Safety in Colombia is still a much discussed topic. While of course safety in Colombia has improved massively over the last couple of years and its tourist industry is booming, there are still safer countries out there to visit. The question if Colombia is safe to visit will probably give you quite different answers depending on who you are talking to. Some people find it super safe, whereas others have had bad experiences and therefore will disagree. So here is everything you need to know about solo female travel in Colombia!
Is Solo Female Travel in Colombia safe?
Yes and no. It is no secret that even though Colombia has become a lot safer over the past couple of years, there is still a lot of crime happening in the country.
That being said, Colombia is safe for solo female travellers, but you have to be aware that they are certain places you shouldn’t go to and in general be a little more aware of your surroundings than you would have to be in other countries.
With a bit of common sense, you should be fine. But I’d definitely say that you should be somewhat of a more experienced solo traveller, as I would not recommend Colombia for first time solo travellers.
And I just want to point out, that when I was travelling Colombia I had no issues at all. Sometimes, I did feel uncomfortable, but I have never had a single bad experience in my five weeks that I had spent in Colombia. I loved the country and I will return for sure.
Tips to stay safe in Colombia as a solo female traveller
Safe or not, there are a lot of safety precautions you can take in order to minimise risks either way. It’s no secret that there are always more risks when travelling as a solo traveller as well as travelling as a girl, especially in Latin America. Being a female solo traveller myself who has travelled to Colombia, here are the rules I followed in order to stay safe while travelling Colombia.
1. Avoid visiting cities/places you don’t feel comfortable about
Personally, I did not want to go to Bogotá because I heard that it can be more dangerous than other places and it was my first time in South America. However, since it is the capital, you will get the cheapest flight options flying in and out of Bogotá. I had decided to rather pay a little extra and fly in and out of Medellín instead.
Do your research beforehand and only travel to places that you feel comfortable about.
2. Take Ubers rather than Taxis
If your Spanish level is not that great, one thing that can happen is that you will be overcharged. Other than that, Taxis are not always safe as there is a risk of taking unregistered taxis and there is no way of tracking you while in a taxi.
Therefore, it is always recommended to take an Uber instead. While Uber is technically illegal, it is a lot safer as drivers need to obtain background checks as well as they are tracked via the app.
3. Get your accommodation to call you a Taxi
If you can then avoid hailing taxis of the street. If you ask your accommodation to get you a taxi at least you will know that it is from a registered taxi company. I usually only take taxis from the street if I am with other people or if there are no Ubers around and I don’t really have another choice.
4. No Dar Papaya
Or in English, “Don’t show papaya”, which just means to not flash around your valuables and draw unwanted attention. Leave your jewellery at home and be careful when taking your phone out in some areas.
5. Leave all valuables at the hostel when possible
If you go outside just bring your phone and a bit of money but leave all credit cards and your passport at home. Just make sure to have a copy of your passport on-hand, with possibly the entry stamp included.
6. Wear a hidden money belt
While walking around in Colombia, I would always like to wear a hidden money belt where I would have some money. In case I had to get cash out also my credit card and at times my phone as well. Then I usually had a backpack with only non-valuable things like sunscreen and water. In that case if someone was to take my bag, there would be no valuables in it as I would have them in my money belt.
7. Never leave your guard down
Don’t think just because nothing happened to you in the first few weeks nothing will happen for the rest of your time and stop paying attention to your surroundings.
Thinking about exploring more of Latin America solo? Check out everything you need to know about solo female travel in Guatemala!
8. Try to walk or travel with other people as often as possible
I’m not saying that you should not travel solo, but part of travelling solo is being able to meet new people, right? Therefore, you can never go wrong by finding people for example that are taking the same bus or finding people to share a taxi with etc.
9. Bring two money cards and keep them separately
This is a safety tip you should follow for every single country you go to, I believe. In case you lose your wallet or it gets stolen, then you want to have another way to access money to not be completely screwed.
10. Take busses during the day when possible
Colombia is a huge country, and getting from one place to another can often require hours and hours of bus rides. In general, it is always safer to travel during the daylight. Also, during the nighttime you might be more likely to fall asleep for longer so you won’t be able to watch your belongings at all times.
11. Don’t walk around by yourself at night
This goes without saying, places that seem fine during the day might totally transform during nighttime. Try to always walk around with other people or take an Uber. Even if you just have to walk another two streets down the road, make sure to just call an Uber if you don’t feel comfortable. Better to be safe than sorry.
12. Listen to locals on where it is safe
Don’t try to judge for yourself which areas are safe to hang out at but rather listen to locals. If a local tells you to not be at a certain place after dark then listen to them. They will know better!
13. Always have a pad lock with you
You probably always have a padlock to be able to lock your valuables away in the hostel and that’s important! But I’d recommend also bringing an extra one when you are on the go. In that way you can for example lock your backpack while on buses.
14. Stay away from drugs
There are a lot of scams when it comes to drugs, and you also don’t really know where they are coming from. Just stay away from drugs whatsoever and you won’t have to worry about any of that.
15. Prepare for something to happen
Not that you would want something to happen but if it does don’t risk getting hurt. Just try to only take stuff with you that you would not mind losing as much. So if someone were supposed to take your bag just give it to them rather than fight and risk getting injured. Sadly, it can happen but you can get robbed in any other country in the world as well.
And here were some of my tips on staying safe in Colombia as a solo female traveller. Have you been to Colombia, or do you want to go? Did I forget to mention any safety tips?
Let me know in the comments!
Talk to you soon x
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