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See Colombia like a local. Work with a local to plan your trip.

Is Bogota Safe? Here's What to Know

ViaHero
Updated June 29, 2020

Generally, Bogota is a safe place to travel (with a little know-how!). But like elsewhere in the world, Colombia has seen cases of coronavirus. 

Check out our update below: 

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

UPDATE: The coronavirus in Colombia

Like most places around the world, Colombia has cases of coronavirus. So, when will Colombia be safe for travel?

Hopefully soon! Here's the latest: 

June 29th: Colombia extended its lockdown until July 15th. However, the country plans to maintain its ban on international air travel until August 31st. 

The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory for all international travel. This strongly recommends that Americans avoid international travel.

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Read our full update about travel and coronavirus HERE. Or, send a message to a local in Colombia

Violent crime is incredibly rare

The violent crime rate in Bogota is actually lower than that of many American cities—like Indianapolis and Miami.

In addition, kidnappings in the capital have dropped by a massive 92% over the past two decades.

And just like in any American city, these crimes almost always occur in outlying neighborhoods that most travelers would never enter, anyway.

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Worried about safety in Colombia? Feel free to reach out to one of our Colombian trip planners.

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It's easy to avoid scams

Locals tell us that there are some scams to watch out for in Bogota. Use local advice to keep safe—our trip planners gave us these tips:

  • Don’t flash valuables or use expensive electronics in public—especially in areas popular with travelers.
  • A common Bogota scam involves a “police officer” asking to “inspect your money for counterfeits”. Don’t give it to them—even if they show you a badge. Real police do not do this! Instead, simply ask the “officer” to bring you to the closest police station.
  • Make sure to spread your cash around different pockets or, better yet, carry a dummy wallet. Remember: muggings are rare, but it’s always good to be prepared.
  • Don't take drinks from strangers! And this isn’t just a PSA for women either; men are considered just as—if not more—likely to be targeted with spiked drinks.

If you’re still concerned about petty crime and scams in Bogota, however, feel free to read more about safety in Colombia

You probably have all the necessary vaccines already

While you should still consult your doctor before traveling, you probably have all your necessary vaccines for Colombia already—MMR, polio, hepatitis A, and the like.

However, the CDC recommends certain additional vaccines for travelers going far off the beaten path.

Zika, malaria, and yellow fever are almost nonexistent in Bogota

Due to the city’s extremely high elevation (over 8,500 feet above sea level), mosquitos are physically unable to live in Bogota.

This means the three main health concerns for travelers to Colombia—Zika, malaria, and yellow fever—are almost nonexistent in Bogota!

That being said, The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still suggests you visit your doctor 4-6 weeks before traveling to ask what other precautions you should take.

You can drink the water

It’s a common misconception that drinking tap water in Colombia will give make you sick. In actuality, the tap water in Bogota is perfectly safe to drink.

Work with a local to plan your trip.
See a side most people miss.

Solo female travelers love it

Woman in Bogota | Michael Baron/Unsplash

Due to its huge population of young people and students, Bogota is known for being a good spot for solo travelers.

Locals tell us that they generally feel safe while out on their own. However, benefit from this local tip—our trip planners told us that given Bogota's elevation, the effects of alcohol can be more extreme. So take your time! 

Women traveling alone may encounter catcalls. Do what you'd do at home: ignore it. 

There are great options for safe transportation

Locals tell us that there are plenty of safe transportation options in Bogota.

The Transmilenio (Bogota’s Bus Rapid Transit System) and busetas (local buses) are cheap and reliable.

Or, they let us know that yellow cabs are inexpensive and ubiquitous. If you do end up hailing a cab off the street, either decide on a flat rate beforehand or be aware that la tarifa, the tariff, is listed in the back of the cab to show how much you should be paying per distance. Some drivers—as is the case all around the world—will overcharge those unfamiliar with the city.

And you can always call an Uber.

It can be overwhelming to navigate in a new place. When you work with a local to plan your trip, they'll provide detailed transit instructions. 

As not seen on TV: Colombia is a country at peace

For decades, Colombia has been getting safer.

Widespread shifts to a modern coffee-and-tourism-based economy and massive crackdowns on illegal activity have brought Colombia an unprecedented period of tranquility.

Moreover, ever since the conclusion of its long civil war with the 2016 FARC peace accord, Colombia has been actively reinventing itself as a traveler’s paradise—complete with modern infrastructure, tourist police, and an emphasis on safe travel.

Emergency numbers everyone should know

  • National Emergency Number: 123
  • Tourist Police: (1) 3374413
  • Information: 113
  • U.S. Embassy in Colombia: (+57) (1) 275-2000

In addition, you can always call your local trip planner if you run into any issues.

Still have questions about travel to Colombia?
Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.
You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

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And for more on Colombia travel, check out: