Colombia Warnings and Dangers

  • Street in the Historical City Center
    Street in the Historical City Center
    by gdilieto
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Khamlia
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by Khamlia

Colombia Warnings and Dangers

  • Pickpockets

    Bogotá Warnings and Dangers

    I was born in Medellin Colombia but was raised in Bogota until the age of 10. I am currently 20 and reside in the US. We have visited Colombia twice since we have moved here and have felt like strangers at times for being absent for so long. I love my country but in certain areas at certain times it can be very dangerous. It helps if you visit and...

  • Taxis

    Cartagena Warnings and Dangers

    Although l felt safe enough in Cartagena, l did have the added advantage of having friends who live here. They were very specific on not taking a taxi alone. Never hail one from the street, what happens is you get into the cab, the driver stops around the corner, his accomplish hops in and next thing you know your robbed of your money and anything...

  • Police

    Bogotá Warnings and Dangers

    I found myself in several situations with the local police. If your caught running a light, everyone does this in Colombia but if your light skinned those guys stop you immediately and the only way your going to get out of jail is by giving them money. Of course me being the total tourist handed them the equivlent of 5 dollars out the window of the...

  • Vendors

    Cartagena Warnings and Dangers

    If this is your first trip to Cartagena you will be amazed at the amount of street vendors trying to sell you beer, water, braid your hair, massage, tee-shirts, jewels, lotto tickets etc. It can wear you down saying no constantly. My advice is just to ignore them. I stick out like a sore thumb and am constantly targeted. Beware of men trying to...

  • tours

    Cartagena Warnings and Dangers

    If you fancy a trip to the Rosario islands my advice would be to find a small boat to take you. I did the trip from the port and the first stop was the Aquarium which was of no interest to me. We had to stay there for an hour and a half while half of the boat did the tour. They have a small cafe with hot food and plenty of beverages to buy. If your...

  • Motels in Colombia

    As I mentioned on main page so take you never at a motel in Colombia. They are only "hourly motel", not such motels we are used to. All motels around the main roads are such. Nice they are, but ...It is not dangerous of course, but you would not feel you good there inside. Responsible of the motel lock you in the room which is without window and...

  • Terrible traffic

    Be aware that the traffic in the whole Colombia is terrible. Many trucks everywhere, buses, small motorbikes, of course the cars too. They are in cities and on the roads wherever you go. I have read about this before I was going to Colombia, but I had never imagination about how terrible it is. So if you think the most terrible traffic you...

  • Cold water

    Count with that the water both in sink and shower is not warm, mostly cold or lukewarm only. And shower is not as we are used, but only a water jet so I not liked much Colombians shower. Only in Bogota and in Tunja it was warm water because in both cities is cold, around 20 degree at day, at night colder. So even at hotel is not so warm, they have...

  • MMC

    I live in Bogota and for tourists we always give the same advices:1. Pickpockets: the would try to take your wallet, money or phone in crowded places.2. If you want to party or just walk at night, ask a colombian (at hotel or restaurants) first the places where you plan to go. There are great safe areas, and also lonely ones.3. Don´t walk showing...

  • Generally safe

    Colombia is no longer a scary place. Use common sense, as you would anywhere else. And big cities anywhere can have problems. I felt comfortable and safe in all the places I visited. I wouldn't wander alone at night in Bogota, but I don't do that in the city I live in either.Don't let what Colombia was like 10 years ago keep you from visiting now.

  • Is Colombia safe?

    It was not too long ago that the mere mention of going to Colombia would raise more than a few eyebrows due to safety concerns and even today it is likely to at least elicit the good-intentioned question “is it safe?” Bogotá's reputation as the kidnapping capital of the world dies hard and though the country has gone through many changes in the...

  • Changing the dollar

    Colombia is a very good place to buy dollars. Why? Because of the huge amount of blackmarket dollars coming into the country from sales of cocaine abroad there are way to many dollars in the country. As such one can buy dollars cheaper than the market price. Conversely Colombia is not such a good place to bring dollars to buy pesos. Better to take...

