market meals, it would be best to take a bit extra warning. Typically, it’s most likely protected, however use your frequent sense and keep away from something that appears off, previous or lower than cooked.
Rural areas are extra susceptible to meals poisoning. In addition to unhealthy water, additionally, you will need to be careful in rural areas the place energy outages are frequent. Maintaining meals, particularly meat cool could be very arduous when there are frequent energy outages. That is very true in Colombia’s rural, sizzling coastal areas or the Amazon area.
Are Taxis in Colombia Protected?
Colombia regulates all taxis and typically they’re protected. Nevertheless, they’re additionally the commonest locations in Colombia for native scammers to reap the benefits of vacationers.
Every metropolis in Colombia has its personal type of “guidelines” when in involves taxis. In Bogota, the meter ought to all the time be operating. In Cartagena or Santa Marta, meters usually are not actually a factor. As a substitute, costs are based mostly on distance. The issue is that in the event you don’t know the set value, you can be overcharged.
A standard rip-off to be careful for is taxi drivers claiming the meter doesn’t work. In some cities (once more Cartagena or Santa Marta), they may be telling the reality however in Bogota or Medellin, if the meter isn’t working, discover one other cab.
One other downside is taxi drivers quoting a better value than the meter reveals on the finish of a experience. In taxis with meters, there must be a chart out there that reveals you the meter quantity and the worth. Drivers often add a surcharge of two,000 COP to meter costs on weekends and at night time.
Alternatively, Uber can also be out there in a couple of Colombian cities. Whereas not fairly authorized, you possibly can often decide up an Uber with none issues.
With Uber, you might be positive to pay the official value however with the legality problem, there are often issues. Uber drivers typically ask passengers to sit down up entrance as they don’t need to be a goal for police. If police cease the automobile, you shouldn’t have any issues. They could query you although and presumably nice the Uber driver.
Is Colombia Protected to Reside?
Colombia is turning into a well-liked expat vacation spot with 1000’s of individuals transferring to the nation annually. Whereas folks again residence may marvel is Colombia protected, the various expats within the nation have determined the reply is: “protected sufficient.”
With safety bettering and violent crime charges persevering with to drop, it has develop into comparatively protected to stay in Colombia. On prime of normal Colombia security, the nation additionally has an amazing well being care system. This makes dwelling within the nation longterm a viable, protected possibility for a lot of.
Moreover, in the event you select to maneuver to Colombia, the longer you keep, the extra protected it would get for you.
That is based mostly on the logic that the longer you keep wherever, the extra acquainted you get with the place. You study which neighborhoods to keep away from. You’re acquainted with the journey advisories and are in a position to study the frequent scams (and find out how to keep away from them). Making mates and constructing a neighborhood who can look out for you additionally helps.
The reality is that Colombia, whereas not essentially the most protected place on the planet, is a superb place to stay general.
So, is it Harmful in Colombia?
Many individuals’s first introduction to Colombia is the Netflix present, Narcos. And whereas it’s a improbable present, the reality is that Colombia is a a lot completely different place than it was a couple of a long time in the past.
Right now, Colombia is trendy and complex. It is without doubt one of the most stunning and numerous locations on earth. It’s residence to world-class eating and nightlife. A whole bunch of 1000’s of vacationers go to annually.
Colombia is way from the kidnapping and homicide capital it as soon as was. Right now it’s safer and safer than many Latin American nations.
All that mentioned, put together your self.
Colombians have a saying “no dar papaya,” which accurately means “don’t give papaya.” The true that means, although, is that you just shouldn’t give folks a chance to reap the benefits of you.
Don’t rely cash on the road, don’t flash your valuables and keep alert.
On this identical line of considering, use frequent sense and don’t go away your self open to danger. Don’t give the papaya. And most significantly, be sure you get journey insurance coverage
to cowl your self, it doesn’t matter what occurs.