This country is one of the hidden, best preserved, treasures in the world, an epicenter of biodiversity and human warmth. For a long time it was stigmatized and forgotten due to the situation of internal violence, but today we have the opportunity to experience it in peace. The country is working to be worthy of its visitors and, thanks to that, Lonely Planet have ranked it as the 2nd best destination in the world to visit in 2017. Colombia is ready to receive travelers from all over the world, passionate about nature, culture, good food, authentic experiences, community tourism and much more.
The answer is yes, Colombia is a safe country to travel, many travelers and foreign governments can attest to this. However, it has some risks, as anywhere else in the world (thieves, swindlers, etc.). The recommendation when traveling is to take precautions and have common sense.
- Travel with locals in rural and remote places: Local people in Colombia and secially rural, are amazing and generous, the best way to assure safety is to always assure that you get to places with local contacts for your trip, hotels, guides and transport operators may be helpful.
- Don´t go to the few active conflict spots: The conflict in Colombia between the government and the insurgent guerrillas is almost done and incidents of violence (armed clashes, kidnappings, bombings, for instance) are a thing of the past in most of Colombia. There are some parts where you shouldn´t go where insurgent groups still operate, but these places are very small and far from the tourism spots.
- Violence is at its lowest level in 50 years due to the Peace Process: Currently, and for more than one year, the Government is in a bilateral ceasefire and has been 4 years in a peace process with the FARC, the largest guerrilla group of the country. Additionally, a few months ago began the peace process with the second most important guerrilla: the ELN. Colombia is moving towards peace! The statistics of violence never have been lower.
- Always try to visit recommended destinations: in blogs, by other travelers, travel magazines, local travel agencies and any others who have experienced travelling or tourism in the country. It is Ok to get off the traditional route because you may live the best travel experiences, but it is important for you to know that it is safe and that you are accompanied.
- Stay away from the drugs market: In Colombia there still exists a very large drug trafficking network (Colombia is one of the most important countries in the world in the production of coca and marijuana), selling drugs is illegal and that is why my main recommendation is to stay away from that market.
- Do not take cabs in the street: The recommendation is not to take taxis on the street and always order them to the lines of taxi companies, or through your hotel or hostel and through authorized apps (In Colombia you find mainly, Tappsi, EasyTaxi and Uber in major cities).
- Do not take out valuable stuff in public places (Buses, Transmilenio, Metro): It is important that you take care of yourself and take precautions, do not trust in excess, research about the places you want to visit, try to be accompanied (especially at night), do not show your money or valuable items, and always take care of yourself and your belongings.
- Look for experts’ advice: Tourism businesses (e.g. hotels, town halls, hostels, travel agencies, local tourism direction, specialized operators, guides, carriers or restaurants) can give you good advice about where to go, what is safe and what is not, travel tips, and the best local experiences you can live.
- Be careful with the food and water you consume: Getting sick is always a risk when you travel, but not a constant in Colombia. If you take the necessary precautions, you try to eat at recommended places, you do not take tap water in remote locations, you avoid raw foods and street stalls, you will be fine.
- Be aware of tropical diseases: Colombia is a tropical destination, hence tropical diseases such as dengue or yellow fever can be encountered. The recommendations are: come with your vaccines up to date (yellow fever without fail), always use repellent, protective clothing and, if you experience changes in your health, visit a doctor to rule out any illness of this kind.
Many foreigners, like me, come and cannot leave ever again. They fell in love with this country full of nature, magic, culture, hospitality, colors, flavors and lots of love……. THE REAL RISK IN COLOMBIA IS THAT YOU WANT TO STAY!!.