Also known as “The City of Eternal Spring,” Medellin boasts a striking view of magnificent mountain peaks, lush forests, and sleek urban design. Although once burdened with an unsavory reputation for drugs and crime (it is, after all, the locale for the oh-so-popular series Narcos), over the past two decades, Medellin has transformed itself into Colombia’s most socially conscious, forward-thinking, and safety-focused metropolis. Read on to learn more about safety-focused topics in Medellin like petty crime, transportation, and water quality; when you’re done, feel free to message us with any questions you still have.
Medellin’s bad rep is old news
Once named “the most dangerous city in the world,” Medellin is now lauded one of the most innovative. Advances in its
Petty theft is Medellin’s most common crime
Medellin is Colombia’s second largest city after Bogota, and as in any big city, travelers can benefit from staying educated and aware while exploring. A popular Colombian saying goes “No dar papaya”—which, roughly translated, means “don’t put yourself in a position to be taken advantage of”. To that end, here are some tips from locals on avoiding being taken advantage of while in Medellin:
- Avoid wearing anything that makes you stand out from the locals; flip-flops, fanny packs, shorts, and expensive jewelry are all signs of a novice traveler—which pickpockets use to their advantage.
- In Medellin, thieves are known to ride motorcycles through traffic, snatching phones, jewelry, and bags from open car windows—often from out of the hands of the owner themselves!
- Buying street food is a great way to try delicious Colombian cuisine, but always ask the price before ordering. Once the food is in your hands, vendors can (and occasionally do) charge exorbitant prices.
You probably don’t need to get any extra vaccines
If you’re up to date on your routine vaccines (tetanus, chickenpox, MMR, polio, and flu), then you’re most likely set to jet! That being said, depending on what you’ll be doing in Medellin, the CDC also recommends getting
Don’t spend money on bottled water
Medellin is one of the many cities in Colombia with an excellent water purification system. That means tap water is absolutely safe to drink, and fresh fruits, vegetables, and street food are safe and delicious options for a quick bite.
Medellin’s transportation system is safe and sustainable
A large part of what makes Medellin the most innovative city in the world is its incredible metro system, which is not only fast and
Solo female travelers love exploring Medellin
While harassment is a known issue in Colombia (as well as throughout Latin America as a whole), it’s often thought to be less severe in Medellin due to the city’s massive student population. With that in mind—and given Medellin’s ideal average temperature of 72°—jeans are the go-to wear for most Colombian
Emergency numbers everyone should know
In the off chance that you run into any trouble while galavanting through Medellin, here are some numbers to call for assistance.
- National Emergency Number: 123
- Tourist Police: (1) 3374413
- Information: 113
- U.S. Embassy in Colombia: (+57) (1) 275-2000
If you have any other burning questions about your upcoming trip to Medellin, message us or talk to one of our Colombian Heroes to help put your mind at ease! And before your trip, make sure to check out: