How Safe Is Colombia for Travel?

Safety Index:

Colombia FlagColombia : Safety by City

Colombia is located in the northwest of South America, sharing its borders with Panama to the northwest, Venezuela and Brazil to the east and Ecuador and Peru to the south.

What makes Colombia a must-visit tourist destination are its vast space brimming with landscapes and cultural heritage.

When it comes to culture, its capital Bogotá is the absolute leader in entire Latin America in experimental theater, and you can expect to run into a bunch of bookstores, music stores, and libraries and if you’re into music, there’s no place like this one: the Latin music scene of salsa and cumbia is extremely popular, with the most popular dance display – the huge Carnival of Barranquilla.

However, Colombia is not just a perfect destination for those that are hungry for parties and adventure.

There is a whole lot of history here: you can explore the old Spanish colonial provincial retreats like Villa de Leyva, hike through the jungle-covered mountains searching for the Lost City of the Tayrona Indians, or marvel at the walls of Cartagena’s old city.

And of course, for the summer-lovers, there are tropical beaches along Colombia’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts that you truly shouldn’t miss.

Warnings & Dangers in Colombia

Overall Risk


Despite its frightening reputation, Colombia’s safety has increased in the past couple of years, and it’s not as bad as it once was. Still, you need to apply precaution measures all the tame and follow the instructions to stay safe.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Transport is not the safest in Colombia. When using a taxi, always opt for calling the taxi service instead of hailing them off the streets. Also, buses are a problem, as well as the rural roads where if you’re a single car on the road, you’re an easy target for the criminals lurking to rob you on the roads and highways.

Pickpockets Risk


Pickpockets are extremely common, and tourists very commonly find themselves in such a situation. When you’re on the streets, try not to look like you have money and leave all your valuables in your accommodation. Don't take your cell phone out in the middle of the street, and while walking around, keep your eyes and hands on your purse at all times.

Natural Disasters Risk


Since Colombia is a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and Andean Volcanic Belt, natural disasters that are common in this country are earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Always follow the advice of the authorities.

Mugging Risk


The risk of getting mugged or kidnapped is also high in Colombia. There are neighborhoods and areas that should be avoided at all cost, liken Calle 9 area. Bear in mind that you should avoid rural roads and walking alone, particularly at night. Cartagena and coastal areas are safer since they are known tourist areas.

Terrorism Risk


Terrorism risk is very real in this country, as terrorists are likely to try and carry out attacks in Colombia. The main danger comes from the National Liberation Army (ELN), dissidents of the FARC guerrilla group (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), and other illegal armed groups. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk


There are a lot of scammers in Colombia trying to take advantage of you, and you have to be smart and cautious, otherwise you will lose your money or get stolen from. Be wary of people lurking around ATMs or anyone trying to distract you. Taxi drivers might try to trick you into paying more, giving you wrongful information about the price of the ride.

Women Travelers Risk


Colombia is not recommended for solo female travelers, as women can easily feel unsafe on the streets of Bogota and other major cities even when accompanied. If you do decide to, be extremely careful, especially at night and always try to stick with other individuals or groups. Even going accompanied by just one more person is better than going alone.

So... How Safe Is Colombia Really?

During the past couple of decades, Colombia has had a reputation of being an extremely dangerous country, ridden with crime and violence, and the situation truly was grave, but it has greatly improved since the ’90s.

In reality, when it comes to crime, the situation varies throughout the country.

For example, the majority of jungle regions aren’t safe, but the areas around Leticia and Santa Marta are generally safe to visit.

Avoid the Darien Gap located at the border with Panama, and this goes for Putumayo and Caquetá as well, as they are known to be conflict zones.

You should also be careful and travel with locals when visiting areas of Chocó, Cauca, and Valle del Cauca, eastern Meta, Vichada, and Arauca, as well as all Amazonian departments except for Amazonas.

You should still bear in mind that even though Colombia has been fighting crime and it’s been on a decrease since the ’80s, major urban centers, as well as the rural parts of Colombia, still have very high rates of violent crime.

If you end up in a poor area of any Colombian major city, keep in mind that they can be pretty dangerous and that you should always call a taxi instead of walking through those neighborhoods.

However, since taxi crime is also common, always request one by phone instead of hailing one off the street.

Useful Information

  • Visas - Many countries do not need a visa in order to enter Colombia for any stays shorter than 90 days. Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Colombia. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - Colombian peso is the official currency in Colombia. ATMs are widely available throughout the country and credit cards are commonly accepted in most establishments.
  • Weather - Colombia has very warm and tropical climate both on the coast and in the north, and there is a rainy season that lasts from May to November. Colombia is very close to the equator, so the temperature doesn’t vary throughout the year, but it does vary depending on the altitude of regions.
  • Airports - El Dorado International Airport is the busiest international airport in Colombia’s capital Bogotá, and its surrounding areas. The biggest part of the airport is located in the Fontibón neighborhood of Bogotá.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Colombia since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.
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Colombia Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 13° C
Feb 14° C
Mar 14° C
Apr 15° C
May 14° C
Jun 14° C
Jul 13° C
Aug 14° C
Sep 14° C
Oct 14° C
Nov 14° C
Dec 14° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Where to Next?

6 Reviews on Colombia

  1. A different kind of country

    Last year I didn’t think I would ever be going to Colombia because I thought it was very unsafe. Then a friend told me about his experiences there and told me he would go again so I went. It’s not as unsafe as some sites make it out to be. It’s not very safe but there are many nice things that make it worthwhile.

  2. Went with a group of friends and had fun

    Went in without many expectations, with a group of friends. We had fun, visited many cities like Bogota and Medellin and never felt unwanted and unsafe. I know bad things still happen in this country but I only had fun while I was here.

  3. Terrible

    Colombia al igual que Vnzla son los países mas inseguros de AL. No recomendaría jamás ir a visitar Colombia que no tiene nada de bueno. El narcotráfico existe, la delincuencia existe, los guerrilleros existen, y los robos en casi todas las ciudades es al por mayor.

    Como que este artículo lo escribió una colombiano

    1. sound like you’re just butt hurt by you’re own personal experience. Shameful actually. Anyways, Colombia is a great place to visit. Just use common sense. e.g. You wouldn’t go walking around south central at night alone, so don’t expect to do such things in the barrios of Colombia.

  4. P
    Patrizia says:

    Cartegena is very safe for travellers

    My husband, 16 year old daughter and I spent 3 weeks in and around Cartegena in December 2019 to January 2020. We stayed in different parts of the city and really enjoyed ourselves. Just like anywhere else in the world, be mindful and aware or your surroundings. It is helpful to speak some basic Spanish, although many speak English at Hotels and restaurants. Honestly,I felt safer in Cartagena than I do in Mexico. We loved it and would return.

  5. V
    Vanessa says:

    Colombia is Magic

    we went twice, first time only Cartagena and surroundings in January 2018. We fell totally in love with this country!! Yes there are “shady” parts and you have to take basic traveller precautions like anywhere in the world….
    Second time we explored everything around and between Cali, Bogota, Medellin and all of Coffee triangle by motorbike. Finished off in Santa Martha and in a beach hut further up the coast of Tayrona National park. Only had fantastic experiences and friendly locals and stunning scenery all around!! The Colombians say ” don’t give them Papaya” which basically means, don’t show off and flaunt your valuables. So if you go to submerge yourself in their beautifull country and way of life, you’ll have the time of your life!! If you are more of a show off looking for others to recognise and serve you for your dollars, pick a more superficial destination.

Rated 3.83 / 5 based on 6 user reviews.

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