Is Medellin safe? Yes! Once considered among Colombia's most dangerous cities, Medellin is now one of the country's safest. For the full scoop of safety in Medellin, we put together this guide (with some local advice) on crime rates, transportation, required vaccines, water quality and more.
Get insider updates on safety from the people who know best—Medellin locals. Our trip planners in Medellin will design a customized guidebook full of safety advice as well as their favorite things to see and do in town. Learn more.
Once known as “the most dangerous city in the world,” Medellin is now lauded as an up-and-coming travel destination. In fact, Medellin's 82% decline in violent crime means that the city is now safer than New Orleans!
And like other major cities, violent crimes occur in neighborhoods far, far away from the center of the city, where you'll find most Colombian points of interest.
Medellin is Colombia’s second-largest city after Bogota, and, like its sister city, has high rates of petty theft. To avoid petty theft and stay safe in Colombia, take your cue from the popular Colombian saying, “No dar papaya”—which, roughly translated, means “don’t put yourself in a position to be taken advantage of.”
To that end, benefit from local advice when it comes to things like spotting and avoiding petty theft and other scams. Our local trip planners advise to:
Local tip: Buying street food is a great way to experience Colombia like a local—just be sure to ask the price before ordering. Once the food is in your hands, vendors can (and occasionally do) charge exorbitant prices.
If you’re up to date on your routine vaccines (tetanus, chickenpox, MMR, polio, and flu), odds are that you don’t need any additional vaccines before going to Medellin. If you’re planning on traveling to more rural points of interest, the CDC recommends getting certain vaccines for Colombia travel, including typhoid and hepatitis A vaccines. Be sure to check with your doctor before you go!
Medellin is one of the many cities in Colombia with an excellent water purification system, so the city’s tap water is absolutely safe to drink. That also means that fresh fruits, vegetables, and street food are safe to consume.
There’s no bad choice when it comes to Medellin public transport—whichever option you use for your travel itinerary, you’ll get to where you need to go cheaply, safely, and easily. Medellin’s most popular modes of public transportation are the metro, buses, and cable cars, with the majority of travelers using the metro.
Medellin’s award-winning metro system is only $0.69 per ride with a Civica card, which works much like a standard metro card in U.S. cities. Civica cards can be used interchangeably between buses, metros, and cable cars.
Navigate with ease with a little local advice—when our trip planners design your guidebook, they'll include detailed transportation instructions.
Good news, solo female travelers! Medellin is largely considered to be one of the safest places in Colombia for independent, solo travelers—especially if you keep to the city’s well-populated areas. Real talk: harassment and cat-calling are an issue in Medellin (as in Colombia and Latin America as a whole); however, they’re generally considered to be less severe in Medellin due to the city’s massive student population.
With that in mind—and given Medellin’s balmy average temperature of 72°—jeans are the go-to wear for most Colombian women if you feel like blending in. But don’t let any haters dictate your wardrobe—many women feel safe wearing whatever they want while hiking around Medellin or partying away in the city’s awesome nightlife.
For personalized recommendations on how to dress, how to stay safe, and what women should know in Medellin, work with one of our trip planners to design your trip.
In the off chance that you run into any trouble while galavanting through Medellin, here are some numbers to call for assistance.
And for more about Colombia travel, check out our articles on: