Is Colombia dangerous?

Colombians are more afraid of vulture droppings on their motorbikes than terrorists.

For travelers already in the country, this conversation makes everyone’s eyes roll with impatience, simply because if you were too scared to come, you wouldn’t be here.

Travelers are sometimes surprised at how normal everything is in Colombia, how straightforward it is to get around and do things, the kindness of the people, etc.   Why isn’t Colombia more popular?   It has a horrible reputation, for one. Less than a week before I bought my ticket, the US State Dept put out a new travel warning for Colombia saying that there is an increase in crime and kidnappings of Americans, murders are up, and so on and to “warn American citizens of the dangers of travel to Colombia”.

So why come here if that is so? The most dangerous places are where there’s guerrilla and drug activity–often two sides of the same coin–and which are pretty much delineated. Plus, they are generally places where tourists don’t go.

The only notable exceptions are on some overnight bus routes and sometimes the most popular hostels get robbed. The former you can avoid by taking day buses, but the latter can just be dumb luck. Asking both locals and travelers for the latest, freshest news can mitigate your risk.

Easy! Problem solved! So glad I am here to help!

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Is Colombia dangerous? — 2 Comments

  1. I just read your blogs, and I’m afraid my co-workers upstairs might have awoken to my laughter. Thanks for the great posts. I stumbled across your blog on Thorntree. I’ll be travelling solo in Colombia for 6 weeks in July and August. I’ve never been to South America before. Any tips you have would be welcome. I love your writing style and am looking forward to reading more. Take care. -Donna

    PS. I have a tip for you too. A full stomach actually reduces motion sickness. I know it is counter intuitive and you don’t want to have as much to come up, but, well, it’s the truth.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Donna. Please tell your friends or anyone else who might be interested.
    Are you sure about your full-stomach theory? Tomorrow is 7 hours on the bus. I might experiment with a half-stomach…
    You’ll have a great time here. Will it still be rainy season then?
    I recommend the coffee area of Salento, though less so if it rains a lot.

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