  • Military state and check points

    Colombia is a very well armed country. Anything of importance has armed guards...buildings, bridges, even country roads. I must see hundreds of military all heavily armed each day. I find it comforting since I know this presence is what is keeping me and the country safe. Actually...its also important to know that the entire country is not safe....

  • fake carnaval tickets

    be careful of buying tix for caranval in baranquilla from men in the streets leading up to the parade route as the insist they have discount tix only to leran after you bought them that hte the are fake and these men are long gone

  • Nite time in Bogota'

    As a big city Bogota' may get a bit dangerous in the night time. Please consider that soldiers are always around the tourist area during the whole day but there is less control in the night time. Basically stay in the tourist area of La Candelaria and Plaza de Bolivar (there is no need to visit all the wide city, particularly the west area) where...

  • Be Aware

    I have been visiting Colombia since 2002. At that time Colombia was a very dangerous place not only to visit but also to live. Since then the government has made the cities a little bit safer, but it is far from secure. The poverty level is very high. There is no middle class. Unemployment is also very high. Like in many cities throughout the...

  • Taxis

    The department of state and locals will warn you about flagging a cab. They should instead be ordered or picked up at a reliable location (hotel, . . . ).Otherwise, the city is relatively safe looking. FARC bombings have occurred, but the city has lots of police and cars pulling into lots are subject to bomb sniffing dogs and underside mirror...

  • Altitude Sickness

    Bogota is named the World’s Highest Capital, over 8300 feet above the sea level!! Like the rest of the Western cities, there’re all mountainous, approximately 3000-4000 feet ASL. When your body couldn’t get enough Oxygen for the blood cells, you’ll easily get tried, dehydrated and hardly catch your breath. Before getting to this country, please...

  • Guerrilla/Passport check

    If you’re on a Road Trip, it’s always a chance running into both the Guerilla or police’s check point especially if you’re heading to Bogotá. Have your passport and other documents (Int. Driver’s License, Work Permit or whatever) ready, don’t be panic if they ask you to get out of your car and take you to their ‘BOSS’. If you are from foreign...

  • Dangerous East

    Colombia is a great country and the Colombian are among the nicest people in the world. Though it’s just a slight chance you’ll get involved with the terrorist or political incidents, but for whatever reasons, Eastern Colombia is totally NOT a place for tourists. The remote flatland on the East is where the Guerilla Troop gathers round and is the...

  • Kaki Clothes

    You may think this is a bit ridiculous, but for your own safety DO NOT EVER WEAR ‘KAKI’ (green, military-like) CLOTHES OUT especially in most of the remote areas and off-the-beaten tracks. This is quite a serious issue in Colombia, since the Guerillas wear Kaki as their trademark and whenever the police suspect someone (in that color), he has a...

  • Highway Bandits

    While travelling in Colombia, we went everywhere by public transport overland, including some night buses, and had no problems. However, certain routes are said to be more dangerous than others, and in some places it is not advisable to travel at night. Inquire locally (or on the forum) about the current situation. Highway robbery is a reality not...

  • colombia dangerous no is true

    the true about colombia,,,,,, i was in colombia the past week and colombia is the country more beutifull that the people say ,,,,have the problem nothing is perfect ,,,but the guerrilla no is in the city is in the town to far away ,,,,and they don`t have any problem with you this is apart ,,,dont thing if you go to colombia some want try to kill...

  • Lenguistics

    make sure you spanish is up to par. If you are a foreigner or extranjero, you are subject to dangers and thats in any country not just colombia. Either speak it or have someone with you that does. Never carry large amounts of cash or large obtrusive or even external jewelry. The less the better. The people are very friendly, but like anywhere there...

  • My friend and I were...

    My friend and I were essentially interrogated for 45 minutes by two members of the FARC while hiking near a nature preserve west of Cali. 'Where are your from?' 'What are you doing here?' 'Who told you to come here?' 'How long are you going to stay here?' 'What do you know about the FARC?' 'What do they say about the war in Colombia where you are...

