10 Reasons Colombia is Safe for Americans | ViaHero

10 Reasons Colombia is Safe for Americans

ViaHero · May 10, 2018

Hesitant to travel to Colombia? Don’t be! Although Colombia still carries its gritty '80s reputation, the country is now a thriving travel destination with more and more Americans visiting each year. Both safe and stunning, Colombia should be on any traveler’s list and is perfectly safe for Americans to visit. Not quite convinced? Keep reading for 10 reasons why Americans can and should visit Colombia—and once you do, be sure to message us with any questions you still have!

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.

Reason #1: You (probably) have all your vaccinations already

Regardless of where you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to make sure your vaccinations are up to date. As an American, it’s very likely that you already have all of the vaccinations you need to visit Colombia! If you want to air on the cautious side, however, you can always go ahead and get routine typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines (if you don’t already have them)—although the CDC only recommends this for certain travelers.

Reason #2: Colombia is safer than ever before

The bond between Colombia and America has grown in recent years as Colombia has stabilized. With the country’s narco days decades behind, the number of Americans citing Colombia as their next travel destination increases every year. In addition, the 2016 peace treaty between the Colombian government and the extremist group FARC has drastically reduced violence throughout the country. In fact, kidnappings dropped a whopping 92% between 2000 and 2016! So don’t let Narcos scare you away—those violent scenes are more likely to be found in a Colombian museum than on the streets.

Reason #3: Colombians love American visitors!

Colombian culture is naturally friendly and family-oriented, and Colombians love American visitors! Tourism has become Colombia’s top industry, and the country has taken extreme measures to ensure visitors’ safety—including the creation of an entire police division to protect travelers! Colombia's violent reputation is outdated, and shouldn’t scare you away from embracing the country’s rich opportunities. Between the wealth of family-friendly outdoor adventures, safe and secure lodging options, and incredible cities Colombia has to offer, you can feel safe bringing the whole family! If you still have concerns regarding traveling to Colombia, feel free to reach out to one of our local Heroes to put your mind at ease—and get started planning your custom travel itinerary!

Reason #4: Solo female traveler? No problem!

There is no reason for solo female travelers to shy away from visiting Colombia! Although women may experience catcalling or unwanted advances (just as in any other South American country) while in Colombia, the country is, on the whole, safe for American women. Moreover, by using Airbnb to bed down in Colombia’s cities and taking Uber through Colombia’s streets, you can avoid many of the traditional problems associated with traveling as a solo female. And as is the case in America, staying safe while out at night comes down to local safety knowledge and staying aware.

Reason #5: Americans don’t need a visa to travel to Colombia

If you’re an American citizen, you can travel in Colombia without a visa for up to 90 days. Since America and Colombia have a strong relationship, all you need to travel into Colombia is an American passport and a return ticket. Skip the tedious paperwork and long lines—you’re good to go! If you’re unsure about the best time to book your trip to Colombia, reach out to our local travel experts to start planning your Colombian adventure!

Reason #6: Colombia’s travel infrastructure is better than ever

Colombia’s efforts to rebuild have worked miracles. The 4th Generation Infrastructure Program, a $70 billion endeavor to rebuild Colombia’s infrastructure from the ground up, has been a spectacular success. Along with improving the country’s roads, public transportation, and utilities, this reconstruction has largely redefined the Colombian economy—shifting it away from the prevalent drug trade towards a legal and sustainable coffee, textile, and technology-oriented future. Medellin was even awarded the Most Innovative City of the Year prize in 2013!

Reason #7: Apps have made travel safer than ever

Technology has made traveling a breeze! Trying to learn some last-minute Spanish before your trip to Colombia? Apps like Duolingo encourage users to spend a few minutes every day learning basic words in other languages. Google Translate is another great go-to if you find yourself in need of an instant translator. Airbnb allows you to browse exciting and secure lodging options for your trip while engaging with a local host. Uber is your best bet for navigating the streets of Colombia, as Uber’s system increases drivers’ accountability and reduces the risk of having a bad experience. Your Hero of choice can even create custom maps and itineraries for you that can be accessed with or without internet!

Reason #8: Urban Colombia is actually safer than many American cities  

It may come as a shock, but many Colombian cities are safer than their counterparts in the States. For instance, Bogota’s violent crime rate is considerably lower than that of Miami, Indianapolis, or even Pittsburgh! As always, most crimes in Colombia are merely those of opportunity—which means they’re easy to avoid! In Colombia, they say “no dar papaya”—a slang idiom meaning “don’t give anyone the opportunity”. You can make yourself an easy target by displaying valuables, leaving your phone on the table or drink unattended, etc.—but if you play it smart, it’s unlikely you will experience any crime in Colombia. Similarly, if you’re out in nature, use common sense. Whether you’re hiking to the Lost City of Teyuna or bathing in the Cano Cristales, bring lots of water to keep yourself hydrated, use sunscreen, and take some hand sanitizer along.

Reason #9: The exchange rates are in your favor!

The exchange rate between the US dollar and the Colombian Peso is USD$1 to COL$2,820. That means that relative to the US, Colombian currency is quite weak. To that end, it’s extremely affordable for Americans to stay in more upscale and therefore safer Colombian neighborhoods!

Reason #10: You can create a comprehensive personalized travel itinerary before you even leave!

If you’re nervous about traveling safely to Colombia, talk to a local Colombian travel expert! The ViaHero system is designed to make your trip as safe and smooth as possible. The majority of crimes committed in Colombia are petty theft and crimes of opportunity, which can usually be avoided by planning ahead and being well informed. Be proactive about planning your trip—talk to your local Hero and let them help you!

Numbers everyone should have on hand

In the rare event you find yourself in a Colombian pickle, here are some numbers to have on hand:

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

Have more questions about safety in Colombia? Any one of our local Colombian travel experts can help, or you can message us directly. And before your trip, make sure to check out:

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