When it comes to safety in Colombia you might think of Pablo Escobar and episodes of Narcos,
In previous decades, Colombia was considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Keywords: was considered – today it’s another story.
With a booming tourism sector, Colombia is now a popular eco-tourism destination with beaches, rainforests, mountains, and enormous history to get stuck into.
But it is true that Colombia was once rife with violence. In 2002 it had one of the highest homicide rates in the world. And though the civil war ‘officially’ ended in 2016, drug trafficking and militias are still active. So we don’t blame you for wondering, “is Colombia safe?”
Numbers-wise, we’re talking a jump in tourism from 600,000 visitors in 2007 to 4 million visitors in 2017. That is HUGE. It’s one of the fastest growing tourist markets globally and is outpacing tourism in other Latin American countries. It’s hard to argue with the millions of tourists who visit here and leave totally unaffected by any issues in Colombia.
So whether you’re worried about Traveling through Colombia long-term or if you’re just worried about an upcoming two-week trip, it’s ok.
The number of kidnappings is down hugely from its peak in 2000, but it’s a threat that occasionally exists.
When you take a taxi in major cities such as Bogota, Medellin, Cali or Cartagena make sure that you are picked up at the reception of your hotel, restaurant or event where you are. There are still cases of people taking a taxi on the street where there is no reference and you are robbed by your means to empty the bank cards.
The FARC announced in 2012 that it would end its “economic retention” policy because they euphemistically told them to take hostages for money. Some ELN units continue to abduct, but not to the extent of the 1990s.
The FARC eventually demobilized in 2017 and is rightly charged with between 2,500 and 8,500 abductions that took place between 1993 and 2012.
Kidnapping in Colombia
Pickpockets are also a common problem. For this, the most famous saying in Colombia. No da papaya. It simply comes down to not having to walk around with your wealth. Avoid expensive jewelry or clothing.
And don’t act like a tourist by taking pictures of everything like crazy or putting your phone or wallet on the table. Learn your necessary Spanish words and keep in touch with the people around you. Do not accept bottled beverages that have already been opened. Let this be opened before your eyes. Cases are known of adding narcotic drugs to be robbed thereafter.
Leave your documents such as Passport and valuables in a safe place and take copies with you. They are accepted in the event of a check. Also, don’t be intimidated by agents who sometimes want to be corrupt. If you do nothing wrong you should not pay for the least so-called error. Always stay friendly. They are also human and try to earn a little extra in a simple way.
Drugs is and remains illegal in Colombia. Despite this, it is offered every once in a while. Realize that you play with fire when you respond to these offers. Many are attracted and think that not much can happen. However, you will not be the first to end up in the pitiful prisons of the country.
Hemp is a product that is used medicinally by the local population and therefore occurs frequently. If you know that you are in a safe environment among reliable people, this can be done without problems.
Just know what you are doing and use common sense to avoid problems.
Also know that drugs are much stronger in Colombia than in Western countries and in some cases can lead to dangerous situations. It is not the first case of death. What is also underestimated is that you are contributing to the armed conflicts that are still present in the country and in the past have caused and still do many deaths.
Safety by Region
The southwestern and northeastern parts of the country which border with Ecuador and Venezuela are dangerous, and many foreign governments recommend against any travel to those regions because of the risk of kidnap or being caught in the crossfire of a drug war .Kidnappings still occur to this day and even landmines are an ongoing issue. Needless to say you do not travel as without some well taken steps of prevention.
Then there’s the nature; earthquakes occur regularly, intense rain can cause landslides in the Colombian Andes, and there are dangerous critters lurking in the jungles and hills. If you’re afraid of snakes, bad news – Colombia has heaps of them.
However, that doesn’t keep the tourists away, nor backpackers, and it shouldn’t keep you away either. Tourism is BIG news here and in recent years is contributing to the wealth of the country.
Regardless of the status of travel advisories, Colombia is the new darling of South American travel. The country has been ‘rediscovered’ despite many various countries telling you that it was unsafe to visit Colombia. Today, Colombia is statistically safe to visit
Is Colombia safe to travel for families?
Maybe you’ve watched too much Narcos, but if you’re thinking this is a drug-riddled warzone, you couldn’t be more wrong. It’s not easy, but most definitely Colombia is safe to travel for families.
All of the bad stuff – the killings, the kidnappings, the violence – those days have been (largely) left in the ’90s and today the people of Colombia are open and willing to show off their beautiful country.
All sorts of tourists are heading to check out the hidden-in-plain-sight gem that is Colombia. Everybody’s welcome and that goes for families too.
It seems to be a source of national pride for its citizens that Colombia is now so popular. Travel here with your kids and you’ll see that pride come out in the form of super friendly Colombians.
Colombia is a country on the up. The arts and literary scenes are flourishing, tourism is booming, and you’ll be happy to know that Colombian culture is family oriented.There’s you as an individual – and then there’s the family as a whole, which is usually the center of a Colombian person’s life.
On top of that, family-friendly activities and adventurous outdoor exploration abound. You can spend nights in a jungle treehouse, play around on beach havens, and trek through cloud forests, amongst other things. Every Sunday in Bogota, 75 miles of road in the city center is shut down to motor traffic (ciclovia) so people can bike and walk freely. Join the locals and rollerblade, cycle, walk or otherwise enjoy this idyllic traffic free day!
Without a doubt, Colombia is safe for families to travel. Take all the usual precautions that you would when traveling with children (medication, snacks, first aid kit, etc. etc.) and you’ll all have an unforgettable time.
Prices in Colombia :
have fixed prices that are not negotiated. Keep in mind that there are stores that have not provided prices for their wares. Here they dare to ask more if they see that you are a tourist.
The modern Shopping Malls do never have that problem
in the big cities always have a price tag in their car and can charge an additional fee of a few thousand Pesos per zone. In the smaller cities it is more common that there is no price setting.
Ask in advance what the price is and don’t be saddled with excuses like: it’s weekend or it’s later in the evening or whatever t higher the price. Make sure the meter of the taxi is running or you have a settled price before starting to drive.
Try to know the standard prices as quickly as possible so as not to pay more than usual. People know that you usually earn many times more than the usual local wages. However, the practice of asking more than the standard also causes problems for the local population. As soon as tourism in the region becomes established, the general prices will rise, which will be to the disadvantage of the local population.
Be careful with street sales. There are a lot of sellers who have this as income. However, there are also rogue sellers among them. This is very difficult to distinguish. You do not help the local economy with street purchases. If you really want to help people, you better look for an NGO or local project that really helps people in poverty. You will come across these activities on a regular basis and promote their strength to offer these people the help they need.
There are also several cases of diarrhea and diseases known when eating street food. So choose a place that you are recommended or that you trust.
Medical assistance ;
Colombia is extremely good in terms of medical supplies against all odds. The effect is very social and good to very good in the big cities. Medellín and Bogota have the best hospitals in South America. Many Western (Americans) people even come here specially because the treatments and medicines are considerably cheaper than in their country of origin.
If you would nevertheless be confronted with major medical care, proper insurance is of course a necessity.
Also make sure to check you vaccinations before you come to Colombia.
So whether you’re worried about backpacking through Colombia long-term or if you’re just worried about an upcoming two-week trip, it’s ok.