Apr 23

Safety in Colombia Week: Introduction to safety in Colombia

It’s safety week at Colombia Travel Blog! Over the next 5 days we are going to be attempting to lay to rest some stereotypes about Colombian safety (or apparent lack thereof) and demonstrate why Colombia is fast becoming the must-see country for all visitors to South America. To start us off, here’s an introduction to Colombian safety…

Last-ditch safety precautions...
Last-ditch safety precautions…

Let’s face it…Colombia doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to safety. Hollywood certainly hasn’t done this country any favours recently, and the majority of British newspaper buyers only get to see the word Colombia when it’s linked with some negative news story. All the recent kerfuffle with the good ol’ Secret Service won’t have helped either: just another excuse for people to write this great country off as a hotbed of scandal and corruption!

I must own up to something here and now before this goes any further: I am not one of these remarkably (and almost unbelievably) streetwise travellers you’re always reading about and listening too as they hold forth (a little bit too loudly from the bar stool at the hostel) on how walking drunk through a favela at night alone really isn’t dangerous at all, it’s just the media twisting our minds. I am, in fact, extremely muggable.

Yet having lived and travelled extensively throughout the rest of the continent I can safely say that I feel as safe, if not safer, travelling in Colombia than I have in any other country I have visited over here. I have taken long-distance buses (day and night), taxis, colectivos, light-aircraft, horses, and my own two feet whilst making my way around Colombia. Paul at Colombia Travel Blog has rented a car for a road-trip holiday. ¡Sin problemas!

There are still plenty of websites busy trying to convince the world that Colombia (and particularly Bogotá) is a terrifying place. Whilst it would be wrong of us to claim that Colombia is 100% safe, the reputation it seems to have around the world is outdated and reactionary at the best of times.

Barack Obama even payed us a visit...
Barack Obama even payed us a visit…

Bogotá is becoming a city of international arts festivals, Medellín is busy reinventing itself with ambitious public works programs and architectural projects, El Cocuy and the Chocó are increasingly full of trekkers and ecotourists: Colombia is changing. Places that were once viewed as off-limits are opening up to tourists, backpackers and expats. 2011 saw a 10% rise in foreign visitors: increasing numbers of people are waking up to the fact that Colombia is firmly back on the travel map.

The slogan of the Colombian Tourist Board translates as: “The only risk is wanting to stay.” Whilst this may seem like a mere advertising catchphrase, the fact is that more and more people are visiting Colombia, falling in love with the place, following the advice…and staying. Bogotá and Medellín particularly host large expat communities and new hostels and businesses are opening up around the country on a seemingly weekly basis.

Colombia is busy building itself a new reputation: as a vibrant, exciting country, full of variety, history and ecology, and we here at See Colombia Travel are here to help you experience it to its fullest.

As we have said before…the only ‘U’ in ColOmbia should be you!


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