For my latest update on Covid in Colombia Go Here I update this information weekly from data based on WHO protocols, and the Instituto Nacional de Salud
Is it Safe to Travel to Colombia.
More than 15 months since the covid restrictions began some countries are opening up again.
One of them is Colombia. In this traveling Colombia 2021 review I take a look at traveling Colombia from an expats view.
My first visit to Colombia was in 2016. Even then, traveling Colombia was looked upon as dangerous, as it was still carrying the stigma of drug cartels and political terrorists. Although it was basically old news, like over 20 year old news and the country had moved on since those days.
Travel advisories for Colombia in 2016 were good, although crime is still a problem in some cities, the consensus is if you don’t do risky things in your own cities, then don’t do them here.
Visas:- For residents of many countries no Visa is required to enter Colombia if you are only here for 90 days or less. Check the Colombian Immigration site Here for eligibility.
However always check with your governments travel advice.
Note:- understand governments like to err on the side of extreme caution. At this time of writing the US has over 100 countries on its “do not travel to” list. Including Japan, France, Mexico and a stack of others. News outlets always highlight the extreme events of any social unrest. The reality is any extreme social disorder is usually confined to a very small area or group and does not represent the overall picture of a country.
Traveling Colombia 2021
Safety Tips for Visitors to Colombia.
Colombia is generally considered safe to visit (even during protests), if you use common sense and take some precautions, like avoiding protests !
Below are a number of basic precautions you can take to be vigilant about your personal safety and improve your security while in Colombia.
These tips should reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime, and improve your overall safety during a visit to not only Colombia, but Latin America / Sth, America in general.
Actually it would be wise for any traveler to follow these tips no matter which countries they visit.
21 Safety Tips When Traveling Colombia.
- Don’t flash your cellphones, cameras, jewelry or money around. In addition, pickpocketing and purse snatching is common in some public places. Distraction is frequently the strategy, so be alert and keep an eye on your belongings. Also, be aware of your surroundings when using your cellphone, as cellphones are the most commonly stolen items in the country.
- Avoid protests. Stay away from protests and if you see one walk the other way. Also, I don’t recommend travel to Bogotá or Cali due to more extensive protests in these two cities.
- Never resist if you are a robbery victim. Many homicide victims in Colombia resisted robberies. It’s not worth risking your life for some money and/or possessions. Don’t try to be a hero.
- Take care even in upscale neighborhoods. Take care even in upscale neighborhoods like El Poblado in Medellín; Chapinero in Bogotá; the historical El Centro (walled city) and the beach barrios of Bocagrande and El Laguito in Cartagena. Wealthy neighborhoods in several cities in Colombia have the highest robbery rates.
- Be careful on public transportation systems. Robberies are common on public transportation such as the Medellín Metro, TransMilenio in Bogotá and MIO system in Cali. So, be careful of pickpockets during rush hour. And you may not even realize you have been a victim until you arrive at your destination.
- Stay away from drugs, sex tourism and illegal activities. Participating in shady activities increases your likelihood of becoming a crime victim and historically many of the foreigner homicides in Colombia have been related to these activities.
- Be especially careful with your cell phone. Try not to be such an obvious foreigner tourist. That can make you a target. An expat in shorts and flip-flops in Colombia speaking English loudly on an iPhone is likely to attract some unwanted attention. Cell phones are the most commonly stolen item in Colombia.
- Use ATMs in malls and grocery stores. Avoid ATMs on the street or in areas with few people around. And be conscious of who might be watching you.
- Avoid bad neighborhoods. The poorest neighborhoods in cities are not really places for expats, even during the day. You aren’t missing anything – there is nothing for tourists to see in these neighborhoods.
- Never leave your drink unattended. It takes almost no time for someone to drug your drink with something like Scopolamine (aka Devil’s Breath), which can wipe the memory of its victims and can affect the ability to resist criminal aggression.
- Be careful of fake police asking to check your money for counterfeits. This is obviously a scam and sometimes happens in Colombia. Real police will never do this.
- Don’t carry lots of cash with you. Only carry what you need for the day or night with you.
- Put your bag, purse or backpack in front of you. In busy areas it’s common for snatching of bags, purses or backpacks.
