Colombia doesn’t have a very good reputation when it comes to safety. According to Karol, our local travel expert who has lived in Colombia for years, this is unjustified. The reports about danger in Colombia are mainly about areas which are not interesting for tourists. In the cities and regions visited by tourists, you can travel without problems.
The safety of our clients is of the utmost importance to us, and our local experts are always well-informed about the current situation in Colombia. For up-to-date information about safety, security and travel warnings, please refer to the US State Department, UK Foreign Travel Advice, or your local government resource as government travel advice about Colombia can differ per country.
Karol, our local travel expert in Colombia, has no idea where those differences come from. “I look at my own experiences and those of travellers in Colombia,” he says. “I feel completely safe here and from travellers I hear exactly the same. Some travelers have questions about safety before they come to Colombia, but when they are here, they always say they feel completely at ease. Colombians are extremely friendly and always ready to help. That certainly gives a very safe feeling.”
Watch your belongings
Watching your belongings is always important, but in South America just a little bit more than in, for example, Asia. “You must use common sense in Colombia, just like in any other country in South America,” says Eddy. “That means you should not walk around showing expensive things or wear your bag with money inside loosely around your shoulder. You should not make it too easy for thieves. The locals will also warn you if you need to pay attention to something. For example, if they see that your bag is open, they will say something about it. The Colombians are glad that you visit their country and they are doing everything to make sure you have a great time.”
This year, the Dutch TV host Derek Bolt and his cameraman were kidnapped in Colombia during recordings for a television program where orphaned children are looking for their birth parents. Such incidents are of course bad for the image of Colombia. “But that happened in an area where there is nothing interesting for tourists, and tourists don’t go there,” says Eddy. “There is around 5% of Colombia’s territory where should not come as a traveller. “Luckily”, these are also the areas that have nothing to offer to travellers, so there is no (travel related) reason to go there. All the areas we offer on our sample itineraries are safe to travel. Sometimes the road to get to a certain destination, like for instance Câno Cristales, is less safe, and so we arrange plane travel to the destination for interested travellers.”
Tips for safe travel in Colombia
Are you going to Colombia and you want to travel as safely as possible? Here are some practical tips:
- If you want to grab a taxi, call your hotel. They have contact with the best taxi companies and the taxi will be there in no time.
- In big cities, choose hotels in good neighborhoods, where you can also walk the streets without problems at night.
- Use your common sense and watch your belongings. Keep your camera in your bag, put your wallet away in a safe place and don’t wear expensive jewellery. In short: take normal precautions. The Colombians call this ‘no dar papaya’: don’t show your stuff.
- Enjoy your journey and the kindness of the people. Any worries about safety disappear in no time as you set foot in Colombia.
Take a look at our travel suggestions and design your own Colombian travel experience.
Want to know more?
Read on for tips from our travellers and local expert!