  • Safe, as long as you know what you do

    1. Urban centers are safe, but know places before you go. For example, in Bogota, northern part and central area, including La Candelaria, is probably as safe as a typical European city. In southern part you are likely to get in trouble. And avoid the big street, which goes through the city. If you stick to those simple rules, the chances are that...

  • Security's not so Intrusive

    On every site here I seem to see coments about how much security there is and how many armed Police and Military you see. I couldn't disagree more. I've been amazed how few guns you se here. There are the occasional Police and Military men with automatic rifles but the guards at stores are more likely to have a dog than a gun. The security is...

  • Traffic stops

    If you are driving in Colombia, and I wouldn't recomend that in much of the country, You will see roadblocks and there is a good chance Police or the Army will search your car. To minimize this follow the laws, have your lights on when on the highway, and remember their job is to keep you safe. It might be a hassle but far less so than a...

  • Drugs.

    There are many dangers while traveling in Colombia, but onlya word to describe it....DRUGS!!. Don´t try to play with itin any place, be sure to have your bags with you all theway. Don´t accept anything from anyone...And have the bestbook to read in the costums...It could be a long stay there.

  • Illegal drugs

    If you buy illegal drugs in Colombia, or attempt to smuggle them out of the country, you are an utter fool and deserve everything you get.On the way back to London my carry-on bag was X-rayed twice, physically searched twice and I was patted down three times. And that's just at the Colombian end.

  • Kidnappings

    Colombia is infamous for kidnappings, however as a foreign tourist it is unlikely that you will be targeted, and you should not worry unduly about this. So long as you avoid urban slum areas and do not travel between cities by road after dark there is really nothing to worry about. Miltitary checkpoints consisting of up to 20 soldiers designed in...

  • Urban terrorism

    It is unlikely you will be involved in a terrorist incident while visiting Colombia. Security, especially in major cities, is very high and very obstrusive. Police, military police and regular army soldiers, all armed with automatic rifles, are a common sight, along with the occasional light tank. Hotels and shopping malls have both armed guards...

  • Counterfeit currency

    Never change US dollars for pesos on the street. Although it may appear you are being offered an excellent rate of exchange, chances are the pesos you are given will be counterfeit. You do know what real pesos look like, right? Think about it - Colombia is so flooded with paper dollars that travel guides advise against taking them in at all because...

  • Drugged food and drink

    Never ever accept a gift of food or drink from a stranger, however small or innocuous it seems. It may be drugged - this is a classic Colombian method of robbing you blind, or worse. While walking along the beach in Cartagena I was offered (and of course declined) a 'free' crab leg when I refused to buy crab from a vendor. I declined because I...

  • Street crime - theft by distraction

    Be aware of where your possessions are at all times. A common tactic of theives who target tourists both in Colombia and elsewhere in the world is for one person to distract the target - for example by spilling food or drink on you, then making a fuss about helping to wipe it off - while his or her partner steals your bag or wallet. If someone...

  • Street crime - general

    I had absolutely no problems while in Colombia, and felt quite comfortable walking around the streets of both Bogota and Cartagena by myself. But having said that, it doesn't make sense to turn yourself into an obvious target for robbery. Colombians are poor by 1st world standards - the best-educated university graduates start work on only about...

  • How to get around in Colombia

    Despite the risks, one can still have a wonderful experience in Colombia if one uses common sense and sticks to major cities and tourist areas. The safest method of traveling is to be part of a organized travel group or by having a local friend. Always ask for advice (where to go/eat/etc. and what NOT to do) from TRUSTED sources such as hotel...

  • Uhmm,well!!

    What can i possibly write in the danger section on Colombia?I felt entirely safe in the areas i visited (Cartagena, Santa Marta, Tayrona).But there is no denying that some parts of Colombia are very dangerous and simply no-go areas.Check before you leave, but don't make the mistake of skipping Colombia altogether.SECURITY UPDATE (Sep 2003) :A group...