- Late at night call for a taxi. During the day, hailing a taxi on the street will usually be fine. But at night calling for a taxi or using an app like Cabify is safer and will ensure you are getting a legitimate driver.
- Don’t walk alone at night. It’s safer in groups. And if walking alone, stick to well-lit streets where there are plenty of people.
- Try to keep a low profile. If you keep a low profile you are less likely to become a target. And never give out information about where you live to strangers.
- Watch out for motorcycles. A disproportionate number of robberies and crimes in cities in Colombia take place by criminals on motorcycles due to the ability for a quick getaway. So, take care brandishing phones in taxis or on the street as you may attract unwanted attention from a criminal on a motorcycle.
- Don’t carry your passport with you. Carry a copy of your passport with another ID like a driver’s license. Only bring ATM and credit cards which you plan to use. Leave your passport and other cards locked up in a safe location.
- Don’t invite strangers to your home or hotel. And if you are meeting someone you don’t know, always do this in a public area like a mall, restaurant or café.
- Change locks and buy a security door. When you are living in a place long-term in Colombia always change the locks. No telling who else will have keys. And for even better piece of mind change the door to a security door reinforced with steel inside and around the frame. But make sure to get permission from the owner if you rent before replacing a door.
- No Dar Papaya. Don’t give papaya. This is a famous quote in Colombia, which means essentially don’t put yourself in a position where you become vulnerable to be taken advantage of. Many of the above tips are ways to “No Dar Papaya”.
Thanks to Medellin Guru for these tips.
One More Thing ( tip no. 22).
A common sight in Colombia is people (mostly women) wearing small back packs on the front of their bodies. The reason is not so that their purse is more easily accessible from the front, but for protection from those who would attempt to steal belongings if the backpack were worn in the normal way (on your back).
Where you can, observe, and take hints from the locals.
Why Travel Colombia
Probably better known for all the wrong reasons, Colombia however does offers the traveler some of the most amazing experiences anywhere on the planet.
Suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, Colombia is often called the most diverse country on earth.
It is a photographers paradise, ideal for the young and adventurous, wilderness trekkers, and everyone in between.
Colombia has the most bird species in the world, an amazing variety of animals.
Perhaps those flowers you gave (or received), on Valentines day, came from Colombia. Medellin has an annual flower festival in November.
There is so much available for the tourist and less than 4 hours from the USA.
The tours I recommend are more of a personalized nature, so you can experience Colombia from a different perspective to the average visitor.
Not only that, the ones I recommend have multilingual staff, to help you with planning your trip, accommodation, and tour packages. As well when you are on tour the language barrier is not an issue as the driver/guide will be multilingual
To See the tours I have Partnered with Click Here.
There is so much to enjoy in Colombia. Coffee tours, Ancient cities, Historical towns, Historical sites that are part of modern metropolis’s, Stunning Caribbean beaches and Islands, Indian tribes still living in the traditional manner of their ancestors.
At Santa Marta diving accreditations are some of the least expensive in the world. Plus, you can also gain accreditation as a reef monitoring eco diver which opens up opportunities around the world.
A couple of hours up from Santa Marta you are in a totally different environment Alternating between cool mountain rivers, Indian Villages, now capped mountains, lonely beaches.
Ohh and coffee, Colombia well known for its range of coffee’s. Coffee tours are a must do when visiting Colombia.
Colombia is the only American Nation that is named for Christopher Columbus, “discoverer” of the New World.
It is a study of contrasts, in both its geography and its society. The lofty snow-tipped peaks of the country’s interior cordilleras tower high above equatorial forests.
In the cooler mountain areas, at intermediate elevations, modern cities contrast sharply with traditional rural landscapes where Mestizo farmers cultivate their small plots of coffee, corn (maize), and other crops.
The more accessible Atlantic lowlands, dominated by large livestock haciendas and a tri-ethnic population, have a distinctively different character.
A wide range of features characterize the country’s two coastlines. Steep and articulated bays, inlets, capes, and promontories accentuate the shoreline on the Pacific side toward the Panama border and on the Caribbean side where the sea beats against the base of the Santa Marta Mountains. These features are interspersed with sandy beaches, along with barrier islands and brackish lagoons.
To read more on Colombia please go Here.
Bookmark this blog for more tips and tours on traveling Colombia.
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