Traveler Q and A: Is Colombia Safe?

ViaHero · October 18, 2018

Although a week in Colombia is the recipe for a perfect vacation, the topic of safety often arises because of the country's outdated reputation. Well, it’s time to say goodbye to those old-fashioned 1980s notions, and say hello to a safe country full of flavor, fun, and friendliness! Read on for answers to all of the most common questions about safety in Colombia; once you do, message us with any questions you still have about traveling to this Latin gem.

Want to make the most out of your trip? Tap into our network of local travel planners—Heroes—who build unique, locally-curated trip plans, designed just for you. Get started.

Q: Is Colombia a safe place to travel?

A: Absolutely! Colombia is a fabulous vacation option not just because of its many perks like abundant biodiversity, crystal clear ocean water, and hospitable culture—but more so because it’s safe. Since a 2016 accord ended Colombia’s long-running civil war, the country has been at peace—and the resulting serenity shines through the country as a whole. With that in mind, contrary to what many people believe, the vast majority of Colombian crime consists of nothing more than petty theft and scams. This petty crime is very easy to avoid with a bit of knowledge and general awareness.

Q: Is it a good idea to travel to Colombia alone?

A: Whether you’re planning a backpacking escape or an Eat Pray Love-inspired pleasure trip, Colombia is a country that you can easily travel to by yourself. The combination of Colombia’s welcoming culture, overall safety, and the plethora of activities that can be enjoyed solo or with a group make it an ideal travel destination. Just as when you travel solo anywhere, it’s a good idea to take some simple precautions—ask one of our local travel experts for recommendations!

Q: Government sites about Colombia are scary. Should they be taken at face value?

A: To clear up any confusion right away, there is not a ban on traveling to Colombia. On most official sites, including the U.S. Department of State website, Colombia’s travel advisory is ranked a “Level 2”, meaning “exercise increased caution”. Upon first read, that may feel intimidating—until you realize that this is the exact same advisory rank given to top travel destinations like Germany and Italy! Moral of the story, there’s no need to fear a trip to Colombia, and you can feel confident about your decision to visit!

Q: Is Bogota safe?

A: Absolutely! The capital of Colombia, Bogota has been booming with tourism over the past decades, and it is now one of the safest cities in Latin America. Thousands of people travel to Bogota every year to experience its incredible highlights—famous nightlife, mouth-watering food, and unparalleled street art, to name just a few.

Q: What about Cartagena and Medellin—are they safe too?

A: Certainly! Similarly to Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin have also experienced the positive effects of Colombia’s overall push toward safety and accountability. Given its pristine beaches, magnificent architecture, and mouth-watering cuisine, Cartagena has become a wildly popular travel spot in recent years. And as the tourism has increased, so has the police force—resulting in a safe and peaceful Caribbean paradise. Similarly, when visiting Medellin, you can expect a glut of universities, hospitals, and spectacular public transportation. This city has completely turned its reputation around in the past couple decades, and was actually named The World’s Most Innovative City in 2013!

Q: Is Colombia safe for solo female travelers?

A: If you’re a solo female traveler, start packing your bags because a trip to Colombia is your next safe and exciting adventure! As far as catcalls and sexual harassment go, Colombia is no worse than any other location in South America. That said, it never hurts to read up on a few helpful tips like booking your accommodations in advance, sharing your location often (via Find My Friends or Google Maps) with some trusted friends or family, and staying aware when out and about.

Q: Do you need vaccinations to go to Colombia?

A: Chances are, you already have all of the necessary vaccinations for a trip to Colombia. It’s always a good idea to double check with your doctor whenever you leave the country, but if you’re up to date with all of your routine vaccinations then you should be good to go. If you tend to take more off the beaten path explorations (aka out of the cities), then it’s especially important that you double check because you may need just a few additional inoculations. For further peace of mind, you’ll be glad to know that Colombia has a top-notch healthcare system that will provide immaculate care if you should need it.

Q: Is Colombia safe for the whole family?

A: If your ideal family vacation looks anything like basking in the sun, splashing around in turquoise water, and exploring your way through the Amazon rainforest, then Colombia is the place for you and your familia. Not only is Colombia entertaining, but it’s also extremely family-friendly and safe for anyone that you may be vacationing with. Colombian culture is extraordinarily family-oriented, and you are sure to be welcomed into the country with open arms. Ask a local trip planner of your choice for the best family-friendly places to travel!

Q: Do you need a visa to go to Colombia?

A: Nope! No need to worry about an extensive visa process, because as long as you have a valid American passport, you can galavant around Colombia for up to 90 days completely worry-free. If you carry a non-American passport, read up on the Colombian visa process to find out if you qualify for 90 days of visa-free travel!

Have more questions about safety in Colombia? Message us or ask one of our Colombian travel experts directly! And before your trip, make sure to check out: