To ensure a safe and memorable trip to Colombia, it is important to follow these essential safety tips:
1. Stay in Well-Traveled Areas
When choosing your accommodations, opt for well-traveled areas that are known to be safe for tourists. These areas often have 24-hour security, which provides an added layer of protection. Additionally, having other travelers around can provide a sense of safety and support.
2. Keep Valuables out of Sight
Avoid attracting unnecessary attention by keeping your valuables hidden. This includes your phone, camera, jewelry, and watches. Refrain from using your phone in public, especially in crowded areas, and be mindful of your surroundings.
3. Avoid Traveling Alone at Night
While Colombia has made significant progress in terms of safety, it is still advisable to avoid traveling alone at night, especially in less populated or unfamiliar areas. If you do go out at night, make sure to go with a group of fellow travelers or take a trusted mode of transportation such as an Uber.
4. Learn Basic Spanish Phrases
Learning a few basic Spanish phrases can go a long way in ensuring effective communication and enhancing your safety. Download an offline translation app or carry a pocket-sized phrasebook to help you navigate conversations and emergencies.
5. Use an Offline Map
Having an offline map of the city can be invaluable in case you get lost or need directions. This way, you can navigate your way back to your accommodation or ask for help without relying on internet access.
6. Avoid Drug Use
Colombia's history with drug cartels is well-known, and it is crucial to avoid engaging in any drug-related activities. Not only does this support illegal and harmful practices, but it also increases the chances of getting into trouble with the law.
7. Keep Your Valuables Separate
To minimize the impact of theft, keep your valuables separate. Leave some credit cards and cash locked in your accommodation, and only bring what you need for the day. Make photocopies of your passport and keep digital copies in your email inbox as a backup.
8. Cooperate in the Event of an Incident
If you find yourself in a robbery or similar incident, it is important to remain calm and cooperate with the perpetrators. Hand over your belongings without resistance, as your safety should be the top priority. Remember that material possessions can be replaced, but your well-being cannot.
9. Use Tracking Apps and Travel Insurance
Consider using tracking apps like Prey to help locate your stolen devices and remotely wipe sensitive data if necessary. Additionally, having travel insurance can provide peace of mind by offering coverage for medical expenses, lost belongings, and emergency assistance.
10. Trust Your Instincts
Lastly, always trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe, it is better to err on the side of caution and remove yourself from the situation. Your intuition is a valuable tool in ensuring your safety while traveling in Colombia.