  • Lighten up!

    I'm not going to give any specific tips or hints on safety, but rather I'd like to address those people whose concern for their safety is one of the primary considerations as whether or not they should travel...Yes, there exists a possibility that something could happen to you, from simple thievery (common, if you move a lot and don't follow...

  • Keep your wits about

    The most important thing to remember about Colombia, is - Do not believe everything you read and hear! The country undiubtedly has problems with the guerilla and the drug cartels, but you shouldn't be too afraid of everything you are told. A lot of the locals are quite paranoid about the situation, so you should take everything with a pinch of...

  • Do not be naive in Colombia but relax

    The civil war is confined mainly to rural areas and scarcely in urban areas. But Don´t panic!! This is not Afghanistan or Sierra Leone. Try to be wise and use your common sense: avoid war areas, poor negihbourhoods and late night walks in town centres. Sadly very friendly people or sexy young women in big cities approaching you might be suspicious....

  • guerilla

    read also my statement on my main page"Colombia - Some details and opinions"picture: Fernando Botero figure on plazoleta Nutibara, Medellin

  • Money is a problem... (isnt it...

    Money is a problem... (isnt it always..) I am used to travel all over the world with my Visa card. Dont expect the ATM's to work. I tried several cards and all the machines in the city, but they doesnt seem to be connected with the rest of the world. You need to visit 'Banco de Colombia' during the opening ours to get money from your Visa account...

  • Old City is surrounded by...

    Old City is surrounded by ancient city walls, and feels pretty safe as long as you use basic safety precautions for traveling in any unfamiliar major city. The road to LaPopa Monastery goes past some pretty poverty ridden areas and I would travel by there only with a local cab/guide.

  • There are more warnings and...

    There are more warnings and dangers for Colombia than for any other country I have visited. The guerilla makes overland travel in many parts of the country prohibitive. Bogota has got one of the highest crime rate in the world (I had be back to my apartment by 6:00 pm to be safe).There are earthquakes (see my Cali page) and hurricanes, too.The...


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Comments (1)

  • Nov 28, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    When visiting Bogota, DO NOT stay in La Candelaria where most hostals are
    located. I being Colombian find it VERY IRONIC that most foreigners stay in La
    Candelaria.There are many nice neighborhoods to stay in that feel a lot safer at night. DO NOT stay in
    the center or South of the city, The center/La Candelaria is an interesting area to visit during
    the day, cultural events, bohemian, etc. I spend a lot of time there for events but it gets dodgy/sketchy
    late at night. At night, many junkies from the crime pockets start wandering into the center of the city. I often see clean-looking Colombians rushing to get out of La Candelaria late at night to avoid getting robbed while foreigners who stick-out like sore thumbs are staying there. What the hell!? As I
    mentioned, there are many nice neighborhoods to stay in. Try Airbnb, etc.
    Colombians are extremely friendly and will give you tips about places to
    visit, there are also beautiful suburban/country-side areas outside of Bogota that many Bogota-residents frequent. Go to language exchange groups and get info from locals, but don´t stay in La Candelaria. I am a local and I´m telling you this with all honesty, I´m just trying to save some face and doing what I can so that people visitng my country enjoy it, so stop staying in the dodgiest areas of the city you crazy tourists! Also, I´ve been showing foreigners around the city and taking them to gorgeous natural areas and smaller towns outside of the city as a part-time gig that is more of a hobby to me. I do this at an extremely economic rate where you get a personalized tour with me and my sister which is way, way more affordable than what a tour company would charge. I lived in the United States but returned to Colombia recently, it is definitely a country worth visiting, there are awesome places to see, it is a very diverse country and it is a shame that many people who come visit miss-out on many incredible locations and events just due to lack of information. If you would like any tips on your visit to Colombia, I´ll be glad to offer my feedback even if you´re not interested in having me show you around. I can be contacted at: My name is Andres Duran,

Colombia Warnings and Dangers

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